One truth about luxury cars is that they will always be priced out of the reach of the average driver.  We look at the Mercedes-Benz’s of the world and wish; we don’t for a second think we can actually drive one.

Even when Mercedes-Benz makes a model and calls it their entry level model, like the C-Class, there is a little problem with the $40,000+ price tag.  There is no way a grocery checker in Des Moines can afford one.

Thus, it is with some surprise and awe that we take a look at the all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, the newest model from that German automaker and one priced at least a bit more reasonably at around $30,000.

So the next question is: priced that low, can we still expect the same luxury as we have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz?  The answer is a resounding YES!

Competition for the CLA-Class comes from the BMW 3 Series and the Cadillac ATS, but those two are much more expensive.  There are also the Acura ILX and Buick Verano, which cost less, but quite frankly they are less in the craftsmanship category as well.  No, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is in a class by itself and well-worth a look.

There are two engines to choose from, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 208 horsepower paired with a seven-speed automated manual transmission.  Going 0-60 takes this engine and car 6.7 seconds.

The other engine is a 2.0-liter with twin-scroll turbocharger and 355 horsepower, the same transmission and four-wheel drive with the 4Matic AWD system.  This beauty races 0-60 in an amazing 4.5 seconds.

Safety is assured with all of the bells and whistles associated with safety including antilock brakes, driver knee airbag, front seat side thorax airbags, stability and traction control and full length curtain airbags.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels automatic wipers, cruise control, driver memory settings and a surround sound system

Yes, this is an entry level Mercedes and yes, it is considerably easier on the pocketbook, but it looks and drives like the more expensive Mercedes models and deserves to be seriously considered for anyone stepping up to a luxury automobile.

As always, your best bet for finding replacement parts that won’t cost you an arm and a leg is at your local salvage yard.  If you should drive by one day and see a Mercedes CLA-Class in the salvage yard, stop by and gobble up as many Mercedes used parts as you can and save tons of money in the long run.