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Top 5
Top 5 Compact Cars for Austin
For a fun town like Austin, TX—populated by vibrant locals and guests ready for music, art and film—you need a car that fits into some tight spaces in The Lone Star State's capital city. The nation's 11th largest city that is also one of the fastest-growing cities, Austin is full of activity and vitality.

As the economic, political and social center of the metropolitan five-county Austin-Rock Round, Austin features a population that hovers around 1,834,303, so compound that with out-of-towners in for their first visit to the state capitol, Austin City Limits or the springtime South By Southwest (SXSW) festival of music, art and film, you need a car that is compact and features good city gas mileage.

Take a look at the top 5 compact cars for driving in Austin, TX to see what works best with your busy lifestyle in the city on Lady Bird Lake.

1. Mazda Mazda3. Whether you are heading out for a hike or bike along Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail or you have some city errands to do, the Mazda3 ranks number one among 41 compact cars in its class. With a hatchback, it is simple to stow your extra running gear, extra water bottles and more into the rear. With excellent gas mileage at 30 miles per gallon and 41 on the highway, you can spend more of your hard-earned cash while out seeing your favorite band.

2. Kia Soul. College students at the University of Texas at Austin, which is the main campus for the University of Texas college school system, can enjoy this fun and practical car that features a style somewhat like a compact SUV. Trips to the library or to the airport to pick up parents for a visit are a breeze with the Soul.

3. Hyundai Elantra. Since most Austinites—73 percent, in fact—drive rather than carpool or take a form of public transportation, wise drivers in Austin look a compact car they can rely on. The Hyundai Elantra fits the bill. With plenty of passenger space, good fuel ratings and a comfortable ride, the Elantra is a solid choice.

4. Toyota Corolla. Drivers who want to keep things simple should explore the Toyota Corolla. Revamped from previous models, this reliable car is short on flash but high on dependability. Whether Austin residents are taking a trip to the Texas Memorial Museum or the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum to see LBJ's recreation of the Oval Office, the Corolla is safe, reliable, even if it isn't the most flashy.

5. Volkswagen Jetta. For Austinites who want a little more flash and are willing to pay more at the pump, the Volkswagen Jetta might prove as a workable option for you. With plenty of cabin and trunk room, the Jetta is perfect for trips to San Antonio to visit the Alamo or to other major Texas cities before returning to your Austin wonderland.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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The Smart Car Buyer
What to Bring With You When Car Shopping
If you are getting ready to buy your first car or to replace your current car, you have a lot of things to consider, including the make, model and color, and how much money you are willing to part with. Before you head on over the dealership, there are some items that you should bring with you to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.

It almost goes without saying, but you need to remember to bring your valid driver’s license. This is something people forget sometimes, especially if they have been relying on other people to take them places. If you don’t have your license, you won’t be able to take any cars for a test drive or drive your new car home. You should also bring proof of insurance.

DO YOUR RESEARCH Unless you are fabulously wealthy and don’t care about losing money, you will need to do some research before going out car shopping. Looking up information online about the types of cars you are interested in will help you narrow your focus when you are out looking at available vehicles.

If you have a particular car in mind, research and print out the dealer’s invoice price and take it with you. This is invaluable information to have when you are negotiating with the salesperson. Put your printouts in a folder, along with the details of any incentives or rebates that you have discovered.

REVIEW THE REVIEWS Another useful thing to bring is a printout of trustworthy reviews of the cars you are most interested in. You can consult these pages while looking at particular cars, to refresh your memory about why you were interested in buying them.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to properly evaluate a car, you should consider bringing a friend or family member who knows something about cars. If the dealer senses that you have no idea what you are looking at, there is a temptation to take advantage of you.

It’s also a good idea to bring the phone number of a trusted mechanic, in case you want to make an appointment to get a used car checked out. Your mechanic may even be willing to meet you at the location to do an inspection. This is particularly useful when you are considering buying a used car from a dealership you’ve never been to before or when you are evaluating a car being sold by a private party.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Car Clubs, Auto History and More In Austin, TX
A state the size of Texas could never be explored in just a day. To get a taste of what Texas has to offer, you’ll need to divide your car tour into individual cities and look for points of interest within each. Car buffs will find Austin and surrounding areas of great interest when it comes to antique cars and auto history. A driving tour of this region will take you to a number of car “hotspots” you're sure to enjoy.

See the Classics

Dick’s Classic Garage in San Marcos, TX, is just a short 35 minute drive south from the capital city on I-35. You’ll get a view of Texas plain country and pass by the quaint townships of Buda and Kyle along the way. Dick's Classic Garage is well known for preserving and displaying vintage vehicles dating back to the 1930s through the 1950’s – what most car buffs consider the “Golden Years” of American auto history.

The main museum, Central Texas Museum of Automotive History, is located in the community of Rosanky, TX, about an hour drive from Austin taking 71 East. The rural town of Bastrop is along the way and you may want to meander around town, get a bite to eat or stop off at the Bastrop State Park for some fun activities before continuing to your destination. The Central Texas Museum of Automotive History hosts an impressive collection of American and European vehicles, representative of the 20th century. Included in the mix are Duesenbergs, Stanley Steamers and Jaguars.

Round 'em Up

As far as car shows and events go, Austin hosts a number of automobile happenings throughout the year to include the Lonestar Roundup and Texas Heat Wave. The Lonestar Roundup is an annual outdoor auto show and music festival, all wrapped up into one. People come from across the country to display their custom cars and vintage hot rods as well as to enjoy lively music, hearty food, fun games and races and more. Texas Heat Wave is a custom car and truck show where vehicle owners compete for special awards and prizes.

More More More

Both these events take place at the Travis County Expo Center on Decker Lane. As you drive through the city, take time to enjoy some of the local sites on your way. Austin is an extremely interesting and attractive city with much to see and do. Decker Lane itself meanders along Walter E. Long Lake and Municipal Park, putting some pretty scenic views along your path.

Last, but not least, don't leave the city without checking out the Circuit of Americas car racing facility, located in the southeast part of the city. Home of the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, Circuit of Americas is an amazing world class facility hosting stimulating car racing events your whole family can enjoy.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Advances in the Electronic Car Industry
As gasoline prices have gone up over the last few years, people have naturally become more and more interested in electronic car technology. A growing number of car manufacturers are not only creating but also successfully selling tens of thousands of electronic cars on an international level. There are also hybrid cars that run partly on electricity and partly on gas; these are also popular with many people who are looking for a way to reduce carbon emissions and save money on transportation.

PRIMARY REASONS The two main reasons why electronic vehicles have failed to become popular on a widespread basis is the fact that these vehicles are expensive to manufacture and so out of reach price wise for most ordinary people. Electronic cars are also not easy to charge, as at present they can only be charged in one’s home and not while out and about.

BATTERIES AND BEYOND However, there are some important advancements being made in electronic car battery technology. These advancements look set to make electronic cars easier to use and cheaper than they presently are. Most electronic cars use lithium-ion batteries, which are more efficient than the cadmium batteries that were used in early electronic car models. Recently, researchers have created semi-solid flow cell batteries, a completely new type of battery that is easier and significantly cheaper to manufacture than lithium-ion batteries. Semi-solid flow cell batteries are also smaller than other electronic car battery types and researchers are already stating that these batteries could, in the future, ensure that electronic cars cost no more than gas powered cars.

MORE MATERIALS Companies that manufacture electronic cars are also experimenting with different manufacturing materials. The material used to make a car determines in large part how much the car weights; the heavier the car, the more fuel (or electricity) it will need. While plastic was generally the material of choice in times past, some popular alternatives are starting to emerge, such as aluminum alloy, fiberglass and carbon fiber. These materials are used not only for the car body but also the frame and various interior and exterior accessories.

FINDING SOLUTIONS Naturally, some problems still exist. The fact that electronic charging stations are non-existent is still a major obstacle. Another large obstacle is the fact that such charging stations would put a large drain on any city's electric supply. However, the good news is that widespread electric car usage is becoming more realistic by the day as manufacturers make advances to make these cars more convenient and affordable than they were in the not so distant past.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Changing Your Air Filter
Something as simple as changing your car’s air filter can make a big difference in the performance of your vehicle. As your car’s filter takes in air from the environment it can be become dirty and clogged. This can cause your car to have a less than desirable performance. It can also shorten the length of your vehicle’s life and give you decreased gas mileage, which costs you more money.

Most car manufacturers recommend an air filter change every year or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Check with your car manufacturer for your specific vehicles recommendations.

Change your air filter by following these simple steps: • Go to an auto parts store and purchase the correct air filter. If you are unsure of what to get, ask for help. Park your car in the garage or in the shade before working on it. The car must be cool when changing the air filter. If you have been driving it, you will need to let it cool down.

• Gather the tools that you will need to do the job. This will include a standard screw driver, and a Phillips screwdriver.

• Most air filters are located in the middle of the car’s engine, but may also be off to the side of the engine. You won’t be able to miss it, as it is in a black compartment that is relatively large. When you have located it you can open it up.

• There are clips that hold the air filter together that will need to be removed. This can by accomplished by sliding the regular end of the screwdriver between the clip and the casing of the air filter. Do this with each clip and then remove it to gain access to the old air filter.

• Once it is open, remove the old air filter. It is made out of paper with rubber around the edges. It can come in a few different colors, such as white, yellow, orange, or red. Once it is out you will see how much dirt has collected.

• Throw the old air filter away and insert the new one. Replace the clips around the air filter and you’re done. Your car will run more smoothly and save you money.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Austin's Hidden Gem Car Service Superstars
Whether looking to get a new paint job, interior detailing or a new sound system installed, Austin has got you covered with a myriad of locally owned car service options. Our editorial team has taken a dive into the Austin area to bring you a few of the hidden gems that stand out for getting your maintenance needs met.

Car Repair Capital City Automotive is the top choice for car repairs in Austin. Not only are the owners and employees knowledgeable, they also offer fair prices for repairs. Mechanics are trustworthy and explain issues in easy to understand terms. Capital City Automotive, located on Congress Avenue is a great choice for any repair.

Another great choice for repair service is Sam's Auto Care in South Austin. This locally owned shop not only repairs cars but also details and restores car to prepare to sell. They offer full body paint, tune ups and tire service and you can even book an appointment online. While you're there you can also check out their inventory of fairly priced used cars. This is a one-stop-shop for all of your auto needs.

Car Wash One of the best car washes in Austin is Wash & Run Auto Detail in Tarryton. They are only open Monday through Friday, but it worth the trip midweek for their excellent service and spotless washes. The two twin brothers that run this shop are dedicated to quality service and promptly clan any spots that may have been missed. They meticulously clean and detail your car Another great aspect of Wash & Run Auto Detail is that you can make an appointment ahead of time, an excellent option for a busy professional or on-the-go mom.

Above and Beyond Mobile Detailing Service is truly a unique car washing experience. Donavin prides himself in a thorough detailing and car washing along with quality customer service. His customers are loyal and boast about Donavin's honesty and hard work ethic. He will work until the job is done, ensuring that you are satisfied with the wash and detail.

Audio and Alarm Installation Pro Car Audio is a fantastic choice for car stereo installation. The staff here are experts at speaker and amp installation. They are friendly, fast and focused on pleasing their customers. Prices are reasonable and the staff is knowledgeable to guide you to make excellent decisions on upgrading or repairing your current audio system. You won't be disappointed by the quality at Pro Car Audio.

Regardless of what car service you are looking for, Austin has a variety of locally owned businesses with excellent reviews that provide quality and professional services for a fraction of dealer costs.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Reviews

05
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review
The original SL was introduced almost 60 years ago. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class motorcars are the 6th generation of these renowned, all-world sportscars. Using aluminum for its ravishing body, the new SL loses around 300 unnecessary pounds, while adding to its legendary strength, rigidity and striking beauty. The extra effort to craft the 2013 SL displays Mercedes-Benz continuing commitment to build the best automobiles in the world.

The new lighter SL body is home to the new biturbo V-8. This advanced powerplant is not just a beast of performance. Along with its 429 hp, the twin-turbo engine delivers up to 32 percent more torque and transports its driver from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. The biturbo generates this fabulous performance while remaining eco-friendly, reducing emissions and operating with excellent fuel efficiency.

As proud owners have come to expect, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadsters may set the technology standard for planet Earth autos. A motorcar for all seasons, with its one-touch ability to morph from a hardtop sportscar to an open-air roadster, the new SL offers the advanced mbrace2™ technology. This state-of-the-art system connects your smartphone to the world.

The high tech benefits of this cutting edge system gets you where you want to go and how you want to go, including Google Maps® and allowing owners to hail emergency services with a couple of keystrokes. Your technology advantage would not be complete without a world-class surround sound system to serenade you while driving your SL.

Your 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class harman/kardon system generates concert hall quality audio with 600 watts pumped through 12 speakers, including two FrontBass® subwoofers. You'll enjoy powerful, clear audio even when motoring with the top down. Should you want even more exotic sound, you might consider the new Bang & Olufsen system, available in the SL for the first time ever.

From its luxurious leather cockpits to its Bi-Xenon headlamps to its incredible performance and aluminum body, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class motorcars are the most advanced roadsters in the world. As all sports coaches know, when you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best. The new SL-Class motorcars have done just that.


Check out the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class available in some of our top cities!

Oklahoma City Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Lincoln Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Denver Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Memphis Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Austin Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

01
2014 Ford Flex Review
There is a lot to look forward to with the 2014 Ford Flex. Purchasing this stylish and bold vehicle with its spacious interior and excellent fuel efficiency can make it a must-have for any family. With features ranging from leather-trimmed seating, the Visa Roof option, and up to three rows of passengers, it really provides for most passenger needs.

There's some key data that all buyers need to consider and compare when buying the Flex or any other model of vehicle. In some ways, the Ford Flex really stands out against the competition. Two engine options are available.

The exterior features an Apperance Package for all SEL and Limited models. Exterior mirror caps, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, and a black, painted roof come with this vehicle. You can choose from nine exterior color choices, too.

The interior is impressive. The Limited model features leather-trimmed front seats with audio and speed controls on the steering wheel. It also features scuff plates. The SEL and Yoho maple found in the Limited edition is featured on the door trim and instrument panel. This vehicle also has plenty of technology built into it. This includes the ability to handle a heavy load, due to the big engine and torque.

For control features, the vehicle includes AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control as well as intelligent all-wheel drive. An available Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link are available. The vehicles also offer MyFord and MyFord Touch options.

Who is right for this vehicle? Though just on the market, without available fuel economy, this vehicle is going to impress on the road both with its overall great look and its strong engine. It's EcoBoost technology also makes it a great investment as well. Overall, there are plenty of reasons to invest in this vehicle over others in the 2014 lineup, especially for a family-friendly car with ample features and lots of legroom.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Austin Car Dealers

Top 5 02 Top 5 Compact Cars for Austin The Smart Car Buyer File000530964878 What to Bring With You When Car Shopping Local Car_clubs_new_2 Car Clubs, Auto History and More In Austin, TX National File0001402533256 Advances in the Electronic Car Industry Tip Air_filter Changing Your Air Filter