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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
01
Top 5 Mini Vans for Driving in Charlotte, NC
Nestled along the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlotte, NC offers more than a great view. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic byways, historical sights and natural beauty of the roadways in Charlotte. Take a drive in one of the top five minivans best suited for the nature of the roads in Charlotte.

2014 Kia Sedona

Driving through Crowders Mountain State Park in Charlotte offers plenty of pit stops. From hiking on mountain trails to climbing up natural rock walls, drivers who love an offroad adventure should drive along Route 1125 to Pinnacle Road where Montonia Road becomes 2292 and 1104. Drive along Route 2292 to Route 161 that heads north until you reach I-85 on exit 8. For such an adventurous drive, opt for the powerful yet sporty Kia Sedona. Featuring a V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, you'll be able to navigate the mountain roads with ease.

2014 Honda Odyssey

Take Route 1306 to the small town of Ophir on Lovejoy Road for a weaving drive through Uwharrie National Forest. Pass a cliff called Jumping Off Rock over blue waterways on your way into the old gold mining town of Ophir hidden in the mountain side and covered by majestic green trees. In the Honda Odyssey, spacious seating and an oversized cargo area will grant you the freedom to spend the day driving through this mountain village while having everything you need on hand. Combine that with the clever features of the interior, which include an optional vacuum cleaner, and you have a minivan that is built for function, as well as fun.

2014 Ford Transit Connect Van

Take the Grassy Island Crossing Byway for a historical haunt in the Pee Dee Lakes and Uwharrie area. Once you pass the Grassy Islands north of Blewett Falls Lake, you'll be in the remote and protected wildlife habitat of Pee Dee. Watch for waterfowl and enjoy fishing at Blewett Falls Lake before heading back onto the road. In the Ford Transit Connect Van, appreciate the wondrous beauty of the Grassy Island Crossing Byway while maintaining an affordable drive thanks to 21/29 mpg city/highway. A six-speed shiftable automatic keeps this minivan fun to drive.

2014 Nissan NV200

Continuing on the Uwharrie Scenic Road will take you along Carolina's Slate Belt full of geological history. Situated in the Uwharrie National Forest, a drive on this road will afford you plenty of scenic charm and road side stops. Check out Lake Tillery and Badin Lake located along Pee Dee River. Pack up the entire family along with picnic supplies and geo cashing equipment in the Nissan NV200. This spacious and stylish high end van affords drivers a 24/24 mpg city/highway. The front wheel drive capability of this compact cargo van will give you both space and functionality in one minivan.

2013 Chrysler Town and Country

If you are interested in the native American history of Charlotte, make the drive along the winding Pee Dee River. Stop at local haunts to learn about the local legends of the river and community. Follow the river all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina if you are feeling froggy. Along the drive, you'll have maximum entertainment options for any passengers thanks to the recently upgraded rear seat system featuring a Blu Ray player and USB ports. Tack on a trailer with ease thanks to the trailer sway control and you'll have everything you need for a sporty and entertaining ride.

Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Advances in the Electronic Car Industry
As gasoline prices have gone up over the last few years, people have naturally become more and more interested in electronic car technology. A growing number of car manufacturers are not only creating but also successfully selling tens of thousands of electronic cars on an international level. There are also hybrid cars that run partly on electricity and partly on gas; these are also popular with many people who are looking for a way to reduce carbon emissions and save money on transportation.

PRIMARY REASONS The two main reasons why electronic vehicles have failed to become popular on a widespread basis is the fact that these vehicles are expensive to manufacture and so out of reach price wise for most ordinary people. Electronic cars are also not easy to charge, as at present they can only be charged in one’s home and not while out and about.

BATTERIES AND BEYOND However, there are some important advancements being made in electronic car battery technology. These advancements look set to make electronic cars easier to use and cheaper than they presently are. Most electronic cars use lithium-ion batteries, which are more efficient than the cadmium batteries that were used in early electronic car models. Recently, researchers have created semi-solid flow cell batteries, a completely new type of battery that is easier and significantly cheaper to manufacture than lithium-ion batteries. Semi-solid flow cell batteries are also smaller than other electronic car battery types and researchers are already stating that these batteries could, in the future, ensure that electronic cars cost no more than gas powered cars.

MORE MATERIALS Companies that manufacture electronic cars are also experimenting with different manufacturing materials. The material used to make a car determines in large part how much the car weights; the heavier the car, the more fuel (or electricity) it will need. While plastic was generally the material of choice in times past, some popular alternatives are starting to emerge, such as aluminum alloy, fiberglass and carbon fiber. These materials are used not only for the car body but also the frame and various interior and exterior accessories.

FINDING SOLUTIONS Naturally, some problems still exist. The fact that electronic charging stations are non-existent is still a major obstacle. Another large obstacle is the fact that such charging stations would put a large drain on any city's electric supply. However, the good news is that widespread electric car usage is becoming more realistic by the day as manufacturers make advances to make these cars more convenient and affordable than they were in the not so distant past.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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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
Charlotte2
Car Clubs, Auto History and More in Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC, best known to drivers as the Home of NASCAR, is located along the southern edge of North Carolina and the border of South Carolina. As a result this is a popular city for drivers cruising along the mountain roads of the southeast. As the largest city in North Carolina, and one of the least walkable metropolitan cities in the U.S., expect to find an elaborate maze of roads, bypasses and highways with plenty of pit stops along the way.

A visit to Charlotte for a driver should begin with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This museum gives honor to the best NASCAR drivers with an induction into the Hall of Fame. Just a few of the drivers to achieve this status include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Junior Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett. Drivers in Charlotte are most likely to see NASCAR officials and hosts eating lunch on a weekday or cruising home from work as offices of more than 75 percent of NASCAR employees are located here.

If you prefer to experience drag racing, either as an amateur performer or a bystander, take note of the NHRA dragstrip and zMAX Dragway in and around Charlotte. Enjoy a restful night sleep at an upscale hotel located in the Metrolina Speedway and Sports Center. In addition to accommodations, this speedway rebuild includes an outdoor racing track, roof top state park and shopping opportunities. You'll be surrounded by all things speed with a stay at this Sports Center.

Consider taking a drive over to the Universal Technical Institute branch of the NASCAR Technical Institute. Located in the bordering town of Mooresville, which is best known as Race City USA, this educational institution regularly hosts campus events. Check out their calendar on your ride into Charlotte to see if you can catch programs, such as the Monster Jam Open House featuring the Grave Digger monster truck or the Top Tech Challenge in which high school students compete in automotive tests to win scholarships to the school. With some luck, some of the institute's supporters, such as NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, may be at a NTI event.

After a long day of driving through the racing city of the southeast, if you want to fill your stomach check out the local food trucks. Ideal for eating on the run, simply park your car and walk up to these gut busting and tasty restaurants on wheels. If you are in town for the weekend, take note of Food Truck Friday and Sizzlin' Saturday that are regularly held throughout the year. On these evenings, you can experience the heart of Charlotte culture while rubbing shoulders with the locals. In addition to a wide range of food options from spicy barbeque to fried foods worthy of fairs, you'll enjoy live entertainment that will keep you going long after you are weary from a day of driving.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Reviews

03
2014 Toyota Camry
If you are looking for a sturdy, reliable, affordable vehicle that has great gas mileage, then you may want to consider investing in the 2014 Toyota Camry. This compact yet powerful vehicle can be purchased for $22,235, is available in seven different trim options and comes with either a 2.5 liter I4 Engine or 3.5 liter V6 engine, depending on which trim you purchase.

The 2014 Camry may not be the most stylish sedan on the market, but it is sleek and good looking. More importantly, it runs well and has a comfortable interior. What is more, the interior is made using better materials and more stylish detailing than previous models. It also has a new dual tier instrument panel that provides more space for the driver and front seat rider.

Interior features available for all trims include Bluetooth audio streaming, USB and iPod connectivity and a screen based display audio system. Other features found in most models include HD radio, satellite radio and a navigation system with voice recognition.

The 2014 Camry's top quality airbag deployment system and blind spot warning system are just some of the many features that help to make this vehicle safe. In fact, this particular model has scored five star review ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

One of the main disadvantages to purchasing this particular vehicle is that it is not as comfortable as some of its counterparts. The rear seatback does not fold flat, the base front seats do not have as much support as you would expect and the ride is a bit choppy. Even so, these small inconveniences do not detract from the fact that the 2014 Camry is well made, economical, safe and easy to drive.

If you are looking for a five seat sedan for yourself and/or your family, then the 2014 Toyota Camry may be right for you. It is well made, gets up to 28 miles per gallon and has numerous features and amenities that make it safe, reliable and a joy to drive.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
02
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is intended to be a powerful and capable truck with advanced towing capabilities and overall performance. The vehicle is intended to be versatile, allowing its driver to deal with extreme circumstances. Buyers can select either a crew cab or a regular cab, depending on the amount of space that they desire, and the rest of the vehicle is highly customizable as well.

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is the latest installment in Chevrolet's award winning Silverado series, which has long been acclaimed for its power and functionality. The series is extremely affordable and is considered one of the best heavy duty trucks in its class. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD features a Duramax Diesel V8 Engine and has the most standard trailering capability of its trucking class.

There are a multitude of trim options for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD to suit anyone's needs. The customization begins with the selection of the crew cab or the regular cab. Different trim options also include the selection of two wheel drive or four wheel drive. From there, the different models are the L, LTZ, SRW LT, SRW LTZ, Work Truck and SRW Work Truck.

The pricing on this vehicle varies widely based on trim. The most basic model of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD has an MSRP of $27,615; this is the standard double cab model. The most basic model of the crew cab begins at $32,200.

Critics have acclaimed the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD as the best Silverado so far. Chevrolet put a lot of work into this model of Silverado, enhancing its features and adding new technology wherever applicable. The overall look of the Silverado has been updated to be cleaner and more modern, and the vehicle is extremely powerful even when compared to the other leading pickup trucks. However, critics did note that the fuel saving capability of the vehicle isn't up to par with the offerings of some other manufacturers.

- 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 01 Top 5 Mini Vans for Driving in Charlotte, NC National File0001402533256 Advances in the Electronic Car Industry Tip File00058871808 Cleaning Your Car CD-Player