Dayton Auto Show offers test drives for the first time

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Auto Show is in full swing, attracting thousands to the Dayton Convention Center this weekend. And something new this year:  in addition to looking at a car, you can drive it too. 2 NEWS Reporter Jordan Bowen explains how test drives are changing the auto show.

Over the next few days, upwards of 10,000 people will pass through the main showroom at the Dayton Auto Show. Customers we spoke with say they come here as opposed to a dealership because it means less pressure to buy and more selection to choose from. This year, if you see something inside you like, you can take it for a test outside and see if it really stacks up to your expectations.

“We’re not trying to sell them anything,” Toyota Drive Center Crew Lead Joe Anderson said. “These vehicles are not for sale. Dealerships certainly provide a wonderful service, but were giving the people the experience of the vehicle. We’re letting them feel it without any pressure. If they want to drive a truck. if they want to drive an SUV if they want to drive a hybrid.”

Potential buyer Steve Houser is in the market for a new hybrid. He says getting behind the wheel gave him a sneak peek of what it would be like if he actually bought it.

“Behind the wheel pretty ordinary. You had to adjust the seats and all, but taking off and leaving that was the big effect,” Houser said. “It was very quiet. In fact, I started it up and he had to hit the button to let me know the engine was actually running.”

Marjorie Branch says shopping without the pressure to make a purchase helped her find out what she liked and what she didn’t.

“I think that’s what you need,” Branch said. “It’s hard going test driving when you have a salesman trying to sell you and trying to bargain with you and everything. I felt very comfortable. That’s one of the reasons I like going to the car shows.”

For Houser, he says the experience will help when it comes to narrowing down his options.

“I’m driving an MKX Lincoln now so it’s kind of comparable only smaller so I kind of wanted to get a comparison of how that stacks up with my car. It was a good opportunity I liked it,” Houser said.

The Dayton Auto Shows runs through Sunday, February 28, 2016. For more information and tickets to Dayton Auto Show, click on this link. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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