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Discussion Starter #1
Questions: Is a test drive of a new vehicle necessary to you for you before you buy? What do you evaluate on a test drive? Will you still buy if you can't test drive?

I'm not talking about a final checkout drive at the time of delivery, but a test drive before placing an order.

Test drives tell me very little. I would like to hear ideas both pro and con. Maybe I just don't know how to evaluate a vehicle in a 5-10 minute spin.

My approach is:<ul>[*]I talk with owners to get their perspectives[*]I read articles and analyses[*]I spend time in a vehicle to see if it "fits" our family and to get a feel for the overall quality[*]If possible, I'll rent a like vehicle for an extended trip[/list]

So, how do you do it?

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Maugham
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"I plan to live forever. So far, so good"
'02 RP EX-L (It's RP, not "RRP") ;)
'85 Prelude
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To me, it wasn't necessary because the Odyssey had already fit all my criteria for an ideal vehicle. The other minivans weren't big enough, the third row is much easy to store than it's competitors and it was made by Honda. I've driven larger vehicles before and I was pretty sure I could handle this one. Although I was a nice surprised to find out how car-like it drove. Call me ‘stupid’
but YES I still would’ve bought one w/o a test drive.

But I can understand why a test drive is a MUST to some:
- Some people have never driven a large vehicle.
- Some people are more critical with wind, road, and/or rattling noises.
- Not everyone likes Honda's great handling. Some might prefer a smoother ride instead.

But like they say it depends on the person and their preferences.

-Nestor

P.S. Perfect pic Maugham...as usual



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2000 CCS EX-NAVI

[This message has been edited by nemogira (edited 02-25-2002).]
 

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I did buy it without a test drive.

I've never been disappointed by Honda. There may be more desirable fish in the sea of cars (Altima, M-B.....), but when my money hits the table and I don't want to think about it--it's Honda that usually wins.

So to me, what I look for in a test drive is the Honda badge on the back of the car. But frankly, a test drive isn't always necessary. For example, I'm ready to fax my salesman an order for a new Accord if the rumors are true that it'll get the Ody engine with a 6 speed manual trans. If Honda can do that, then the first I'll see the car is when he's ready to deliver it to me and I walk in with a check.

Faith, m'boy. Faith.
 

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I gather info much like Maugham does, except for the renting, but nothing is ever really decided until the seat of my pants gets it's impressions from a drive or three. I've seen a number of cars over the years that were interesting, but got disregarded once I got to the other side of the driver's door.

Other times, it's been the opposite. I've ridden in a car that I never would've considered at all, but the feeling of quality and the caliber of engineering was so overwhelmingly better than what I was used to that it changed my whole direction of car-buying.

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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.
 

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I say go for the test drive. I used it as the final go-no go check on the Ody. I had already decided to buy it (I did all the research that Maugham spoke of). However, not having a mini-van before, I wanted a final 'gut check' prior to forking over the dinero.

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'02 TW EX-L
Previous Hondas:
'88 Prelude S
'78 Accord Hatchback
 

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If available, I think that I would always test drive a vehicle that I'm looking to purchase. The Ody is the only vehicle that I was interested in that was unavailable to test drive. Fortunately, my parents have a 2000 EX.

But I agree with Adam, I have faith in Honda. The Ody was my 3rd Honda, and my parents had 2 Hondas before I began purchasing cars. So, I have come to respect their reliability and feel.

I have test driven cars that made me think that I wouldn't be happy driving them for 7-10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is there anything specific (besides potholes
) one should evaluate during a test drive?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Maugham:
Is there anything specific (besides potholes
) one should evaluate during a test drive?
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Sure. While a 10 minute test drive certainly can't duplicate all the driving circumstances I would encounter by renting one for the week, I can get some immediate likes/dislikes from a test drive.

Such as:
1. General driving/handling of the car (is it smooth, does it shift well, is it noisy,...)
2. Handling/braking/cornering/accelerating (not test track stunts, but seeing what the vehicle can do)
3. How much leg room (I'm tall). I'm not talking about just sitting in the parking lot, but how does it feel while I'm braking, shifting, accelerating...do I have enough room to be comfortable?
4. How accessable are the "gadgets" and climate/radio/cruise controls while driving?
5. Visibility around the car while driving. (My Civic Del Sol had a huge blind spot behind the driver's side due to the pillar. I never really got used to it, but I loved that car!).
6. Does my wife like riding in it?
 

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Some of the things that might catch people off guard in an actual Ody test drive are:

- The gas tank slotch
- The shift lever blocking the radio
- The gear shifting is a little weird
- Accidentally grabbing the windshield wipers stalk instead of the gear shift lever
- It’s great turning radius
- It’s car-like handling

These may or may not always be in documented articles. Luckily we have the Odyclub and it’s member to sift out all the little quirks the Odyssey may have.

For some people those little quirks could make or break a decision on whether or not to buy the Odyssey. Fortunately this wasn’t the case for me. As long as it’s safe, reliable and can do what I need it to do then that’s all I care about.

-Nestor

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2000 CCS EX-NAVI
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Maugham:
Is there anything specific (besides potholes
) one should evaluate during a test drive?
</font>
That's a good question and I think the answer will be a little different for everybody depending on what impresses you most about a vehicle and what your needs are.

For some its safety, some it's handling, or any one of a hundred other things, and admittedly most things can be determined without driving the vehicle.

For me, there's a certain "something" (or maybe a bunch of "somethings") that has to be there. The sense of how a vehicle is executed to do what it was designed to do is, for me, something that I can't tell until I drive the car. Through the years I've really learned to trust and rely on the seat of the pants feeling that subconciously brings the experience together as either positive or negative.

It's not infallible. It's failed me a couple of times and I wasn't near as happy after owning the vehicle as I thought I'd be.

I've also learned that things that are important to me are not things that other people care about, so advice from friends and reviews are taken with a grain of salt until I can experience the vehicle for myself.

Oddly enough, I didn't even think I wanted another 4Runner until I drove one again. I was looking for something to satisfy my "itch", and having missed my old 4Runners, went to look at some new and used ones. I walked around the lot and looked inside a few and thought they were awful small after driving the Ody. I thought I'd feel cramped. I went home and told my wife it was a false alarm, I didn't think I was interested in another 4Runner.

A couple of days later, my son and I were riding around looking at them again just to kill some time, and I took a drive in one. WHAM! I was home again. No amount of even past experience with the same make and model prepared me for how good it would feel to be driving that truck again. I never would have suspected the impact if not for the test drive.

Even after my new one had been delivered to the dealer, I drove it also just to make sure it felt as good as the other two I drove. It did.

As they say, the rest is history.

Strangely, my wife doesn't even care if she test drives her cars. If she likes 'em, they're okay (but I still take 'em out for a ride). I'm pretty sure that if I really put thumbs down on it she'd find something else, but it's never happened, so I'm not sure. The general style of the car and it's maneuverability is what drives her decisions.

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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.

[This message has been edited by ckonarske (edited 02-26-2002).]
 

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I don't usually get to floor the gas pedal on a brand new car or a friend's car. So test driving it with a lead foot is actually enjoyable. I can also test the ABS without worrying too much about tire wear. Same goes with fast cornering.
Just don't buy the demo I tried.
Guilty? A little but at least I know what to expect in an emergency handling.
Otherwise you can't go wrong with a Honda...
 

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I did go for a test drive but ever since I first drove and owned a vehicle its always been a honda, went from a CRX traded it to a Civic then a Prelude next was an Accord now an Odyssey, so this time around I let the salesperson drive me and my family around in the Odyssey, I have been driving a Honda vehicle for so long that I know that its reliable, safe, handles well and dependable but I want to experience how this van would rate in comfort for my family and the only way for me is to ride one as a passenger and as expected this van passed with flying colors.

Hope this gives new perspective in "going for a test drive"

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'02 Odyssey EX Redrock Pearl
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PS2

[This message has been edited by PlayItLoud (edited 02-26-2002).]
 
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I think so.

I didn't test drive the Ody, but I did test drive my Civic. I test drove it mainly to see if I felt comfortable in it, it's driving characteristics, and just the general "vibe" of the car. I'm real cut-and-dry with cars, I either like them or I don't, so cars have only one chance to make me like them.

Another thing is that the test drive allows you to see the basic driving characteristics of the car. Of course all cars have little quirks that develop and you just have to live with, but if it's doing stuff that drives you nuts on the test drive you know its not for you.

I've driven a '94 and '99 Explorer and hated them as soon as I hit the gas. My car, on the other hand, I loved right away and now it has its habits that irk me, but that's happened to me with every car I've liked. It's just that since there's no glaring defects on the car, you tend to notice the small insignificant things.

Michelle
 

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I was lucky enough to find one dealer out of the four in our area that had one Ody around to test drive. Then I found the Odyclub, read some consumer magazines and went back for another test drive.From that day on I was completely sold. Our Ody should be here mid march.

When my wife's car was totaled we looked at the new Accord and the Camry. I loved the look and the sportyness of the Accord but my Wife didn't like how low the dash is to the driver, so we went with the Camry. I think they are both great cars. But
without the test drive my Wife would have been very uncomfortable in the Accord since her accident made her feel alittle more nervous on the road.
 

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When I test drive a car, I usually let the salesman drive a car a few blocks while I sit at the back and check out the ride as well as the noise level. {I ask him to turn the stereo off).

Additionally, I check out the climate control, whether the rear part of the cabin gets the cold/hot air or not.

Then I drive the car, after checking out the seat and other controls. Usually a ride on the freeway [Including ramps] and in the local roads is enough for me to get a feel for the car. I also check the brakes. Of course, after the test drive, I make a physical inspection of the car for fit. finish or other problems that may be there.

The reason for a test drive is to provide me with a better feel for the car as well as a basis of comparison between the models I am interested in.

I always test drive a car before delivery.
 

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The Best Kind of Test Drive...

I decided on purchasing an Odyssey, not by a dealer test drive but by the www.Edmunds.com test track. It doesn't come around very often, nor to every city, but its really worth the extra effort to get out and really kick the tires.

After reading all the specs, and visiting the show room, maybe even driving one with the dealer, there is nothing more exciting and nothing more fair than a straight head to head test run with no dealer in the car with you. Edmunds sets up test tracks for each class of car (luxury sedans, entry sedans, SUVs, compacts and MiniVan!). The SUV track had a dirt climbing hill and big dirt bumps, the luxury sedan track and beautiful sweeping curves and brief straight aways. The MiniVan track was way too small and was the shortest track of them all. Barely long enough to hit 30mph. But they did have about 6 different MiniVans and it convinced me that the Odyssey handled a order of magnitude better than the better handling Sienna and Mazda MPV. Granted, a minivan is no sports car, but avoiding accidents and kids and balls is a fact of life. Braking, sharp turning, etc. are all part of "required" handling to avoid accidents. Taking each car around the exact same course as fast as you can will definitely separate the men from the boys. I also discovered just how good and useful the turning radius was when trying to nail the hairpin turn at speed (but it was a slow 10-12mph).

So I highly recommend one of these test track comparisons. Its the only way to drive a lot of similar cars, on exactly the same course in a short amount of time so you can remember and even retest the model you are considering to buy. You can push it up to your skill level and then you'll know what you can do in a real situation. I've never been able to do this kind of test with a dealer in the car. Check their web site and see if they have any test drives coming up in your city. I happened to do this about 4 - 5 months before I bought they ODY. Cost was about $15 to test 27 cars in less than 3 hours. I definitely got my tires worth.



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2001 Ody EX Navi GG + Infinity speakers, trailer hitch, Yakima bike rack, AirLifts, cross bars, rewired sliding doors, inside/outside thermometer
2000 Acura TL Navi Gold + Comptech sway bars, metallic tints, Infinity speakers
 

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Maugham, I always look for the road during a test drive. It seems to be the most critical item out there. If the vehicle will stay on said road, I feel I have had a "road test", Hee! Hee!

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Discussion Starter #19
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jerry O:
Maugham, I always look for the road during a test drive. It seems to be the most critical item out there. If the vehicle will stay on said road, I feel I have had a "road test", Hee! Hee!

Jerry O.

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The very item, Maugham, Hee! Hee!

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 
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