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
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:


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. Editorial Staff
How to Use 4WD in a 2012 Nissan Frontier
Having a vehicle that allows you to switch into 4-Wheel Drive (4wd) when navigating on slippery or unstable terrain can be a real benefit for drivers. A 4WD equipped 2012 Nissan Frontier comes with 3 drive modes - 2WD, 4WD High and 4WD Low.Knowing when and how to switch among these modes is the best way to get optimal use of this feature. (Note that not all Nissan Frontiers are equipped with 4WD).

Which Drive Modes to Use When:

    1) 2WD - this mode is best used when driving under normal driving conditions on dry, paved roads, streets, and highways

    2) 4WD 4H - this mode provides a driver with more traction in less stable road conditions. It can help the vehicle maintain better control when navigating slippery, snowy, rocky and sandy surfaces. When in 4H, speeds should not exceed 62 MPH.

    3) 4WD 4L - this mode is best used for max traction when navigating the vehicle over steep inclines or declines, or very rough and wet terrain. Note that when in 4L, that speed should never exceed 31 MPH. To shift into 4L your Frontier should be stopped and shifted into neutral.

For more information on using 4WD in your Nissan Frontier, check out this great video from Nissan:

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
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.

- Editorial Staff


2014 Toyota Camry Review
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.

- Editorial Staff
2014 Toyota Yaris Review
The 2014 Toyota Yaris has a lot going for it. It can be purchased for anywhere from $14,430–$16,540, gets up to 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway and is both reliable and compact. The 2014 Yaris can seat up to five people and is comfortable, safe and easy to drive. There are three trim options to pick from; two trims are made with only two doors while one comes with four doors. All models come with a tilted steering wheel and front and rear beverage holders while two out of three models also provide power front windows, remote keyless entry and speed control.

The 2014 Yaris offers two transmission options: five speed automatic or four speed manual. The vehicle has front wheel independent suspension, front wheel drive and a powerful, well made engine. There are also plenty of helpful driving features such as low tire pressure warning, a rear window defroster and wiper and outside temperature display.

If you are looking for a safe car, then you may find that this particular vehicle is right up your alley. All trim options come with electronic stability, traction control, occupant sensing airbags and brake assist. Optional features include an immobilizer, panic alarm and ABS brakes.

One of the few things that can be said against the 2014 Toyota Yaris is that its small size makes it unsuitable for anyone who enjoy driving around with a group of friends and/or is in the market for a family car. The vehicle is not sporty in style and does not offer as smooth a ride as some other, similar models. However, these flaws are small in comparison to all that the 2014 Yaris does provide.

If you want to purchase a reliable small car that does not use up a lot of gas, then the 2014 Toyota Yaris is likely one of the best options on the market. It is made using high quality materials and its workmanship is unmatched. It has plenty of great features and amenities, is extremely safe and can be driven in all types of weather. It is also good looking, albeit not as sleek and stylish as some may like.

- 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 Snowy_road How to Use 4WD in a 2012 Nissan Frontier Tip File0001684537651 Car Interior Cleaning Tips