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Top 5 Cars for the Tech Savvy Driver
We live in an age where technology is king. People from toddlers to seniors have their hands on apps, software and sleek hardware and are learning how to use these devices like the backs of their hands. Drivers are also demanding technological touches from auto manufacturers, so they can take their love of technology with them while cruising at 70 mph on the interstate. Auto manufacturers have responded and offered a variety of bells and whistles for the tech savvy driver. These five cars represent some of the cream of the crop in terms of the technological additions.

Ford Focus: Auto giant Ford first revolutionized in-car technology with its Ford SYNC system. The SYNC system is a voice activated interface that allows drivers to control their phone calls, iPods, GPS systems, radios and a variety of other technological features with a series of voice commands. This allows them to keep their eyes on the road while still taking advantage of the technological power found with the car. They've since added MyFord, a touch screen navigation system that helps drivers get from point A to point B.

Audi A7: The Audi A7 has an extensive graphical navigation system that drivers have come to appreciate. It improves upon the types of navigation systems that other companies have offered, by displaying three dimensional animations when illustrating directions. It also features technological safety features like blind spot awareness and an intelligent headlamp system.

BMW 5 Series: This vehicle comes with iDrive, an interactive system that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the rode while controlling their devices. The system features a center LCD console that allows you to see everything you need, including song playlists, podcast information, caller ID, text messages, navigation, weather and traffic information. Mix that with satellite radio and you have a technological powerhouse.

GMC Terrain: This car packs a lot of technological features, including a webcam that lets you keep track of vehicles and objects behind your car and in your blind spots. It's also equipped with Bluetooth phone and audio systems, iPod connectivity, OnStar alerts and navigation and numerous safety features and alerts.

Honda Odyssey: This minivan-SUV hybrid comes equipped with USB and Bluetooth connectivity that allow you to connect a variety of devices for entertainment or navigation. It also features rear seat entertainment for those wanting to catch a TV show or movie during a road trip. It also features Xenon technology for its headlamps and comes equipped with safety features like blind spot awareness and alerts. For audio enthusiasts, the car is equipped with a premium audio system to take your DVD and music experience to new levels.

- 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
Driving in Richmond, VA 101!
Richmond is one of America's historic cities, nestled along the James River in Virginia and easy to drive to. It is very car friendly to navigate with a number of major roadways and plentiful roadside parking places (but watch for signs). The many diverse neighborhoods are fascinating to drive through and the grid street system is easy to figure out. The older parts of Richmond do have the narrow streets and one-way restrictions common in towns of this age.

Interstate 95 goes north-south right through it, and Interstate 64 runs east-west through the city. When you look at a map, you see that there are several highways and parkways looping around the area and it really makes driving easy. That's good, because there are a lot of places you'll want to drive!

Outside the city, the suburbs are rural and rolling. There's a lot of green space and many campgrounds even though it isn't a wilderness area. It's pretty, with the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains to the west and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean to the east: easy day trips and lots to explore.

There's a lot to explore within Richmond, too. The James River Park System is a string of parks along the river (check their website about parking spaces) and you can see whitewater rafters quite often. The city was the capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War and suffered a lot of damage but came back from the ashes with vigor. Drive through the Richmond National Battlefield Park and visit the Museum of the Confederacy. Visit Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian estate that is still the way it was planned to be.

Every neighborhood in Richmond has a distinct identity and you might feel like they are separate towns. Driving through the streets, you will see a lot of forged ironwork and unique homes. Be sure to visit Hollywood Cemetery, where over 18,000 Confederate soldiers are buried. There's a Civil War prison site on Belle Isle, the original Confederate White House, and St. John's Church, built in 1739 and the site of the Second Constitutional Convention in 1775. If it is summer, you can hear a re-enactment of Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech.

The variety of offerings in Richmond mean you can find what you are looking for, and the logical road system means it is going to be a good experience driving there. This is a good destination for a road trip!

- Editorial Staff
A Look at the Camaro Through the Years
The Chevrolet Camaro came roaring onto the scene in 1967, screaming speed with its sexy, sleek streamlined looks. Its long hood, generous cockpit and short tail end showed that this car meant business, and indeed it did. Have no doubt that many a pink slip was lost to a '67 Camaro. As the years progressed, the Camaro received many tweaks, twists, turns and a ceasing of production. The original body shape returned in an updated form in 2010, demonstrating that the original Heavy Chevy is truly a classic design.

The OG

The original Camaro, known as Generation 1, only lasted for two model years before getting a makeover. Who knows why Chevy thought that was a good idea to abandon the body after such a short production run. Generation 2 debuted in mid-1970, showing up as an elongated, oval-like shape. The long nose, large cockpit and short rear end were all there, but the successor shared little with the Gen 1 in terms of styling. Gen 2s saving grace is that GM threw every big block V8 and performance option into the car that they could, almost overpowering the car. Throughout the 70s, the Gen 2s saw body tweaks here and there with changes to the headlights, grills and roof lines, but always stayed recognizable.

The Next Generation

Generation 3 came to life in 1982, completely overhauling the look that dominated the nameplate for 12 years. This generation kept the styling from Gen 2, but took it to a whole new level. The car increased in size, came with fuel injection for the first time, and even came with a wimpy four-cylinder engine option. Presumably GM was catering to those who wanted to rock a Camaro and didn't care so much about how underpowered their car was because, hey, lower gas mileage. Gen 3 was so fresh and new that the Z28 trim level was Motor Trend's Car of the Year in '82.

1993 saw Generation 4 come to life, which maintained much of Generation 3 in its DNA. The difference is, Gen 4 shed all of the right angles and sharp edges of Gen 3 in favor of a styling that was more aerodynamic. It also started to get the LT1 V8 engine that originally went into the Corvette, making this model the Poor Man's Corvette. Interest in the nameplate in general slowly waned, causing the car to be taken off the lineup in 2002, with just over 42,000 cars built for a finale.

A Modern Edge

GM brought the nameplate back in 2010, mating it to a design that is truly worthy of the Camaro brand. The newest model looks like a 1967 model on steroids. Here, the designers threw the book at the reboot, and put in everything that is awesome about driving a muscle car. Even the V6 3.6-liter engine feels like a 327hp V8. With any luck, this car will stick around for quite some time to come.

- Editorial Staff
Remember to Rotate Your Tires
If all four tires on your car performed the same function and accumulated wear and tear at the same rate, there’d be no need to rotate your tires. However, different tires are affected by different forces every mile you drive. In order to even out the effects on tread wear and overall service life, tires need to switch places on a regular basis.

Front tires bear the brunt of turns. Every time you turn the steering wheel, resistance and friction are generated between your tires and the road. This causes tread wear and generates heat, which shortens the life of the tire. These effects can be mitigated by switching your front tires with your rear tires on a regular schedule.

Rear tires experience different forces and wear rates. However, they are less intense than front tires. In most vehicles, the rear wheels are the drive wheels and receive the most traction demand, especially when driving is aggressive with lots of quick starts and stops.

Most experts recommend rotating tires every 5,000 miles for even tread wear and maximum service life of the tires.

To rotate your tires, you’ll need four jack stands to support all wheels. Engage the parking brake and pre-loosen the lug nuts on each wheel. Jack up the vehicle one wheel at a time and support each with a jack stand. Remove all four tires, keeping track of each tire’s original location by writing it on the inner sidewall with chalk.

Re-install the tires in this configuration: Move the two rear tires directly forward to their corresponding locations on the front: left rear tire to left front and right rear tire to right front. Move the front tires to the opposite rear locations in an X pattern: left front to right rear and right front to left rear.

Give the lug nuts a preliminary tightening and lower the vehicle, removing the jack stands one at a time. Once all four tires are on the ground, tighten all lug nuts to the manufacturer’s recommended torque found in your owner’s manual.

- Editorial Staff
Solid Car Service Center Options in Richmond, VA
Richmond, Virginia is a large metropolitan complex of cities and towns surrounding the city of Richmond itself. Like everywhere else, residents of the Richmond area want to keep their cars running a little longer, but they don't want to break the bank doing so. If you live in or near Richmond, you can take your car to a dealership and will normally have excellent repair work done, but you'll pay a premium for that "factory service" you'll receive. You can also obtain the same level of excellent auto care by taking your car to an independent neighborhood auto car center.

Axselle Auto Service is one of those independent shops that will give you fair prices and couple it with helpful and friendly service. They are a full-service auto repair facility that services most makes and models. They provide most auto repair and maintenance services such as brakes, suspension repairs and alignments, and tire sales, service, and repair, including tire inflation using nitrogen where called for by the manufacturer. Axselle Auto service has been in business since 1951, so you know they treat their customers well and give great prices.

Halls Tire & Auto Service is another local independent auto repair shop that has generated a great deal of customer loyalty over the years. Located at 2111 Dickens Road, they're pretty easy to find and you'll be glad you took the time. Customer reviews found on the Internet range from the simple "These guys are great!" to "These guys treated me like mine was the only car there."

Looking to upgrade the quality of the beats in your ride but not looking to spend an arm and a leg? Take your car to Car Toys, at 11525 Midlothian Trunpike and you'll get the best stereo system your budget can buy, without paying for extra bells and whistles you really don't need. Car Toys also does window tinting at great prices, great service and quality and a turnaround that will amaze you.

It's a traumatic and trying experience for many when they need to have body repair or paint work done to their car. There is no need to add to that trauma by having insensitive and uncaring people work on your car. This isn't going to happen when you take your car to family-owned Connor Brothers Collision Centers, located at 1008 North Sheppard Street. You'll get fast friendly service from very knowledgeable and skilled technicians. Many customers also get a nice little thank you note in the mail a couple weeks after picking their car up.

- Editorial Staff


2014 Bentley Mulsanne
Released at the Geneva Auto Show in March this year, the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne is Bentley’s latest version of its flagship sedan. Like its predecessors, the new Mulsanne is a hyper-luxury, four-door vehicle that combines classic styling and design with oodles or raw horsepower and brute strength.

Under the 2014 Mulsanne’s long and elegant hood is a powerful 6.75-liter, fully turbocharged eight-cylinder engine that is capable of generating over 500 horsepower of thrust and a sports car-like 752 pound-feet of torque. That is enough power to propel the five-ton behemoth from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a snappy 5.1 seconds.

As impressive as all that is, the Mulsanne’s real appeal, and much of its $298,900 starting price tag, stems from its extraordinary styling, accommodations and comfort. The 2014 edition of Bentley’s flagship product features an upgraded comfort package and high-end entertainment options that make the car even more luxurious than it is already.

Bentley claims that it pours more than 170 hours of handcrafted construction into the interior of each 2014 Mulsanne that rolls out of its assembly line in Crewe, England. It is an effort that is evident in the Mulsanne’s hand-stitched leather steering wheel and gearshift covers, its pure wool weave mats, its rich wooden “waistrail” and 24 colors of diamond-quilted perforated leather upholstery.

As part of the 2014 model’s Comfort Specification, Bentley offers new headrests with adjustable bolsters to accommodate drivers of any stature. The new edition also features stow-able, color-matched footrests and cushions and new adjustable tables for iPads and laptop computers. The cars come standard with privacy curtains that can be controlled by the driver, or other occupants, to provide total privacy for rear passengers.

The Entertainment Specification on the 2014 Mulsanne includes typical Bentley fare such as a high-end MP3 system, full wireless and Internet connectivity and a satellite-based navigation system. Also included in the 2014 model are two iPads and wireless cables that can be folded into the back seat when not in use. The iPads are configured to charge when the vehicle is running and can connect to the Internet via a wireless router that is capable of supporting up to eight wireless devices.

The 2014 Mulsanne comes standard with an 8-inch high-resolution touch screen monitor and a 14-speaker audio system that can be upgraded to a 2,200 watts Naim system with 20-inch speakers for those willing to spend a few extra bucks. The car has not been officially crash tested in the United States so nether the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have any safety ratings for the vehicle yet. However, the car comes standard with numerous safety features including front, head, thorax, and side airbags as well as sophisticated stability and traction control systems.

The reviewer reaction to the 2014 Ford Econoline Cargo Van was mostly silent. The vehicle has all the capacity to be one of the best cargo vans available, but there simply isn't much to talk about. The vehicle doesn't add any specific features, but instead it improves upon the general econoline line.

- Editorial Staff
2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
Big, strong, and ready to take on what you need it to do, the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe is a must have for the busy family, the hard working professional, or those who want luxury built with a stellar system. The manufacturer claims it is the perfect mesh up of a heavy duty vehicle and the SUV you take to work each day. There are a few key things to look for in this vehicle.

One of the nice features of this car is its strong engine and full size towing abilities. It offers 8500 pounds of maximum towing capability. The Vortec 5.3 liter, V8 engine, there is little doubt this vehicle can handle virtually any type of task you have for it. It has 108.9 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, too. That means you can definitely use it for long trips. It seats up to nine people.

Though it is a workhorse with a large and powerful engine, it does not compromise on the amenities it offers drivers and passengers. The vehicle has available rear seat DVD entrainment systems as well as seats that both heat and cool. It has available second row heated seats and a steering wheel that warms up as well.

The vehicle offers three trim options for users to choose from. The LS is spacious with room for up to nine people. The LT is slightly smaller with room for 8. The LTZ also accommodates up to eight people. The LTZ features upgrades in the leather seating for front seats and provides the heating features. It also allows for power release fold and tumble seats for the second row. The LS features tri-zone manual climate control. The LT and LTZ models feature automatic climate control.

Also important is the added technology. Options available include the BOSE Sound System, Sirius XM NavTraffic, BlueTooth Wireless Technology, an integrated USB port, Rear Vision Camera, and mobile apples to link to everything from iTunes to Google Play. It comes with OnStar technology for ample safety and protection.

- Editorial Staff

Richmond Car Dealers

Top 5 File00029536054 Top 5 Cars for the Tech Savvy Driver The Smart Car Buyer File000530964878 What to Bring With You When Car Shopping Local Richmond Driving in Richmond, VA 101! National A9129429 A Look at the Camaro Through the Years Tip Tire Remember to Rotate Your Tires