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
Electric
The Fastest Electrical Car in the World
As the technology for electric cars begins to improve, it is not surprising that tests are being performed to test the limits on those vehicles. While students at the Ohio State University are working on developing an electric car that can travel more than 300 miles per hour, new records are already being made in Europe. The record for the world's fastest electronic car is roughly 204 miles per hour, and it is constantly being improved. Although world records are important, the development of new technology is providing opportunities for electric car owners.

Growing Interest in Electronic Cars

Although the news regarding speed records is fascinating, the growing interest in electric cars is not limited to just the developments that are being designed by engineers around the world. Car companies are developing more vehicles for the road.

The latest BMW i3 is an electric car that may be appealing to new car owners who want to avoid a gas-powered vehicle. It provides the benefit of fast conversions of energy and direct usage of energy from the battery. The downside is that it will require recharging on a regular basis. It is estimated that a single full-charge will last for 80 to 100 miles, which is not enough for a long journey, but may be suitable for a short trip.

Innovations and Developments

Unlike the original proposals for electric cars, which had severe limitations and were impractical for most common usage requirements, the latest innovations are providing the opportunity to develop energy-efficient solutions.

The latest innovations relate to speed, performance and fuel economy. Electric cars are able to go much farther than the original developments. Although the exact number of miles can vary between cars, electric vehicles are appropriate for short drives and trips. The BMW i3 is able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge and can fully charge within 3 hours on a basic recharging system or 30 minutes in a rapid recharge system.

While other cars are not yet at the same level of innovation, rapid recharge technology is making travel by electric car more viable. The designs are improving to maximize energy efficiency and improve performance on the road.

Increased Horsepower

The horsepower may not yet be at the standards of a muscle car, but it is improving at a rapid rate. The latest innovations have a 170 horsepower engine and that number is improving as innovations develop. As a result of the increased horsepower and the available torque, the new BMW i3 can go from 0 to 60 in 7 seconds, which is an improvement over the Leaf and previous models, which took up to 10 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour.

Technology in the auto industry is constantly improving and changing. Even though electric cars have room to improve, it is clear that cars are beginning to speed up and improve every year. With speeds up to 300 miles per hour and improvements that allow cars to travel farther, it is not surprising that more electric vehicles are on the road.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
File00058871808
Cleaning Your Car CD-Player
The whole experience of traveling in the auto changed with the introduction of the CD-player. For the previous generation, a similar experience came about with the introduction of cassettes and the infamous 8-track players. These products represented the first time someone could tailor their listening pleasure in the auto.

Technology continues to evolve, of course, and people have many ways to enjoy their own tunes while on the move. The CD-player is in millions of cars, however, and many individuals continue to use it as a daily source of pleasure. There is the issue of both the CD and the player getting dirty and needing periodic cleaning to get the best music quality.

PERIODIC MAINTENANCE Taking a few moments for periodic maintenance will extend the life of the CD while improving the listening experience. Some players are mounted in a manner that requires professional cleaning. If, however, you can easily unmount the player you use, the process is simple and follows a series of steps that anyone can use. For the project you need WD-40, Q-tips, ethanol and some dry rags. The steps to follow include:

- Remove all CD's from the player and carousel. Once the trays are empty, extend the tray and remove the fuse. This leaves the optics accessible for cleaning.

- Depending on how the player is mounted, remove it and unscrew the cover. Make sure you place the screws in a safe place.

WD-40 AND BEYOND - Spray some WD-40 on a Q-Tip. Use this to lubricate the laser rails. Never use excessive force, but you can gently remove the laser by moving the plastic cog wheels. This allows the entire rail to be lubricated.

- Put some ethanol on a fresh Q-tip. Use one of the dry rags to squeeze out the excess, you want the swab to be damp but not dripping.

- Very gently clean the lens of the laser optics with the damp swab. Use a steady, soft stroke to cover the surface several times.

LET IT DRY - Allow the lens to dry. Check from several angles to ensure that there is not smearing or streaking.

- Once dry, replace the lid and tighten (but don't over tighten) the screws.

- Once the player is back in place, replace the fuse but don't insert a CD. Power the unit up and listen for the laser and optics to re-seat and slide into place. If there is any problem, don't force anything. In some cases, you may need to remove the fuse and unit and reseat the laser optics on the rail. Repeat as above.

FINISHING TOUCHES - Select a freshly-cleaned CD and insert it on the rack.

- Turn on the system and enjoy fresh quality sounds.

The journey is always more enjoyable when you have your favorite tunes playing along. Taking care of your CD-player will give you many years of musical pleasure.

- 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

01
2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review
Futuristic in both style and convenient touch screen technology, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid represents the first car affordable by most with the luxury only affordable by those with wealth. Henry Ford founded his company on the belief that the average man should be able to have what the privileged were born with, and Ford as a company continues to meet that original goal in this vehicle.

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid comes in eight body colors to please everyone and touch screen technology is built into every dash, for those that want the Ford SYNC features. Starting price is $25,200 MSRP for the SE model and $28,200 MSRP for the SEL model. If you're looking to upgrade to the Energi Plug-in version, that will cost you quite a bit more.

Because it's a hybrid, the engine is a variable transmission that provides 47 MPG, when the car actually uses gas. The interior only has two cloth and two leather choices, depending on which model and upgrades you choose. (Except for black, white and gray, all other exterior colors, like the fun Candy Blue, will cost extra, believe it or not).

Pros Hybrids save you thousands in gas and insurance every year, not to mention that more businesses are installing "Hybrid Only" parking spots, putting you closer to the front door. They are very stylish, and benefit the environment and the economy by reducing pollutants and our dependency on foreign oil. For just a couple thousand more, you can feel like you're driving a Lexus for $25,000-$30,000 less.

Cons Extras like Navigation and Sirius Radio and a different paint job will cost you more. The standard 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid doesn't come as a plug-in; you're entirely dependent upon the green battery installed, which can be expensive to replace once it's out of juice. The trunk is more like a hatchback lift, so if that's not your thing you might find it irritating. The lack of interior color choices tends to make it not only boring, but very hot in the summer by drawing the heat in.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
791870403
2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class represents the peak of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) line-up of German automaker Mercedes-Benz. With a rugged boxy body style and heavy-duty driving feel that hearkens to its military use origins, the 2013 G-Class nevertheless embodies the luxury components that its manufacturer has showered upon the nameplate in recent years.

A four-door vehicle, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is roomy enough for up to five adult passengers. Two versions exist for this SUV: the G550 and the more advanced G63 AMG Coupe.

The G550 version has a 5.5-L V-8 engine with 382 horsepower. The one on the AMG version is also a 5.5-L V-8, although it is twin turbocharged and 154 more horsepower. The engine is installed at the front of the vehicle, and the all-wheel drive gives the SUV better driving control over various road surfaces.

The transmission on the 2013 G-Class is a seven-speed automatic, with paddle shifters to simulate a manual gearbox. With similarities in engine, transmission and drivetrain, each G-Class vehicle can tow up to 7,500 lbs.

Eighteen-inch alloy wheels go on the G550 SUV, while the G63 uses 20-inch ones. LED and fog lights, Xenon headlight wipers, chrome front grille guard and heated power-adjustable electrochromatic side mirrors adorn the vehicle’s exterior. Four-wheel disc brakes and anti-lock braking, trailer stability assist and brake assist systems, and an Electronic Stability Program enhance the SUV’s braking and handling prowess.

Inside the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class includes a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, rear view mirror and an 80GB navigation system. For entertainment, each G-Class SUV has a 12-speaker 450-watt Harman/kardon LOGIC7 stereo system with CD/DVD player, HD Radio, Bluetooth technology and 10GB hard drive space for storing music. Mercedes adds a Burl Walnut wood trim on the G63 AMG.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $113,000. The CLS63 AMG SUV has a higher MSRP, at $134,300.

Check out the Mercedes-Benz G-Class available in some of our top cities!

Los Angeles Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Houston Mercedes-Benz G-Class

St. Louis Mercedes-Benz G-Class

New York Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Portland Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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 Electric The Fastest Electrical Car in the World Tip File00058871808 Cleaning Your Car CD-Player