Test drives are important when searching for your next vehicle. They allow the opportunity to get a better sense of the look and feel of the car. Getting a new car is a big investment, so it's essential to make sure what you're getting suits your needs, lifestyle and driving habits.

1. Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you need a car with cargo capacity, better gas mileage, or off-roading capabilities? Are you searching for a vehicle suited for commuting, long road trips, or something versatile that can work well with any number of tasks? Considering what you need the new vehicle for and what features you prefer can help narrow down what makes, models and trims will work best for you.

2. Drive It Like You Own It

Picture your daily routines and consider how the new vehicle can cater to that. Make sure you are comfortable with the handling of the car. You can test out pulling into and backing out of a parking space.

3. Where to Drive

Drive through local traffic and on the interstate. Check the brakes and acceleration capabilities to make sure they respond well.

4. Test the Technology

Is it easy to connect your smartphone and navigate the system? Play a song you like to check out the audio and make sure you like the sound quality.

5. Plan Ahead

Research ahead of time to get an idea of what brands and models may work for you. Call the dealership to ensure the models are currently available. Write down important safety features, convenience factors, and specific preferences. You can even list questions you might have and take it with you to the dealership.

6. Ask Questions

Models offer different trim levels and within those trims come varying features that may not be included across the board. Make sure the specific vehicle you're checking out has what you are looking for. Don't be afraid to ask questions and get as much clarification as you need before deciding on purchasing a new vehicle.

7. Keep an Open Mind

It's easy to fixate a specific model or reviews while researching online only to be disappointed with the test drive or realize the vehicle isn't within your price range. Consider other models at the dealership. You may be surprised and even find something that meets and exceeds your expectations that was not previously on your radar.