The Test Drive Theory

Let’s say you are in the market for a new car. You dumped your old one and would really like a new one now. What do you do?

First, you take inventory of what attributes you need and want out of a car. You know you need the basics: safety and reliability. Ideally, you’d love a sporty or luxury car, but with gas prices costing an arm, a leg, a thigh, and a few internal organs, you know you’re better off with a fuel-efficient one.

You go through this thought process with all of the attributes. Car or truck? Coupe or sedan? Base or enhanced trim? Small, mid-sized, or large? Color-wise, you’d really like a silver one. But you’re fine with blue or white too, even though everyone tells you white is high-maintenance because it gets dirty so easily.

Now that you’ve got a particular car in mind, your next step is to look through some classified ads. You may also ask your friends if they know of anyone selling a car too. This search can traverse both print and online. It takes time, but you want to make sure it’s a sound car.

After you’ve selected a few you’d like to try, it’s time for a test drive. You give the car a cursory check, then take it for a nice cruise. To be thorough, you drive on both city streets and highways. You take note of all the little nuances and potential problems you see. What’s that whirring sound? Why did it take so long to start up? Is the car pulling slightly to the left?

Some of your friends fall in love with the first car they test drive. Not you. You’re a little more cautious. You’ve purchased lemons before, cars that seemed great on the surface, but were rife with problems once you got home. Since a car is such a big ticket item, this is not something you want to rush. So you test drive countless cars before making a decision.

Sounds a little like dating, no?

Okay, it’s not an exact match, since cars only last several years or decades and a significant other could be with you for a lifetime. But the process of dating is sure similar. First, you identify what you want out of a date. Then you start looking, either in bars & clubs or on online dating sites. Then you go on a few dates – the test drives – with the hopes that you’ll find the car of your dreams.

Just a theory I’ve had racing in my head (no pun intended). What do you think? Does it work?

3 thoughts on “The Test Drive Theory”

  1. Great analogy! I used to test drive BMWs, then my tastes changed I went with an SUV instead. Around the same time, I started dating more outdoorsy guys and less white collar high-income professionals. I’m guilty of pushing all the buttons in the car on my test drives (literally), and I’m sure I do the same on my dates.

  2. I can see the analogy of test driving and dating. If I were to use that analogy, then I would spend more time thinking about the most important criteria than time spent test driving different models.

    We could also really go further with this analogy and think about are we just renting, leasing, or buying this car. Hmmmm.

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