Test Drives - Canon Fodder

Hi all,

I'm trying to decide between a new Polo 1.2 65 and a Fiesta 1.4 zetec.

I'm currently car-less [and have been for 10 years - by choice) and over christmas hired a corsa for a holiday in the lake district. I set off up the M11 and was initailly impressed - quiet and smooth - but after about an hour I started to get back ache, after 90 minutes I was so uncomfortable I had to stop.

For this reason I'm very keen to get a decent 2 hour test drive before commiting myself, but both Ford and VW are only willing to offer me a glorified spin round the block.

Has anyone got any advice about how to secure a longer test drive, or failing that, any views on which of the 2 cars is more comfortable for long drives.

Many thanks....
Test Drives - GS
I test drove new Fiesta 1.4 Zetec, TDCi and Ghia models for 45 mins per vehicle at a launch event early in 2002 - The seats in each car did not provide adequate leg support after 15 mins, despite all the adjustments, let alone the 90 mins you experienced in the Corsa.

I have not driven a new Polo but have sat in a static one for about 15 mins. I would describle the seats to be \"comfortable\" in the usual VW/Audi manner i.e firm, but supportive in an efficient German manner, no aches after two hours - just like the sport seats in various Audis that I have owned for the last 17 years.

In my opinion, Volvo produce the most comfortable and supportive seats available in a motor car, however they do not produce a supermini yet. I have considered Volvos for this very reason as I like you I often have to drive long distances.

Test Drives - jud
Phone round i have had in the past been presented with the keys for both a Honda and a Audi and let loose to test for as long (over the day)as i like without the distraction of a salesman in the car, on both accounts i bought the car.
Test Drives - T Lucas
Contact the importer and ask which rental companies run them and rent one for a day,small investment to make the right choice.
Test Drives - Nortones2
CF: try different dealers of the marque. May just be an idiosyncracy of your dealer. Locally, near Preston, all the dealers I have been to have been very happy to give test drives, for as long as you wish. Within reason I suppose! I've been to VW, Ford, Honda and Audi dealers. Only VW were slightly sticky, re insurance, but I arranged cover through my usual insurers.
Test Drives - budu
My local Mitsubishi franchisee let me take a new Colt away for a weekend. Only complication, needed special insurance. Personally, I need at least 200 miles unsupervised to make up my mind - but haven't got it anywhere else.
Test Drives - Canon Fodder

Thanks for the replies folks - much appreciated.

I test drove the Fiesta this morning for 90 minutes and was disappointed.

It was a 1.4 petrol ghia. Pretty basic interior, especially as the ghia is top of the range. 1.4 engine very good though - bags of power [for me anyway] and very smooth. Quite a bit of wind noise though.

As for the key point - it was uncomfortable! The footwell is tiny so the only place for my left size 10 was wedged under the clutch - this meant sitting at a slightly skewed angle and the resultant inevitable back ache! I was a bit gutted to tell the truth as they had a 3dr Zetec in met. silver in the showroom which i thought looked superb.

Next up the Polo although VW are still only offering me a 15 minute trip round the block!

I may take up the suggestion of hiring one for a weekend

Thanks again
Test Drives - peterb
Should (in theory) be easy to get a two hour drive. Could you do it during the week when demand for demonstrators is lower?

Alternatively, you could try the "man bites dog" option. You go for a short drive and (assuming it's OK) start discussing a deal. Just before you are irretrievably committed and just after they mentally bank the comission cheque, you say that your purchase is conditional on a satisfactory 2 hour test drive.
Test Drives - Canon Fodder


I did try to get a 2 hour drive from 8.30am on a weekday when i'm convinced that the car would be sitting doing nothing.

VW say it's an insurance issue - but i'm not really sure i believe them.

As for 'man bites dog' it's a good idea, but i'd probably try to source tha car from a UK broker rather than my local dealer - also I'm not sure i've the got the nerve!
Test Drives - Phil I
Mr. Lucas has the right idea . Even an extended (say two/three hour) drive is not long enough to show whether a car will suit you for 4/5 years. A weekend hire will only cost coppers in comparison to the vehicle you intend to buy.

Its analogous to someone buying a house and not paying for structural survey £300/£7OO to £150K

Happy Motoring Phil I
Test Drives - Canon Fodder

Update: I found a VW garage that would give me a polo for 1/2 a day, but i had to insure the car myself for the test drive!

I tried 3 insurance companies but none of them would cover me unless I was an existing customer - as I don't have a car that was unlikely!

I've taken up the helpful suggestion of an earlier poster and arranged to hire a Polo for a weekend - £74.

Thanks for all the help.
Test Drives - Dan J
Hi Canon Fodder

This is prime example of the downright poor attitude most car dealers have to customer satisfaction. The reason why so many get away with this in the UK is because people are prepared to accept it.

The main thing you need to know is *you're* the one who holds all the aces.

If you are interested in test driving a particular car, contact the dealership via the telephone (don't waste your time driving to them and having your request rejected) and explain to them that you'd like a xx hour test drive and, should you see fit, your reason for requiring this. If they say this is not possible thank them and say you shall be taking your business elsewhere. Although though outnumbered drastically by poor garages, there are a number of good ones out there who do actually care what their customers perception of them is like and are only too happy to help.

I had this when wishing to test drive a Volvo S60. The garage I approached initially neither had nor where interested in sourcing my desired car. They also were only prepared to give me a 30 minute test drive max. I explained to them that they must be joking if they think I would part with that amount of money for a car I hadn't even tested properly. One phone call to Speeds of Crewe later I had a suitable time arranged, the particular car I was interested in brought in for the day and the keys for the afternoon. They even said should I require a further drive a 24 hour test could be arranged. That's service.

Don't accept "No" - it is your money. Go spend it (or at least think about spending it!) somewhere where the attitude is a little better.

As an aside I had the pleasure of explaining to initial garage on their follow up "courtesy call" why I will not be visiting their garage again :)

Dan J
Test Drives - BrianW
"Don't accept "No" - it is your money. "

That's strange, I thought it was Gordon Brown's !
Test Drives - Dan J
It is getting that way isn't it! Still, don't get me started, we'll be made to stand in the corner for the afternoon if "Test Drive" becomes a political thread :)
Test Drives - T Lucas
Did you buy the Volvo S60 from the dealer that arranged the extended test drive?
Test Drives - Dan J
My financial situation has pushed buying a car back a while unfortunately so although I am still extremely interested in the car I, like the dealer, will have to wait a little while. But in answer to your question, should the S60 still be the "one" then yes I will happily give the dealer in question my business.
Test Drives - MikeC
I've not driven the fiesta or polo but I hire a lot of cars for work (have driven focus/mondeo & golf/passat) The only car I get back ache in is the Ford Focus. Its painful after 30mins (I can do the 4hr journey non stop with no back problems from other makes/models) The ride of the Focus is very hard and so are the seats, they transmit all the bumps right through your back ('sporty' Zetec models have stiffened suspension which makes it worse). I suspect the Fiesta is similar.

VW group models have firm seats but the ride is softer so have no problems with these.

Also different models in a range sometimes have quite different seats, so test drive the actual model/designation you are going to buy.

Hope you find this useful


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