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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
Car_clubs_new_2
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
Gps
Advances in Car Apps
As vehicles add new technological and safety features, it is not surprising that the apps available for a vehicle are also improving. The advances in car apps are designed to improve the driving experience, increase safety or provide useful tools to stay connected while away from home.

Collision Intervention

The collision intervention app has improved the safety standards of many vehicles. Although the app requires a back-up camera, it is a useful way to cut back on the number of accidents a vehicle is likely to face. When the app is used, it will automatically use the vehicle’s brakes when a car is getting too close to another vehicle or object. It reduces the number of accidents, particularly when the vehicle is backing out a driveway or parking space.

Navigation Apps

Navigation apps are a great addition to any vehicle. The newer applications for navigation include the latest maps, options for different directions and visuals that make it easier to recognize the upcoming roads.

The navigation apps are included in many new vehicles, but it is necessary to regularly update the app to ensure the maps are still current. Since roads often change or have construction, it is useful to have updated apps to keep up with the changes.

Texting Apps

As the dangers of driving while texting become apparent, it is not surprising that many vehicle owners are finding the new apps for texting a useful addition to the vehicle. Although the exact apps that are best for a vehicle will vary, some cars are including an assistant app to make it easier to keep in touch with loved ones, friends and others through text message without the distractions that are commonly the cause of accidents.

The way the app works is simple. The phone is connected to the vehicle’s system through Blue Tooth technology. When a text message comes in on the phone, the app will read the message. The driver simply speaks the response out loud and the assistant app will send the response. It makes the process of sending a message while driving a possibility without making it dangerous.

Web-Based Connections

The apps in vehicles are no longer limited to the simple radio applications and useful navigational tools. Newer vehicles are able to connect to the Internet and provide apps that make web-browsing, online media and other options a possibility during travel. Staying connected through the vehicle provides the opportunity to keep up with social media or emails while on the road.

Advances in vehicle applications are constantly changing as new technology becomes available. Although the advances are continually changing, it is not surprising that it provides the opportunity to stay connected while also focusing on driving safety.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Car Engine Detailing Tips
Plenty of people take their cars in to have them washed and detailed on a fairly regular basis. After all, this can be a great way to keep a car looking its best, both inside and out. Still, what many car owners don't realize they can do is have their car engines detailed (or detail them themselves). After all, a car's engine block plays an important role in the overall operation of the car, so it's good to keep it clean and free of debris at all times. Read on to learn some helpful car engine detailing tips.

Keep it Cool

Never attempt to work on an engine while it's still hot. Even if you take your car into a shop to have it professionally detailed, they'll most likely have you wait a few minutes until the engine has cooled down before working on it. In the meantime, they may work on detailing other parts of the car, such as the interior.

Cover Air Filters and Other Intakes

Use a plastic bag or a garbage bag to cover up any parts of the engine that you want to keep protected. This should include all of the intake parts of the engine, such as air filters and the car's alternator. Failure to do this could cause you some serious problems down the road.

Use the Right Tools

There are all kinds of great tools that can be bought to help you access some of those hard-to-reach areas and crevices of the engine. However, a lot of the work will be done by hand with good old-fashioned elbow grease, so be sure to protect your hands with a pair of latex gloves, as you'll most likely be working with some pretty harsh chemicals.

Wait to Wax

When you're done detailing your car, always make sure to let the engine block and its components dry out in the sun before you apply any wax to the surfaces. This will help to ensure that the wax has the greatest affect.

Now that you know the basics of detailing your car's engine, all that's left to do is to make it happen. As a result, you could enjoy prolonged engine life and a smoother ride as well.

- 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

02
2013 Kia Forte Koup Review
For anyone that wants a sporty stylish car with good performance, the 2013 Kia Forte Koup is a top choice. With a base price of less than $18,000, this first coupe by Kia offers a lot for the money at an affordable price.

The Koup is powered by two aluminum four-cylinder engines, either a 2.0 liter or a 2.4 liter. Drivers have a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive on the front wheel drive Koup. With the smaller 2.0 liter four, the Koup gets about 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway. Gas mileage is slightly less with the larger engine.

The Koup is available in either EX or SX models. The EX comes with 16-inch tires while 17-inch tires with sport-tuned suspension are standard on the SX. Both models come with heated folding power rear-view mirrors. Body color door handles are standard and chrome door handles are optional on both. The trunk is a bit small at about 12 cubic feet, but the folding rear seat allows for a lot more cargo.

Standard on both models is Bluetooth plus audio and cruise control buttons in the steering wheel. Also included is an audio system with six speakers offering CD, AM/FM and Sirius satellite radio. Both Koup models come with tachometer, low washer fluid warning light, USB imput jacks and Ecominder, which monitors fuel efficiency.

The Koup packs a lot of safety. It comes with four-wheel power disk brakes and electronic stability control. Passengers inside the steel body are well protected with both front and side airbags. Side curtain airbags protect both front and rear seat occupants.

All Kia Koup vehicles have an adjustable driver seat, while heated leather seats in front are an option on the SX. A desirable option on both 2013 Kia Forte Koup models is a SiriusXM navigation system.
Smart_fortwo
2012 Smart Fortwo Review

You rub your eyes and blink. What is that tiny object whizzing by on the highway? It couldn't possibly be a car- it's the size of a shopping cart, for heaven's sake! No, robots haven't take over our roads. You've merely seen the 2012 Smart Fortwo, a most unusual means of transportation.


The first thing you'll notice about the smart fortwo is the distinctively small size. This smart car is approximately 9 feet long compared to the 13-14 feet of most traditional compact cars. There is literally no other vehicle on the road to compare to the 2012 Smart Fortwo, which is technically a compact car but might more appropriately be called a micro-machine.


With its 12 cubic feet of storage space, the 2012 Smart Fortwo boasts comparable storage capacity to most compact cars. Given that most drivers will use the smart car to zip around town only for short trips in the city the minimalist interior will not likely be considered a sacrifice. You will find, however, that some of the features most drivers consider necessities, such as air conditioning and a cd player, are included.


The main attraction to this inexpensive commuting option is the 1-liter I-3 engine that gets up to 34 miles per gallon in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. While it is capable of speeds up to about 75 miles per hour you'll most likely prefer to drive this car on city streets at slower speeds. A 5-speed smartshift automated manual transmission comes standard as does manual steering. Don't worry, the car's much lower than average weight means you won't need a body builder's physique to steer- you'll actually find that in urban traffic you can be quite nimble.


The 2012 Smart Fortwo probably earns more double-takes than any car on the road that's not a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Potential buyers should be aware it fits a very particular niche, though. You won't be street racing in the 2012 Smart Fortwo but most city drivers will find it more than adequate for their needs.


Check out the Smart Fortwos available in some of our top cities!

Birmingham Smart Fortwos

San Diego Smart Fortwos

Denver Smart Fortwos

Memphis Smart Fortwos

Seattle Smart Fortwos

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 Gps Advances in Car Apps Tip File00023599553 Car Engine Detailing Tips