New vehicles: the road test, really essential

Buying a car is for a long time. Before making your choice, don’t be shy: give it a try. Here’s why the test drive is important, more than ever.

1. Because it’s the perfect storm

The auto industry is experiencing the perfect storm. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic that has slowed vehicle manufacturing, there is a shortage of semiconductor chips that does not seem to want to be solved. As a result, car stocks have dropped around the world.

An exceptional situation that will not be resolved for another 12 months, perhaps even 18, according to experts. what does this mean to you? You’ll certainly have to choose from a limited selection when it comes not just to models, but also powertrains and trim levels.

Can’t get a copy of the Model X you chose for licensing, performance, or technology and have to turn to Model Y? This is an excellent first reason not to skip the road test.

2. The test drive comes first … try it!

The exercise allows you to evaluate their behavior (on the road, of course!), But also to check if you find a comfortable position (driving!) At the wheel, if your peripheral vision seems safe, if you feel comfortable with its controls and technologies.

Certainly, in these times of car shortages, some dealerships may not have a “demo” model for you to test. Is this the case of the one you are visiting? “Go see another of the same brand, or switch brands to find a dealer who can offer you the road test,” urges Sylvain Légaré, automotive consumer analyst at CAA-Quebec. Above all, do not buy a vehicle that you have not been able to test. “

Because if you discover that you made a mistake in taking possession of your car, your recourse to have the transaction canceled is virtually nonexistent.

3. Do your homework … and stay tuned

Let me be clear: the copy of the vehicle that the dealer allows you to test drive on the road is not, except on very rare occasions, the one they will sell you. Rather, it is behind the wheel of a demo vehicle that it will glide.

Tip 1: Make sure you are prepared to test the model you are looking at. A Hyundai Elantra is not a Hyundai Sonata, and a Honda HR-V is not a Honda CR-V.

That said, if a specific variant (entry-level, mid-range, or luxury) of the model in question isn’t available for the test drive, it’s not a disaster. For example, if you dream of a plug-in Toyota Rav4 SUV, currently one of the rarest vehicles on our market, but it is the gasoline Toyota Rav4 that you are offered to try, no problem.

However, you must have done your homework. And it is very easy: all manufacturers publish on their website the technical specifications, the standard features and the description of the optional equipment of their vehicles. Be sure to check out Canadian and non-US manufacturers’ sites, as the differences in equipment and prices are huge.

With the list of what you want to find in your vehicle, you will (more) easily be able to distinguish between the basic variant without a moonroof, the fabric upholstery and the base technology you are considering purchasing, versus the fully equipped configuration with Heated Leather Seats and ventilated, adjustable from a gigantic tablet on the on-board screen, which we lend you for the test.

4. Did you make a mistake? Difficult to change sides …

You were unable to test drive a demo vehicle and have completed your purchase. Do you pick up your vehicle and find that its 6.5 feet won’t fit under the roof, even though the driver’s seat is set lowest?


Contrary to popular belief, the customer cannot cancel a new car transaction within ten days of signing the contract. Specifically, the cash purchase or long-term lease of a new vehicle cannot be canceled at all. Only the installment sale can be, but then the “withdrawal” period is only two days. And yet it is necessary not to have taken possession of the vehicle.

Cancellations almost impossible

When you “make three copies” of a bill of sale for a car, you are making a commitment, such as buying a home or getting married. This is what it is, popularized by Me Frédéric Morin, vice president of legal, compliance and environmental affairs at the Corporation of Automobile Dealers of Quebec (CCAQ).

The cash transaction. You pay cash or use your line of credit to buy the vehicle. In other words, you have no financial connection to the dealer.

Possibility of cancellation: none. From the moment you sign the bill of sale, you are tied to your new car, for better or for worse. You have no recourse to evade your commitment.

On the other hand, in these times when dealers go out of their way to find a few copies to sell, some may agree to negotiate a breach of contract and agree to a “true compensation” amount with you.

Long term rental. He signed a lease for 12 months, three years, maybe even five years. You sign the rental agreement that will then be transferred to the manufacturer’s financial services division.

Possibility of cancellation: none. After signing the lease, you cannot cancel a long-term car rental, and this is valid for a new vehicle, a demo vehicle, or even a used vehicle.

You just lost your job, you split up, there is mortality in the family … are you wrong? In the worst case, you can terminate the lease, but then you will have to hand over the vehicle to the manufacturer’s finance arm, who will auction it off and then claim the unavoidable losses incurred in connection with the depreciation.

It’s a last resort “that we don’t recommend,” says Me Morin. Because the shortage increases the value of vehicles, you may want to sell them yourself or lease them on digital platforms like Lease Busters.

Builder financed purchase. The installment sale is the most common automobile transaction in Quebec: you buy the vehicle using the manufacturer’s financing offer. And it is that “this is a contract with financing that the law gives you the possibility to reconsider your decision,” says Me Morin.

But beware: then the deadline is only two days. “People believe that they have ten days off, but the law only offers that possibility in the case of itinerant sales,” insists the CCAQ lawyer.

Above all, these two days of grace will cease to exist if you receive the vehicle. We repeat: do you pick up the vehicle? No further cancellation is possible, even if it is within the two-day period. It is at this moment, “you sign a clause in the contract according to which you declare that you have taken the time to turn the vehicle around and that you acknowledge that you are satisfied,” explains the CCAQ lawyer.

Two days: from when and until when?

When you buy a vehicle and walk away from the dealership with an agreement that “freezes” the price of a particular model, whether you have paid a deposit or not, you have not yet completed the transaction. The merchant may want you to believe that you cannot back down any longer, but that is not true.

Your formal commitment occurs when you sign the deed of sale. So, but only if it is an installment sale, as stipulated above, the consumer protection law gives you a two-day delay to cancel. Here’s how these two days go:

• The day the financing contract is signed does not count, the countdown starts the next day;

• If the next two days are working days, the possibility of cancellation ends at the end of the second day. Eg: you sign a credit contract on Tuesday, the two cancellation days are Wednesday and Thursday;

• If the first day falls on a business day, but the second is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the law dictates that this second day be postponed to the next business day. Eg: you sign a contract with a loan on Thursday, the first withdrawal day is Friday, the second is postponed to Monday (if it is not a holiday). If Monday is a holiday, the second day is postponed to Tuesday.

Did you know that…

If you are the type to change your mind and cannot reverse the transaction for a new car that gives you pimples, you might consider a “certified” pre-owned vehicle (usually under 18 years old). Five years) by the manufacturers.

Almost all major brands have their certification program, and almost all programs grant an ‘trade-in’ privilege, which allows the dissatisfied person to exchange their chosen vehicle for another within a few days. Or even within a few weeks of the transaction. The most generous brands are Hyundai and Chevrolet, with 30-day exchange privilege, subject to certain conditions, for example, not having driven more than 2,000 km with the vehicle (2,500 km in Chevrolet).

>> To read also: Buying a car: beware of illegal additional costs, New vehicle shortage: be careful if your rental expires! and our road tests section.


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