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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
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
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Car Interior Cleaning Tips
There is nothing better than the feeling of a clean car, especially if it has been a while since you gave a good detailing to your interior. These simple tips and tricks will leave your interior sparkling and you will be riding in style in no time.

Do your research. Before you start rubbing down the interior surfaces with Windex or household cleaner, check the product you are using and your owner's manual for what type of substances are safe for your interior. You can even test out different cleansers on a small area. Once you find a good cleanser, use a soft towel or old kitchen dishcloth to wipe down the interior surfaces. Do this before you vacuum so that any leftover crumbs or dust will be picked up when you vacuum.

Don't skip the detail. If you are taking the time to truly clean the interior, don't forget the small cracks and crevices that accumulate crumbs and dust. Using an old (but clean) toothbrush, you get in to the hard to reach places in the cup holders, dashboard and storage compartments. Also, don't forget to clean the dirty seat belts that you touch everyday. You can use a mild laundry detergent and dilute it with water so that the fabric won't fray or disintegrate.

Get down and dirty. When cleaning stained floor mats, vinegar can be used to remove smells and carpet cleaners can remove stains. Before vacuuming, remove mats and brush out excess dust and crumbs or hit them a few times outdoors. Windows should be cleaned both inside and out with your household glass cleaner, like Windex, using a soft paper towel or cloth. Spend the majority of your time vacuuming diligently to remove all crumbs and leftover snacks that have fallen in hard to reach places. If you can't get to a spot in your car, try blowing the particles to an easy to reach place and then vacuum them up or move the seats all the way forward and back to expose those hard-to-reach places. It may save you time and back pain from trying to wiggle the hose into a small space.

No matter how much time you decide to spend on the interior of your car, do it with care and patience. If you rush and use the wrong products, you may cause yourself even more of a headache. Remember to do your research, don't skip the detail and don't be afraid to get down and dirty.

- 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 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review
Fuel economy is the theme of the day with Chevy's latest overhaul of the Silverado 1500. The 1500 looks beefier than ever before but has many little touches throughout to make the heavy Chevy a fuel sipping delight. In fact, the range of engines that are available are unlike any lineup ever offered in the past. Instead of having a range of V-8s and one V-6, there are now just two V-8s and a economical V-6 on tap.

The 1500 is still a truck, despite all of its available creature comforts, and Chevy never lost sight of that in the redesign. It has power to spare, four wheel drive available and interiors that withstand abuse whether it's cloth or leather. A standard, basic interior is available, but there is the High Country package for those who want everything except the kitchen sink in their truck.

The traditional configurations of regular, double cab (previously known as extended) and crew cab are still available. What is new are tweaks for the larger cab options that give passengers more comfort and room, and the doors now open forward instead of suicide. The box now comes in either a 5'8" size or a newly available 6'6" cargo box. Either of these boxes are available on the crew cab for a truck that can handle everything and everyone.

Perhaps the most interesting and exciting change to the 1500 comes in the form of the engines. No more "big, bigger and just right" to pick from in terms of engine sizes. Chevy has eliminated the choices in favor of a 4.3L V-6, a 5.3L V-8 and a never-before-available 6.2L V-8. The fuel injection of years past is gone, replaced by a direct injection system that determines how much fuel to send to each individual cylinder.

For gas efficiency, all of the engines shut off two or four cylinders to save fuel when the engine isn't being used for power moves. The little details were definitely not overlooked when coming up with the new version of the Silverado 1500. A textured step cut into the bumper allows for solid traction when reaching for something in the box. Hands find plenty of areas to hold onto while maneuvering around the truck. There's an option to have LEDs under the bed rails to get a better look at cargo, and the bed rails themselves have protectors as standard.

The issue of road noise is firmly addressed in the many changes to the body. Doors are now triple-sealed and inlaid, the windshield is now set on a more aerodynamic angle, and the exhaust system is tuned to be as quiet as possible.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
01
2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Review
The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish was intended by Aston Martin to become the best of their line: ever. The engine of this vehicle can go from 0 to 62 in a lightning fast 4.1 seconds, which makes it the fastest Aston Martin so far with the most powerful production engine. Aston Martin calls this vehicle a Super Grand Tourer.

The vehicle is constructed of aerospace-engineered carbon-fibre, which means the vehicle is extremely lightweight. In addition to this, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish has the most technologically-advanced interior possible, with capacitive glass buttons and new "haptic feedback." The luxurious interior of the vehicle is also second to no other, with the finest leather and premium stitching.

The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is considered by Aston Martin to be already perfect. There is a singular powerful and gorgeous model that can be customized as necessary to suit the purchaser. The basic model of the Aston Martin Vanquish is already heads and tails above much of the competition, which makes a lot of the additional options a little superfluous. Drivers can add a carbon-fibre roof, adjust the grill color and tail pipe color, and change the color of the meshes.

In general, if you're looking at the gas mileage of an Aston Martin you're going in the wrong direction. The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish has a city rating of 13 MPH, a highway rating of 19 MPH and a combined rating of 15 MPH. A fee is included in the purchase price of the vehicle in regards to its high gas consumption.

Continuing the Aston Martin's tradition of Very Expensive Cars, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish begins at $278,295 with no customization and no options. Dealership models tend to run above $300,000.

Critics noted that this vehicle is extremely fun to drive, though it does take a little while to warm up to. The increased power of the 2014 model is noticeable immediately upon starting, and the style is unmistakably fresh. The suspension of the vehicle is said to be exceptional, though some wished that they could have seen a more advanced gearbox dropped into the car.

- 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 File0001684537651 Car Interior Cleaning Tips