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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
03
Buggin' Out! The History of the VW Bug
Produced from 1938 to 2003 the original rear engine Beetle is the most manufactured car in history. Mass production started in 1946, and execution was not of primary concern. The 34-horsepower engine needed 27.5 seconds to reach 60 mph, with a peak speed of 71 mph.

HISTORY When exported to the U.S. in 1949, sales were slow, peaking at 390 by 1952. Then came the culture revolution in the United States and the Bug was the car to have. To this day, the vision of the sixties is of a flower power Bug that comes to the minds of many. In 1965, the craze made a wait for a Bug as long as five months. As the changes in design grew, the cabin got breezier and they restructured the shape of the car and made trunk entry easier.

THE LOVE BUG Americans loved the Beetle so much they bought more than 500,000 in 1970, and when the Smithsonian Institute took possession of the fifteen millionth Bug, it became an American icon. Disney made this one of the most popular little cars ever by immortalizing this iconic star in movies like The Love Bug.

THE RETURN Then in 1994 the “people” clamored for the return of the iconic Bug, and VW responded by presenting the New Beetle modeled on the nostalgic themed car shown in 1994 at the Detroit Auto Show. Resemblances were more retro than authentic because the New Beetle was modeled after the contemporary Gulf, and had an engine in front, unlike the rear engine of the earlier models.

To the chagrin of many, the majority of buyers were women giving rise to the term “chick car”. No matter, it became more popular than ever with 600,000 cars sold in the United States, and a whopping 1.2 million sold globally during the last thirteen years, proving that the lovable Volkswagen Bug is here to stay.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Electric Car Care Tips
There are many benefits that come along with owning an electric car. Of course, many owners view fuel savings as the biggest advantage. However, because electric car engines are much more simplistic than the traditional internal combustion engine, many people also enjoy the fact that they generally require less maintenance. Still, there are some steps that all electric car owners need to take in order to keep their vehicles in the best shape possible.

Battery Care

Perhaps the most important aspect of maintaining an electrical vehicle is that of maintaining the battery, as the life of an electric car battery can vary greatly. It's best to check with the car manufacturer or dealer prior to purchasing an electric car so as to find out how long the battery is meant to last before it needs to be replaced. To extend the life of the battery, owners are encouraged to be scrupulous about using unneeded electrical components or leaving the car idling for extended periods of time.

Brake Maintenance

Fortunately, electric cars come equipped with regenerative brakes, so they should last significantly longer than the average 30,000 to 50,000 miles that a traditional car's brakes will last. Still, owners should be on the lookout for signs of wear and tear, especially around 75,000 miles. Signs of brake wear include a vibration in the steering wheel upon braking along with squeaking and grinding sounds coming from the car's wheels.

Tire Care

Much like a traditional car, electric car owners are encouraged to replace their tires around every 50,000 miles. The specific amount can vary depending on the type of vehicle and the size of the tires used. However, a good way to tell when it's time to replace a vehicle's tires is to conduct the penny test.

This test is conducted by placing a penny upside down into the tire's tread. If all of Abraham Lincoln's head is able to be seen, this means that the tread is too worn and the tires should be replaced.

Owning an electrical car does mean less maintenance overall, but it doesn't mean abandoning maintenance and care altogether. All current and prospective electric car owners should keep this in mind in order to keep their cars running great for years to come.

- 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

01
2014 Chevrolet SSR Review
The 2014 Chevrolet SSR is set to go on sale in the last quarter of 2013. The MSRP is set to be just under $44,500, not including additional charges or tax.

There are a number of features and amenities that set this vehicle apart from similar models. The SSR, unlike many other modern vehicles of its type, will come with a 6.2 liter small block V8 engine with 415 horsepower. The vehicle has six speed automatic transmission, a powerful braking system, steering wheel shift paddles, a multi-link rear suspension system, staggered wheels and a muscular body that is surprisingly stylish.

Luxury features that anyone who drives this vehicle is sure to enjoy include automatic parking assist, Chevrolet MyLink, a premium audio system, dual zone climate control, alloy pedal covers, heated and ventilated front seats and more. The Side Blind Zone Alert and lane departure warning systems are just some of the many new safety features that Chevrolet has added to this new model to ensure that it provides a safe, secure ride to drivers and passengers alike.

Busy individuals who want to save time will be pleased to find that the new SSR comes with an eight inch color touch-screen that makes it easy to manage hands free conversations. There is also an infotainment app through a connected smart phone that makes it easy for a person to multitask safely as he or she drives.

Chevrolet has not yet released information regarding the 2014 SSR's mileage, but the fact that the vehicle is being subjected to a "gas guzzler" tax indicates that the mileage is likely to be lower than most drivers would like. Even so, the new SS has so much to offer that numerous individuals are sure to find that it is well worth the high purchase price and extra gas costs.

While the 2014 Chevrolet SSR is certainly not for everyone, there are many individuals who will undoubtedly find that this vehicle is perfectly suited to their needs and budget. The SSR is safe, extremely comfortable, easy to work with, good looking and yet durable and able to hold up to a lot of wear and tear. It will be available in five different color options and there will also be some additional features that driving enthusiasts can add to the SSR to make it more convenient and easy to drive than it already is.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
01
2014 Dodge Avenger 2014 Review
The 2014 Dodge Avenger is a stylish vehicle that is high in demand because of its affordable price. It's listed with an MSRP of between $19,895 and $25,795.

The Avenger is a midsized sedan that has sporty features that keep it looking stylish, and it contains many types of equipment found only in higher-end luxury vehicles. It has 173 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and the 2.4L four-cylinder engine has plenty of kick, so you can get from 0 to 60 in only 9.4 seconds. The Avenger has front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, but you can choose between a four or six-speed automatic engine with a manual shift mode.

Inside, you'll feel like you're sitting in a luxury vehicle. This sedan has an elegant leather-wrapped steering wheel for a strong grip, and the heated front seats are perfect for keeping you warm on those chilly days and nights. The sedan comes standard with cruise control, aluminum wheels, LED brake lights, a USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a multimedia center.

The Dodge Avenger can carry up to five people safely and has 13.5 cubit feet of cargo space. Keeping your passengers safe is a breeze, and the sedan comes with stability and traction control that will help it better grip the roads to prevent sliding, skidding, and a loss of brake power when you need to stop quickly. The antilock brakes come with brake assistance, and there are active front head restraints built in.

Additionally, there are six airbags built into the sedan, so if an accident does happen, there will be less chance of serious injuries occurring. Tire pressure monitoring comes standard with the 2014 Dodge Avenger, and it also has a security system to help prevent theft and break-ins.

The Avenger gets an average of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, making it a great car for commuters or those who make multiple short trips throughout the day. The sedan is also comfortable enough to be used on long trips, and the 29 mpg on the highway makes the trip less costly as well. New Avengers come with a 36-month/36,000-mile warranty, and leasing prices are averaged between $375 and $487 per month for affordability.

- 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 03 Buggin' Out! The History of the VW Bug Tip File0001229755576 Electric Car Care Tips