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Published March 30, 2023
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The city is gearing up for a particular big college basketball tournament this weekend, with the final teams having battled their way through the brackets (and probably busting a few along the way).
The last four teams standing will play on Saturday, April 1: No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 5 San Diego State and No. 5 Miami and No. 4 UConn, with the winners of those games headed to the NCAA championship on Monday, April 3.
EchoPark is getting in on the tourney fun. On Saturday, April 1, EchoPark North Houston and EchoPark Southwest Houston will have food trucks on site, radio personalities and QR codes to scan for 5x extra entries into our sweepstakes. Sweeps prize is University of Houston guard Marcus Sasser’s beloved 2011 BMW 128i, a one-year supply of gas and one year of insurance. Who’s ready to score this great prize?
Consider getting your car appraised at EchoPark this weekend. You may want to sell us your old car and upgrade to a new ride. We’ve got some suggestions for some all-star cars to add to your roster.
Looking for an all-American favorite to battle that Houston traffic? The well-equipped and reliable Toyota Camry can help make your daily commute more enjoyable. (OK, we know: Toyota is a Japanese brand. But fun facts: the Camry is the best-selling sedan in the U.S. and is made in Georgetown, Ky.)
You’ll get good fuel economy from the Camry’s 4-cylinder, 204-horsepower engine, but the 301-horsepower V6 (something close rival Honda Accord doesn’t offer) will make sudden lane changes easier and the commute in general, more fun. The V6 is available with the XLE, XSE and and TRD trims. With the 4-cylinder engine, the Camry gets an EPA-rated 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. The V6 gets an estimated 22/33 mpg city/highway.
When it’s bumper to bumper out there, Camry’s seats are comfortable for a long ride. Cue up the latest true crime podcast or audiobook to pass the time in traffic. The intuitive infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
Looking for the big guy, the center for your roster? The Ram 1500 has a big list of big engines: the base 305-horsepower V6; a 260-horsepower V6 diesel; two 395-horsepower V8s (one of which is a mild-hybrid), all of which are available in most trims, including Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Rebel, Limited Longhorn and Limited. There’s also the ridiculously brawny 702-horsepower supercharged V8 that powers the Ram TRX. Need big towing? The 2022 Ram 1500 is capable of towing up to 12,750 pounds.
Hit the dirt, rocks and sand at several off-roading parks and trails within a two-hour drive of Houston. The Ram Rebel model includes hill-descent control, an electronically controlled locking rear differential, and skid plates for the front suspension, steering gear, transfer case and fuel tank with its Off-Road Package.
The Ram 1500 is available with a 5-foot-7-inch or a 6-foot-4-inch bed. For even more utility, you can add adjustable tie-downs, a bed extender, in-bed lighting and the RamBox lockable in-bed trunk.
And when you’re done with the dirt, enjoy the Ram’s sumptuous interior, judged the best among full-size trucks. Load up the whole family in the roomy cabin and enjoy a smooth ride in style.
Long shots, close shots, roaming the court - the small forward can do it all, and so can the Honda Civic.
Fun to drive, a spacious, comfortable interior and spirited, efficient engine options - there’s a lot of love about the ever-popular Civic, which received a redesign for 2022, with new styling inside and out and added a standard touch-screen infotainment system. The redesign also included a larger optional touch screen, and newly available features such as a digital instrument cluster, wireless device charging, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a Bose stereo.
For 2022 models, the Honda Civic LX and Sport models both come with a 158-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, while the EX/EX-L and Touring/Sport Touring models have a 180-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. No matter which engine you choose, it’ll be efficient, getting 26-33 mpg city/36-42 mpg highway.
The Civic has one of the largest trunks among competitors as well, but if you need a little extra cargo room, opt for the sporty hatchback model, which has 24.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats.
The Mazda CX-5 is a standout among compact SUVs.
Like a quick, agile point guard, the CX-5 is sporty and fun to drive, powered by a standard 187-horsepower 4-cylinder. For driving the lane, however, consider adding the 256-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, available with the 2.5 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo Signature trims. All-wheel drive is an option for 2021 models and earlier but became standard in 2022.
The CX-5’s cabin puts off luxury vibes without the premium price tag (and of course, you’ll save even more when you shop at EchoPark). Car and Driver uses words like “artful,” “refined” and “driver friendly” to describe Mazda’s most popular offering.
The CX-5 2021 models got an infotainment upgrade, growing the touchscreen to 10.3 inches and adding a Wi-Fi hotspot and remote access to its features through an app. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard starting with 2021 models.
A long list of safety features comes standard, including forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and rearview camera.
It’s not only tourney time, it’s tax-refund season. Use your tax refund as a down payment on a used car you’ve been dreaming about. Our Experience Guides may not be able to help you with your college basketball brackets, but they can walk you through the financing process and score points for being car experts. Browse online and schedule a test drive today.