News

Current Charlotte Auto News
04
Top 5
Snazzy Compact Cars for Driving in Charlotte, NC
Driving around Charlotte can be a fun way to spend the afternoon. From the winding country roads out near Union County to the fast paced I-95 that carries you right to the fun spots of downtown, nothing beats a sunny day cruising around the Queen City! One thing for sure is that Charlotte is a big city with lots of fun things to see and do, so if you’re going to enjoy all it has to offer, you better get yourself a fun and sporty compact car that gets great gas mileage! Here’s the Top 5 compact cars you’ll see around town:

Top 5 Compact Cars:

1. Ford Focus Great fuel economy, a sporty look, and a roomier, upscale interior has folks in the Charlotte area loving the Ford Focus. Offering 26/36 mpg city/highway, the Focus gets you to all your favorite places around The Queen City and leaves you with some money in your wallet for some downtown fun. The Focus ST comes with a powerful turbo-charged engine and superb handling, making it a top performer.

2. Chevrolet Cruze - If you’re looking for a high quality and high performance compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze definitely delivers. The interior is roomy and comfortable and the fuel efficient design will have you cruising all the way from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to Carowinds Amusement Park without even thinking about a gas station stop! Tons of options are available including remote keyless entry, rearview camera, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and more!

3. Honda Civic - The Honda Civic is a popular choice yet again this year. The smooth ride and excellent standard features keeps this fun to drive car at the top of reviewer’s lists. It offers a sound resistant cabin for a quiet ride and even boasts a new feature that reads your incoming text messages out loud for you allowing a safe trip to your favorite concert at the Time Warner Arena without missing important messages!

4. Mazda 3 Sporting a powerful engine with a fun to drive sporty feel, the Mazda 3 offers a lot of upscale options drivers will love. Cruise to the Carolina Panthers game in style and be prepared to enjoy the envious looks you will get when you arrive in this new sleek Mazda design! They’ll be even more jealous when they hear it gets 30/41 mpg city/highway!

5. Kia Soul This spunky little car comes loaded with cool features and offers up plenty of room for everything you want to buy at the Concord Mills Outlet Shops! The Soul provides a smooth ride, even on Charlotte’s country back roads and comfy seats for the long haul. Standard features include Bluetooth, satellite radio, steering wheel mounted audio/cruise controls and USB and auxiliary inputs for the tech savvy.

- 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
Charlotte
For The Love of Driving: Charlotte
Located in the southwest region of North Carolina, Charlotte is a beautiful city that boasts a busy economy, lots of tourism destinations and miles and miles of incredible roads to explore. Whether you're grabbing the keys and hopping into your Honda Civic for a little solo excursion or piling a few friends into a Infiniti Q60 with the top down, here are a few of Charlotte's hidden gems and local favorites to check out once your motor's humming:

Carowinds

No visit to Charlotte, NC would be complete without a day of play at the state's most famous amusement park. Filled with coasters, thrill rides and a water park that will cool off the hottest summer day, the park is found right off of the aptly-named Carowinds Boulevard in the south part of the city. Get amped up for a coaster-thon by cruising down 77 on your way in - it gives a "road trip" feel to an outing at this thrill center.

Wing Haven Gardens

Often overlooked for larger parks and public spaces, Wing Haven makes an excellent stop on a warm day - especially if you tuck a picnic basket and camera into the back of your Toyota Prius. The carefully cultivated and curated gardens at Wing Haven offer beautiful blooms, sculpted topiaries and lots more greenery to check out. Spend the day taking in the lush botanical gardens and bird sanctuary, finishing off your visit with a leisurely cruise down Ridgewood Avenue to take in the sunset on your way back home.

Lazy 5 Ranch

If you prefer to get a glimpse of more exotic fauna, the Lazy 5 is a classic tourist stop in Charlotte. Bring the kids, enjoy the drive out to nearby Mooresville and temporarily trade your Honda Odyssey for a horse-drawn carriage ride through a scaled-down savannah. Rhinos, giraffes and more cavort mere feet from the cart, offering an incredible experience for animal fans who want to get up close and personal. If you need a great place to cool off once you've completed your safari, be sure to head west and take a dip in Lake Norman before concluding your adventures.

No matter where you decide to take a drive in Charlotte, you'll find the city a welcoming place for vehicles ranging from Mini Coopers to Ford Edges. If you decide to visit any of these interesting places or new destinations within the city, be sure to get an early start - after all, you certainly won't be the first driver intent on investigating how much charm is packed into this sweet southern city.

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
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
File000639811243
Best Car Service Centers in Charlotte, North Carolina
If you live in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and your car needs a tune-up, quick wash or new sound system, these local businesses will get your car into top shape!

Car Washes

If you live in South End or Dilworth, then your car needs to make a pit stop at Autobell Car Wash on South Boulevard. They offer excellent car washes for quality prices and even have manager's specials that include extras like rain repellent. They usually get you in and out in less than fifteen minutes and offer honest recommendations for upgrades based on your car's needs. Additionally, their customer service goes above and beyond what is expected and required. Autobell Car Wash is the perfect choice for any automobile needing a little tender, love and care.

If you live closer to Starmount and you car needs more attention than just the standard wash, Exclusive Detail and Tint on Chastain will surely please. Brian is friendly, efficient and talented. He comes highly recommended and will always ask for permission before fixing or working on anything extra. Exclusive Detail and Tint also does scratch removal and repair, window tinting and clay bar and custom cleaning. You can also book your appointment online.

Car Repair

Located on Iverson Way in Dilworth, Neighborhood Garage is a family owned business that always leaves customers feeling satisfied. They have fair prices, quality customer service and honest mechanical assessments. The staff here will not up-sell on unnecessary parts or services. The staff will even give you a ride to pick up or drop off your car if you need. Neighborhood Garage definitely goes above and beyond!

Eurowise in Starmount is another high rated car repair shops in Charlotte. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and they have a great deal of experience in foreign cars. They are a trustworthy source for information, quotes and honest opinions. They are also close to the light rail, which makes it convenient for transportation to and from the shop.

Whether you live in Dilworth or Starmount or anywhere in the Charlotte area, these local car washes and car repair shops will leave your car feeling and looking great. Family owned and customer service driven, all of these service centers are a step above the rest.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Reviews

02
2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Review
The 2013 MINI Cooper Roadster brings a whole new look and feel to the nameplate with its convertible top and seating for two. While this is not the first convertible MINI, it is the first two-seater built since the reboot of the name about a decade ago, and it's about time. All of the fun stuff that makes the MINI what it is gets put into the Roadster to create a car that is irresistible to own and drive.

From all appearances, the exterior of the 2013 MINI Cooper Roadster looks like a regular mini with the top cut off. However, put the top up, and you have something that looks more akin to a 70s-era roadster, not necessarily a bad thing. Its length comes in at a hair shorter than the regular MINI, yet still only has about 8.5 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk.

There is no wimping out on the available engines, what with the 184hp 1.6-liter turbo engine, producing 177 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes as standard, and buyers have the option of adding in a six-speed automatic. The power is a bit necessary as the Roadster is somewhat heavy, due to the need for a heavier suspension. The suspension is beefed up in order to make up for the lack of a roof to combat airflow and wind.

The beefy suspension helps the Roadster maintain MINI's reputation for being an adult go-kart in terms of handling, maintaining the brand's handling status-quo. Also helping keep the rear end on the road is a built-in spoiler that raises automatically when the car's speed goes over 50 mph.

The standard equipment list is a lengthy one that includes power steering, electric rear-view mirrors, fully adjustable seats, air conditioning, and an MP3 capable stereo system with an AUX IN jack. Buyers can add on details such as adaptive headlights, Harmon Kardon stereo system, navigation system and more.

Check out the MINI Cooper Roadsters available in some of our top cities!

Los Angeles MINI Cooper Roadsters

Houston MINI Cooper Roadsters

Fort Worth MINI Cooper Roadsters

New York MINI Cooper Roadsters

St. Louis MINI Cooper Roadsters

02
2014 Volkswagen Jetta Review
If you want to purchase an affordable, top quality car that can seat up to five people and is safe, sturdy and economical on fuel, then the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan may be the right choice for you.

Unlike most other German-made sedans on the market, the 2014 Jetta Sedan is very reasonably priced; in fact, a person can purchase a base trim for as little as $15,545. The 2014 Jetta Sedan gets up to 24 miles per gallon on a regular road and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. It has a new 1.8L turbocharged four cylinder engine and is backed up by a three year/36,000 mile warranty.

There are eight different trim options to pick from; no matter what type of features or amenities you are looking for, you are sure to find a 2014 Jetta Sedan that meets your requirements. Some of the many safety features that are included in all models are air bags, ABS brakes, child safety rear door locks, traction control, stability control and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The interior is stylish and classy, albeit not luxurious. There is plenty of legroom for all passengers and the features and amenities are practical and easy to use. Almost all models include Bluetooth connectivity although the basic trim does not.

If you are looking for a vehicle model with all the latest "creature comforts", then the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan would most likely not be a good choice for you. While high priced trim options do include numerous features and amenities, the Jetta Sedan is not by nature a luxury vehicle. It should also be noted that this five seat vehicle only has five speed manual transmission and does not offer four wheel drive capabilities.

Despite its few lacks, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan is sure to be the vehicle of choice for those who are looking for a reliable, affordable sedan. This particular model comes with plenty of safety, entertainment and practical driving features, offers a smooth, comfortable ride and is sturdy enough to hold up to years of use.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Charlotte Car Dealers

Top 5 04 Snazzy Compact Cars for Driving in Charlotte, NC The Smart Car Buyer File000530964878 What to Bring With You When Car Shopping Local Charlotte For The Love of Driving: Charlotte National Gps Advances in GPS Technology Tip Paint Car Paint Jobs: Different Strokes For Different Folks