Miss Lori has a test drive plan on her path to purchase vehicle journey

I am on a path to purchase vehicle journey to curb my gasoline diet. After doing some in depth numbers research online I identified a list of cars that I was interested. Then I visited each car just to see which would literally fit me and my kids. Despite the persuasive efforts of salespeople that is all that I did. I didn’t turn the ignition on. I didn’t sit down to chat about deals. Nothing. I just determined which cars would be eligible for an actual test drive. Except for in the case of the Chevy Sonic because GM was kind enough to let me demo one for an entire week. So I got to do my fit test and a test drive all in one. Truth is if I hadn’t had the demo I never would have driven the car during this journey, because it was immediately apparent that it just didn’t have enough room to service my family in the long term. But the driving was smooth.

Before even getting behind the wheel I did experience bumps on the road of my journey when the two cars that passed my fit test failed my MPG requirements thanks to the MPG inflation scandal revealed for Hyundai and Kia. But dollars to gasoline, even with the MPG reduction the two cars were my best options. My list now at two, I took it down even further, because eventhough the Hyundai had enough leg room to satisfy my limb gifted children the Soul had head room to spare. So it was decided, the Soul was where I would start.

After a lengthy and informative telephone conversation with Neal at Rosen Kia in Elgin I identified 2 used Kia’s that were right up my alley. I made the pilgrimage Northwest to Elgin for phase three of my path to purchase vehicle journey. But I didn’t go without a plan.

1. Go in with time to spare.

You don’t want to feel rushed when test driving vehicles that you may invest a good chunk of change in. It’s too important a purchase. So go out for your test drive with plenty of time to accomplish your task, and if you don’t finish, come back another day. Desperation can make you sloppy. And sloppiness can cost you a lot down the line. So, do yourself a favor and take it slow.

2. Test drive more than one vehicle in the same class.

Just like jeans no two cars are exactly the same. Check out the base model, the models with upgrades, and of course all of the used vehicles that are available for purchase in the same class. If possible drive them back to back so that you can readily compare your experiences behind each steering wheel.

3. Drive different scenarios.

Change lanes. Speed up. Slow down. Stop sharply. Work those brakes. Turn wide. Turn tightly. Dig into the memory of your first driving test. Try parallel parking. Perform a Y turn. Back down an alley or out of a parking spot. You need to know that this car will be able to perform for you through the seasons 365 days a year

4. Push, twist, flip and turn everything.

Check out all of the buttons, knobs and switches. Make sure everything works properly. Turn the music up. Turn on the heat. test the air conditioning. Make sure the wipers can clear the water away. But you also need to listen. Listen to the sounds the car makes as you drive, as you idle, as you start and as you stop.

5.Give it the full TSA type cavity search.  

The test isn’t over just because the drive is. Look under the hood and in the trunk. Check the spare tire. Inspect the actual tires. Nothing gets overlooked.

I was lucky because near to the Rosen Kia of Elgin was a high school with a long entrance that was down a hill. Great terrain to explore a car on. I was able to create my own course and run each of the cars I was testing through it. On top of that it was drizzling and overcast. A beautiful day for a test drive. “What are you talking about Miss Lori, that sounds like an awful day?” Well, no I would rather test drive in inclement weather than on a pristine, sunny day. I want to know that the car can be depended upon when the proverbial weather glass is half empty. So I say bring on the rain!

Now many publications recommend that you bring along a passenger when you test drive, someone other than the salesperson. The idea being that you want to make sure that you have the ability to accomodate the people in your life who travel with you most often. However, by performing my advanced fit test, I felt comfortable handing this phase solo.  Although the Kia Soul hamsters were trying very hard to convince me to take them along.


If you have to bring the salesperson along make him or her aware of your intentions and don’t be afraid to ask them to sit quietly while you drive. I was lucky with my seasoned salesperson Jon at Rosen Kia Elgin. He understands the importance of the test drive and sent me off on my own. He was also very patient and encouraging of me to try as many cars as my heart desired. I felt like an empowered customer in his care, and that was extremely beneficial to me on this journey.

I test drove two low mileage 2011 Base Plus Kia Souls, one with 25,000 plus miles and the other with 35,000 plus miles. I also drove a 2013 brand new Base model. It was clear to me that the new car was an excellent drive, but the 2011’s weren’t far off. I was really pleased with the sight lines. I had no trouble seeing cars coming up alongside of me or directly behind me. The brakes were reactive and the acceleration was great too. The console was easy to access, the seats were adjustable front, back, up and down. I did not feel like I was driving a small car at all. That is until I went to park. Parking the Kia Soul was a breeze after spending the last ten years parking the mammouth Chrysler Town and Country! Overall I found the 2011 Base Plus with 35,000 plus miles on it to be my favorite. I thought it responded the best under my direction, and to be frank it just felt good.

Phase three test drive complete it’s time to talk turkey. But first we need to eat some. Yes, I will continue my story after Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime don’t just take my word about test drives, why not use this holiday weekend to take a test drive of your own. But stay tuned to MissLori.TV for the next phase of my path to purchase vehicle journey. We still have important work to do.

SMILE  (and DRIVE) On!


This is a * Level 1 post: Some or all of the products or services mentioned were provided to Miss Lori free of charge as a loan.

Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TVWearetherealdeal.comYoungChicagonista, and TheChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on YoutubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramTOUT and LinkedIn.

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