By on April 26, 2017

2017 Buick LaCrosse - Image: Buick

Native advertising is funny. Not because native advertising, the kind of marketing that appears as though it is the content of a specific publication aside from a disclaimer or two, shouldn’t exist. In a land of free speech, companies should be permitted to tell stories in just about any way they wish to do so.

No, native advertising humors me when it becomes obvious just how difficult it was for a company to strike the right balance. Honesty is key, or else credibility is lost. The Truth About Cars can’t say, “TTAC is the best automotive site on the internet with the best writers and the best design,” because it’s not believable.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Truth About Cars shouldn’t run an automotive website comparison test in which TTAC doesn’t win. “Golly, Jalopnik sure is some good car blog, and while we dun paid for this here piece of native advertising, we’re gonna give the victory to the Gawker folk.”

Somewhere in between is the proper blend, a blend for which Buick searched long and hard in a comparison test paid for by Buick in a Buick vs. Lexus comparison test for Automobile Magazine.

There are no secrets here. The article says “Sponsored Content” across the top. The author is listed as Buick.

The winner of the comparison test? Oh, you’ll never guess.

Fortunately, because our collective attention span totals no more than 150 seconds, there’s also a video hosted by racer Townsend Bell, a video that does not draw nearly as much attention to its bought-and-paid-for nature on YouTube, where comments are disabled.

“The first thing I notice when I’m driving is that it behaves like you’d expect from a front-wheel-drive sedan,” Bell complains right from the get-go, almost as if Buick wanted him to grant no favor to the Lexus.

“When you start to push it, I find that the Lexus is not as responsive as the LaCrosse,” Bell says more directly. That’s Buick code for, “The Lexus sucks.”

“The Lexus is comfortable,” Bell adds, unable to mask the fact, if any part of this video is to be believable, that the Lexus ES is renowned for its comfort. “However, the ride isn’t as controlled when you push it to the limit.” Indeed, car reviewers have long lamented just how strangely un-Miata-like the ES is.

But then all of a sudden, faster music steps in to fill the void left by the the ES’s yawn-worthy accompaniment.

Let the beat drop.

“Now, let’s see how the Buick LaCrosse compares to the Lexus ES,” Bell says, announcing a plot twist worthy of Downton Abbey. Matthew died!

“I definitely feel the difference behind the wheel of the Buick,” Bell continues, before comparing the new LaCrosse’s handling to the old LaCrosse.

“When you charge up these canyon roads, that over 40 more horsepower in the Buick really makes the difference,” Bell contends, probably wishing for a retake, before touting the Buick’s optional all-wheel drive.

“The ES, on the other hand, only comes with front-wheel drive.” Seriously, you probably can’t even drive the Lexus in the rain.

“Now, the ES put up a good fight,” Bell suggests at the end, essentially patting the wildly more popular car on its head after its team lost a Pop Warner championship game. But …

“Today’s winner is the all-new Buick LaCrosse,” Bell announces suspensfully. And if you saw that coming, you probably knew Rosamund Pike was going to kill her ex-stalker in Gone Girl. Yeah, sure you did.

“The Lexus ES’s combination of adequate performance, luxury, and style once again earn it a spot near the top of the fullsize luxury segment,” Buick generously writes in this Buick comparison test for Automobile Magazine, “but just a spot under the Buick LaCrosse.”

So, against all expectations, Buick says the Buick is the winner. But is the Buick the winner only barely, or is the Buick Buick’s winner by a wide margin?

Native advertising isn’t always easy to decipher.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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71 Comments on “The 2017 Buick LaCrosse Won A Comparison Test Conducted By Buick...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Land Ark has earned 7 awards for commenting but is Land Ark the best commenter on the TTAC website?
    (real people – not robot actors)
    You already know how Land Ark never ends sentences with prepositions, but. And you also know Land Ark’s grammer is way better than any other commenter on the the site too.
    If you look back on past comments made by Land Ark you’ll notice that other commenters rarely reply to Land Ark’s. This certainly proves that there is no arguing Land Ark’s thoughts or opinions.

    So who is the best commenter on TTAC? BTSR certainly put up a good fight, but it’s obvious to anyone who doesn’t hate Hawaiians that Land Ark is the winner.

  • avatar
    Joss

    GMs trying to get the fuds back who trundled over to the toy dealers in the 90s.

    Still the Buicks snout is more attractive than lexys… Even if the Civic now makes a better Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Buick has beat this stale Lexus for years now, and from different publications.

      https://www.edmunds.com/lexus/es-350/2009/comparison-test.html

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Unfortunately, Norm, you’ve got an objectiveness and credibility problem about as big as the comparison “test” above, so you may want to lay low on this particular comment thread. Just a friendly tip.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Unfortunately Lexus does not compete well in this segment, nor does it have Cadillac perched above it.

          The most ticketed driver are ES drivers which is easy to document by their agressive driving nature. But I’m not sure why this demographic stands out but it may be just an evolution of the Toyota driver.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Unfortunately Lexus does not compete well in this segment, nor does it have Cadillac perched above it.”

            I’m not sure your definition of reality matches the rest of the world’s. If buff book praise is “competing well”, then you have a point. If finding buyers for your product (as a business is wont to do), then you’re in la-la land.

            Cadillac isn’t doing a whole lot perching itself above Buick either, as the IS and RX outsell Cadillac’s competing offerings and the CTS shares the segment basement with the GS.

            No one cares if C&D likes a Buick or Cadillac more than a Lexus.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            But Buick/Cadillac out sold Lexus by about 50,000 units last year.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Take that dork-mobile Encore out of the equation and they didn’t.

            And the ES has outsold the LaCrosse since 2013, which negates your original claim of it not being competitive and OMG this is pathetic what is the point of this?

            Why am I even engaging with you? Shame on me. I’m not even sure if you’re a human or a marketing bot run amok. Carry on, bot, here and elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Except that he is mostly right about the Lexus losing to the Buick in several comparisons. Motor Trend did one back in 2010 I believe and the Buick came out on top there too. It also beat out the 2012 ES in another 3-way comparison with the Azera coming on top. They called the ES “Disappointing compared to its fellow newcomer, the GS”.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            See the last line of my comment above. What you quote is useful only in the irrelevant microcosm of these forums. The Lexus IS350 won against the BMW 3series in C&D as well. Care to guess which sells more in the real world?

          • 0 avatar
            TCowner

            The Lacrosse truly is a better car than the Lexus. There’s a group here that just can’t let Buick (or GM for that matter) to get any kudos, and my bet is they have never driven one. They are road machines, and great buys CPO.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            If you bought a Buick instead of a Lexus in 2010, by now you know you were had.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Norm, however, is correct.

          The old LaCrosse regularly beat the ES in comparison tests.

          Such as this one by Motor Trend –

          http://www.motortrend.com/cars/buick/lacrosse/2010/2010-buick-lacrosse-2010-lexus-es-350-comparison/

          Or this one (where the LaCrosse finished 2nd and the ES, 3rd).

          http://www.motortrend.com/cars/buick/lacrosse/2012/2012-buick-lacrosse-hyundai-azera-2013-lexus-es-350-comparison/

          Or this one by Driving.

          http://driving.ca/lexus/es-350/reviews/comparison/car-comparison-2014-buick-lacrosse-vs-2014-lexus-es

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You left out (unintentionally, I know, but don’t beat yourself up over it) C&D which placed the Buick behind the Lexus, but yup, Norm can google search for comparison winners and I acknowledged as much down the thread hours ago. You’re a little late.

            The real issue, though, is the urge to cheerlead one’s favorite brand in order to mask them stooping to such pitiable lows as this sponsored comparison test. Did you know the ES is outselling it 2:1 YTD? Judging from this comparo, Buick and Norm do. But the writings of towering greats such as the Motortrend staff are surely a better metric.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The environmentally friendly fake wood on all trims give Buick green credentials that Lexus cannot match.

    While Chinese-focused engineering and production show Buick’s commitment to multiculturalism and diversity.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I saw the .GIF summary video on Motortrend’s side bar, saw one still image of the Lexus and then 7 different angles of the Buick. That’s when I saw the author was Buick and it was sponsored content, even though I have ABP on my browser. Pathetic.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I read this on Motor Trend before realizing it was advertising. Hate it!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Shouldn’t that niñito be belted into a car seat?

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Meh its bad parenting..lol….the kid has the lap portion of the belt on but like so many kids doesnt have the shoulder portion. If anything he needs to be in a booster seat so that the shoulder portion is not as uncomfortable My kids used to try and get away with this but I wasnt having it.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Well, they probably know that no auto journalist will give any Buick even a slightly positive review regardless of how it performs. That violates the prime directive after all. It is more a comment on the sad state of the profession than on the cars Buick makes.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      See Norm’s comment above. The LaCrosse has won comparo tests against the Lexus before.

      And since when was the Lexus ES the darling of the autojourno world? It’s got a “meh boring car” target on its back as big as the Camry’s.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      The domestics spent ~40 years selling people cynically under-engineered cars and apparently expected that their customers would be too dumb to know the difference.

      Expect this to dog them for at least another 10 years, as well it should.

      • 0 avatar
        RedRocket

        And the Japanese saddled buyers with vehicles that rusted out like tin cans for the first 15 or so years they were sold in the USA. That is 25 years after their country pulled off a sneak attach that killed thousands of Americans. But hey, their engines last and they have nice shutlines on their bodywork, so it’s all good. Gotcha.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Right, that’s why the Japanese captured so much market share over the last 40 years. Because their cars are so bad.

          I guess you also think customers don’t know the difference between a good car and a bad one.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Even Tim Cain’s favorite Camry his parents drive is subject to bleeding red from the trunk lid and rear windows corners here in the Great Lakes areas.

          The worst offenders are those that think they Japanese car is still superior to the donestics. And then there are those who put a Veteran of Foreign Wars license plate on thier foreign nameplate car. Today it is Kia’s and Hyibdai’s with Desert Storm license plates. I still haven’t caught at a gas station and ask them why?

          • 0 avatar
            9Exponent

            Those who “still” think that Japanese cars are better than domestics? So you acknowledge that there was a good reason to there was such a difference in the past.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            My 1979 Chevette and 1988 Beretta GT never left me stranded nor did they burn a hole in my wallet from high school onward. The Beretta went 17 years with only minor rear fender rust driving in winter salt. The ’88 Beretta went through college and ended up running ESP class SCCA autocross with modified Mustangs and Camaros.

            The current crop of GM cars in the last decade or so match or beat the Japanese resting on their laurels. Just my inlaws with thier 15 year old Toyotas that are starting to bubble rust areas and thier slider and flip phones say they still love Toyota when all their relatives have left Toyota Camry’s for Escapes and Fuzions.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Buick wins based on having the tri-color shield return like god intended.

    Hey Buick advertising, with apologies to John Moreland you should use the tagline (for the Lacrosse): BIG BAD LUX. ;-)

  • avatar

    I like it, good marketing. I love my new Lacrosse, handles great, quiet as can be. I’m an aggressive driver averaging 31 mpg!

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      We love our 2016 Envision Prem ll with Driver Confidence and moonroof with 3,500 miles for mid $30’s. It is an expensive beast vut the discounts new or used executive driven are a steal compared to Cadillac XT5 or the Germans.

      The stop/start has me wondering if I should get to the stoplight quickly and let it shut the car off or glide up to the light with no traffic around for best fuel economy?

  • avatar
    Publius

    Except back in the 1970s, GM ran a comparison test (I think it was for the Opel) against 4 other cars, came in second place, and took out a three- or five-page magazine spread advertising it. Got points for creativity, but didn’t help market share.

  • avatar
    slap

    Buick winds because it doesn’t have that awful Lexus grille.

    When my wife and I went to the Washington auto show a few months ago, she wouldn’t even look at any of the Lexus because the grille was just too ugly.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    My mother, on Lexus #2 and eagerly awaiting the new ES so she can move on to #3, thinks the ES wins on the basis of her strict criteria “Is a Lexus” and “Has lots of trinkets to play with inside.”

    Flippant, but no one will think a Buick wins because “is a Buick.”

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Design nit-pick: that’s an ugly hood line. It makes the hood look like some anonymous access cover rather than an integral part of the car. I would have liked to been a fly on the wall when the designer lost that battle to another department.

    The hood line on the previous generation Maxima was just as ugly.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Just buy your Lexus Camryified XV60 and be done with it.

    *annoying music*

    But that’s not a Buick.

    Buick is dead.
    Cadillac is dead.
    Oldsmobile is dead.
    Pontiac is dead.
    Chevrolet is all that’s left and about 1/3rd-1/2 of it is Daewoo. So what’s really left? Corvette? Tahoe/Silverado et al? Award winning LS V8 which you can only get in a limited number of models? Ford won, you lost, and most of their stuff is garbage too.

    You want to buy a dead brand have at it. Good luck on trade.

    *annoying music*

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Much lower cost to owning a Buick and the same Lexus-like depreciation.

      Besides if you still wanted another 3800 the 2008 LaCrosse is the one for 28CL.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not even going to further argue with you on resale, you’re not in a position to challenge my expertise.

        “Besides if you still wanted another 3800 the 2008 LaCrosse is the one for 28CL.”

        This is correct. THE LORD CALLS YOU TO BOW DOWN TO ETERNAL TORQUE.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          I look at ATP new and compare many years later selling price. The Buick matches or beats Buick everytime. Buick is tough to beat even by mainstreams like Subaru, let alone comparing to other luxury models that get ousted in comparisons.

          You look at auction prices and other cooked up numbers, not what people are paying for these cars. Besides the Buick has anywhere from 16-20+ percent off MSRP. That is cash on the hood and has time value of money on it’s side.

          Besides, when was your last car purchase?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “auction prices and other cooked up numbers”

            You make me smile Norm.

            “Besides, when was your last car purchase?”

            Personal use? 2014, then previously 2012, and 2010. Business? 2006.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            28CL’s in-depth (thank you) Manheim and ADESA lists are what the dealers pay. Wholesale Dealer Price and dealers aren’t in the business to lose money. Easy data to retrieve if you’re qualified. If these numbers are truly “made up” then so are numbers that show TCO costs of a Buick are lower that Lexus. Depreciation is a demanding mistress, no matter how cheaply you acquired her. I can’t tell if you’re trolling (which is bad) or you really believe this Buick is better than Lexus nonsense, (which is much, much worse).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re welcome, el scotto.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            If you compare a discounted Buick and the couple grand off a Lexus, the Buick will cost less at 3,5, and a decade down the road when the Lexus will be more expensive. Why pay more?

            Edmunds has the Buick LaCrosse 12/36 higher residuals than the ES350, 60% vs 58%. The banks are in the business of making money and set the residual values.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      At this point, there’s not much “Daewoo” left in GM. It’s now just their South Korean arm. GM Korea leads the development of a lot of the small cars; but the components and platforms are global. I would say it hasn’t been Daewoo since the Aveo got replaced with the Sonic (although they continue to use the Aveo name in some markets).

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    2017 Buick Lacrosse: Winner of JD Power’s Best Luxury Automobile From a Marque Starting With the Letter “B”. Suck it, Bongfeng!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    …and Bentley, BMW, and especially Bugatti.

  • avatar

    Shockingly, comments on the video were disabled.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I really like GM, and I think the new LaCrosse is a fine car, both in its class and its own right…but they’ve benchmarked their brand-new model against a competitor that’s certainly at the back half of its model cycle. What will happen in a model year or two when a new ES debuts? Will they still be able to credibly run this kind of comparison test? In fact, since the early 90s, GM has made quite a habit of equipping its new cars against competitors that are getting ready to be redesigned, failing to anticipate what those models’ successors might bring to the market.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Didn’t one of the B&B have a Buick and things didn’t end up so well? By no means meaning any disrespect to him and he is Canadian (if that jiggles any memories). Thank You

  • avatar
    brn

    A manufacturer’s vehicle wins a comparison that it conducts?

    This isn’t news. EVERYBODY DOES IT.

  • avatar
    amca

    The only Lexus ES I ever rode in lacked for comfort. Seats were awful Camry things. Wasn’t impressed in the slightest.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Lexus ES is simply an overpriced Camry. Always has been. Always will be.
    The Buick “Wildcat” (its proper name) is ten times better!
    Make SAAB Great Again!


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