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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
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.

- Editorial Staff
Classic Hotrods
Simply put, there's nothing more American than a classic hotrod.

These cars are generally sleek with big bodies and fancy, vibrant paint jobs. They are attention grabbers and surefire conversation starters. Most hotrod owners keep these cars in the shop to continuously make improvements and take them out on special days or events, but don't use them on a daily basis. You can catch these cars at a classic auto show, community event or in a car museum.

ENTHUSIASTS AND BEYOND Many people who are enthusiasts like to join hotrod clubs to team up with people who can help them take care of the car or put together events where they get to show them off. Unlike typical cars, these hotrods also retain a high level of value due to their collector status and can increase in value depending on how well they're preserved. There's no shortage of class hotrods, but there are a few that many enthusiasts have grown to love and appreciate.

BRING THE MUSCLE The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is a long, tough muscle car remembered in popular culture for its sleek white stripes that run along the hood of the car. This Camaro came out in a variety of trims and options, including the RS, SS and Z/28. Automatic and manual transmission vehicles were available in this vehicle and it was equipped with two doors and a spacious cabin.

CLASSIC FAVORITES Another favorite hotrod is the 1968 Ford Mustang, which was among the first generation renditions of the popular vehicle. This vehicle, titled appropriately, was among the first line of pony cars introduced to the market. This is a two door vehicle with a hard top and automatic transmission. The car is noted for its large, wide grill which sits prominently at the front of the car.

The 1971 Dodge Challenger is a favorite among hotrod enthusiasts. This is a sleek, wide bodied pony car with two doors and both hard top and convertible options. The Challenger boasts excellent performance and loads of horse power. This vehicle has been used in a number of movies throughout the era and loved by hotrod fans.

- Editorial Staff
Car Emergency Kit Basics
Taking a road trip is almost always fun, but what if something goes wrong? If you're in an un-populated area, simply walking to a gas station or store may not be an immediately available option. To ensure that you're prepared in such a case, you should always have an emergency road kit in your car. Here are a few things that make up a good basic kit.

A cellphone is a basic requirement for a modern road kit. Since cellphone batteries lose their charges even when not in use, your best bet is to take your normal cell with you wherever you go instead of leaving one with the kit. You want to know that the phone will have a charge when you need to use it.

KEEP THE ESSENTIALS Flashlights are another essential item. These should be left with the car, but be sure to test their batteries every so often. A lug wrench and jack help ensure that you won't be stranded by a spare tire. If you're out in the middle of nowhere, you may find yourself out of cell phone range to call road service. Most cars have spare tires, but those spares are only helpful if they have air. Make sure your spare is properly inflated.

SAFETY FIRST A first aid kit will let you handle injuries that happen while traveling or working on your car. It should have equipment for initial treatment of burns and cuts. Flares are a standard item in car emergency kits. These help warn road traffic of the fact that your car is disabled.

FIRE WITH FIRE A fire extinguisher rounds out a basic road kit. While it's always best to run away from a large car fire, an extinguisher can put out a small flame.

With these items, you will have the equipment needed for basic breakdowns and minor emergencies. Keep your kit in the trunk or back seat so you always have it handy.

- 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


2014 Audi S4 Review
The Audi line of S models have a reputation for understated luxury plus a generous dose of performance. The Audi S4 is no exception; it is an even sportier version of the A4 basic luxury sedan. New in 2014 are standard selectable driving settings on all models as well as a Black Optic package, sleek high-gloss black trim on the exterior and eye-catching 19 inch smoke-colored wheels.

A stylish, neatly laid-out interior makes the 2014 Audi S4 a competent compact luxury sedan. It also includes a 333-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine that's even faster than the Audi sedan upon which it is based. Standard all-wheel drive helps it handle like a pro in wet or icy climates.

The 2014 Audi S4 is offered in a single Premium Plus trim level with an available Prestige option package. Standard features of Premium Plus include summer performance tires, 18-inch wheels, Audi drive select, sunroof, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, LED daytime running lights, tri-zone automatic climate control, automatic wipers, heated 8-way power front sport seats that have a 4-way lumbar adjustment, leather and simulated suede upholstery, driver memory settings, aluminum interior accents, auto-dimming mirrors, 60/40-split-folding rear seat, dash-mounted MMI (Multi Media Interface) electronics controller with 10-speaker sound system and CD player, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an iPod interface and satellite radio.

Adding the Prestige package will give you adaptive xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, rearview camera, voice controls, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a center console-mounted MMI controller, a navigation system, Bluetooth audio connectivity, HD radio and Audi Connect smartphone integration. The navigation system and Bang & Olufsen sound system can also be purchased separately if the entire Prestige package is not needed; however, a Driver Assist package with adaptive cruise control and enhanced steering as well as a power rear sunshade and manual side shade requires Prestige package purchase.

The 3.0-liter V-6 engine produces 333 hp with 325 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive are standard, and a seven-speed automated manual S tronic transmission is available. Sport rear differential is available and offers limited-slip differential to regulate torque between back wheels so that the car corners even better.

The car comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, hill launch assist as well as front side airbags plus side curtain airbags. Back seat side airbags are an option that can be added, and the Prestige package add-on includes car rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and blind-spot warning system. Adding adaptive cruise control to the Prestige package includes collision warning and mitigation, which will prime the brakes if a possible frontal crash is detected.

- Editorial Staff
2014 Dodge Avenger 2014 Review
The 2014 Dodge Avenger is a stylish vehicle that is high in demand because of its affordable price. It's listed with an MSRP of between $19,895 and $25,795.

The Avenger is a midsized sedan that has sporty features that keep it looking stylish, and it contains many types of equipment found only in higher-end luxury vehicles. It has 173 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and the 2.4L four-cylinder engine has plenty of kick, so you can get from 0 to 60 in only 9.4 seconds. The Avenger has front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, but you can choose between a four or six-speed automatic engine with a manual shift mode.

Inside, you'll feel like you're sitting in a luxury vehicle. This sedan has an elegant leather-wrapped steering wheel for a strong grip, and the heated front seats are perfect for keeping you warm on those chilly days and nights. The sedan comes standard with cruise control, aluminum wheels, LED brake lights, a USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a multimedia center.

The Dodge Avenger can carry up to five people safely and has 13.5 cubit feet of cargo space. Keeping your passengers safe is a breeze, and the sedan comes with stability and traction control that will help it better grip the roads to prevent sliding, skidding, and a loss of brake power when you need to stop quickly. The antilock brakes come with brake assistance, and there are active front head restraints built in.

Additionally, there are six airbags built into the sedan, so if an accident does happen, there will be less chance of serious injuries occurring. Tire pressure monitoring comes standard with the 2014 Dodge Avenger, and it also has a security system to help prevent theft and break-ins.

The Avenger gets an average of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, making it a great car for commuters or those who make multiple short trips throughout the day. The sedan is also comfortable enough to be used on long trips, and the 29 mpg on the highway makes the trip less costly as well. New Avengers come with a 36-month/36,000-mile warranty, and leasing prices are averaged between $375 and $487 per month for affordability.

- 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 File0001336163917 Classic Hotrods Tip Cone Car Emergency Kit Basics