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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
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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
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
03
VWs in the Year 2013 - An Overview
Founded in 1937 Germany, the Volkswagen (VW) brand has undergone many exciting changes since its inception. Actually, the model for the "People's Car" began in the 1920s, so the modern incarnations of the VW has been in the works for close to 100 years.

With each new advance in technology, you can count on VW's designers and manufacturers paying attention and trying to incorporate that technology in ways that benefit you as a driver, especially as a loyal driver of VW cars.

As the year 2013 is heading toward its end, it is a good time to take stock of the exciting news on VW cars over the year and to take a look at the year 2014 and all it has to offer Volkswagen drivers.

A Year of Strides in Fuel Efficiency

The Volkswagen XL1, with a combined fuel consumption of 261 miles per gallon, was announced as the most fuel-efficient production car in the world. As the automotive world continually looks for ways to combine fuel efficiency with style and function, the SL1 sets the standard for the industry with this model.

The CC Offers Drivers Sleek and Simple Beauty

The unveiling of Volkswagen's CC this past year offered drivers exquisite design that is easily accessible to a broad range aesthetic tastes in cars. As VW continues trying to making their line more appealing to Western drivers, they rolled out this CC update in 2013. Toning down more overt style and design choices while adding subtle dashes of flair that create attractive accents for a subtly charming effect. For example, the designers removed the double-height grill and replaced it with VW's standard grill. Making this classic beauty less showy gave the car the bump it needed. Besides cosmetic changes, the CC has kept its best attributes in its engine and handling specifications.

And the World Car of the Year Is...

VW's Golf was named the World Car of the year, which makes the fourth time the German car manufacturer has produced a car that has won this prestigious honor.

VW continues to strive to make its mark across the globe. The opening of a new factory in West Java, Indonesia took place in the middle of 2013 with a projected production of transporters and minivans. With a $140 million investment in this plant, it promises to become an important part of VW's production mission for family-focused cars.

With 2014 in Sight, What is on the Horizon for VW?

Car buyers can look forward to an exciting array of releases from VW in the year 2014. With new releases of classics, which include the Passat, the Jetta Sedan, the Golf, the EOS, the Beetle, the Tiguan and many others. Car aficionados will find continuing improvement on each car's specifications with the new year's releases. With new TDI and GPS features, drivers will find more reasons than ever to find out more about Volkswagen's line of classic cars.

- 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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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
2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD Review
GMC, whose motto is Professional Grade, is plugging in to the world of mobile connectivity while still continuing to work toward better performance and fuel economy. GM has significantly rebooted its full size trucks for 2014, and Sierra gets a new powertrain, more substantial styling, more attractive cabin and a slew of new safety and "infotainment" features.

The new look of the Sierra is refined but big and striking, with a blunt front end and chiseled fenders. A bold black-and-metallic grille and projector headlamps w/available LED trim lighting will make a strong first impression. Controls are nicely arranged in key areas in a large center-stack area and to the left of the steering wheel. Everything is big and straightforward; primary lighting is a cool blue with red back-lighting and red accents on the dials.

Sierra engines have been entirely updated with a new V-6 plus two all new V-8s, all featuring an aluminum block and heads that receive direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing. These engines can run on only 4 cylinders cruising or coasting in small load circumstances. All three engines work with rear-wheel drive or 4WD plus 6-speed automatic transmission, and all models get power steering plus four-wheel disc brakes w/long-life brake rotors.

Sierra Crew Cab now has two different available bed lengths -- 5' 8” or 6’ 6”. Regular-cab models are 6’6” or 8’ and extended-cab models include the mid-range size. There are longer doors as well with B-pillars moved forward for easier entry and exiting. Extended-cab versions now have front-hinged rear doors. Sierra's bed gets an integrated bumper step, LED lighting and damped tailgate.

All Sierras get A/C, keyless entry and AM/FM radio w/ 4.2-inch color display. The GMC IntelliLink connectivity system is optional, combining voice-command Bluetooth connectivity along with Bluetooth audio stream, Pandora, available navigation and an 8 inch configurable touch screen. A 110-volt AC outlet is also available, with some models including up to 4 -12v outlets plus 5 USB ports and SD card slot. Blu-Ray DVD and alternate seating configurations are also available.

A suite of new safety helpers are optional, including camera-based Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Optional Driver Alert Seat vibrates with side pulses to alert the driver about any issues. Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control are included with the standard StabiliTrak control system.

Later in the model year Sierra All-Terrain will get optional Z71 off-roading suspension, recovery hooks, mono tube Rancho shocks, transfer-case shield, auto-locking rear differential, hill descent control and special tires and wheels. Sierra Denali will be adding Bose audio, ventilated seats and a standard V-8 engine.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2014 Nissan Altima Review
The Altima has been rated one of Nissan’s bestselling vehicles in the midsize sedan category. The 2014 edition of the Altima promises to share in this high ranking tradition. With its smooth handling, fuel efficiency and fine-tuned ride, the 2014 Altima gives consumers what they want most in a midsize sedan.

Available in seven trims, the 2014 Nissan Altima gives you a wide range of sedan options to choose from. The various trims are matched with your choice of 4 cylinder or V6 engine. The base model features a 4-cylinder engine, 16 in. steel wheels, keyless entry, adjustable driver’s seat, Bluetooth, 4-speaker sound with CD and powered accessories as standard equipment. Advanced trims enhance interior design with NissanConnect smart phone apps and Display Audio that includes a 5 or 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, rearview camera and more.

In addition to high tech gadgets, the Altima boasts an ultra comfortable cabin, with ergonomic zero gravity seats that relieve body pressure during long drives. The vehicle provides ample leg and head room space for average sized adults; taller passengers may be more limited in this respect, though not enough to cramp their style. The Altima also provides sufficient trunk space for your holiday travels.

Nissan technology can also be seen in the Altima’s improved performance. The vehicle’s high gas mileage and strong acceleration can be attributed to its continuously variable transmission (CVT). The base trim’s 4-cylinder engine offers a combined gas mileage of 31 mpg while the V6 tops at about 25 mpg – both outstanding mileage ratings for a vehicle of its size.

When it comes to power, the Altima’s inline 4-cylinder engine can take it from 0-60 in 7.8 seconds; the V6 engine does even better with a timing of 6.2 seconds. Power + fuel efficiency makes for a winning combination in a family sedan, making driving a pleasure during holiday vacation.

Safety’s another area in which the Altima shines with standard traction control, stability control, antilock brakes and advanced airbags. Optional safety equipment includes blindspot monitor, lane departure alert system and rear cross traffic alerts. The Atima earned 5 stars in government front and side crash tests, further demonstrating its high standard of protection.

- 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 03 VWs in the Year 2013 - An Overview Tip File0001684537651 Car Interior Cleaning Tips