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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
Wash
Clay Bar Treatment Basics
Vehicle detailing is a major part of maintaining a car. Before polishing a car, it is usually a good idea to use a clay bar treatment so that the paint is prepared and ready for polishing. Even if the car is not being polished, most cars should be treated with a clay bar at least twice in a year to remove contamination from the paint.

Reasons that Contaminants Build Up

The reason that a clay bar treatment is recommended before polishing and on a regular basis is the potential for paint contaminants. Even when a car is washed and waxed regularly, contaminants are not always removed from the paint.

Dust from railroad tracks, the brakes on a car or from industrial fall-out in areas that have factories and industrial compounds can become embedded in the paint. In most cases, the dust is microscopic, so it is not visible after the car is cleaned. Over time, that dust builds up and contaminates the paint.

The purpose of a clay bar treatment is removing that dust so that the paint remains smooth and does not become damaged and ugly over time.

Basic Process of the Treatment

Although the techniques can change and improve each year, the basic process of treating the vehicle is similar. The bar is moved over the vehicle to remove the particles.

Start the process by cleaning the car thoroughly. A clean surface is necessary because the clay bar must have access to the contaminants that become embedded in the paint. Wash and dry the vehicle completely before starting the treatment to ensure that the surface is ready.

Spray the clay bar with an appropriate clay lubricant. The lubricant provides the slick surface that allows the clay bar to move over the surface of the vehicle. Without the clay lubricant, the bar will not slide over the paint fluidly and it will not remove the contaminants. Do not spray the lubricant directly on the car because it might dry on the paint.

Work in small sections and glide the clay bar over the surface of the vehicle. Move in a side to side direction or an up and down direction. Repeat the process over the small section until the clay bar does not run against any contaminants.

When the contaminants are embedded deep in the paint, it may take several passes to remove the material. Do not press down hard on the clay bar while working on the treatment. Pressing down will cause damage and scratches on the paint.

Modern Techniques

The modern techniques are simple: move the bar over the surface of the paint until it is completely smooth and then move to the next small section. The simplicity of the technique makes it easy to enjoy beautiful results.

It is a good idea to remove the contaminants from the paint on a vehicle before taking any steps to wax and polish the car. By providing a smooth foundation, waxing and polishing the vehicle will make the paint look amazing.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Car Upholstery Cleaning Tips
Kids, pets and your morning commute to work can wreak havoc on your car's upholstery. Keep it looking show room shiny with these 10 easy-to-follow tips.

1. Glass cleaner works wonders on a vehicle's carpet and upholstery. It won't leave a soapy residue and works on virtually any type of stain. Just spray the soiled area liberally, let it sit for five minutes, then blot with a clean towel.

2. Use Borax to remove smells from your vehicle's carpet. Sprinkle some of the powder onto the carpet, let it sit for an hour or so, then vacuum. Borax is cheap, easy to find in the laundry aisle and is also effective at kills fleas and flea eggs.

3. Use liquid shoe polish to keep car mats looking brand new. It also makes them easier to rinse off.

4. Clean vinyl seats with baking soda sprinkled on a damp rag. Rinse with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water warm. Baking soda won't cause the vinyl to harden as some oil-based cleaners will. 5. Salt or hairspray will effectively remove ink stains from vehicle carpet. Sprinkle with salt, let sit until the stain is absorbed, then vacuum.

6. To clean a large area, mix a gallon of hot water, a squirt or two of dish detergent and a cup of white vinegar. Use a hard bristle brush to work the mixture into the carpet. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then blot dry with towels.

7. Periodically clean leather seats with a leather cleaner. Keep turning the towel so you don't rub dirt back into the seat. Follow with a leather conditioner to keep seats looking their best.

8. Clean up spills as soon as you can so they don't set. Use cool - never hot - water to dilute the spilled coffee, juice or soda. Then blot the area with a clean towel.

9. Dry ice can help remove chewing gum or other waxy materials. The ice will freeze the substance so you can scrape it away with a putty knife or similar instrument.

10. Use only a diluted, mild laundry soap to clean seat belt fabric. Harsh cleaners might damage the fabric and cause it to malfunction.

Use these tips to keep your car's interior upholstery looking great. And look to www.autos.com the next time you're in the market for vehicle.

- 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
2014 BMW X6 Review
Deemed by BMW as "the coupe's evil twin", the BMW X6 is a sports activity coupe that has the diverse functions of a SUV but the speed and sportiness of a coupe. The car comes with 4-doors and seats 4 passengers in individual single-seat designs so your back seat passengers will be just as comfortable as the driver. The MSRP is around $60,000.

The 2014 BMW X6 comes in two different trim options, the xDrive35i and the xDrive50i. The xDrive35i is the standard version that is equipped with a 300 horsepower and 3.0 liter six cylinder turbo charged engine. It has an eight speed sport transmission with steering wheel paddles included. Both trim options also come standard with 19-inch aluminum wheels, iPod and USB integration, leather upholstery and heated seats.

The xDrive50i is the twin-turbo VS that can reach 450 horsepower and up to 450 pound-feet of torque. This trim also comes with a voice activated navigation system and DVD capabilities so your passengers will be entertained while they ride.

Safety is the utmost importance to BMW and they take pride in their Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front-impact and side-impact airbags as well as overhead airbags that prevent collision should the car roll over. Other safety features include BMW Assist technology, run-flat tires and rearview cameras. The 2014 BMW X6 also comes with anti-whiplash head restraints that are designed to reduce the impact of a collision should one happen. There is also a built-in security system that will not allow the engine to start without the manufacturer key, ensuring that only you are the one who is operating your vehicle.

With BMW you not only get safety and quality, but also a little touch of luxury. The interior is designed for a comfortable and spacious ride and the cabin will provide you with every feature within arm's reach. The X6 comes with privacy glass in the rear windows, dual front sun visors that have illuminated mirrors, automatic rear-view mirror with dimming and automatic-dimming side view mirrors that also have power folding capabilities. If you really want to set the mood in your new X6 you can also add on the "ambiance lighting package" for a soothing or wild ride, depending on your mood.

The 2014 BMW X6 is a versatile and stylish car. It has all the best features of a coupe and a SUV packed into one beautiful, sporty and safe vehicle. BMW outdid itself with this 4 passenger sleek ride that features 6 or 8 cylinder engines, top of the line safety features and high end technology.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2014 Audi Allroad Review
The 2014 Audi Allroad base MSRP price starts at $40,700, making it a significantly more expensive option than other, similar vehicles. However, there are a number of features and amenities that not only set the 2014 Audi Allroad apart from the competition but also ensure that you as the buyer get good value for the money.

Audi is known for its construction of sturdy, reliable vehicles that are reliable, sturdy and easy to drive. The 2014 Allroad has already earned praise from reviewers who note that it is the best Allroad model to date. Following are some of the perks that you will get with the purchase of this new vehicle.

The new Allroad comes with a brand new music interface, HomeLink universal garage door opener, driver information system and Bluetooth. It is sporty in style, sturdy enough to be driven off paved roads and has a government crash test score that would be the envy of most competing car companies. In short, this vehicle is safe, stylish and makes for a relaxing, comfortable drive. The 2014 Audi Allroad is smooth and responsive no matter what type of terrain you are driving on. The controls are easy to reach, there is plenty of cargo space and the vehicle also comes with a roof rack, making it an ideal vehicle option for a family and/or those who enjoy weekend camping trips with relatives and friends.

The Allroad gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway; while these are not very high scores, they are a lot higher than other, similar vehicle models of this type. The vehicle can also go from 0 to 60 mph in just a bit over six seconds, a record for any Audi model to date.

If you are looking for a powerful vehicle that can be driven not only in town but also down unpaved country roads, then the 2014 Audi Allroad is an ideal vehicle. The price is quite high but it is well worth it in many ways. The eight speed automatic transmission, powerful engine, top notch suspension and other features and amenities ensure that this is a vehicle that you will be able to enjoy driving for many years.

- 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 Wash Clay Bar Treatment Basics Tip 1383851570k99wa Car Upholstery Cleaning Tips