Current Charlotte Auto News
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.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff
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. Editorial Staff
The Supercharged Mustang
The Ford Mustang, one of the original, old-school "muscle cars;" introduced in 1964. "Muscle car" was a term coined to describe an American built, high performance car - one that exemplifies strength, power, and performance. The Ford Mustang does all this, and more.

Today's 2013 Ford Mustang Boss lets you get serious with its 444-horsepower. Its Hi-Pro 302 4V Ti-VCT V8 is a powerhouse of a car with multiple features that puts it in a class of its own. With the Mustang Boss, you get 444-horsepower, Hi-Pro 302 4V Ti-VCT V8, a standard 4-gauge instrument cluster, 4.2-inch LCD message center that has Track Apps performance metrics and an exclusive quad exhaust.

You will also get 6-speed transmission, the legendary 5.8L supercharged V8 engine that's capable of reaching track speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. If you want to talk about torque, the 2013 Mustang Boss delivers 380 lbs. - ft of torque. All engines are geared to a six-speed transmission. With the Boss, it's easy to access the Performance Package. With the touch of a button right on the dash, you will access the adjustable dampers to go from normal mode to the performance-oriented sport mode and really get your driving skill on.

The newest Mustang raises the bar once again, creating an even more impressive engine. With the simple touch of a button, you will go from regular, road driving mode, to an impressive, supercharged driving mode. No matter what it is you need in a sports car, you are sure to find it in the Mustang. For generations, Mustang has been creating muscle cars that prove themselves time and again.

For every day driving or more intense driving, the Mustang offers both. You'll also be impressed with the gas mileage and service requirements. A reliable automobile that out does itself in performance.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff


2013 Mazda CX-5 Review
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 features a new lineup for the company in compact crossover vehicles. It is the first of its kind to be built under the company’s “Skyactiv” production strategy designed to improve vehicle structure and performance. As a result of technical and structural upgrades, buyers of the Mazda CX-5 can partake of a more pleasurable driving experience.

The Mazda CX-5 differs from its CX-7 predecessor in size and price, being both smaller and less expensive. It is available in three trims to include the base Sport design, Touring model and Grand Touring option. All trims have front wheel drive as standard features, although all wheel drive is optional for all three models. One of the most outstanding features of the CX-5 is its fuel efficiency, with EPA estimates at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. This can be a tremendous asset for those who rely heavily on their personal vehicle for transportation.

Some of the standard equipment you will find on the entry level Sport trim includes power accessories, tilt/telescopic steering, 17 in. alloy wheels and a 4-speaker audio system. An upgrade to the Touring model gives you Bluetooth, rear view camera, powered driver’s seat and leather wrapping on the steering wheel. The high level Grand Touring design includes climate control, more advanced sound system and leather trimmed seats. Other popular features such as keyless ignition, navigation system and xenon headlights are optional depending on the vehicle trim you choose.

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 has been reviewed as a “joy” to drive, due to its easy handling and responsive capabilities. It is easy to manuever in city traffic and responds well on curving, country roads, enabling you to drive with confidence. The vehicle offers comfortable seating arrangements for both driver and passengers while still allowing sufficient space for cargo. These features and more at a base price of approximately $21,600 makes the Mazda CX-5 a good choice to consider for the new year.

Check out the Mazda CX-5s available in some of our top cities!

Los Angeles Mazda CX-5s

Houston Mazda CX-5s

St. Louis Mazda CX-5s

New York Mazda CX-5s

Portland Mazda CX-5s

2014 Acura ILX Review
The Acura ILX debuted in 2013, and after just one year, it has been upgraded. The 2014 Acura ILX is still a compact luxury sedan, but now it has a new interior. Some of the reworked features include eight-way power for the driver's seat, more leather on the seats, better door cards, and an improved audio system. A rearview camera is now optional, and 17-inch alloy wheels are available.

Currently, the ILX starts at an MSRP of $26,900. This base model price gets you a 2 L, four-cylinder engine, navigation system, stability and traction control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and other goodies.

The ILX 2.4 L model offers more power, but is only available with a six speed manual transmission. Finally, there is a hybrid version of the ILX. There are four trim levels available. Along with the base level, there is a premium level for both the 2.0 and 2.4. A Technology package takes things up another notch, but it's not available for the 2.4.

The premium package adds a rearview camera, fog lamps, xenon headlights, and an automatically-dimming rearview mirror. The Technology trim package brings in a larger display for the navigation system, voice command capabilities, and 10-speaker surround sound. Digital music storage is also included. The Technology package also includes all of the elements of the premium and base levels.

For the base level 2.0 2014 Acura ILX, there is only one type of transmission available: a five-speed automatic. For the 2.4, a six speed manual is the only option. A continuously variable automatic goes to the hybrid version.

Fuel economy depends on the model. The 2.0 gets 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, the 2.4 gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway, while the hybrid gets 39 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway.

For those seeking the fastest acceleration, the 2.4 is the ILX to buy. Its improved horsepower and sporty exhaust allow it to take off quite quickly. The hybrid, on the other hand, is a good pick for people who wish to save on gas and lower their environmental footprints. The base model is a good all-around car with a comfortable ride that is quiet on the highway.

With the upgrades it has been given, the 2014 Acura ILX is a qualified member of the compact luxury sedan category. Give one a test drive and see how you like it!

- 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 03 The Supercharged Mustang Tip File0001684537651 Car Interior Cleaning Tips