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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
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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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Advancements in Car Seat Technology
In times past, a car seat was simply that - a seat for a person to sit in and drive a car. However, new advancements in car seat technology aim to make car seats safer and more comfortable than they were in recent history.

GOT STRESS? Ford is currently working on developing a car seat that will monitor a driver for signs of stress. This seat will have temperature and heart rate sensors, a respiration sensor and sonar, radar and cameras that keep an eye on traffic levels. If the car seat determines that a driver is overly stressed out, then the seat will automatically shut off one's cell phone and increase collision alert warning times. The technology is set to be used in Ford vehicle models in five to ten years.

Cadillac has recently manufactured a seat that will vibrate to alert a driver to a potential threat. This seat can now be found in the Cadillac XTS Luxury Sedan and in the future may be added to other Cadillac vehicle models. The goal of this particular feature is to prevent crashes caused when drivers are visually distracted and/or listening to loud music.

ZERO GRAVITY Nissan has recently created a zero gravity, fully ergonomic car seat which can now be found in several 2013 Nissan vehicle models and may be incorporated in later models as well. The goal of this seat is not just to provide a person with a very comfortable car seat but also promote vehicle safety. The company notes that one of the main reasons why drivers get into a vehicle crash is that they are tired or stressed out while driving. The new zero gravity car seat is said to help a driver stay alert for a longer period of time than would have otherwise been possible.

END GOAL While each of these car seat advancements comes from different manufacturers, the end goal is still the same - to provide a driver with a safer, more comfortable driving experience. If you intend to buy a new car this year or a few years down the line, you may want to consider various new seat options, especially if you drive for long periods of time on a regular basis. The right kind of seat can help to make your driving experience not only more pleasant but also safer than before.
Paint
Car Paint Jobs: Different Strokes For Different Folks
People often decide what they’re going to wear each day based on what color fits their mood or the events they have scheduled, such as brighter colors when they are in a festive mood or somber tones when they have to do something serious. Likewise, you may give the walls in your home a new paint job to spruce up the look.

The same goes for cars. You may never have particularly liked the color your car came in, but took it anyway because that was all that was available to you at the time.

Choose Your Color

You don’t have to put up with a color you don’t care for. However, unless you have experience painting cars, it’s prudent for you to let someone with experience take care of it for you. Experts at your local body shop are standing by to give your vehicle a whole new look. For example, you have been putting up with a boring gray-blue exterior, and now you want a yellow paint job to reflect your buoyant spirit. For a relatively modest price, you can dramatically affect the appearance of your car.

You don’t have to settle for standard colors. You can get a custom paint job by selecting different hues to blend together. This is great for people who want to set themselves apart from the crowd. Besides giving your vehicle a new look, another benefit of getting a new paint job is that it can hide some ugly scratches that have been bothering you.

Know Your Options

If you have another car available, you can leave your vehicle at the body shop, where they might ask you to come back the next day. For people who are pressed for time, you can find a place that will paint your car while you wait. However, if you cannot budget any time to drop off your car or wait for the job to be finished, you can arrange for a mobile car painting service to come to your location.

After you get a paint job, you may almost feel that you are driving a new car. It might even take you a few days to get used to it, as you search the parking lot for your old familiar green car when now you have a black car waiting for you.

- 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
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

03
2013 Ford Fiesta Review
Originally introduced in Europe, the Ford Fiesta was targeted toward the younger, perhaps, first time new car buyer. The 2013 Ford Fiesta is a stylish looking sub-compact car that is easy to drive and is very nimble around city streets. It is big enough to hold five people and small enough to squeeze into tight parking spots.

Trim: This popular Ford vehicle is available in three trim packages The S package is the most affordable. The SE is for those who want a few more features like Sirius satellite radio or aluminum wheels. At the top end is the Titanium trim package. Each of these trim packages is available in a four door sedan or five door hatchback model.

Pricing: Affordability is one of the main selling points of the 2013 Ford Fiesta. The MSRP for sedans are $13,200 for the S, $15,200 for the SE and $17,200 for the Platinum. The hatchback prices are $14,200 for the S, $16,200 for the SE and $18,200 for the Platinum. Adding available options can increase the selling price by several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Mileage: This car sips gasoline and gets very respectable gas mileage that is near the top of all cars in the sub-compact category. Available with either a manual or automatic transmission, you can expect to get about 28 mpg in stop-and-go driving and 38 mpg on the wide open highway.

Power: A capable performer, the 1.6 liter engine generate 120 horse power which is good enough to propel it from 0-60 in about 10 seconds. While this car is certainly not going to beat a Corvette off the line, it is more than capable of getting you around in normal, everyday driving.

Pros: Ford gets high marks from drivers for impressive styling, nimble handling, good mileage and an engine that is powerful enough to handle any driving situation.

Cons: Shifting is not as smooth as it could be, particularly with the automatic transmission. Taller and bigger passengers may feel a little cramped in the smallish interior cabin.

Overall: If you are looking for an affordable car that gets good gas mileage, this car works well. It is best for local driving, but can also be taken on the occasional long road trip.

Check out the Ford Fiestas available in some of our top cities!

Los Angeles Ford Fiestas

Houston Ford Fiestas

Fort Worth Ford Fiestas

New York Ford Fiestas

Portland Ford Fiestas

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 File000346334958 Advancements in Car Seat Technology Tip Paint Car Paint Jobs: Different Strokes For Different Folks