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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
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Tips for Safe Driving in Hazardous Weather
If you live in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains or northeastern United States, driving in ice and snow is part of the winter landscape. Even the mid-Atlantic and southern states can be hit with an occasional ice storm, making driving dangerous. We can't always stay inside during bad weather, no matter what the weather reporters advise. However, knowing a few safe driving tips, like the ones below, can make your winter driving less hazardous.

1. Slow down. It's simple, but slowing down makes it easier to stop and also gives you more reaction time should a driver in front of you lose control.

2. Skip the cruise control. Avoid using cruise control or overdrive on icy roads. You need to have total control of your vehicle in winter weather conditions.

3. Keep a safety kit in the car. Not all winter hazards come directly from driving. Being stranded in a snowbank in sub-zero temperatures can quickly become a life-threatening situation. Be prepared for the worst by packing your trunk with a couple of blankets, extra clothes, a battery-powered flashlight, a shovel, snack bars, bottled water, flares and a weather radio.

4. Make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. Winter is no time to be limping along on balding tires or tires that leak air.

5. Clean off your car. We've all done it: drive with just a small area scraped off from the icy windshield. However, you limit your ability to see and react when your windows are icy. Brush off the snow from the roof, also, so it doesn't blow on the windshield when you start driving and impair your vision.

6. Keep your gas tank full. A full tank will eliminate worries if you are detoured due to a snowed-in road or if you are stopped in traffic.

7. Give the snow plows plenty of room. Not only do snow plows have limited side vision, but the road ahead of the plows will virtually always be worse than the road behind the plow. Let the plows do the work of clearing the road.

So, buckle up, keep your car in good working order and pay attention. Winter driving is a lot less hazardous if you're prepared.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Dents and Scratches - An Auto Lover's Tip Guide
Car lovers are notorious for noting every flaw in a vehicle. Even tiny dents and miniscule scrapes and scratches can turn a buyer off from purchasing a used car. Smart car buyers, however, will take advantage of imperfections on a vehicle to get a reduced price and then look into inexpensive body repair to enhance the vehicle's appearance. The following tips offer some insight into fixing dents and scratches on your car at reasonable costs.

Scratch, Scrape and Gouge Repair

You may be able to cover up simple scratches with touch up paint and leave it at that. However, deep scratches that expose your car’s primer color may need to be filled with scratch filler and sanded down before painting. Fine sandpaper (400-grit) works best for initial sanding. Afterward, you can work your way up to 800-grit sandpaper to finish the job. After painting, add a coat of wax to bring out the shine.

Scrapes and gouges on plastic bumpers can be repaired in much the same way using fillers and touch up paints to recover your bumper’s attractive look.

Dents

Dents may be trickier to repair on your own, especially if you’ve never done this type of minor auto body repair work before. If you’re lucky, you may be able to pop the dent out from behind. Otherwise, you could try filling in the dent with body filler and repainting the entire surface. You may need to revise your work several times before getting it just right. Another option would be to do the body filling yourself and have an expert paint the area for a more professional touch.

Selecting Paint

Most auto part shops carry touch up paints in a wide selection of colors. By perusing through your vehicle owner’s manual, you should be able to find the code for the color of paint you need. For large touch up jobs, custom mixing your paint for a better match and spray painting the area may be more effective in getting the job done.

With the cost of new vehicles at an all-time high, purchasing a quality used car makes for a wise investment. Minor auto body repair can help restore the beauty of your used vehicle without overextending your budget.

- 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

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2013 Nissan Rogue Review
The 2013 Nissan Rogue has no significant changes for the new model year. One nice change, however, is that some of the optional features from previous years are now included standard. MSRP is about $22,000 for the base model S and $24,750 for the SV.

This small crossover vehicle seats five passengers. The 2013 Nissan Rogue has a drivetrain comprised of a 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine with a continuously variable transmission. There is no option for a manual or automatic transmission. Buyers do have a choice between front wheel and all wheel drive. The Rogue has an estimated fuel consumption of 23 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

The 2013 Nissan Rogue S comes equipped with keyless entry, power windows, doors and locks, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning and a four speaker audio system. The Special Edition package upgrades the S to include fog lights, upgraded six speaker audio system with steering wheel controls and a rearview camera.

The Rogue SV has most of the features of the S combined with the upgrade package. Additional features include power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, folding front passenger seat, upgraded upholstery and keyless ignition. There are two upgrade packages available on the SV. The Premium Edition adds automatic headlights, a sunroof, navigation and replaces the audio system with a Bose sound system. The SL package adds even more amenities like 360 degree camera view, leather upholstery with heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated side mirrors, xenon headlights and an eight speaker Bose sound system.

Safety features included standard on the 2013 Nissan Rogue include front and rear head airbags, dual front side mounted airbags, whiplash protection system, traction and stability control and child seat anchors.
Check out the Nissan Rogues available in some of our top cities!

Cincinnati Nissan Rogues

Portland Nissan Rogues

Austin Nissan Rogues

Louisville Nissan Rogues

Orlando Nissan Rogues

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2013 Jeep Wrangler Review
Hop aboard the 2013 Jeep Wrangler for a one-of-a-kind roadway experience. Featuring an MSRP ranging from $22,195 to $30,595, the Wrangler is highlighted by its off road capabilities without sacrificing comfort of highway driving. Notice the fuel economy of 17/21 city/highway, which is a good amount for this powerful 3.6 liter V6 that pumps out 285 horsepower. You get your pick of either a 6 speed manual with overdrive or a 5 speed automatic, also featuring overdrive.

Choose from the two door four seater standard Jeep Wrangler and the four door five seater style in the Unlimited trim style. Also included standard in the Jeep is the automatically dimming rear view mirror stylized with high performance LED map lights. You'll have no trouble popping the soft top of the Unlimited model. Upgrade the soft top for a premium three layers and lush material that provides you with a quieter cabin than ever before.

Check out the Moab trim style, a limited edition model debuting in the 2013 model. Similar to the previous Sahara model, the Moab has 17 black alloys, off road tires, rock rails, black bumbers and Trak-Lok for the rear differential. The standard issue version features 16 inch steel wheels and the signature spare tire on the rear gate. Opt for either the premium soft top or go with the more sturdy hard top, which is available in three individual panels for easy removal.

Notice the interior of the 2013 Wrangler, which comes standard with cloth seats, CD stereo, an MP3 jack, circular air vents, and a storage bin that locks. Upgrade for leather seats, heated seats up front, a house style power outlet, power windows/locks, air conditioning, a navigational system, and a premium Alpine radio system. All of your safety concerns are alleviated in the 2013 Jeep Wrangler, thanks to the standard issue electronic stability system featuring rollover prevention technology. Add the optional front seat airbags for even greater safety precautions.

Check out the Jeep Wranglers available in some of our top cities!

Los Angeles Jeep Wranglers

Houston Jeep Wranglers

Fort Worth Jeep Wranglers

Denver Jeep Wranglers

Portland Jeep Wranglers

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 Hazard-driving3 Tips for Safe Driving in Hazardous Weather Tip File000790994019 Dents and Scratches - An Auto Lover's Tip Guide