According to this article from, the second step to test drive a used car is to set a benchmark.

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  1. 2. Set a benchmark.

    Early in the development process, automakers and their suppliers set benchmarks. For instance: "Surpass Car A in ride comfort and match Car B in steering feel." 

    The used-car buyer must set their own benchmarks. Early in the process, you may not know which vehicle — or even which type of vehicle — you want. It's OK to be torn between an SUV and a sport coupe. Start by test-driving every vehicle you can get your hands on. Great sources are car rental agencies. Check out their vehicle sales lots. Often they have vehicles their counter personnel doesn't know about. Also inspect lesser-known and local rental companies, which often offer older cars. Know that the base version will ride and handle differently than uplevel variants. By scoring seat time in a variety of vehicles, you'll likely gain the kind of perspective that will help you to more accurately evaluate ride and handling dynamics.