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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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Car Shopping Tips for Professional Wrestlers
Whether your ring moniker leans towards the obvious (“The Red Devil”), the mysterious (‘Pandora the Box’) or the just plain intimidating (er…’The Intimidator’), one thing is for certain – shopping for the perfect automobile to reflect your unique personality is no small feat for a professional wrestler. So what’s an auto-deprived hero or villain of the ring to do?

Tag Team It!

For starters, determine what type of vehicle you are in the market for. If you are a tag-team duo known as ‘The Clown Brothers’, odds are good a Kia Sorento LX or a Chevy Traverse will provide plenty of ‘clown car’ leg room. On the other hand, ‘The Caped Enigma’ may want to let her freak flag fly in a convertible Chrysler 200 S while cruising down the highway to the next match.

After you have found a ride that matches your distinctive attitude (or lack thereof), you’ll want to research added features. While ‘The French Mime’ may have little use for a bumping stereo system, ‘Dan the Animal’ may want those drums to reach near heavenly volume. Will ‘The Headlock Dwarf’ have enough leg room in his shiny Ram 1500? Will ‘Sumo Steve’ enjoy the full range of airbag safety in his new Chevy Spark? A little advance knowledge will go a long way, so check out Auto.com for some available perks before you head to the dealership.

Strap In!

Once you are ready to buy, it’s time to strap on your tights and hit the car lots. Remember, it’s usually not a good idea to clothesline the sales associate upon first meeting. Smashing a chair over the person ahead of you eyeing your potential new ride is also a no-no, despite which way the ref might be looking.

A test drive is a sure-fire way to help determine if a car is a good fit, so wrap your 28-inch pythons behind the steering wheel and hit the highway. Your title belt is no substitute for a safety belt, so be sure and buckle up. While test driving, be sure to check features in action such as turning radius, braking capabilities and post-match celebratory back seat space.

Down To Business

If you are still interested in the auto post-test drive, it’s likely time to talk business. Some dealers are ‘haggle-free’, meaning the sticker price is usually unlikely to lower. Others allow for some ‘wiggle room’ on the asking price and added features. Either way, it’s usually a bad idea to rip up their initial offer while shouting “NOOOOOOOO WAAAAAAY, BROTHERRRRR!” in the middle of the showroom. Resist the urge to do this by any means necessary, whether it’s crushing the bottle of water they offer in your clenched fist or by slapping both shoulders repeatedly.

Financing is usually an option at most car dealers, but be aware of how much you want to spend prior to talking numbers. Stay within your budget, since there are few things sadder than the champ pawning his gold belt. Just remember that this new ride is meant to be enjoyed and not a burden, and you will undoubtedly be well on your way to yet another smashing victory in no time. There’s the bell, it’s go time.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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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
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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

03
2014 Chrysler 300 Review
There is plenty to like about the 2014 Chrysler 300. Perhaps the first thing to notice is the bold look and beautiful styling on this vehicle. The modern lines and sleek design give it a sense of power that is hard to beat. With both all wheel drive and rear wheel drive models available, this five seat vehicle can make an excellent investment for the entire family. Before considering it, though, users will want to compare the key specs it offers.

The vehicle offers both a V6 (in the Base model and S model) as well as a V8 engine (in the SRT8 model.) Both are well designed, quality engines. The 3.6 liter V6 also features an eight-speed transmission. The SRT8 model is all about performance and this is evident from the 6.4 liter V8 engine it holds with a five-speed automatic transmission. That's all good, but is it fast? the vehicle can hit 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds. It also has an MPG of 19 city and 31 on the highway.

The vehicle also has numerous safety features built into it. This includes antilock disc brakes, overhead curtain airbags, great traction control, active headrests, driver knee and seat mounted side air bags, and stability control. The ignition disable feature is also ideal.

Just because it has all of this power and safety does not mean it is not an impressive vehicle to take on the road, though, from a standpoint of luxury. The heated and ventilated leather front bucket seats are one good option. Technology lovers will enjoy the navigation system in some models. The vehicle also features Bluetooth for simple connection to other devices. And, to keep you comfortable, the vehicle features automatic dual zone climate control. It also features 16.3 cubic feet of cargo room for just about any need.

The Base trim features 1st row exterior express open and close sliding and tilting glass sunroof as a standard feature. Other key features include ABS and driveline traction control, ParkSense parking assist, and a Garmin navigation system. It is possible to upgrade this vehicle to an all-wheel drive, too.

The S trim package features 20 inch polished aluminum wheels, Keyfob remote keyless entry on all doors, and a 3.6 liter, V6 engine. The SRT8 model features a 5 speed with OD transmission, 20 inch silver aluminum wheels, and a 6.4 liter, V8 engine.

There's plenty to enjoy about the 2014 Chrysler 300, especially once you get behind the wheel for a test drive. It handles well and packs the features most buyers want.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
05
2014 Buick LaCrosse Review
The ultimate in luxury, the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is the type of vehicle you want to be seen in every day. This luxury sedan offers improved performance over older models. It also incorporates more safety features in it than previous models. The manufacture definitely improved the look of this vehicle by adding a more dynamic design. In addition, with info-tainment in good supply, even the technology lovers will enjoy this vehicle.

The exterior of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse features LED signature lighting headlights and LED tail lamps that wrap around the sides. This is an assertive look, but it also is great for overall functionality. The chrome accents on this vehicle also help to create a good look.

The interior of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is comfortable and roomy. It features ice-blue ambient lighting that's easy on the eyes. It is stylish and features an intuitive layout so the driver has everything he or she wants a fingertip length away. Also nice is the technology. The company calls this it's Buick IntelliLink Infotainment System. Navigation and entertainment, as well as communication tools are on an 8-inch full-color screen. It also offers hands-free and natural language voice control for safer on-road handling and use.

The 2014 Buick LaCrosse features multiple powertrain options. Options include the standard 2.4 liter engine featuring eAssist Technology or the 3.6 liter, V6 engine that features variable valve timing. This vehicle gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It has a 29.9 mpg tank. This vehicle is powerful enough to go from zero to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds. The 303-hp V6 is often the route to take. It also features front wheel drive or all wheel drive.

Also important to point out, the 3.6 liter VVT V6 engine features spark ignition direct injection, also known as SIDI. This creates 304-hp and 264 torque at 5300 RPM. This helps with gas efficiency and definitely gives the driver an effective engine that is simply too good to pass up on. The MSRP on this model is $34,120.

By comparison, the standard engine is a 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder direct injection engine. It features a compact electric motor with an advanced lithium ion battery. Overall, for the driver who wants better fuel economy, this is the route to go. The starting MSRP on this model is $34,060. The manufactured estimates this engine's direct injection system increases fuel economy by as much as 25 percent over older models.

The 2014 Buick LaCrosse provides all the features and specs that any user wants in a luxury vehicle. The drive quality is excellent, too. This makes it worth your time for a test drive and even a purchase.

- 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 File0001530402211 Car Shopping Tips for Professional Wrestlers Tip File0001179211670 Car Window Tinting Basics