Everyone has their preferences when it comes to the style or aesthetic of a car, but how can you tell if it’s made with quality materials and a fit and finish that will last? Stacy Swank, craftsmanship supervisor for The Lincoln Motor Company, shares a simple checklist for any buyer to easily evaluate a luxury vehicle contender.
1. Closely examine the dashboard to see how all the elements fit together. It’s a balance of form and function – as the focal point of the vehicle, it’s important you like how the dashboard appears. However, outside of the driver’s seat, this area of the car will be the one you interact most with, so make sure you’re comfortable with how the dashboard displays important operational information as well.
2. Don’t forget to check the vehicle overhead. It’s easy to overlook the ceiling (also known as the headliner), but take a look and see how the designers have integrated the headliner with the adjacent areas of the vehicle, like the windshield visors and the areas flanking both sides of the windshield itself. If there are no overlaps, and everything appears flush, you’re looking at a well-designed interior.
3. Test out the center console. While sitting in the driver’s seat, examine how the center console appears and how it functions. Make sure to try out the arm rest for comfort, as well as investigate the storage options. With push button shifts becoming more and more prevalent in luxury vehicles, there is great opportunity for convenient storage options in the center console.
4. Don’t overlook the trunk. Most people are concerned with trunk size, but the way it is designed and styled is equally as important. Do the materials match the same ones used in more prominent areas of the vehicle? Do the panels feel solid? Are functional, but unsightly elements, like wires or cords, hidden from view by elegant design solutions? All of these questions should be considered.
5. Evaluate the materials used in the vehicle. Are the metals and woods used, real? If vinyl is used, is it high quality? It’s not always easy to tell, so don’t shy away from asking specifics about the materials like where they’re sourced, etc. The quality of materials are often a good indication of the overall quality of the car.
6. On the exterior of the vehicle, take a close look at the headlamps. Do they look as though they fit, structurally and aesthetically, with the rest of the front end? Are the mechanisms hidden, and are they styled in a way that appeals to you?
7. Examine the doors and how they fit to the body of the vehicle when you close them. If chrome is used, check to see that different chrome elements aren’t mismatched. This is very hard to execute well, so if all looks uniform, it’s a sign of a well-designed, good-quality vehicle.
8. When closing the trunk door, pay attention to how it fits to the body of the vehicle and to the fender. If all appears flush, that’s a good sign.