With everyday cars becoming so good, the luxury marques are finding it tough to add enough amenities and gizmos that differentiate their rides from the average Honda, Toyota or Mazda. Today, you can get all sorts of technology in the $16,000-$40,000 range that used to be available only in Mercedes or Lexus territory. You can even put Nappa leather on the seats of a Kia. Or, vice versa, you can find some pretty cheesy pieces inside a Mercedes CLA.
Sidebar: See what happens when Car and Driver slices into the wood trim of three different cars.
-- "Into the Woods," p. 22, Sept. 2014 issue
Do you really need a . . . or can you survive just fine with a . . . ?
Mini Cooper S hardtop ($24.1K) Ford Focus ($16.8K)
Audi S3 ($41.1) Subaru WRX ($26.3)
Mercedes GLA ($33.3) Ford Escape($22.6)
Audi A4 ($35.5) Subaru Legacy ($21.7)
Mercedes CLA ($29.9) Kia Optima ($21.7)
Lexus ES ($36.6) Buick Regal ($29.7)
Range Rover standard wheelbase ($84.2) Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit ($48.2)
We understand that the addition of comparable options might bring the prices closer. Let us know if you feel strongly about the choices or if you'd like to add some of your own alternative picks to the list. Are these apples vs. oranges, or do we spend unnecessary dollars on prestige badges?
Tell us what you think.