How to Properly Test Drive a Kia

The only way you are really going to know if a vehicle is right for you is if you come down to our lot and test drive one or many of our Kia vehicles. Especially if you have not driven many different types of vehicles, you need to get a feel for how they drive, how they accelerate, their road noise, etc., in order to be able to determine which one you want to buy. Here are some things to look for when it comes to test driving your Kia:

1. Can you get into and out of the car without hitting your head? Does the vehicle have enough clearance for you to comfortably get in and out? You might not think that having to stoop to get in and out of your vehicle is that big of a deal, but if you are continuously hitting your head, it is going to become very annoying, very quickly. Once you have purchased the vehicle, you are stuck with it, you cannot change how tall the vehicle is and how easy it is to get in and out of, so carefully evaluate this aspect of the car when you first sit down inside of it.

2. Do you have enough leg room? Leg room is going to either be one of the biggest inconveniences or biggest conveniences of your new vehicle. If you have enough leg room, plenty of room to spread out, you do not have to worry about feeling cramped. If you or your passengers are constantly battling for leg room, on the other hand, your car is going to become a very uncomfortable place, where people do not want to be. The back of your vehicle is going to be one of the most important places to make sure you have enough leg room.

driving kia3. Is the steering wheel high enough? Nothing is more uncomfortable or makes a vehicle more difficult to drive than a steering wheel that does not have the proper alignment. While most vehicles make it easy to adjust your steering wheel so that you can put it higher or lower depending on your preferences, you will want to buy a car that will actually let you adjust your wheel as far as it needs to go in order to be comfortable for you to drive.

4. Are the seats comfortable? This is why you should do a longer test drive than just circling the block to see how the vehicle handles. Sitting in the car for five minutes is not really going to give you a good idea of how comfortable or uncomfortable the seats are. You want to sit in the seats not just at low speeds, but at high speeds, too. Think about whether or not the seats provide you with enough room in the hips area, if their design seems like it will be comfortable for long car rides, and if they are high enough off of the ground that you will not have to bend your knees excessively when sitting.

5. Do you understand the gauges? If you have only ever driven one other car, you will likely have to get used to new gauges anyway, but that does not mean that you should not instantly be able to find your speedometer, gas level, and other relevant gauges on your dashboard. While driving, make sure that it is easy to find out all of the most important information, and that the gauges are easy to read. Most new cars come with digital speedometers that tell you exactly how fast you are going, but if your still uses an analog gauge, can you actually tell how fast you are going with just a quick glance?


6. What is the visibility like? How easy is it to see out of the car? Can you lift or lower the seat to give yourself better visibility? If the seat is too low in the car and you cannot lift it, you are probably going to have a harder time seeing if there are vehicles in your blind spot and, just in general, seeing road hazards around you. If this is the case, that car simply is not for you, no matter how much you love the other features. If you do have good visibility, however, that car could be perfect for you.

7. Can you reach the pedals easily? Stepping on the brake or the gas pedal should be second nature. It should be done automatically and you should not have to fumble in order to make sure that you are actually getting the right foot on the right pedal. Most vehicles come with adjustable pedals, so make sure that the vehicle you are test driving does, and that you are able to put those pedals in a position that is comfortable for you and matches your driving style.

8. Take a route similar to your driving needs. One piece of advice for getting the most out of your Kia test drive: make sure that on your test drive, you drive at speeds and in traffic conditions that are similar to how you typically drive. If, for example, you take a highway when you commute to your work, you will want to test potential vehicles out on the highway. A test drive that takes you in a wide variety of different road directions is always a good idea, but make sure you specifically take a test drive that matches your normal driving conditions.

The 8 Biggest Car Buying Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

right or wrongA car is likely one of the larger purchases you are going to make in your lifetime. As with any large purchase, the fear of making the wrong choice or getting a bad deal can make it impossible to actually make a purchase, even if you know essentially what you want to buy and where you want to buy it from. Here are eight of the biggest car buying mistakes and how you can avoid making them as you start looking for your car, whether it is the first car you’ve purchased or the tenth:

1. Buying from a dealership that you do not trust – Many people still have the mental image of a slimy cars salesperson when they step onto a lot. They are afraid that they are going to be bullied into buying a car, even if it is not the vehicle they want, or they are going to be forced to pay more than they wanted to pay. You can eliminate this problem by buying from a dealership that you trust and that you know will help you find a car that works for you, not just find a car that they can unload on you.

2. Not test driving the car enough – The salesperson you are working with will likely recommend that you take any car you are thinking seriously about for a test drive. Don’t just drive the car around the block and then bring it back to the dealership. You need to see how it behaves on a wide variety of different road conditions, including the highway. You might like how it drives on the surface streets, but hate how it drives at speeds over fifty miles an hour. Try to take it on a route that you might often be driving (or one similar), to see how it will act under your normal driving circumstances.


3. Guessing what your trade in is worth – The car that you are trading in likely has some sentimental value. Because it is likely at least a few years since you purchased that car, you might not have a good idea of what the trade in is actually worth anymore. Even if you bought that vehicle for $20,000, it is not going to be worth anywhere near that amount of money. The only people who can really tell you what that vehicle is worth is a car dealership, that has an expert who can evaluate your car based on its mileage and condition.

4. You make a panicked decision in order to get a special deal – The last thing you want to do is to jump into a car purchase without carefully thinking about whether or not the car you are buying is the vehicle that you actually want. The salesperson might be offering you a one-time deal, and you think that you have to make the decision right then or you will not be able to buy the car. If your mind is not fully made up, if you are not completely sure that this is the car you want to buy, do not buy it until you have to make the decision!


5. Not talking to your insurance agent – When you buy a car, you are going to need to add it to your insurance policy (or purchase auto insurance for the first time, if you are buying for the first time). Don’t neglect making a call to your insurance agent. If you are concerned about what you will have to pay for certain types of vehicles (some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others), or you want to make sure that you have the right kinds of insurance, including gap insurance, make the call before you make the purchase.

6. Putting too much emphasis on the monthly payment – If you are only looking at how much you will be paying on a monthly basis and not at how much you are paying over the life of your vehicle, you are missing the bigger picture. You want to know how much you are going to have to pay in total, not just from month to month. While lower monthly payments might look good at first, this usually also means that you will be paying a higher interest rate, over a longer length of time, making the vehicle more expensive in the long term. Ask for a calculation of your total costs, not just your monthly costs.

7. Not doing any independent research – Today, you have lots of resources for research. You can find lists of the safest vehicles on the road, can log on to brand websites and read about the special features or options available on different vehicles, you can read blogs, or even see what a dealership like ours has on the lot before you even come to visit us. Doing a little bit of independent research will make it much, much easier to find the car that you want and will probably shorten the entire car buying experience.

8. Picking something flashy instead of something practical – It can be very tempting to buy the sports car, when what you actually need for your lifestyle is the more sensible sedan. Luckily, Kia offers a wide variety of different vehicles that are both stylish and functional, so you do not have to choose between the two. You should still be mindful, however, of how you are going to use your car and what type of vehicle might be best for those needs.

How to Learn to Drive as an Adult


kia dealershipWhile most people learn to drive when the law first allows them to get a learner’s permit, many people put off learning to drive until they are adults. This may be because they have plenty of public transportation and no need to drive, because they do not have the resources to pay for driver’s education courses (which are required by some states in order to get a license), or they do not have access to a car they can practice on. Any of these situations may result in an adult who does not know how to drive but wants to learn to drive, now that those situations have changed.

If you want to learn to drive, we here encourage that! Learning to drive as an adult is much easier than learning to drive as a teenager. If you are taking the steps towards learning to drive and buying your Kia, here are some tips to jumpstart the process:

1. Gets your learner’s permit. Not all states require adults learning to drive to have learner’s permits. Some will have an age threshold that once you cross, all you have to do is go into the MVD and take the driver’s test. Before you start this process, it’s important to figure out what steps you need to take to make sure you are following the right procedure. Even if your state does just allow you to take the driver’s test, without logging any official hours, it is still a good idea to practice and maybe even take a driver’s education class before taking that test.

2. Find someone who will let you practice on their vehicle every day. Learning to drive, like learning to just about anything else, is about building hand-eye coordination and muscle memory. The more opportunities to actually drive that you have, the more comfortable you will feel behind the wheel and the less likely you are to make a mistake during your exam. Practicing as often as possible is the only way to build your skills and prepare for your test (if your state requires you to take one). Find someone who will let you drive their car and will help give you some instruction. Learning to drive isn’t as intuitive and it might seem at first, so some encouragement and tips can be helpful.

3. Consider taking a driver’s education class. This might be something that your state requires, but in most states, once you turn eighteen, you are no longer required to take a class in order to take your driver’s test and get your full license. Even if this is the case, you might still consider taking a class. These classes are designed not just to teach you how to operate a car (in fact, some classes might not even get you inside of a car), but also to learn to rules of the road. Learning these rules is an integral part of learning how to be safe driver.


4. Consider hiring a private driving instructor. If you don’t have a friend who is available to let you practice in their car and give you lessons, a good alternative is to hire a private driving instructor. This is a teacher who will usually bring their own car and teach you how to drive (both the mechanics of operating a car and the laws and customs of the road. A private driving instructor can be a powerful resource, especially if you might feel awkward taking a driver’s ed class that might be filled with fifteen and sixteen-year-olds.

5. Get your own car. If you are having difficulty finding a car to practice with and you are learning to drive because you need a car to get you to and from work or other locations, purchasing your own car, before you have your full license, might be a good idea. If you don’t have your full license, you probably won’t be allowed to test drive the car yourself, but bringing an experienced driver along on your car buying escape can be a good way to get a sense of whether or not that car is right for you. Kia vehicles are often the perfect choices for first-time buyers and inexperienced drivers, as they have a wide variety of safety features.

6. Understand that driving is not really that big of a deal. One of my best friends from university didn’t start learning to drive until she was twenty-four. Because I’d grown up in a rural area and my parents wanted to make sure we could “get into town” on our own if there was ever an emergency, I’d been driving for more than twelve years by the time she started learning. Part of the reason she avoided learning for so long was because she feared the entire process; other drivers, piloting a car, knowing what to do, etc. In reality, driving is all about paying attention to the road and building the muscle memory so that your body knows what to do in a car. It’s not as hard or as big of a deal as it’s often made out to be.

7. Just jump in! No matter the reason you’ve put of learning to drive until now, it’s time to set aside the excuses and the fears and learn this very useful skill. While not everyone lives in a part of the country where a car is absolutely necessary, knowing how to drive could prevent an emergency. All it takes is practice and practicing can be fun!