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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
Gps
Advances in GPS Technology
GPS is best known for its ability to help a driver find his or her way around town. This system can automatically locate any given address and then tell you how to reach your desired destination.

However, advances in the industry have made it possible for GPS to do more than simply give you directions. Advanced GPS units can track vehicle mileage, speed and distance traveled. They can keep a record of which places you have visited, how long you have stayed in any given location and even permit car owners to monitor a friend or relative who may be borrowing the car.

BEYOND JUST DIRECTIONS Some GPS systems will warn you if you drive over the speed limit, help you recover your vehicle if it is stolen and even unlock the vehicle and start the engine if you forget your keys in the car. GPS can also be used to make sure the car is in good working order at all times, as the system automatically issues a warning when the battery is low or the oil needs to be changed.

WHAT'S NEXT These advances help the average driver by making driving a safer, more relaxed experience. At the same time, the auto industry has continued to tweak vehicular GPS systems to make them even better than they are today. Ford, for instance, is developing a new GPS that will automatically call emergency services if an airbag is deployed for any reason. This system has already been installed in the Ford Focus and chances are it will be installed in other new Ford models as well.

A VARIETY OF OPTIONS GPS manufacturing companies have also created new features and amenities that make vehicular GPS units easier and more convenient to use. The Magellan SmartGPS, for instance, can not only connect to the internet but also has a smartphone app and dedicated cloud service. This unit allows a driver to download Yelp and Foursquare destinations and provides up to date traffic and fuel price information. The Parrot Asteroid Smart Navigation System provides top notch navigation, mobile apps, music and video playback, hand free calling and an easy to use touch screen interface.

GPS technology has benefited the auto industry a great deal. It enables you to find your way easily, makes it possible to recover a stolen car in short order, monitors that state of the car and traffic conditions and much more. Furthermore, as the GPS industry continues to advance, we can expect more helpful features that will make GPS units even more efficient and convenient than they presently are.

- 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

02
2011 Chevrolet Volt Review
Are you interested in the innovative technology of electric vehicles? Check out the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid electric car. Be prepared to forget how to pump gas into your car thanks to an estimated 93 MPG for city/highway as officiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Park one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles to have a gas-powered engine in your driveway today!

Compare this Chevy model to other compact Chevrolet cars sold in 2011 and you'll find that this model beat all others in terms of standard features. Appreciate the energy saver premium Bose sound system that weighs 40 percent less and sucks out 50 percent less energy compared to other sound systems. Take advantage of the touch-sensitive controls including drive, climate and audio. Stay connected with USB ports and 30 MB of space in a 60 MB hard drive for streaming your favorite tunes.

Go cruising in comfort with black cloth seats and a clean white interior trim. Two LCD screens keep you on target with everything from your speed and fuel/electric status. An aerodynamic sloping roof keeps you flying without sacrificing in power. Fall in love with the rounded front fascia and an enclosed grille that keeps the car looking sporty and cool.

Upgrade your vehicle by adding a premium trim package featuring headed leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opt for the rear camera to assist you with viewing your rear. Consider throwing in the park assist package that provides you with front and rear parking sensors to help prevent the under carriage of the car from bumps and scrapes.

Get ready to save some cash with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. This midsize hatchback sedan with five doors and comfortable seating for four passengers has a MV of $28,638. Considering how much moola you stand to save on fuel, this car will quickly pay for itself.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2013 Scion FR-S Review
The 2013 Scion FR-S is also sold under the name Toyota GT 86. To add to potential confusion, Subaru was also directly involved in the vehicle’s development. The important point for owners to know is that this Scion offers Toyota reliability in a fun rear-wheel drive, front-engine sports car. In fact, FR-S stands for Front Engine, Rear-Wheel Drive Sport.

Engine and transmission: A 2.0-liter 4 cylinder engine powers the 2013 Scion FR-S. It combines an eight injector direct injection system with port fuel injection to provide power and fuel efficiency. The engine produces 200 horsepower. Owners can choose a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Choosing the manual transmission provides drivers with a solid shift.

Handling: The FR-S is designed to be an agile vehicle that handles the road well. It has a low center of gravity and responsive steering. The antiskid and traction control system has four different controllable modes for choices in handling and performance.

Standard and optional features: One difference for the FR-S is that non-standard features are all available individually. There is no set package that must be chosen to obtain one or two desired options. Available options include a sport exhaust system, 18-inch wheels, fog lights and a rear spoiler. Standard features include power windows, mirrors and door locks. With the manual transmission, a programmable shift indicator is included that emits an audio alert letting the driver know when to shift.

Economy and safety: A 2013 Scion FR-S with a manual transmission is rated at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg for highway driving. The automatic transmission gets 25 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway. Yes, fuel economy is higher with the automatic version. The vehicle does require the use of a premium gasoline. Front, side and curtain airbags, ABS and traction control contribute to vehicle safety.

The MSRP base for the Scion with a manual transmission is $24,955. With an automatic transmission, the base price is $26,055.
Check out the Scion FR-S available in some of our top cities!

Cincinnati Scion FR-S

Indianapolis Scion FR-S

Fort Worth Scion FR-S

Louisville Scion FR-S

Orlando Scion FR-S

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 Gps Advances in GPS Technology Tip File0001684537651 Car Interior Cleaning Tips