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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
03
The Supercharged Mustang
The Ford Mustang, one of the original, old-school "muscle cars;" introduced in 1964. "Muscle car" was a term coined to describe an American built, high performance car - one that exemplifies strength, power, and performance. The Ford Mustang does all this, and more.

Today's 2013 Ford Mustang Boss lets you get serious with its 444-horsepower. Its Hi-Pro 302 4V Ti-VCT V8 is a powerhouse of a car with multiple features that puts it in a class of its own. With the Mustang Boss, you get 444-horsepower, Hi-Pro 302 4V Ti-VCT V8, a standard 4-gauge instrument cluster, 4.2-inch LCD message center that has Track Apps performance metrics and an exclusive quad exhaust.

You will also get 6-speed transmission, the legendary 5.8L supercharged V8 engine that's capable of reaching track speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. If you want to talk about torque, the 2013 Mustang Boss delivers 380 lbs. - ft of torque. All engines are geared to a six-speed transmission. With the Boss, it's easy to access the Performance Package. With the touch of a button right on the dash, you will access the adjustable dampers to go from normal mode to the performance-oriented sport mode and really get your driving skill on.

The newest Mustang raises the bar once again, creating an even more impressive engine. With the simple touch of a button, you will go from regular, road driving mode, to an impressive, supercharged driving mode. No matter what it is you need in a sports car, you are sure to find it in the Mustang. For generations, Mustang has been creating muscle cars that prove themselves time and again.

For every day driving or more intense driving, the Mustang offers both. You'll also be impressed with the gas mileage and service requirements. A reliable automobile that out does itself in performance.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Vehicle
Owning a car is a big responsibility, not to mention a huge investment. It is a costly item that makes our life more convenient. Without a car you would have to find other means of transportation for getting around, which is a big hassle. A car signifies independence. We do not have to rely on others to go somewhere, as we can just get in the car and drive there ourselves. Owning a car can be a very pleasurable experience. The pleasurable experience can turn sour though when things break on your car, as it represents time and money taken from your life and your wallet.

The key to avoiding car repairs is to keep up with the maintenance that a car requires. Doing this will prolong the life of your vehicle. It will avoid car repairs and ensure that you have many more driving miles on your car.

Here are some great ways that you can prolong the life of your vehicle:

When you get a new car drive the speed according to the manufacturers recommendation for the first 1,000 miles. This is generally under 55 mph. You can accomplish this by not driving on the highway until it reaches the 1,000 mile mark. Take back roads instead to your destination.

A new car has a break in period. Keep the rpms below 3,000 for the first few hours of driving your new car. Accelerate with a light foot. Don’t push it as if you were in a high speed chase.

Get oil changes on a regular basis. While you are there get the whole car checked out to avoid any upcoming maintenance. Most car dealers or car repair service centers offer a so many point checkup where they will check out the belts, tires, fluids, and more.

Park in the shade when possible. Your car can take a beating both on the exterior and the interior when the sun’s rays are beating down on it.

Keep your car clean, inside and outside. Wash your car regularly and avoid eating in the car. If you must eat and drink, put down a towel and have plenty of napkins on hand.

- 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

08
2014 Audi A5 Review
The engine in the 2014 Audi A5 has a few more horsepower than the prior year's version, but a more exciting development is the addition of the Convenience Package to the base Premium trim level. The S Line exterior trim has been added to the prestige level.

Four variations of the A5 are available, including a convertible. The base level starts at $39,000 and includes leather seats, twin exhaust pipes, automatic climate control, LED running lights and other such features. Moving up brings in a variety of nice options, including a multimedia interface, a Bang & Olufsen stereo system, the Audi Connect communication system, LED taillights, and 19-inch wheels.

Other available options include things like a dual exhaust system, a power roof for the convertible, and a spoiler. Prices have been disclosed for certain options. Some examples include automatically dimming door mirrors for $3100, a memory seat for the same price, cruise control with automatic distance pacing for $3000, and an integrated navigation system for $2950. Some of these options are only available at the Premium level.

There is a wide range of transmissions available for the 2014 A5 series. For the coupe styles, you can have either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. The coupes have all-wheel-drive. The convertible is available in either a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive version. The front-wheel-drive gets a continuously variable automatic transmission, while the all-wheel-drive is outfitted with an eight-speed automatic.

Some transmission-related features are available as options. These include a mode select transmission and one with sequential sport shift.

All 2014 Audi A5 models have 220 hp four-cylinder engines. Premium gas is required. In the coupe, there are side curtain airbags for both rows. A blind spot warning system is available for all styles. Mileage for this model depends on the options chosen. With some options, it can get up to 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. At worst, you can expect 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Drivers of this car note that it has strong brakes, a high quality interior, and a good ride. The convertible top doesn't take up much space in the trunk, which is a bonus for those taking road trips or simply coming back from the store. Take a test drive, and you just may decide that this is your next car.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
01
2014 Dodge Challenger Review
Whether you compare the 2014 Dodge Challenger to classic muscle cars of years past or current contemporary sport coupes, this two-door monster doesn't disappoint. With features and touches that range from the roughneck to the refined, the new Challenger is surprisingly diverse. Aside from minor equipment adjustments, the 2014 Challenger is unchanged from the previous model year.

While the base V-6 engine is a little more sedate, two available V-8s are available to rock your world. The R/T 5.7 L version offers 376 HP, and the SRT8 6.4 L, 470 hp monster pays homage to some of the big-block V-8 engines of days gone by. A pistol-grip six-speed manual shifter enhances the retro muscle car experience.

Despite all of this power, the Challenger can also transport four adult passengers with all the grace and ease of a luxury sedan. In short, the 2014 Challenger offers a balanced variation on the sports car theme.

The 2014 Dodge Challenger offers four trim levels: the SXT, R/T, SRT8 392 and the SRT8 Core.

The SXT has a V-6 engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat with power lumbar, trip computer and six-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

The SXT Plus adds automatic headlights, foglights, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, leather upholstery, illuminated visor mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an upgraded sound system with satellite radio and iPod/USB audio interface, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. A number of other add-on packages for the SXT include the Interior Appearance Group, Electronics Convenience group, Super Sport group and Sinister Super Sport Group.

R/T gives you 18-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, no heated seats and entry-level speakers; however, you'll get a 5.7 L V-8 engine and the same additional features as SXT Plus. R/T Plus gets you a security alarm and rear parking sensors. The R/T Classic package includes R/T Plus features plus black side stripes, 20-inch "heritage-style" wheels, xenon headlights and functional hood scoops.

R/T Super Track Pak includes higher-performance suspension, steering and brakes, and performance-oriented stability control programming. There's also the Blacktop and Redline editions with a variety of other performance options.

This package starts with the R/T Plus and adds a 6.4 L V-8 engine, stability control programming for performance, launch control, high-performance steering and brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, xenon headlamps, unique 20-inch wheels, sport seats, an upgraded trip computer with real-time performance data, full hydraulic power steering, the Sound Group II (including touchscreen) and a one-day driver training course at SRT Track Experience. Optional add-ons are a navigation system, sunroof and a Harman Kardon audio system.

- 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 03 The Supercharged Mustang Tip File0001427178431 Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Vehicle