The rise of EV and hybrids may fuel an already buoyant test-drive demand, according to What Car? research.
The test drive is “far from dead” as 45% say they intend to test more cars, compared to the last time they bought.
On average, buyers will test at least two cars while nearly a fifth of the 8,500 consumers analysed, said they would test upwards of five models.
What Car? expects that as EV and hybrid market availability increases, test drives will follow suit.
Haymarket Automotive’s managing director Rachael Prasher said: “Driving an EV or hybrid will be a new experience for millions of drivers and they will want to understand what they are buying.
“As a result, we predict a surge in demand for test drives, but with it dealers and manufacturers need to ensure the experience of the test drive itself fits the customer.”
Studies by What Car? show that 62% of buyers still find contact with dealers difficult and that the test drive experience is usually the most vocal complaint.
“The unpressured test drives at shopping centres win hands down over the traditional dealer experience,” said Prasher.
“Consumers tell us they want convenience but, above all, they want to test their fears of choosing one model over another… can I fit my three kids across the back seat, can I park it easily, can I drive an automatic?”
For some, test drives are done to validate choice, with 23% only planning to arrange one. Yet for one in 10, the test-drive is deemed completely irrelevant as they will buy without trying their next car at all.
Prasher said: “For this buyer, they’ve done their research, they’ve validated their decision with friends and family, and they’re comfortable enough with the monthly payments to simply place an order blind.”