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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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The Evolution of Ferrari in Less than 650 Words
Just hearing the name Ferrari evokes strong emotions in some people. It is an iconic name, and every car loving fanatic must have wanted one at some point in his or her life. Producing its first sports car in 1947, the company continued to grow even after the death of its founder, and now the phenomenal sports car has been around for over six decades and still maintains its appeal. And it all started with just one car.

Enzo Ferrari first released the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 in 1940. It was the automaker’s first road car. The very first car to have Ferrari name, however, was the 125 Sport, produced in 1947. It contained a 1.5 liter V12 engine as did several other Ferrari’s, but the successor to the Ferrari 125 S was the Ferrari 159 S. It did not perform as well while racing as its predecessor so the following season saw the Ferrari change into the Ferrari 166 S.

GOING STRONG
By the 1960s the Ferrari brand was going strong. It was a sports car that proved its worth on the race track, but it had problems within the company. Sales manager Girolamo Gardini did not like the fact that Ferrari’s wife had so much influence over the company, so Gardini eventually told Ferrari that if the tensions continued at work he would leave.

Ferrari, not one to stand for insubordination, fired Gardini along with several other people. It was a hit to the company and the ousted ones formed their own company called ATS to be in direct competition with Ferrari, but the Ferrari brand ultimately recovered and survived.

A HISTORIC LEGACY
Also in the early 1960s, the Unites States introduced competition with the Shelby Cobra, created by Carroll Shelby. In addition, Ford offered to buy out Ferrari. There was never an agreement reached for a buyout, but Ford did manage to end the reign of wins held by Ferrari with the Ford GT40. The Ford prototypes continued to dominate the races for the next few years, and after the Ford V8 engine did so well in the 1967 Le Mans that the Fédération Internationale de l¢Automobile (FIA) banned prototypes that were over 3000cc. This applied to the Ferrari 330P models as well.

In 1969 Fiat gained 50% of Ferrari, which meant there was an immediate increase in the amount of investment funds available so that more money was placed in new model development funds. Also, a factory extension began to be constructed that would allow the production of the Fiat Dino, which featured a Ferrari engine, to be moved from the Fiat’s Turin plant. Fiat began to greatly influence the sales and production of the Ferrari sports cars, but he did not have as much influence over the racing aspects of the company.

THE 1970'S AND BEYOND
In the mid 1970s, Ferrari stopped sports car racing in order to participate in Formula 1 racing. Ferrari did fairly well in the Formula 1 realm, and in 1982 Gilles Villeneuve died in Belgium and Didier Pironi nearly died in Germany that same year from an accident. Near the end of that decade, in 1988, 90-year-old Enzo Ferrari died. His last commissioned model was the specialist F40.

The 1990s saw Luca Cordero di Montezemolo become President of the company in 1991. In 1993 Jean Todt became the Sporting director, and in 1996 Michael Schumacher brought back the F1 team. He did not win during the 1997 through 1999 seasons, but he did win again from 2000-2004.

Today, Ferrari is still going strong, though the majority of it is no longer owned by the Ferrari family. Fiat group maintains control of the company with an 85% ownership, while Mubadala Development company has 5% ownership and Piero Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s second son, owns 10% of the company.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Cleaning Your Car CD-Player
The whole experience of traveling in the auto changed with the introduction of the CD-player. For the previous generation, a similar experience came about with the introduction of cassettes and the infamous 8-track players. These products represented the first time someone could tailor their listening pleasure in the auto.

Technology continues to evolve, of course, and people have many ways to enjoy their own tunes while on the move. The CD-player is in millions of cars, however, and many individuals continue to use it as a daily source of pleasure. There is the issue of both the CD and the player getting dirty and needing periodic cleaning to get the best music quality.

PERIODIC MAINTENANCE Taking a few moments for periodic maintenance will extend the life of the CD while improving the listening experience. Some players are mounted in a manner that requires professional cleaning. If, however, you can easily unmount the player you use, the process is simple and follows a series of steps that anyone can use. For the project you need WD-40, Q-tips, ethanol and some dry rags. The steps to follow include:

- Remove all CD's from the player and carousel. Once the trays are empty, extend the tray and remove the fuse. This leaves the optics accessible for cleaning.

- Depending on how the player is mounted, remove it and unscrew the cover. Make sure you place the screws in a safe place.

WD-40 AND BEYOND - Spray some WD-40 on a Q-Tip. Use this to lubricate the laser rails. Never use excessive force, but you can gently remove the laser by moving the plastic cog wheels. This allows the entire rail to be lubricated.

- Put some ethanol on a fresh Q-tip. Use one of the dry rags to squeeze out the excess, you want the swab to be damp but not dripping.

- Very gently clean the lens of the laser optics with the damp swab. Use a steady, soft stroke to cover the surface several times.

LET IT DRY - Allow the lens to dry. Check from several angles to ensure that there is not smearing or streaking.

- Once dry, replace the lid and tighten (but don't over tighten) the screws.

- Once the player is back in place, replace the fuse but don't insert a CD. Power the unit up and listen for the laser and optics to re-seat and slide into place. If there is any problem, don't force anything. In some cases, you may need to remove the fuse and unit and reseat the laser optics on the rail. Repeat as above.

FINISHING TOUCHES - Select a freshly-cleaned CD and insert it on the rack.

- Turn on the system and enjoy fresh quality sounds.

The journey is always more enjoyable when you have your favorite tunes playing along. Taking care of your CD-player will give you many years of musical pleasure.

- 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

03
2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review
The 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid is one of the first substantial challengers of the frontrunner Toyota Prius. Just like the Prius, C-Max is a dedicated hybrid -- Ford's first. It's a strong contender, offering as much (or more) driving enjoyment as the Prius.

In terms of size and shape, some say C-Max blends the best of the Prius Liftback and Prius V wagon. It's built on Ford Focus underpinnings so it feels a lot like a tall-wagon version of the Focus. The front of the C-Max has the trapezoidal grille now used in the Ford lineup, along with window angles and accent lines that convey a small mini van or a tall, upright 5-door hatchback. However, the inside of the C-Max is distinctly Focus-like, featuring a rich, stylish dashboard and high-end options that result in a premium effect.

Complete with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor system, C-Max's powertrain has 195 hp combined -- that's 54 hp more than the Prius. While C-Max weighs several hundred pounds more, it still feels zippier to drive than the Toyota. The C-Max has an EPA rating of 47 mpg combined, only slightly less than the 50 mpg Prius Liftback; however, it's better than Prius V's 42 mpg combined.

C-Max's steering is precise and evenly-weighted, similar in feel to the Ford Focus. Weight is 3,700 base and 3,900 pounds in plug-in Energi so it won't be quite as agile as the Focus, yet still respectable. C-Max Energi is considerably more compelling than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid; it offers a longer all-electric range of 21 miles. Key to this is a large 7.6 kWh battery vs. 1.4 kWh in the C-Max hybrid. However, that battery pack will cost you a substantial amount of cargo space.

Ride quality is firm but pleasant, with active noise cancelation and sound-insulation to help keep the noise at bay and riding enjoyment high. As for safety, the federal government gives C-Max an overall four-star rating (four stars frontal plus and five for side impact.) A driver's side knee bag is also included in the safety equipment.

All of the C-Max Hybrid models come with standard 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, illuminated glove box, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat heater vents, the Sync voice-controls system, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, USB & auxiliary input jacks and a SmartGauge digital display system w/InfoGuide screens that allow the driver to configure information about the car's energy consumption and operation. A number of C-Max packages and a la carte options are available. They include features like heated side mirrors, MyFord Touch, power liftgate and an automated Parking Technology package.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
06
2014 Lincoln MKS Review
The 2014 Lincoln MKS is a stylish new vehicle model that is available in two trims (EcoBoost Sedan and Base Sedan). There are various color options to pick from and the cost of one of these vehicles ranges from $40,425 to $47,415. The 2014 Lincoln MKS gets up to 17 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

This particular model is easy to drive and has a powerful 365 horsepower V6 engine, a highly adaptive suspension and all wheel drive. It also has smooth six speed automatic, top quality steering and new, large brakes that are more powerful and secure than those found on older MKS models. The interior has numerous features and amenities that any driver is sure to enjoy. These include climate control for all seats, active park assist, Bluetooth and more. All features can be controlled using the two classy LCD screens found next to the speedometer as well as the larger LCD screen located nearby.

The vehicle is surprisingly spacious and can comfortably accommodate four to five people. The Bridge of Weir leather seats are both good looking and comfortable, ensuring that this vehicle is extremely comfortable to drive or ride in. Those who are interested in even more luxury features than the base model already provides will find that the optional Elite package has some great options, including power adjustable pedals, a power rear sunshade, front contoured seats with a massage feature and a sixteen speaker surround sound audio system.

The 2014 Lincoln MKS has also earned top marks for its numerous safety features. These include collision warning, brake support, blind spot traffic warning systems, lane keeping assist, a rearview camera and stability and traction control. Furthermore, this vehicle offers a MyKey feature that enables parents to set restricted driving parameters for their teenage child or children. There is also an emergency crash notification system that automatically dials 911 if one or more airbags have been deployed for any reason.

If you are looking for a safe, comfortable vehicle with reasonably good gas mileage, then the 2014 Lincoln MKS is a very good option. While it is not as spacious as some other vehicles in its class, it is stylish, comfortable and has numerous helpful features and amenities. This vehicle is smooth and comfortable to drive and is built to hold up to a great deal of use.

- 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 File0001404120104 The Evolution of Ferrari in Less than 650 Words Tip File00058871808 Cleaning Your Car CD-Player