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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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Car Club Etiquette
Car club and car show etiquette should be observed at all times during meetings, shows and other events the club is hosting. Car owners who join clubs do so to show off something they have invested a lot of time and effort into. Most of the cars exhibited at shows and events are stored out of the elements when they are not being presented to the public.

Even for individuals who show the vehicles they drive on a daily basis, they still spend a lot of time and money on keeping the vehicle in top form. The following tips are friendly reminders to do unto others (and their cars) as you would have done unto you.

Hands Off, Bro!

Never touch another person's vehicle. Whether at a meeting or a show, its essential to respect other people's property. Most car owners will post signs stating they do not want people touching their vehicle or leaving behind smudges and fingerprints.

Keep children and pets away from vehicles. Children and pets can wreak havoc on the paint job or interior upholstery of a show car. While the damage may be unintentional, the cost to repair it may be high and more than some people can afford.

No Dents, Please

Be aware of any clothing or objects that hang from around your neck. Cameras, purses, unzipped jackets and wallet chains can dent and scratch paint. Making sure that all loose objects are tightly held onto can prevent scrapes and chips from appearing on a freshly buffed paint job.

Be considerate of the car owners. When attending a car show or meeting, you are going to be around several car owners whose preferences may be different than your own. Be considerate of their opinions without running down another car make or model. Cars are supposed to be judged and appreciated on their own merit.

Read The Sign!

Obey signs and placards. Many car owners will place signs and placards near their vehicles. Some may give a person permission to sit inside while others urge people not to touch. Other placards may provide details of the car and the name of its owner.

If you are at a show, respect other spectators. Do not bring skateboards, rollerblades or other bulky items that can create chaos. When taking photos, keep your eyes on the cars. Finally, enjoy the show and have fun!

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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The Ins and Outs of Auto Painting and Detailing
It's been said that to achieve and maintain the best possible paint job on your car, it's a matter of 10% materials and 90% technique. Consistent car care both inside and out is key to a maintaining a vehicle that remains beautiful for years. Pride of ownership motivates many car aficionados to tackle complex auto painting and detailing jobs on their own, but not every car owner is up to the task or successful in these endeavors. Auto painting and detailing yields the best results when these important points are kept in mind:

Sanding and Priming

Proper sanding and buffing is crucial to a successful paint job. The sanding out of scratches and imperfections before painting facilitates a smooth, professional-looking paint job and finish. In general, the prep work for painting starts out with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually works up to higher and higher levels of grit to smooth the car's surface before painting. When all major scuffs and dents have been taken care of, a primer coat is then applied.

Painting

The best approach when painting a car is to be deliberate and patient. The paint spray nozzle should be held 10 to 12 inches from the vehicle surface at all times and sprayed with slow, uniform strokes. Car painting requires two to three coats of paint which should be allowed to dry and sanded thoroughly between each layer. Progressively higher sandpaper grits are used to sand after each coat. When the final paint layer is dry, the car is then wet-sanded with ultra-fine sandpaper and buffed to a high sheen.

Auto Detailing

When you have an auto paint job you're proud of, you'll want to keep it in pristine, like-new condition. Regular auto detailing can help you to accomplish this. Auto detailing goes far beyond just a car wash; detailing a car involves a thorough cleaning of both the interior and exterior on a regular basis. Expert removal of scratches, contaminates, oxidation and other imperfections from the paint job is key to keeping it in mint condition. Done well, auto detailing will result in a show-quality look for your car.

Maintaining a killer shine on your paint job is possible with vigilance and hard work. If you're short on time or unsure about specific steps or procedures, you should consult an auto detailing professional who can ensure the finest in car care for your pride and joy.

- 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 Chevrolet SSR Review
The 2014 Chevrolet SSR is set to go on sale in the last quarter of 2013. The MSRP is set to be just under $44,500, not including additional charges or tax.

There are a number of features and amenities that set this vehicle apart from similar models. The SSR, unlike many other modern vehicles of its type, will come with a 6.2 liter small block V8 engine with 415 horsepower. The vehicle has six speed automatic transmission, a powerful braking system, steering wheel shift paddles, a multi-link rear suspension system, staggered wheels and a muscular body that is surprisingly stylish.

Luxury features that anyone who drives this vehicle is sure to enjoy include automatic parking assist, Chevrolet MyLink, a premium audio system, dual zone climate control, alloy pedal covers, heated and ventilated front seats and more. The Side Blind Zone Alert and lane departure warning systems are just some of the many new safety features that Chevrolet has added to this new model to ensure that it provides a safe, secure ride to drivers and passengers alike.

Busy individuals who want to save time will be pleased to find that the new SSR comes with an eight inch color touch-screen that makes it easy to manage hands free conversations. There is also an infotainment app through a connected smart phone that makes it easy for a person to multitask safely as he or she drives.

Chevrolet has not yet released information regarding the 2014 SSR's mileage, but the fact that the vehicle is being subjected to a "gas guzzler" tax indicates that the mileage is likely to be lower than most drivers would like. Even so, the new SS has so much to offer that numerous individuals are sure to find that it is well worth the high purchase price and extra gas costs.

While the 2014 Chevrolet SSR is certainly not for everyone, there are many individuals who will undoubtedly find that this vehicle is perfectly suited to their needs and budget. The SSR is safe, extremely comfortable, easy to work with, good looking and yet durable and able to hold up to a lot of wear and tear. It will be available in five different color options and there will also be some additional features that driving enthusiasts can add to the SSR to make it more convenient and easy to drive than it already is.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
04
2014 Aston Martin Rapide S Review
The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S is a sleek, low-riding 4-door sports car designed with all the hallmarks of the luxurious Aston Martin brand. The vehicle is intended to provide a blend between a sports car and a luxury vehicle, and by all accounts it manages this quite well. A rear deck profile that has been newly developed for the model is intended to enhance the aerodynamics of the vehicle while the aluminum grill in front is, well, mostly for show.

The car's weight is distributed almost perfectly so that it hugs the road even on the toughest of trails. This vehicle is clearly the vehicle to get for those that need a 4-door sports car that is beautiful and tough.

The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S essentially comes in one basic model, with additional options and features available for those that want to customize their 4-door sports car experience. The vehicle is available in a total three types of paint with five caliper colors, five choices of wheel and two choices of carbon fiber interior.

The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S isn't exactly a hybrid car. This vehicle will get 13 miles to the gallon in the city and 19 miles to the gallon on the highway, with a combined rating of 15 miles per gallon. However, those that can afford the car certainly won't have to worry about rising gas prices.

With an Aston Martin, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S is priced at $198,250 retail for the base model with no frills.

Critics have been quite excited about this vehicle, stating that it "delivers an exclusive classic touring-car design with quintessentially British styling." Reviewers enjoyed the car's dramatic engine sounds, extremely strong engine and marvelous aerodynamics and handling, though they did flinch a little at the price tag as well as the amounts of gas that the vehicle guzzles.

- 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 Car_club Car Club Etiquette Tip Wax1 The Ins and Outs of Auto Painting and Detailing