Lexus, owned by Toyota Motor Company, has long been a favorite in the luxury car market. Buick, an American staple owned by GM, has struggled with fading relevance until the last few years. While Buick has made a strong effort to reinfuse youth and class into its brand, Lexus hopes to maintain its position near the top of the food chain. Can Buick reestablish its brand image in the competitive luxury sedan market and win over Lexus? Find out in today’s Monday Vehicle Matchup where we compare the Buick LaCrosse vs Lexus ES 350.
Buick LaCrosse Overview (base)
Engine: 3.6L V6
Fuel Economy: 18 City / 28 Hwy
MSRP: From $31,065
2015 Buick LaCrosse Review
The 2015 Buick LaCrosse has remained largely unchanged for the last five years, but we’re not complaining. The 2010 redesign was a step in the right direction. This LaCrosse has crisp curves and bold chrome accents. It has a modern, elegant presence on the road that effectively sheds the stigma that Buicks are only for the elderly.
This Buick has a very welcoming interior. High-quality, soft touch materials are abundant. The touch screen minimizes the amount of buttons, simplifying the overall layout. Wind and road noise are sealed out extremely well. The available ultra-luxury package adds even more interior style, with Tamo-ash wood trim, ebony accents, moon roof, and sangria-hued leather.
Front seats provide plenty of leg room and passenger space is great in the 2015 Buick LaCrosse. Folding rear seats and a large trunk provide ample storage space.
The 3.6L V6 delivers a luxury car experience with a smooth, strong ride. For those in snowy climates, AWD is available. If you want a LaCrosse that sips less fuel, the 2.4L 4-cylinder with eAssist technology is a less powerful, more efficient option. This engine is called a mild hybrid, meaning it helps the engine with battery power but will never run on battery alone like a hybrid will. Overall, the LaCrosse has a great sense of responsiveness and stability with any engine.
Fuel economy is below average in the base engine, with up to 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The 4-cylinder engine with eAssist helps these numbers significantly, achieving an EPA estimated 25 city and 36 highway mpg.
The NHTSA gives this sedan a 5-star overall crash test rating. Rearview camera and 8 airbags are standard. There are plenty of extra available safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alerts, lane departure warnings, collision mitigation braking, blind-spot monitors and much more.
Want to learn more about the newest car safety technologies? Take a look at the Top 5 Car Safety Features Available in 2015.
Equipped with all the base features you would expect, the LaCrosse adds a few bonuses such as standard rearview camera, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and the OnStar remote link app that lets you lock, unlock, and start your vehicle remotely. Upgraded features include Bose audio, DVD player, heads-up display, Buick IntelliLink, WiFi hotspot, and more.
Lexus ES 350 Overview (base)
Engine: 3.5L V6
Fuel Economy: 21 City / 31 Hwy
2015 Lexus ES 350 Review
The 2015 Lexus ES 350 is best known for its hourglass grille with a Lexus logo as the centerpiece. This sedan has a somewhat conservative exterior design, with subtle chrome accents and clean sculpting. The outside is not ostentatious, but it does communicate luxury and class.
Step inside the ES 350, and the cockpit has a curvy theme, with minimal clutter. The navigation screen is placed on its own level above the instrument panel, creating a more dynamic presentation. The cabin is one of the best in its class at filtering out wind, road, and engine noise. The plush materials are high-quality, even in base trims.
Front seat comfort is good, and the back seat is very spacious. You can reasonably fit 5 adults in this sedan. Tall drivers rejoice, extendable thigh support is an option for the front seats. Seating space in combination with plenty of storage space makes the ES 350 feel bigger than it looks on the outside.
The eager base 3.5L V6 engine is an athletic package that will please most drivers. It handles well in most aspects, but it has somewhat spongy brake response and the steering can feel numb at times. Those looking for better fuel economy can opt for the ES 300h, which is more or less the Lexus ES 350 with a hybrid 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. The hybrid option is strong enough, but doesn’t have the same punch as the V6. Drive Mode Select is standard on all ES 350s, and it allows you to choose eco, normal, or sport driving modes.
The base engine achieves reasonable numbers for a luxury sedan, with an EPA estimated 31 highway mpg and 21 city mpg. The hybrid option fares much better with fuel economy, achieving 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.
The NHTSA gives this vehicle a 5-star overall crash test rating. Every 2015 Lexus ES 350 comes with 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. Lexus Safety Connect is available with a paid subscription. It adds a stolen vehicle locator, roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, and emergency assistance. Other optional safety features include lane departure alerts, rear cross traffic alerts, blind spot monitor, and more.
The entry-level ES 350 has plenty of features, such as automatic climate control, backup camera, keyless entry, HomeLink garage-door opener, 3.5-inch color info display, Bluetooth streaming audio, and more. Optional features include navigation, 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound, Lexus Enform App Suite, and more.
Buick LaCrosse vs Lexus ES 350 Winner:
Base model: 2015 Buick Lacrosse
The 2015 Buick LaCrosse has an incredibly low entry level price point for a luxury sedan. The powerful V6, incredibly comfortable interior, and slick appearance are well worth the price of admission.
Upgrades: 2015 Lexus ES 350
Fully loaded, the 2015 Lexus ES 350 delivers a superior luxury experience. The cabin has graceful styling, a quiet ride, and plush comfort. Combine that with a powerful engine and top-notch safety, you’ve got the complete luxury package.
Overall winner: 2015 Lexus ES 350
Picking a winner between the Buick LaCrosse vs Lexus ES 350 was very difficult. Both sedans deliver a true luxury experience in nearly all aspects, but the ES 350 comes out on top. It takes the edge thanks to a long list of luxury features, incredible reliability, and a supremely comfortable interior. Buick still offers a compelling alternative worth consideration, but Lexus takes the crown in today’s matchup.