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Take A Test Drive Without Leaving Your House

Published Jan 11th 2007, 10:39pm by Patty Streeter in Featured Articles

Virtualtestdrive_edge Imagine shopping for your next car, taking a shiny, new model for a test drive, having knowledgeable experts show you the features and get a price quote – all at your own pace – and without having to move an inch.  CARandDRIVER.com and ROADandTRACK.com’s “Virtual Test Drive” now brings all the fun of visiting a new car dealership - without the hassles.  Car-buyers can go online, thoroughly examine new models and virtually test-drive them along with expert commentary and reviews from the magazines’ editors, as well as from manufacturers' engineers.

Consumers can join famed automotive expert race car driver Tommy Kendall for a virtual one-on-one road test as he takes the vehicle for a drive on a winding country road.  Tommy provides running commentary and on-the-spot impressions while the consumer can choose from four vantage points; from the driver’s seat, the passenger seat, the exterior side and over the hood.

So is it cool? Yeah, it is. Is it helpful? Sure. It’s definitely better than clicking through pictures on the manufacturer’s site. You can hear the engine and see how much (or how little) the camera bounces when he drives over bumpy roads, and you can listen to the reviews all while you click and explore.

Virtualtestdrive_edge2 As Tommy was talking about the horsepower and torque numbers of the Ford Edge (which are impressive), I found myself musing, “Yeah, but I bet the gas mileage sucks.” As if reading my mind, Tommy jumped in and added that the EPA estimates are better than most full-size SUVs and trucks and the Edge gets about 18 city and 25 highway. It’s no Toyota Yaris, but it’s better than I expected.

You can virtually walk around the car in any direction with features that spin the car so it can be viewed from any angle from both the exterior and interior. The section lists all the normal specs you would be interested in as well.

From details on the frame construction to the interior of the glove compartment, each vehicle can be thoroughly examined and explored.  For example, a click on a “spotlight” on the hood of the new Chevrolet Silverado pops it open to slowly bring the viewer in for a closer look under the hood.


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