The Buick wins. The LaCrosse CXS's direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 makes 280 horsepower with 87-octane fuel. The widely employed Toyota 3.5-liter V6 utilizes premium fuel and variable valve timing to make 272 hp in the ES 350. Intimately designed but roomy nonetheless, the cockpit of the LaCrosse CXS is a step ahead for Buick. Nothing daring here, and while the color palate is indeed subdued, there seems to be too much at work in the interior of our Lexus ES 350. White-on-black gauges are highly legible and amply sized. The instrument panel also features a crisp color display for a multitude of info outputs including tire pressures, navigation and trip meters. Simple, precise and highly legible gauges are among the design elements of the Lexus ES 350 we wouldn't change. The small info panel up top could stand an upgrade, however. At $1,995, the Buick's optional audio upgrade and navigation system utilizes crisp and intuitive graphics. The yoke-shaped center console has few buttons and is dominated by the optional and expensive ($4,250) premium audio/navigation system. The high-contrast touchscreen serves a multitude of climate and infotainment functions. We like the soft boot and straight-line action of the LaCrosse's shifter over the shifting labyrinth of the Lexus ES 350. Sport and manual mode are a simple nudge to the left. The Lexus features wood by Fred's Furniture; shifter by Mercedes-Benz circa 1996. These super-attractive 19-inch wheels come as part of the attractively priced ($800) Touring package. The Lexus ES 350's standard wheels measure 17 inches in diameter. Our LaCrosse CXS test car's price is pumped up with more than $5,500 in options, yet still comes in under $40,000. With more than $8,600 in options, our Lexus ES 350's as-tested price swelled to $43,975, but the Buick LaCrosse was $4,650 less and better equipped. 1st Place - Buick LaCrosse - The LaCrosse earns a resounding win for GM. Its biggest challenge will be getting people to consider a Buick. 2nd Place - Lexus ES350 - Sure, picking on this aging car was easy, but who expected Buick to be the bully here? Due for replacement in 2011.