Put it through the paces. Whether you're shopping for a Nissan Versa or a Porsche 911 Turbo, measuring the ultimate performance capabilities of a vehicle on the test drive might risk the safety of you and others, and is best left to the experts. But you should pay attention to the way the vehicle responds to your inputs. Once you’ve driven for some distance, can you accelerate quickly and smoothly? Is it responsive enough for hills and passing? Do the brakes stop the vehicle confidently, without the pedal feeling either too touchy or soft? If you like a vehicle with crisp handling, does it respond quickly without feeling too nervous? And does it track securely on the highway? Also, try parallel parking. Is it easy to maneuver into position, and can you see the corners?
Volvo safety test driver, 1959Enlarge Photo