Extended Test Drive
Most people do a fairly large amount of research when they buy a car. Afterall, a car is a large and long term purchase. You will most likely be in it for at least a few years, so you have to make sure you buy one you are comfortable in. Once narrowed down to a few finalists, this research will usually culminate in a few test drives. A nice car salesman will put you behind wheel, and you will drive around the block. And based on those few minutes, you decide what car you will drive for the next few years of your life. Is that really enough though? Sure, you can see if it has enough power for you you, and various other things that are immediately obvious, but it doesn't paint anywhere near a full picture. You are driving it for a few minutes at one point in the day, through one type of condition. You have no way of knowing if the seat is comfortable after a half hour drive to work. You might not notice that the center compartment is too tiny to fit anything into. If you test drove in the evening you might not notice that the little chrome bits reflect glare into your eyes in the afternoon. With a week long rental you are far more likely to notice these things. With a few long drives, you will likely need to change the radio and climate control a few times. Maybe the way the infotainment system is set up in your chosen car is counterintuitive or just plain uncomfortable? That's something you could miss with a 10 minute test drive but notice when you drive long term. Modern cars also have far more than cars of just a few years ago. Sure, you can sync your phone and make a quick test call during your test drive, but that really doesn't tell you how convenient it is to use in a real world situation. What if plugging your phone in to charge makes the charger get in the way of the shifter? Are the radio station and AC easy to change while you are mid drive? You might well find that the car you have spent all this time researching, while great in theory, is not so great for actual driving. Don't get stuck with a car you don't like, try renting it for a week (or more) and see if it really is the car for you.