News

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
File000530964878
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
Driving
Go Green! Environmentally Friendly Car Care Tips
By taking good care of their vehicles, car owners can get maximum performance from their investment while helping to preserve the environment. These eco-friendly car care tips show how easy it is for car owners to contribute to a greener environment.

Regular Maintenance and Tune-Ups

A proper tune up will help vehicles new and old to run more smoothly, consume less fuel and save you money on fuel costs. Regular maintenance on your car to include checking spark plugs, changing fuel or air filters and checking ignition and emission system parts not only improves its performance, but helps to conserve our natural resources. When your vehicle runs at top capacity, it conserves energy, reduces air pollution and contributes to a cleaner environment.

Tires

Proper tire inflation is important to keeping your car running its best and conserving energy. When tires are improperly inflated, they can put a strain on your engine and increase fuel consumption. Misaligned tires can also force your engine to work harder, consuming extra fuel and increasing your gas budget. By making sure your vehicle's tires are inflated at the proper level, you save money on gas and help preserve the environment.

Smart Driving

How you drive makes a big difference in vehicle performance and fuel economy. Sudden starts and stops, speeding and excessive driving can shorten your car’s lifespan and take a toll on the environment. Staying within the speed limit, avoiding stop and go traffic, reducing unnecessary road time and carpooling are all examples of driving smart to help maintain the health of your vehicle.

Cleaning Tips

Green products and old fashioned cleaning methods can keep your car neat and clean. A hand vacuum or whisk broom works great in removing dust and dirt from seats and floors mats. You can also wipe seats, steering wheel, dash and other compartments with a clean, damp cloth to eliminate dirt and grime.

Clean your windows and windshield with a mixture of vinegar and water and dry with newspaper to get them squeaky clean. Green car wash products are also available for cleaning your car's exterior.

These few eco-friendly car care tips can go a long ways toward preserving your new or used car while contributing to a greener environment.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
File0001179211670
Car Window Tinting Basics
Window film is a thin sheet of plastic that is attached to a sheet of glass. It is routinely used on the windows of buildings and automobiles as an aftermarket addition, after the base product has already been built. The window film used on automobile glass is typically tinted, and is therefore known as window tint.

Construction:

Window tint consists of several different layers, each of which serves a specific purpose. The primary part of window tint is a polyester substrate. The side facing the glass has an adhesive layer that allows the window tint to adhere to the glass. A release liner initially covers this adhesive layer to prevent it from drying out. The installer peels the release liner away from the window tint before installing it on the interior surface of the glass.

Benefits:

The general purpose of installing window tint on your car is to reduce the amount of light that enters your car. This feature provides several benefits, depending on the specific type of light that the window tint blocks. Window tint that blocks infrared light reduces the heat that enters your car. Tint that blocks ultraviolet radiation reduces the risk of skin cancer and extends the life of the car’s upholstery. A reduction in the visible light that passes into your car cuts down on glare and provides added privacy.

Grades:

Window tint manufacturers have several different grading systems. The most common method of grading window tint for cars is visible light transference, which the ratio of visible light that passes through the tint to the total amount of visible light that reaches the tint. Visible light has a wavelength between 380 nanometers and 780 nanometers for this purpose.

Manufacturers typically express VLT as a percentage, such that window tint with a VLT of 25 percent allows 25 percent of visible light to pass through the film. A lower VLT indicates darker tint, so a VLT of 0 percent refers to film that is completely opaque while a VLT of 100 percent refers to tint that is completely transparent. Ultraviolet transmittance (UVT) is a similar measure to VLT, except that UVT measures the percentage of UV light that passes through the window tint. UV light has a wavelength between 300 nanometers and 380 nanometers.

Laws:

A vehicle with dark tint can prevent law enforcement officials from seeing the occupants within that vehicle. Most countries place restrictions on the VLT of window tint for this window. The laws on window tinting vary greatly by state, so window-tint installers need to know the specific laws in their state. Rear windows can typically be much darker than the front window, and the tinting requirements for the side windows are usually between that of the rear window and front window. As always, consulting an auto professional is the best idea when gearing up for window tinting!

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
File0001902720097
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

02
2014 Scion IQ Review
The 2014 Scion IQ is a unique vehicle. Its main strong points are that it is compact, affordable and offers fantastic mileage. The listed MSRP for this particular model starts at $15,665 and there are two models and seven color options to choose from.

The 2014 IQ is listed as being a "3+1 vehicle". What this means is that it can seat three adults and a child; this is due to the fact that the fourth seat is quite small. At the same time, this model offers plenty of headroom and even some storage space.

The outside has a blocky yet stylish exterior. The interior is minimalist in nature but offers plenty of features and amenities to keep a driver safe and comfortable. These include ABS brakes, tire traction control, airbag occupancy sensor and stability control. The fact that this vehicle has gotten a four out of five star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration clearly shows that it is a safe option for driving around town or out on the highway.

The 2014 IQ's continuously variable transmission ensures that the vehicle uses only a minimal amount of fuel. In fact, it can get 36 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The vehicle has front wheel drive and so is slower to accelerate than other models but its suspension system and rack and pinion steering ensure that it is easy and comfortable to drive. Moreover, the IQ's small size makes maneuvering and/or parking this vehicle a breeze.

Naturally, this unique, innovative car model does have its disadvantages. The fact that it is not particularly stylish is one point against it; the car's shape and size puts a premium on ease of use and practicalities rather than aesthetics. It should also be noted that the 2014 IQ's acceleration speed is disappointingly slow and there is no manual gearbox option.

However, despite the fact that this vehicle is not without its flaws, it does have a lot going for it. Anyone who is looking for an affordable, well made car that is easy to drive will find that the 2014 Scion IQ is a great option. It has a lot going for it and many people are sure to find that it suits their needs perfectly.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
03
'14 Acura MDX Review
If you are searching for a compact SUV crossover with style and some luxury, the 2014 Acura MDX is a great choice. The MDX comes in two models FWD and SH-AWD, with four trim levels each. All of the models come with many standard features and the original MSRP ranges from $42,290 to $56,505.

The MDX base model and MDX SH-AWD base model come with many standard features—Sports seats with leather trim, 7-passenger seating, automatic tri-level climate control with humidity control and air filtration, power everything, hands free phone system w/audio streaming, premium 8-speaker sound system with in dash radio, CD, MP3, IPod connection and Satellite radio, multi-view rear camera, remote operated power lift gate, and many other features commonly found on an SUV.

Both models can be upgrade to the Technology package, which includes base features plus more. These include the Acura Navigation System with traffic reports and restaurant reviews, an amazing ELS 501 watt 10-speaker audio system with a 15 GB memory drive compatible with just about every electronic device out there, a Voice recognition system for navigation, audio, climate control, and Bluetooth hands free, rain sensing wipers, and puddle lights. Rear-door Smart Entry, a Blind spot information system, Forward collision and Lane Departure warning systems, and Next generation AcuraLINK for telematics are included.

The Technology & Entertainment Package has all of the above plus an amazing Acura Rear Entertainment System with a 9-inch, power flip-down screen, separate audio, wireless headphones and wireless remote speaker, ELS 11 speaker 529 watt premium audio system, tri-level heated outboard second row seats, a center console 110 watt outlet, and rear window shades.

The Advanced & Entertainment package gives you all of the above plus 6-level heated and ventilated front seats with adjusting lumbar support, 7 spoke alloy wheels, silver roof rails, 16.2 inch ultra wide, dual view overhead screen, ELS 546 watt 12 speaker audio system, remote engine star, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, a collision mitigating braking system with heads up warning and lane assist features, auto dimming side mirrors, and both front and rear parking assist.

The gas mileage on all 2014 Acura MDX models is good. The FWD models average 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway miles. The SH-AWD models average 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway miles.

Overall, the 2014 Acura MDX has the same great handling as earlier models, and is lighter, far quieter, and made with higher quality materials. The MDX is a great luxury compact SUV with lots of leg room and a sleek style to boot.

- 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 Driving Go Green! Environmentally Friendly Car Care Tips Tip File0001179211670 Car Window Tinting Basics