News

Current Chicago Auto News
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
File000530964878
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
02
The Secrets You've Never Been Told About the Jaguar
Since its inception in 1935, the Jaguar has seen many changes, yet the manufacturer has remained devoted to bringing luxury sports cars that deliver high performance to the world. The Jaguar first entered the automotive scene in 1935, when the SS Jaguar 2.5 liter Saloon was unveiled at the London’s Mayfair Hotel. Amazingly, this early Jaguar cost just 385 pounds. Jaguar entered the sports car scene three years later in 1938, when the manufacturer introduced the 3.5 liter SS100. The sporty car won the RAC Rally and several prizes at the Alpine Trial.

THE 1940'S This sporting trend continued in 1949 with the introduction of the XK120. This design created quite a stir at the British Motor Show with its curving lines and convertible top. It was tested on the Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium without its windscreen and reached an unbelievable speed at the time of 132 mph. This made it the fastest production car in the world that year.

This led the manufacturer to push for success on the racetrack. In 1951, the C-Type Jaguar, with its aerodynamic design and lightweight construction, won its first victory at Le Mans. Over the next few years it its successor, the Jaguar D-Type, was quite successful, finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th in the 1957 Le Mans. This was also considered one of the most beautiful competition cars of all time.

THE 1960'S In 1961, the Geneva Motor Show saw the launch of the Jaguar E-Type. This graceful and powerful car had a long, elegant hood that drew the attention of attendees, leaving its competition lacking. In 1968, Jaguar planted itself in the middle of the luxury car class with the XJ6 Saloon. Speed was still important to Jaguar, however, and in 1972 it gave the XJ6 a V12 engine that was capable of 140 mph, making it once again the world’s fastest production car. In 1975, the XJ-S model arrived on the scene. This was the perfect combination of a racing car and a luxury sports car, and that same year it set a record breaking time in the Coast to Coast Cannonball Run in the US, finishing in 31 hours and 51 minutes.

THE 1980'S AND BEYOND In 1988 and 1990, the Jaguar once again won at Le Mans, first with the 7.0-liter XJR-9 and then with the XJR-12 the next year. In 1990, the company would forever be changed when Ford bought the name. Speed remained important, with the XK8 coming out in 1996, where the car’s speed was matched by the speed at which it sold, becoming the fastest selling sports car in the Jaguar history.

In 2008, the first Jaguar of the new millennium, the KX, was finally released. Also that year, Jaguar released the XF. These two cars were packed with technology, yet they still embraced the speed and luxury that has defined the Jaguar brand throughout the years, with a level of refinement that makes them a stand out luxury brand. A supercharged XFR reached record speeds of 226 mph in Utah that year as well. In 2010, that success was mirrored with the release of the XJ, which also was heralded throughout the world for its performance and styling.

Today, Jaguar remains one of the premier names in the sports car industry, and the manufacturer continues to bring innovations to the field through its luxury cars.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
File0001645256700
Advances in Car Backup Cameras
While the car accidents that cause the most damage and thus receive the most attention generally involve t-bones or head-on collisions, smaller accidents can also prove quite costly over the course of time. Such is the case with collisions that occur while a car is backing up. Drivers may misjudge the amount of room they have while attempting to parallel park, and thus, wind up scratching, denting or even smashing their vehicle and possibly a car belonging to someone else as well.

IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY Fortunately, improvements in technology have greatly decreased the likelihood of drivers winding up in such scrapes. Particularly useful is the backup camera, with which a driver can get a more accurate idea of the amount of room available for backing up. Rear view cameras greatly enhance the safety factor on a car. After all, one of the greatest blind spot areas for a driver consists of the area behind the vehicle.

STATISTICS The child advocacy group Kids and Cars reports that over fifty kids die every year in accidents related to cars backing up. Rear view cameras provide the opportunity to prevent such tragedies. Many of today's newer cars come with these cameras already built in, but for drivers with older vehicles, it is still possible to buy a separate rear view camera and have it installed.

EVOLVING IMPROVEMENTS The first car backup cameras were already quite impressive, but they have only gotten better since their emergence on the market. Initial models were somewhat compromised by the angle of the lens, for at the time, it was impossible to provide a clear close-up image without greatly decreasing the image quality for far-away objects. Recent improvements have extended the range in which such clarity is available. Many cameras have also added the option of night vision, which is especially useful for anyone trying to back up a vehicle after the sun has set. While a vehicle's lights can provide assistance in the dark, sometimes the positioning is such that night vision is required.

MORE ACCURACY While not necessarily a complete replacement for the rear view mirror, the backup camera does improve the accuracy with which a driver is able to reverse his or her vehicle. A number of improvements have already been made on early models, and as the technology continues to develop, we can expect even better features in the future. For now, the backup camera is definitely able to meet its intended function -- making roads and parking lots safer.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
File0001902720097
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

05
2014 Ford Explorer Review
The Ford Explorer debuted in 1991 and fueled the popularity of the SUV across America. The Ford Explorer has changed a lot since then and has kept up with the times; a combination of power, interior refinement and added fuel economy has made the SUV more desirable than ever. The 2014 model now comes with standard automatic headlights for all trim packages, and second-row heated seats come standard with the Limited trim package.

The Explorer features a car-like unibody construction (as opposed to its past more truck-like base.) Today's Explorer has more interior space, improved fuel economy and offers a much more comfortable ride for up to seven passengers. Second-row seatbelt airbags, lane-departure warning and a lane-keeping assist bring the new Explorer into new realms of safety and comfort.

The standard engine is a 290 HP V-6 that will meet most driver's needs, but there's also a turbocharged 2.0 L four-cylinder engine that gives better fuel efficiency. The Explorer Sport model offers performance with a turbocharged 3.5 L V-6 that offers 365 hp, firmer suspension tuning and added cosmetic details for both the interior and exterior.

Trim options for the 2014 Explorer include base, the XLT, Limited and Sport. Standard base equipment includes V-6 engine, automatic headlamps, 17-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails, integrated blind-spot mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, 50/50-split third-row seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a six-way power driver seat, manual recline, a six-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack, and a trip computer.

The XLT trim package will add 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, foglamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, Sync voice-activated phone and entertainment interface, keyless entry code pad, six-way front passenger seat, a USB port and satellite radio. You'll also get Equipment Group 201A package with rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, nine-speaker sound system, Driver Connect package with auto-dimming rearview mirror, Touch electronics controls (three configurable displays, SD card reader and audio/video input jacks and two USB ports) as well as upgraded Sync functionality. A 202A package has 201A equipment plus heated front seats, leather upholstery and an 8-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar.

The Limited package has all of the above plus 20-inch wheels, remote engine start, heated outboard second-row seats, a 110-volt power outlet and a 12-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio and power-adjustable pedals with memory. Optional is the 301A package with power liftgate, power-folding for the third-row seat, 8-way power passenger seat, a heated and power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with navigation system and ventilated front seats.

The 302A package will add xenon headlamps, automatic high beams, an automatic parallel-parking system, lane-departure and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with brake support and collision warning, inflatable seatbelts for second-row outboard passengers, and a blind-spot warning system.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2014 Jaguar XK Review
Sleek and sexy, the 2014 Jaguar XK lives up to the legendary Jaguar name and more. With a lustrous body, elegant cabin and generous high tech features, the Jaguar is ready to take you where you want to go in style. Consumers will also find the starting price of $79,000 quite appealing for a luxury sports car vehicle of this class.

Those looking for a unique sports car experience need look no further than what the 2014 Jaguar XK has to offer. As the vehicle is available in five trims, you’ll have little trouble finding one that suits your personality or purpose. Each trim comes as a convertible or coupe, with the exception of the XKR-S GT coupe – a limited edition of which only 25 will be sold in the American market.

The base Jaguar XK features such amenities as 19 in. wheels, keyless entry/ignition, auto bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, auto dimming mirrors, front/rear parking sensors and rearview camera. The convertible design comes with a powered fabric roof with tonneau cover that lowers in less than 20 seconds. Once in place, you benefit from a well insulated cabin that gives you a quiet, peaceful ride. Designed for fun, pleasure and performance, the Jaguar XK exceeds all expectations in every category.

The interior of the 2014 Jaguar XK is just as impressive as its exterior design with such features as all leather upholstery, heated power seats, telescoping steering, dual-zone climate control, touch screen interfacing, Bluetooth, navigation system, iPod USB interface and more. Music lovers will thrill to the pristine 14 speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system that ensures optimum music pleasure during long drives.

If you’re like most sports car fanatics, you’ll be extremely interested in the SK’s performance. Jaguar powertrains make sure you are not disappointed. The base level Jaguar comes with a 385 HP V8 engine while upper level trims put up to 550 HP at your command. These engines are matched with fine tuned suspension, RWD, 6-speed auto transmission and effortless steering to provide you with impressive handling and control. EPA gas mileage is also not bad at 16/24 mpg city/highway driving.

The 2014 Jaguar XK balances power with safety to provide greater protection as you drive. Standard safety features include traction control, stability, antilock brakes, side airbags in the front and head restraints. The Advanced Technology pack, which is optional on the base trim, adds a forward collision warning system to your safety gear.

Whether you’re cruising through the city or enjoying an extended scenic drive in the country, the 2014 Jaguar XK ensures you lack for nothing to enjoy your travels to the full.

- 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 02 The Secrets You've Never Been Told About the Jaguar Tip File0001645256700 Advances in Car Backup Cameras