When it comes to car shopping, until you get a test drive, you can't be sure if that particular car or truck is one you could live with happily for several years.

Here's what to look for before and during your test-drive:

Size and seating
  • How easy or hard is it to get in and out of the backseats?
  • Will the trunk or cargo space carry luggage, groceries, or other supplies you need?
  • Is the rear opening low enough for easy lifting into the vehicle?
  • How easily do rear seats fold down for more hauling space?
  • Does the view out the windshield and overall visibility seem good?
Road performance
  • Does the automatic shift change gears smoothly?
  • Does the car handle cornering without leaning or swaying too much?
  • When you brake, do you get a fast, smooth, controlled stop without pulling to the left or right?

  • Will you be comfortable for long drives?
  • Is the car quiet?
  • Do you hear rattles or other noise with the radio off?
  • Is the wind noise at freeway speeds bothersome?
  • Does the heater or air conditioner fan noise seem reasonable