The 2017 Buick LaCrosse Won A Comparison Test Conducted By 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.