Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell is not a fan of the way test drives are done when you're trying to buy a car. He calls the current set up "the most ridiculous thing in the world."
"I happen to be a big car nut and one thing I have found is you can't size up a car on a test drive," he tells organizational psychologist Adam Grant in the latest TED podcast episode of "WorkLife with Adam Grant."
"You're about to spend an enormous sum of money on the car," Gladwell says. "The test drive is, basically, they go around the block with you. It's nonsense, right?"
When prospective car shoppers visit a dealership, only 55 percent of those people bother test driving one vehicle, a 2017 survey by Cox Automotive finds. That one vehicle also winds up being the vehicle they purchase.
Gladwell's biggest gripe with test drives is how shoppers have to make a decision based on too little knowledge of or experience with the car itself. "It's almost as if they're afraid of you actually driving the car before purchasing it, which is a very odd position for an automobile salesman to take," he says. "They are anxious about having too much experience with their product before you buy it."