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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
Gps
Advances in GPS Technology
GPS is best known for its ability to help a driver find his or her way around town. This system can automatically locate any given address and then tell you how to reach your desired destination.

However, advances in the industry have made it possible for GPS to do more than simply give you directions. Advanced GPS units can track vehicle mileage, speed and distance traveled. They can keep a record of which places you have visited, how long you have stayed in any given location and even permit car owners to monitor a friend or relative who may be borrowing the car.

BEYOND JUST DIRECTIONS Some GPS systems will warn you if you drive over the speed limit, help you recover your vehicle if it is stolen and even unlock the vehicle and start the engine if you forget your keys in the car. GPS can also be used to make sure the car is in good working order at all times, as the system automatically issues a warning when the battery is low or the oil needs to be changed.

WHAT'S NEXT These advances help the average driver by making driving a safer, more relaxed experience. At the same time, the auto industry has continued to tweak vehicular GPS systems to make them even better than they are today. Ford, for instance, is developing a new GPS that will automatically call emergency services if an airbag is deployed for any reason. This system has already been installed in the Ford Focus and chances are it will be installed in other new Ford models as well.

A VARIETY OF OPTIONS GPS manufacturing companies have also created new features and amenities that make vehicular GPS units easier and more convenient to use. The Magellan SmartGPS, for instance, can not only connect to the internet but also has a smartphone app and dedicated cloud service. This unit allows a driver to download Yelp and Foursquare destinations and provides up to date traffic and fuel price information. The Parrot Asteroid Smart Navigation System provides top notch navigation, mobile apps, music and video playback, hand free calling and an easy to use touch screen interface.

GPS technology has benefited the auto industry a great deal. It enables you to find your way easily, makes it possible to recover a stolen car in short order, monitors that state of the car and traffic conditions and much more. Furthermore, as the GPS industry continues to advance, we can expect more helpful features that will make GPS units even more efficient and convenient than they presently are.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Advances in Car Backup Cameras
While the car accidents that cause the most damage and thus receive the most attention generally involve t-bones or head-on collisions, smaller accidents can also prove quite costly over the course of time. Such is the case with collisions that occur while a car is backing up. Drivers may misjudge the amount of room they have while attempting to parallel park, and thus, wind up scratching, denting or even smashing their vehicle and possibly a car belonging to someone else as well.

IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY Fortunately, improvements in technology have greatly decreased the likelihood of drivers winding up in such scrapes. Particularly useful is the backup camera, with which a driver can get a more accurate idea of the amount of room available for backing up. Rear view cameras greatly enhance the safety factor on a car. After all, one of the greatest blind spot areas for a driver consists of the area behind the vehicle.

STATISTICS The child advocacy group Kids and Cars reports that over fifty kids die every year in accidents related to cars backing up. Rear view cameras provide the opportunity to prevent such tragedies. Many of today's newer cars come with these cameras already built in, but for drivers with older vehicles, it is still possible to buy a separate rear view camera and have it installed.

EVOLVING IMPROVEMENTS The first car backup cameras were already quite impressive, but they have only gotten better since their emergence on the market. Initial models were somewhat compromised by the angle of the lens, for at the time, it was impossible to provide a clear close-up image without greatly decreasing the image quality for far-away objects. Recent improvements have extended the range in which such clarity is available. Many cameras have also added the option of night vision, which is especially useful for anyone trying to back up a vehicle after the sun has set. While a vehicle's lights can provide assistance in the dark, sometimes the positioning is such that night vision is required.

MORE ACCURACY While not necessarily a complete replacement for the rear view mirror, the backup camera does improve the accuracy with which a driver is able to reverse his or her vehicle. A number of improvements have already been made on early models, and as the technology continues to develop, we can expect even better features in the future. For now, the backup camera is definitely able to meet its intended function -- making roads and parking lots safer.

- 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 Kia Forte Review
A good looking vehicle, the 2014 Kia Forte is also an ideal choice for families that want technology at their fingertips all the time. The vehicle, with a low starting price of $15,900, is an excellent investment for various reasons. It has a stylish, sleek body with rounded edges for a less foreboding look. Inside it is surprisingly roomy and packed with features.

Two trim packages are available with the 2014 Kia Forte, including the LX and EX.

LX Specs: This vehicle has a 1.8 liter, 4 cylinder, aluminum block and heads engine, with 148 hp # 6500 rpm. It features 131 ft lbs of torque at 4700 rpm. It has a standard six-speed manual transmission and optional six-speed electronically controlled transmission. This vehicle gets an estimated MPG of 25 city and 37 highway with M/T and 25 city 36 highway with A/T.

EX Specs: The upgraded EX features a 2.0 liter Inline 4 Cylinder, aluminum block and heads, engine with 173 hp at 6500 rpm and 154 ft lbs of torque at 4700 rpm. This vehicle has a standard six-speed electronically controlled transmission. This vehicle gets an estimated24 city and 35 highway with M/T and 24 city and 36 highway with a M/T.

The vehicles also have some nice interior and exterior features. This includes options ranging from 15, 16, and 17 inch wheels, dual body color heated and folding mirrors or dual body color heated and folding outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, and illuminated door handle pockets as options. Inside, drivers will find a SiriusXM audio system with four speakers, door mounted tweeters, a UVO eServices Infotainment System powered by Microsoft, rear camera display (standard on the EX model) and an optional voice command navigation system with HD radio technology as an option for the EX model.

USB and auxiliary input jacks are in place as standard features. It also features an Active Eco System, Supervision Meter Cluster with 4.2 inch TFT LCD Display, and FlexSteer, Driver Selectable Steering Assist. Other options and upgrades include remote keyless entry, push button start with Smart Key, auto dimming mirror with Compass and HomeLink, and Dual Map Lights with Sunglass Holders.

When it comes to safety, the 2014 Kia Forte is serious. It features active headrests and seat belt pretensioners, dual front airbags, front seat mounted side airbags and a side curtain airbags for both the front and back. The steel reinforced body is also just as important.

For all of these reasons and others, a test drive of the 2014 Kia Forte is a must. For many, this vehicle is the perfect family vehicle.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2012 Hyundai Veracruz Review
If you’re looking for a seven-seat ride with the power and features of a smaller SUV, the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz might be perfect for you. The 2012 Veracruz offers the attractive design and powerful features of a luxury crossover SUV—without the luxury SUV price tag. With an MSRP of $28,345 to $36,195, the Veracruz offers a fantastic value for your budget.

The Veracruz comes with a quiet, well-equipped interior, designed with the comfort of all the passengers in mind. Luxurious woodgrain accents gives the interior a custom feel, while fully adjustable seats and separate temperature control for the driver and the co-pilot keep everyone happy.

With available in-dash navigation technology, premium Infinity speakers, a power tilt-and-glide sunroof, and leather seats, you’ll get the perks of a more expensive crossover SUV at a price that’s right for your family.

But the interior isn’t all the Veracruz has to offer. A modern, contemporary design can impress onlookers as well as passengers. The Veracruz is available with premium 18-inch Hypersilver alloy wheels and custom trim options.

The Veracruz is equipped with a 3.8 liter, aluminum block V6 engine that delivers 260 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. With an MPG rating of 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway, it’s more efficient than many CUV’s. An advanced 6-speed automatic transmission shifts gears instantly and adapts to your individual driving habits to create a one-of-a-kind ride your whole family will love.

Some Veracruz owners have complained of the lack of cargo space when the third row of seats is being used and limited leg room in the back row—some have said that even older kids felt squashed back there.

Other drivers have said they’d be more impressed if the Veracruz had a little more horsepower and a quicker-to-respond transmission. All in all, though, reviewers give the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz high ratings for value, comfort, and driveability.

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 GPS Technology Tip File0001645256700 Advances in Car Backup Cameras