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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
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Family Car Camping Tips
Car camping affords families a great deal of luxuries while in campgrounds. Camping by car allows families to park closely to a camp site, which makes camping easily accessible and more convenient. By planning ahead with the following family car camping tips, you can make the most of your vehicle and next family vacation.

Storage Counts

Pack everything in large plastic bins for easy access when packing and unpacking. Clear totes give you full view of the contents, making it easier to find cooking utensils, water toys, and clothing. Also, by packing your items in lockable containers, you reduce the likelihood that thieves on four legs will break into your stash of peanut butter, beef jerky and fruit cups.

Planning Ahead for Meals

One of the biggest conveniences afforded by car camping is the ability to bring everything but the kitchen sink. Pack according to the meals you will be preparing to make food prep easier. Separate items in plastic containers according to dry goods, those that need refrigerated, and foods to remain on ice. Write out a meal plan and attach a copy to the top of each food storage container. This keeps everyone on target with the meals, so that those grazing guests won’t end up eating the items needed for meal times.

Keep It Quiet

Just because you are car camping, it doesn’t mean that you should take advantage of the radio system in your vehicle. Keep things peaceful and quiet by turning off your car radio. By tuning out of music while on your camping trip, you get an ear full of the bugs and the bees that make camping so enjoyable. This also means killing the music while driving through your campground and park areas. As a bonus, by cutting out the commercialized sounds, you increase the chances that you will experience a real life encounter with some wild animal.

Reckoning the Rainy Days

Rainy days can dampening the spirit of any camping excursion. Of course, when car camping you can always resort to spending the night in the dry cabin of a car. Let this be the last resort. As you are camping by car, you have the space to bring along plenty of toys, games and activity ideas. Add a container of toys and games that are ideal for any possible weather to make the best of your family car camping adventure.

- 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
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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

06
2014 Lincoln MKS Review
The 2014 Lincoln MKS is a stylish new vehicle model that is available in two trims (EcoBoost Sedan and Base Sedan). There are various color options to pick from and the cost of one of these vehicles ranges from $40,425 to $47,415. The 2014 Lincoln MKS gets up to 17 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

This particular model is easy to drive and has a powerful 365 horsepower V6 engine, a highly adaptive suspension and all wheel drive. It also has smooth six speed automatic, top quality steering and new, large brakes that are more powerful and secure than those found on older MKS models. The interior has numerous features and amenities that any driver is sure to enjoy. These include climate control for all seats, active park assist, Bluetooth and more. All features can be controlled using the two classy LCD screens found next to the speedometer as well as the larger LCD screen located nearby.

The vehicle is surprisingly spacious and can comfortably accommodate four to five people. The Bridge of Weir leather seats are both good looking and comfortable, ensuring that this vehicle is extremely comfortable to drive or ride in. Those who are interested in even more luxury features than the base model already provides will find that the optional Elite package has some great options, including power adjustable pedals, a power rear sunshade, front contoured seats with a massage feature and a sixteen speaker surround sound audio system.

The 2014 Lincoln MKS has also earned top marks for its numerous safety features. These include collision warning, brake support, blind spot traffic warning systems, lane keeping assist, a rearview camera and stability and traction control. Furthermore, this vehicle offers a MyKey feature that enables parents to set restricted driving parameters for their teenage child or children. There is also an emergency crash notification system that automatically dials 911 if one or more airbags have been deployed for any reason.

If you are looking for a safe, comfortable vehicle with reasonably good gas mileage, then the 2014 Lincoln MKS is a very good option. While it is not as spacious as some other vehicles in its class, it is stylish, comfortable and has numerous helpful features and amenities. This vehicle is smooth and comfortable to drive and is built to hold up to a great deal of use.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
03
2013 Volvo XC70 Review
The 2013 Volvo XC70 is bringing back the station wagon in a big way, it provides more cargo room than most of the cross over SUVs. You have all of the style and safety that Volvo is know for and the cargo capacity of an SUV debut none of the bulk.

The 2013 Volvo XC70 seats 5 very comfortably with plenty of head, leg, and cargo room. It is great for a long trip with the family or a trip around town. The base model comes with plenty of high end features that you would expect in a luxury wagon, or you can fully upgrade to a premium package for all of the bells and whistles.

The premium package offers leather seats, sunroof, power seats, privacy glass, and lots more. The 2013 Volvo XC70 trim models give you the look and feel you want. The MSRP starts at $33,450 and increases per package. The price is decent for a car with these types of luxury features and safety features.

Just as you would expect from Volvo, you get top of the line safety features in the standard base model. It provides air bags, stability control, traction control, anti lock brakes, air bags throughout the vehicle, Volvo's City Safety feature, and among many others. You can ride in style and comfort knowing you are Volvo safe.

The engine is standardly equipped with an in-line V6 3.2L 240 horsepower fuel efficient engine. It gets good fuel economy for it's class at 19 mpg city mileage and 25 mpg highway mileage. You get a 6 speed automatic transmission and front wheel drive. This 2013 Volvo XC70 is quick out of the gate and reaches speeds of 60 miles an hour in Edmunds testing in just 6.1 seconds for the T6 model that they tested.

The interior is classically designed with optional wood and leather trim features, simple infotainment center for the driver and passengers, and specialty front seats. This wagon does not disappoint.

- 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 File4181348049281 Family Car Camping Tips Tip Paint Car Paint Jobs: Different Strokes For Different Folks