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Current Austin Auto News
02
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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Common Sense Tips For Teenage Drivers
Let’s face it - getting your driver’s license is pretty much the pinnacle of teenage milestones. A newfound sense of independence, freedom from parental prying eyes and, above all, transportation, baby! But, as a wise man once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

While whether or not it’s mandatory varies greatly from state to state, defensive driving classes are a great way to introduce a teen to the basics of safe vehicle handling. Oftentimes class completion will yield a discount on your auto insurance as well, making the class a win-win for both peace of mind and the pocketbook.

Hang It Up

Teenagers and cell phones are practically inseparable these days (although some parents may vote ‘insufferable’), which means texting and driving can be a big concern. Numerous states have made texting or even talking on a cell phone illegal, but any way you slice it it’s a bad idea.

The need for speed is another teenage habit that can be tough to break. Studies have shown that over 40% of all fatal teen accidents involve speeding, and a hefty fine and/or points on your license could equal a loss of driving privileges as soon as they are earned. Bottom line – don’t risk it and stay within the safety of the posted speed limits.

Choose Wisely

Choosing a safe car is perhaps the most important decision a fresh driver can make. Check the crash safety record of any potential new rides, and be sure to take into consideration such qualifying factors as air bags, seat belt ratings, anti-lock brakes and even advanced headlights.

Keep those distractions to a minimum! Whether it’s cranking the music too loud, fiddling with the radio dial or trying to cram a hamburger in before class, distracted teens are unsafe teens when it comes to hitting the highways. It goes without saying that drinking and driving is an absolute no-no, and minimizing the amount of passengers in the car can also help keep teenage drivers’ attention where it should be – focused on the road.

There’s no time like the present to teach new teen drivers good road habits that will hopefully stick with them for years to come, so be sure to lead by example! Your first car is a life-changing experience, so do whatever it takes to ensure that it’s a positive one.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Cleaning Your Car CD-Player
The whole experience of traveling in the auto changed with the introduction of the CD-player. For the previous generation, a similar experience came about with the introduction of cassettes and the infamous 8-track players. These products represented the first time someone could tailor their listening pleasure in the auto.

Technology continues to evolve, of course, and people have many ways to enjoy their own tunes while on the move. The CD-player is in millions of cars, however, and many individuals continue to use it as a daily source of pleasure. There is the issue of both the CD and the player getting dirty and needing periodic cleaning to get the best music quality.

PERIODIC MAINTENANCE Taking a few moments for periodic maintenance will extend the life of the CD while improving the listening experience. Some players are mounted in a manner that requires professional cleaning. If, however, you can easily unmount the player you use, the process is simple and follows a series of steps that anyone can use. For the project you need WD-40, Q-tips, ethanol and some dry rags. The steps to follow include:

- Remove all CD's from the player and carousel. Once the trays are empty, extend the tray and remove the fuse. This leaves the optics accessible for cleaning.

- Depending on how the player is mounted, remove it and unscrew the cover. Make sure you place the screws in a safe place.

WD-40 AND BEYOND - Spray some WD-40 on a Q-Tip. Use this to lubricate the laser rails. Never use excessive force, but you can gently remove the laser by moving the plastic cog wheels. This allows the entire rail to be lubricated.

- Put some ethanol on a fresh Q-tip. Use one of the dry rags to squeeze out the excess, you want the swab to be damp but not dripping.

- Very gently clean the lens of the laser optics with the damp swab. Use a steady, soft stroke to cover the surface several times.

LET IT DRY - Allow the lens to dry. Check from several angles to ensure that there is not smearing or streaking.

- Once dry, replace the lid and tighten (but don't over tighten) the screws.

- Once the player is back in place, replace the fuse but don't insert a CD. Power the unit up and listen for the laser and optics to re-seat and slide into place. If there is any problem, don't force anything. In some cases, you may need to remove the fuse and unit and reseat the laser optics on the rail. Repeat as above.

FINISHING TOUCHES - Select a freshly-cleaned CD and insert it on the rack.

- Turn on the system and enjoy fresh quality sounds.

The journey is always more enjoyable when you have your favorite tunes playing along. Taking care of your CD-player will give you many years of musical pleasure.

- 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

01
2014 Acura ILX Review
The Acura ILX debuted in 2013, and after just one year, it has been upgraded. The 2014 Acura ILX is still a compact luxury sedan, but now it has a new interior. Some of the reworked features include eight-way power for the driver's seat, more leather on the seats, better door cards, and an improved audio system. A rearview camera is now optional, and 17-inch alloy wheels are available.

Currently, the ILX starts at an MSRP of $26,900. This base model price gets you a 2 L, four-cylinder engine, navigation system, stability and traction control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and other goodies.

The ILX 2.4 L model offers more power, but is only available with a six speed manual transmission. Finally, there is a hybrid version of the ILX. There are four trim levels available. Along with the base level, there is a premium level for both the 2.0 and 2.4. A Technology package takes things up another notch, but it's not available for the 2.4.

The premium package adds a rearview camera, fog lamps, xenon headlights, and an automatically-dimming rearview mirror. The Technology trim package brings in a larger display for the navigation system, voice command capabilities, and 10-speaker surround sound. Digital music storage is also included. The Technology package also includes all of the elements of the premium and base levels.

For the base level 2.0 2014 Acura ILX, there is only one type of transmission available: a five-speed automatic. For the 2.4, a six speed manual is the only option. A continuously variable automatic goes to the hybrid version.

Fuel economy depends on the model. The 2.0 gets 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, the 2.4 gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway, while the hybrid gets 39 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway.

For those seeking the fastest acceleration, the 2.4 is the ILX to buy. Its improved horsepower and sporty exhaust allow it to take off quite quickly. The hybrid, on the other hand, is a good pick for people who wish to save on gas and lower their environmental footprints. The base model is a good all-around car with a comfortable ride that is quiet on the highway.

With the upgrades it has been given, the 2014 Acura ILX is a qualified member of the compact luxury sedan category. Give one a test drive and see how you like it!

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Review
The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is a luxury cross-over vehicle that combines the utility and spaciousness of an SUV with the plush interior of a luxury sedan. The GLK-Class was first introduced in North America in 2010. New for the 2013 model are an optional diesel engine and greater fuel efficiency.

Trim and Colors: The new Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is offered in a variety of exterior colors. These include steel grey, two shades of silver, arctic white, red, blue and brown. Interior color options include mocha, grey, black and almond. The interior trim is made of burl walnut wood.

Features and Options: Standard equipment for the GLK-Class vehicles include a seven-speed, automatic transmission; a V6, 3.5-liter engine; 4Matic all-wheel drive; and 19", five-spoke wheels.

Options include a 2.1-liter diesel four engine; "Mbrace," Mercedes-Benz' security and navigation package; in-vehicle Internet access; a panoramic roof; a built-in garage door opener; automatic dimming mirrors; leather upholstery; a head lamp washing system; rear view camera; blind spot assist; keyless ignition; 20" wheels; and metallic exterior paint.

Gas Mileage: The gas mileage for the 2013 model of the Mercedes-Benz GLK-class vehicle is considerably better than the 2012 model. With the gas engine, it gets approximately 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. The diesel engine is expected to approach 30 miles per gallon on the highway, according to Mercedes-Benz.

Price Range: The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (2013) is $37,090. This excludes optional trim packages and features, tax, title, registration, dealer prep fee and the $950 transportation fee. A GLK-Class vehicle loaded with all of the bells and whistles could top $50,000.

What's Unique about the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class: The 2013 model of the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class introduces a four-cylinder diesel engine, which helps improve the vehicle's gas mileage. In addition, this latest model has more than 1,000 enhancements, according to Mercedes-Benz, including a revamped interior and a sleeker, more curvaceous exterior than the 2012 model.

- 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 File0001199413943 Common Sense Tips For Teenage Drivers Tip File00058871808 Cleaning Your Car CD-Player