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Current Chicago Auto News
01
Top 5
Stylish Compact Cars for Driving in Chicago, IL
Nestled on the bank of Lake Michigan, Chicago is both the third largest city by population and the third most-visited city in the U.S. While the city has earned its place as a world-class city in which to live and visit with its exquisite lake views, impressive architecture, and interesting, sometimes brutal history, its popularity also makes it a busy city in which to drive. Going compact in Chicago makes merging in the heavy traffic easier, those high city gas prices less painful, and parking far easier to find.

Honda Fit

Sporty, sleek and coming in at a respectable 33 highway/27 city mpg, the Honda Fit offers multiple seating and cargo configurations ideal for going crazy on Chicago’s famous shopping street, The Magnificent Mile. Paddle shifters put control of the transmission back in your hands and make the Fit fun to drive, and some bright color options help you find your small ride in a sea of parked cars.

Scion tC

Though it doesn’t offer the sweetest gas mileage for a compact, if you want to make a splash on the Chicago club scene, the Scion tC will help you do it. One of the best cars for resale value in 2013, according to Kelley Blue Book, the tC comes standard with some very high-end features, including sport front bucket seats, leather trim and a moon roof.

Kia Soul

Billed as an urban hatchback, the Kia Soul has a boxy presence like no other. A bigger grill on the 2014 model with slightly more cargo space makes this car even more pleasing to look at and provides more room for hauling luggage. If you’re driving in for Lollapalooza, the Soul’s quieter ride will let your music be heard over the street noise.

Volkswagen Golf

Not the most sporting compact, the Volkswagen Golf has a lot to offer by way of space. When you haul the kids in to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field, the Golf provides more legroom than its counterparts, and split seat configurations give you additional space if you need to add cargo to the mix. Coming in at only 23 city/30 highway mpg with the base engine, the Golf is not the best compact option when it comes to fuel efficiency. An upgrade to the TDI clean diesel engine makes a major difference, bringing the Golf’s fuel consumption in at a much better 30 city/42 highway mpg.

Mini Cooper

Though Chicago lacks some of the pretension of cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, a little eye candy won’t hurt when choosing your ride. Despite its more prominent presence on the American car scene, the Mini Cooper is still a bit of a novelty that will get you the right kind of attention when pulling up at the Chicago International Film Festival or one of the city’s trendiest eateries, like Restaurant Beatrix or the CH Distillery.

- 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
Chicago
For the Love of Driving: Chicago
Chicago, also commonly known as "The Windy City," is the third most populous city in the country, with a current estimated population of around 2.7 million residents in the city alone and an additional 9.5 in the surrounding "Chicagoland" suburbs. Because of its large size, huge skyscrapers, and robust shopping district, Chicago is a very popular stop among tourists. Whether you're planning a short visit in the near future or are even a nearby resident, there's plenty for you to see and do in this busy city without necessarily even having to leave your car.

Landmarks

Michigan Avenue is a must-see stretch of shops and restaurants if you plan on visiting The Windy City. Famous for its "Magnificent Mile," here you can peruse a wide range of shops, boutiques, department stores, restaurants, and more. This is a great place if you love to shop, as there's truly something for everybody here. Enjoy an afternoon of window shopping with your family from the comfort of your Dodge Caravan as you cruise down Michigan Avenue. Stop at any of the city's ample public parking spots to explore some select shops on foot.

If you cruise down to the area of Grant Park, you'll find another attraction that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car: the Buckingham Fountain. The Beaux-Arts style design of this fountain is an eye-catching centerpiece and a great place to take photos with family and friends as well. On some nights, there are even special water and light shows for passersby to enjoy.

Natural Attractions

Since Chicago is located right off the shores of Lake Michigan, this is a great place to visit and just a short drive from downtown in your Jeep Patriot. Cruise down to Lake Michigan for a great view of the water. On nicer days, you can get out and enjoy beaches such as Oak Street Beach and Montrose Beach. Pack up your Patriot with plenty of beach towels, sunscreen, buckets and shovels for a fun day with family and friends by the water.

More To See

Another must-see attraction located in downtown Chicago is that of famous Navy Pier. Just a short ride in your Hyundai Accent down East Grand Avenue, this beautiful pier is a great place for shopping, dining, and all-around fun. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can even enjoy a scenic ride on the pier's famous Ferris wheel. During the summer, you can catch a fireworks show off the pier at the end of the night. On rainy days, you can find a full IMAX movie theater and plenty of shops inside the adjacent mall. Navy Pier is an absolute must-see for both tourists and full-time residents alike.

As you can see, there's plenty to do and see in the large city of Chicago. Explore the city and check out the attractions listed above for yourself; you'll be glad you did!

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Advances in Car Seatbelt Technology
Seatbelts were first manufactured in the early 1900's, but have since come a long way. While in times past they were made primarily to keep an occupant in the vehicle as he or she drove along a bumpy road, today's manufacturers are putting an emphasis on not only making sure the seatbelt is safe but also comfortable.

Safety Features

Today's seatbelts are frequently made using tensioners that hold a person in place and height adjusters that make the seatbelt a proper fit for a person is who shorter or taller than average. Car manufacturers are also required by law to install both a buzzer and dashboard light to remind you to buckle up before driving off.

Most new vehicles use the pretensioner seatbelt system, which was first designed by Mercedes Benz. The pretensioner tightens the seatbelt automatically in order to restrict body movement in case of a crash. This particular type of seatbelt also prevents a person from sliding out underneath the belt, thus reducing the possibility of injury.

Comfort

Many of today's seatbelts have energy absorbing fibers, which make them comfortable for drivers who have to drive long distances. Ford's relatively new inflatable seatbelts also help to promote comfort in case of an auto crash. Instead of simply tensing up and holding a person in place, the seatbelts fill with air beforehand. This distributes body weight in the event of impact and also reduces the chances of side injuries.

Today's seatbelts are made using softer webbing and more lightly woven materials than the seatbelts of times past. This change makes seatbelts comfortable to wear in the summer when heavy materials would otherwise cause a driver to sweat.

The Decline of Automatic Seatbelts

In the 1980s and early 90s, car manufacturers were required to make all vehicles with either automatic seat belts or air bags. This requirement was meant to reduce the number of car injuries and deaths per year. While air bags were naturally the most comfortable option for a driver and his or her passengers, most manufacturers made their vehicles with automatic seatbelts in order to keep costs down.

Naturally, this trend was never particularly popular with most consumers. When the laws changed and manufacturers were required to add airbags in all vehicles, automatic seatbelts fell out of favor, although they can still be found in various models that are still being driven today.

Seatbelts have come a long way since they were first invented. While some would argue that they still have a ways to go, they have for the most part done a good job of protecting us from injuries and death due to collisions.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
Unique_road_trips
Retaining the Life of Your Dragster: Detailing Tips For Classic Fans
Keeping a classic dragster in the best condition can seem challenging, especially when it is a newly purchased vehicle. Although mechanical work and major problems are best handled by a professional, certain detailing tips can be completed at home. By keeping the vehicle in the best show condition and running order possible, it will last longer and will continue to make an appearance at local and national auto shows.

Wash With Two Buckets

Washing a dragster on a regular basis is essential for basic maintenance. Leaving dust, dirt, pollution and other materials on the paint can result in unsightly scratches and general wear and tear. Even though it is important to wash the vehicle regularly, it is also important to make use of two buckets.

Keep one bucket full of plain water and fill the other with an appropriate soap and water for the vehicle's paint. Before using the water with soap, rinse the cleaning mitt or cloth in the plain water. It will remove any small stones, grit and salt from the mitt or cloth before it goes back on the vehicle.

Never Mix Cleaning Agents

Different cleaning supplies are used for different parts of the vehicle. Use a separate cloth to clean windows, wheels and the dashboard. Focus on cleaning agents that are appropriate for the specific material, such as glass cleaner on the windows, leather cleaner on the seats and appropriate metal cleaners for any chrome or metal details. Mixing cleaning agents can cause dangerous interactions that emit fumes that cause health concerns. Furthermore, it can damage the materials of the vehicle.

Make Use of Compressed Air

Compressed air is useful when it comes to getting dirt and dust out of hard-to-reach areas. Spray the air around the edges of the carpet and the seats before vacuuming or cleaning the upholstery.

Set Out Items in Easy Reach

During the process of cleaning, certain cleaning agents may have strict instructions about how much to use, how fast to remove the agent and what actions to take to ensure that the final results are as good as possible. By keeping all of the necessary rags, cleaning agents and other materials within reach, it is easier to follow the directions properly and avoid wasting time searching for the next item.

Clean the Hood and Trunk

The hood and the trunk of the car are easy to overlook, but they must be cleaned as thoroughly as the rest of the vehicle before an auto show. Since it is possible for the dirt to build up under the hood, it is usually best to place a plastic sheet or a cloth sheet over the engine before cleaning under the hood. That will ensure that the dirt does not fall on the engine.

Detailing is primarily about proper preparation and the use of appropriate products. It is usually best to work with a professional for more advanced detailing or mechanical concerns to avoid any potential complications or problems.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Tip Top Car Service Options in Chicago
Chicago, AKA The Windy City, is a Midwest mecca and one of the most populous and famous cities in the U.S. Learn when the locals go when their cars need some love in this roundup of top Chicago car service centers.

Albany Auto Inc., located at 4030 N. Rockwell Street in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, has been a family-owned and operated business for more than 30 years. This shop offers auto repair, body work, and maintenance. Customers are fans of Albany Auto's quality work at fair prices, and praise the shop's honesty and great customer service.

Down the road, at 3044 W. Montrose Avenue in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago, is ABM Auto Repair. This shop prides itself on being reputable, honest, and professional, and customers agree. Customers cite Adeel's friendly manner and knowledge of cars, and mention how reasonable this shop's prices are. The technicians at ABM are all ASE certified.

Another option for auto repair is Joe's Expert Auto Service, located at 2740 N. Elston. Avenue in Bucktown. Joe's specializes in imports but will also happily service all domestic cars. Services offered include preventative maintenance, oil changes, differential repair, factory-recommended inspections, and parts and repair. This shop is noted for its honesty, professionalism, fair prices, and excellent work.

Norm's Automotive Clinic is another well-known Chicago gem, located at 5943 N. Lincoln Avenue near West Rogers Park. This auto repair shop is hailed for its fairness, honesty, and quality.

Auto Detail Chicago, located at 1628 S. Prairie Avenue near Southside, was voted Best of Chicago in 2012 by the Chicago Award Program. Owners Jay Phillips and Jesse Arellano have been in business since 2010 and offer both interior and exterior detailing, washing, and waxing. Customers are pleased with the professional detailing results Auto Detail Chicago offers.

Another option for auto detailing, just to the north, is West Loop Auto Spa, located at 850 W. Washington Boulevard, near the West Side and the West Loop. This detailer offers hand washing, interior detailing, buff and wax, and window tinting and dent removal. West Loop is known for excellent-quality service at a great price, along with friendly, quick, and professional service.

Nearby, you'll find Euro Collision, located at 2232 S. Wabash Avenue near Southside. This shop offers auto body work, auto repair, and detailing. Many customers note that Euro Collision called them daily while their cars were in the shop for progress updates. This shop also is known to clean and detail your car, even if it's in for body work

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Reviews

01
2010 Chevrolet Colorado Review
Are you in the market to purchase a small, light-duty truck that is easy to handle? Do you enjoy the feeling of driving a vehicle that is on the rugged side, but not too intense? Do you enjoy the practicality of owning a vehicle that is great for hauling those oversized items?

The 2010 Chevrolet Colorado is a smaller sized pick up truck that handles well, but is larger than an average sized vehicle. You have the option of a two-or a four-wheel drive vehicle with the 2010 Chevrolet Colorado. You also can choose from several styles, such as the Colorado regular cab, the extended cab or the crew cab version. The crew cab is enticing with its included roomy, five foot cargo box. The other versions of this truck offer a six foot bed. The true market value for a 2010 Chevrolet Colorado is approximately $11,918-$12,915. Extended cab versions of this vehicle will cost a bit more.

Attributes of this vehicle may include steel wheels, a 2.9 L engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, front door pockets, cup holders, air conditioning, 12V front power outlet, AM/FM stereo and more.

Current and former owners of the 2010 Chevrolet Colorado report “higher seating with better visibility”, “a clear view of their surroundings”, “great handling for a lightweight truck”, as well as other favorable comments on this well-liked vehicle.

Safety features include traction control, stability control, front center lap belt, front seat belt pretension, front headrests, airbags, monitored tire pressure, 4-wheel ABS, child seat anchors, running lights for daytime and dusk, fog driving lights and so much more in this well built safety system.

Although this small to mid-size truck has a ride that is a little bumpy, it is a great value at this price. It has also earned many compliments from its owners.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2014 Jaguar XK Review
Sleek and sexy, the 2014 Jaguar XK lives up to the legendary Jaguar name and more. With a lustrous body, elegant cabin and generous high tech features, the Jaguar is ready to take you where you want to go in style. Consumers will also find the starting price of $79,000 quite appealing for a luxury sports car vehicle of this class.

Those looking for a unique sports car experience need look no further than what the 2014 Jaguar XK has to offer. As the vehicle is available in five trims, you’ll have little trouble finding one that suits your personality or purpose. Each trim comes as a convertible or coupe, with the exception of the XKR-S GT coupe – a limited edition of which only 25 will be sold in the American market.

The base Jaguar XK features such amenities as 19 in. wheels, keyless entry/ignition, auto bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, auto dimming mirrors, front/rear parking sensors and rearview camera. The convertible design comes with a powered fabric roof with tonneau cover that lowers in less than 20 seconds. Once in place, you benefit from a well insulated cabin that gives you a quiet, peaceful ride. Designed for fun, pleasure and performance, the Jaguar XK exceeds all expectations in every category.

The interior of the 2014 Jaguar XK is just as impressive as its exterior design with such features as all leather upholstery, heated power seats, telescoping steering, dual-zone climate control, touch screen interfacing, Bluetooth, navigation system, iPod USB interface and more. Music lovers will thrill to the pristine 14 speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system that ensures optimum music pleasure during long drives.

If you’re like most sports car fanatics, you’ll be extremely interested in the SK’s performance. Jaguar powertrains make sure you are not disappointed. The base level Jaguar comes with a 385 HP V8 engine while upper level trims put up to 550 HP at your command. These engines are matched with fine tuned suspension, RWD, 6-speed auto transmission and effortless steering to provide you with impressive handling and control. EPA gas mileage is also not bad at 16/24 mpg city/highway driving.

The 2014 Jaguar XK balances power with safety to provide greater protection as you drive. Standard safety features include traction control, stability, antilock brakes, side airbags in the front and head restraints. The Advanced Technology pack, which is optional on the base trim, adds a forward collision warning system to your safety gear.

Whether you’re cruising through the city or enjoying an extended scenic drive in the country, the 2014 Jaguar XK ensures you lack for nothing to enjoy your travels to the full.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Chicago Car Dealers

Top 5 01 Stylish Compact Cars for Driving in Chicago, IL The Smart Car Buyer File000530964878 What to Bring With You When Car Shopping Local Chicago For the Love of Driving: Chicago National File000699227071 Advances in Car Seatbelt Technology Tip Unique_road_trips Retaining the Life of Your Dragster: Detailing Tips For Classic Fans