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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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Offbeat Car Facts
Many people mistakenly think of Henry Ford as the father of the automobile. While he did revolutionize the industry with the assembly line, the first car was made much earlier – in 1806, to be exact. These cars ran on fuel gas, which is a fuel that exists in the gaseous state. Cars that ran on gas, as in gasoline, didn't arrive until 1885.

The first true commercially-produced automobile, defined as a vehicle specifically designed to be propelled by a motor, was the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Prior cars had been modifications of horse-drawn carriages and other such conveyances.

NOT SO MODERN? Despite the seemingly sudden appearance of electric cars, the idea is actually very old. The first electric cars were made in 1828! Unfortunately, these cars could not keep up with gasoline engines. Only recently has the technology been able to compete with the standard car.

The windshield wiper was invented by a woman. Mary Anderson made the first working model in 1903. These wipers were manually moved back and forth via a lever mounted inside the car.

Intermittent wipers were invented by Robert Kearns after the motion of standard automatic wipers bothered his ailing eyes. He showed the design to the Ford Motor Company, which put them on Mercury cars in 1969. The surprising part is that Kearns eventually had to sue the major automakers to get his royalties.

WHO NEEDS GLASS? Early cars didn't use glass for their windows. Instead, the windows were made of thin sheets of mica – a mineral – which was called isinglass when used in this manner. This material has also been referred to as Eisenglass in a reference to General Eisenhower, who is said to have preferred it for military vehicles.

These are just a few of the odd facts about automobiles and their history. Check around and you're sure to find many more!
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Regular Car Waxing Benefits
As a car owner and lover, you know the feeling of awe that comes over you each time you see a freshly waxed car driving past you. You automatically know that the driver has a healthy appreciation for value and for taking care of their car. Doing the same for your own car isn't always as simple as it seems, but regular car waxing benefits outweigh the effort involved. The driver of that shiny car with professional detailing would probably give you some pro tips, given the chance.

In lieu of that car aficionados' meeting, consider some of the following benefits of regularly waxing and detailing your car. Soon, unbeknownst to you, some other driver will be ogling your fresh detailing job and wondering just how you do it.

• Car Wax Protects Your Paint Job. When you apply that coating of wax, you protect your car's paint job. Instead of your car incurring nicks and dings each time a rogue grocery cart barrels its way into your car door, the wax takes the brunt of the impact. While your car might receive small dings, you immediately defray the potential damage each time you take your car in for professional detailing. Technicians might specifically coat your car with a protective layer of sealant then add a coat of professional-grade carnauba wax for maximum protection against scratches, as well as helping extend the life of the car's paint job, overall. The wax and sealant help your car's paint retain essential oils and other elements that help it keep its lustrous shine and glow.

• Car Wax Acts as a Sunscreen. Just like your own skin, your car's paint job is susceptible to possible damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. As you would do with your skin, you need to protect your car against these damaging rays. Car owners who do not wax in sunny zones often see quickly progressing discolorations and peeling on their car's paint job. Detailing professionals will know the best types of professionally recommended car waxes to help minimize the damage.

• Detailing and Waxing Help Keep Your Car Cleaner. Between the lingering effects of rain drops cascading over your car's paint job and any splashes of mud you might encounter during a normal day's drive, your car will get dirty. However, another one of the regular car waxing benefits includes a cleaner car, in general.

• Waxing Helps Save on Fuel Costs. As far-fetched, and fantastic, as it might sound, regular trips to an express detailer will help you keep your gas prices down. The wax on your car helps repel the mud and grime that attach to your car, adding weight to it, which increases your need for gas.

• A Sleek and Well-Maintained Car is Good for Pride of Ownership and Resale Value. Basically, going in for regular express detailing appointments makes your car look good for as long as you want to drive it until you plan to move on to your next car.

- 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

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2013 Lexus IS 250 Review
Since its introduction in 2006, the IS 250 edition of the Lexus IS has always been about refinement over previous iterations -- with a more aerodynamic design, more standard premium features, and a bigger and more powerful engine. At the tail end of the car's second generation of production, the 2013 Lexus IS 250 thus represents more improvements to one of the top entry-level luxury compact cars in the market.

The 2013 Lexus IS 250 is available in two variants. The rear-wheel drive (RWD) is the standard version. With a base manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $35,065, the front engine RWD layout promotes even weight distribution for the car. However, for better driving control on any of the various road surfaces, you can go with the all-wheel drive (AWD) version, which has a base MSRP of $37,525.

Manufacturer Lexus names the 2013 IS 250 after the car's engine displacement, which is 2.5 liters. The engine is a V6, which provides 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. Each V6 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox comes with paddle shifters to simulate a more exciting stick-shift driving experience.

For fuel economy and acceleration, the RWD version is the better choice. It offers a fuel efficiency of 24 miles per gallon (mpg) and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 7.9 seconds. By comparison, the AWD version has a fuel economy of 23 mpg and 0-to-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds. For braking and handling, each IS 250 has four disc brakes, anti-lock braking, electronic power steering, electronic braking force distribution and brake assist.

Using a welded-steel unibody construction, each 2013 Lexus IS 250 has integrated fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and SmartAccess to open the doors without the key. It is designed as a four-door sedan and is spacious enough to accommodate up to five adult passengers. Inside are a wide range of state-of-the-art features that include heated and ventilated leather seats, multi-speaker stereo system, rearview camera, and six airbags for safety.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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2013 Lexus GS 350 Review
The 2013 Lexus GS 350 has a sporty feel to it and boasts gadgets that electronics enthusiasts will love. This car allows the driver to choose between four different driving modes. Two of those modes will particularly attract anyone who is actually looking for a car that feels like a sports car.

The four available modes are standard, ECO, Sports S and Sports S+. The eco mode is a feature that allows the driver to heat up the seats and control the temperature inside the car in a way that saves money on gasoline. Another feature of the ECO mode is that the gauge lighting becomes a vibrant shade of blue.

Sport S is a mode that alters the shift points of the car's transmission. The difference between the Sports S and the Sports S+ modes is that the Sports S+ mode is only available on specific models of this car. Sports S+ tightens the car's steering and allows the driver to drive more defensively than they could in most other cars on the market.

There are some differences between the 2013 and 2011 versions of this Lexus. With the 2013 version the fastest speed this car can acheive is 142 miles per hour. A standard feature of this car is that the seats can be adjusted in 10 different ways. The back seat of this car is roomier than previous versions, with an additional three inches of room available for passengers.

The 2013 Lexus also has a bigger trunk than previous models. There is an additional 14.3 cubic feet of storage space available in the trunk. The average price of this particular car is around $48,000. This car drives smoothly and has a beautiful interior consisting of a mix between leather and wood. When it comes to mid-sized cars, the 2013 Lexus GS 350 is one of the best. It has been noted that this car grips the road well.


Check out the Lexus GS 350s available in some of our top cities!

Atlanta Lexus GS 350s

Denver Lexus GS 350s

Los Angeles Lexus GS 350s

Louisville Lexus GS 350s

Portland Lexus GS 350s

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 File0001826375811 Offbeat Car Facts Tip Wax1 Regular Car Waxing Benefits