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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.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff
Cool and Convenient Mini Vans for Austin Families
Austin is a beautiful city where having a great ride can make any commute a joyride - especially if you're in a mini van that offers comfort, decent gas mileage and impressive handling. All the models listed below have the necessary bells, whistles and amenities for enjoying Austin's fun sites on any ride. Here they are, listed from number 5 to number 1:

Number 5: Nissan Quest

Japanese carmaker Nissan has delivered a fun-to-drive mini van with its newest Quest. The vehicle offers ample cargo and passenger room, starts at just over $26,000 and gets 19/25 mpg. For a fun day in your Quest mini van, don't miss out on the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas. Whatever your taste in art, Blanton has something for you to browse. The entire UT venue is driver friendly, so take your own grand tour of the campus in the Nissan Quest and enjoy college life from a whole new perspective!

Number 4: Dodge Grand Caravan

With an impressively low starting price of just over $21,000 and fuel economy of 17/25 mpg, the Caravan is an affordable way to enjoy the fun of an extended trip to Austin. Many tourists trek to the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, which contains a separate section that highlights the accomplishments of Mrs. Johnson. The Grand Caravan lets you tour the library grounds in style and safety.

Number 3: Kia Sedona

Mosey on over to South Congress Avenue in your Kia Sedona, one of the Korean carmaker's most popular vehicles. With a starting price just above $26,000 and mileage of 17/24, the Sedona is a good value, and boasts a comfortable and spacious interior. This mini van is perfect for a day-long tour of South Congress Avenue's shops, boutiques, and eating establishments. Stay late to hear some awesome music and mix with the friendly crowd.

Number 2: Mazda5

This versatile mini van from Mazda is ideal for a trip to cool off at the Barton Springs Pool, a unique part of Austin's eclectic personality. Entry level MSRP of $20,419 and laudable fuel economy of 21/28 mpg make the 5 a perfect, and fun, way to relax while in Austin. After a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, you will be ready to head back to the room for a nap. The Mazda5 mini van is easy to drive, and handles like a smaller vehicle, which makes road trips a blast.

Number 1: Honda Odyssey

Don't forget to visit the State Capitol while in Austin. The building is an authentic piece of history, having been built in 1888. Honda's Odyssey is one of the best people-carriers for the historic trek to the Capitol grounds. Impressive fuel economy of 19/28 and an entry price just under $28,000 make the Odyssey a good choice for a long or short trip through Austin.

- Editorial Staff
Muscle Cars Through the Years
Muscle cars are the powerhouses of the motor vehicle industry. What we think of as true muscle cars were produced between 1965 and 1973. They normally were driven by a V8 engine that would shake the ground and rumble like a summer thunderstorm. Muscle cars were designed to be fast and powerful, but beautiful as well.

The Pontiac GTO, Camaro SS, Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang were the elite of the elite when it came to muscle car favorites. When they first became available, muscle cars were performance driven and were some of the best handling vehicles on the road. Their one drawback however, was gas consumption. The large motor placed in a mid-sized automobile added up to high fuel consumption and even higher speeds.

CHANGING TIMES After only a few short years, car insurance rates and gas restrictions seemed to sound the death knell for our beloved muscle cars. Lighter weight versions of each were produced. The engines were reduced to 6 cylinders and the cars became more stream-lined to produce better gas mileage. Chevrolet redesigned their RS and SS trim packages to make the cars more efficient and less costly in terms of gas usage and insurance rates.

Chevrolet and Ford continued to make their Camaro and Mustang cars, albeit on a much more scaled back version. Pontiac stayed with the Trans Am/Firebird line, while Dodge continued to produce the Charger. The cars went through various stages of change keeping the main characteristics they were known for. Muscle cars were known for exceptional handling at high speeds. Even though their engines had been toned down, the next generation of muscle cars still had more than average speed and power for their size.

MORE EVOLUTION Over the years, the original concept of what a muscle car should be has been brought around full circle. In 2006, all of the major automakers introduced the a new generation of muscle cars. The new and improved muscle cars took on a retro look similar to that of their original namesakes. They have the same basic features as the first generation of cars, including the V8 engine and performance built suspension systems. New improvements have been added to help improve gas mileage. The SS and RS trim packages are once again available.

INTO THE FUTURE The beauty, style and power of the earliest generation of muscle cars has been passed down to the latest counterparts. A hint of the past is shining through in the present as newly restored '60's and 70's models of muscle cars are hitting the roads with the new cars they have inspired. While the newer versions, may never replace their ancestors, they will sure give them a run for their money.

- Editorial Staff
Dashboard Nightmares: What to Do for a Check Engine Light
The check engine light has the ability to strike terror into your heart, but usually turns out to be relatively harmless. Of course, every now and then, the evil lurking behind your fears actually does, unfortunately, exist.

Although, your first inclination might be to ignore the check engine light in hopes that it will go away, chances are it won't. Whether you want to or not, it is time to swing into action, and the first thing you should do is whip out your owner's manual to determine if the light you are seeing indicates a serious problem that needs immediate attention. For instance, in some cars, a blinking or red light can mean your engine has a severe issue that could require an expensive repair if not fixed immediately, and that it should be seen by a mechanic as soon as possible. Then in other cars the engine light can come on for something as simple as a loose gas cap (See next section on that...).

If your check engine can be different colors and the light is steady or yellow instead of red, your problem might not be severe. Try tightening the gas cap to see if that will correct the issue. Surprisingly, a loose gas cap will often trigger the check engine light. Once the gap cap is tightened, this light will often go off immediately, although it might also take a few driving trips before the check engine indicator turns off.

Are you a do-it-yourselfer with the ability to know what an engine code means? Then you might want to purchase a tool from your local automotive parts store that will allow you to read the check engine's repair code so that you will know what type of problem your car is experiencing. These scanners are typically relatively inexpensive. (Note - you won't be able to do this in cars that don't have a computer)!

Some automotive parts stores will check the code for you and will also turn off the check engine light for free. Other parts stores charge a fee for this service, so it is always best to ask if there is a cost before having anyone do this for you.

Of course, if you are not a do-it-yourselfer or if tightening the gas cap doesn't work, you should take your car to the dealership or an auto repair shop to have the code checked and the problem fixed by an expert. Not paying attention to the check engine light can result in an even more expensive repair later on.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff


2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class returns to the showroom floors for one more model year before being overhauled in 2014. As such, there are few changes that have been made to the luxury two-door sedan, but that means little to a car in this class. The CL class of cars is at the upper end of Mercedes-Benz's lineup of vehicles, starting at $115,300, and reaching all the way to $213,200 for the top of the line AMG CL65.

A look at the exterior doesn't tell say much except for the fact that it is most definitely a Mercedes-Benz. There is nothing that suggests that this is a car that has the finest components from the manufacturer to those who are unfamiliar with the brand and its makes and models. It's low-key looks suit the car and its buyers who don't necessarily want to advertise what their car is all about while still enjoying the luxury experience that Mercedes-Benz is known for.

The interior of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is where the luxury is really at. It's a four-seater, and offers a lot of space to those in the back with a center console made from wood to admire. The front seats are akin to sitting in a favorite lounger equipped with all sorts of little features one never knew they needed. There's a multi-contour feature to accommodate all types of body shapes and sizes in comfort as well as power accessories for maximum comfort.

Some of the standard equipment includes power front seats, leather upholstery, radio with CD changer and SiriusXM radio, DVD navigation, Bluetooth and more. There is also a USB port as another option for listening to music. AMG models have their own trim package to distinguish itself from the rest of the models.

Engine options are plentiful, ranging from the base twin-turbo 4-6-liter V-8 that puts out 429 horsepower to the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-12 generating 510-hp. AMG gets its own twin-turbo V-8 that generates 536 horsepower with a bunch of goodies added for the utmost in driving experiences.

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

Orlando Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

San Jose Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

Chicago Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

Memphis Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

Seattle Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is yet another instant classic vehicle from Bentley. This luxury sedan has all the hallmarks of a Bentley: elegant, polished and unobtainable. The vehicle is a high-performance, high-speed machine that still oozes class and sophistication. The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur can go from 0-60 MPH in 4.3 seconds, which far outpaces many other vehicles in its class. And yet, it isn't just a mere performance car. This Bentley is a luxury experience that is practically unmatched.

The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur comes in a single model that includes everything that anyone could desire. However, those that desire even more than one what could reasonably desire can also have even more luxury options added to the machine.

The gas mileage of this vehicle admittedly leaves a little to be desired, with estimates of about 12 MPH in the city. However, this gas mileage isn't far off from other luxury vehicles of the same class, and is largely the result of the same high performance engine that many purchasers will be seeking. The vehicle will get 20 MPH on the highway, which is actually better than some similar vehicles.

The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur will begin its pricing at $189,925, which is including the fees that it needs to pay for having such a high gas mileage.

The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur was noted by critics to be very similar to the Continental, but sleeker, better designed and including much more room. The vehicle's power and luxury has been praised by critics and consumers alike. In addition to this, critics have noted the car's impressive safety additions, including reinforcements throughout the body of the vehicle.

Despite all of the additions, this model of vehicle is actually several hundred pounds lighter than its predecessors, which improves its overall maneuverability, gas mileage and speed. Critics were wowed by all the wonderful features, including a drink chiller and power-operated sunshades for back windows.

- 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 03 Cool and Convenient Mini Vans for Austin Families National Muscle_car Muscle Cars Through the Years Tip Speedometer Dashboard Nightmares: What to Do for a Check Engine Light