Would love to see how it does on sand and ice (didn't get any of that on this trip). Only gripe about the performance handling is that the suspension seems a bit stiff. Expansion joints and small irregularities in the road surfaces really translated hard into the chassis and floor. I know Acura wants this to be an X3 fighter, but it seems like here they went a little overboard. This little sport-lux wants a little more comfort with the control. I'd even like to have some type of suspension settings that allow me to decide based on my need and circumstances. What I don't need to decide on is whether or not I like the paddle shifter response and feel. I like that you're allowed to make a quick downshift in Drive (although it does revert back after two seconds). And in Sport mode, expect the electronic shifting is quick and sharp.

Almost as impressive, the center storage console swallowed not just my laptop computer, but my whole computer bag and all the crap I keep inside: back issues, phone charger, wallet, files, maps, various charging cords, the latest Automotive News, etc. All vehicles should have a hole this large between the two front seats. Back to the gauges...visibility is pretty good over the hood and with my daughter's iPod plugged into the RDX's Aux jack, we were able to (had to more like) listen to all her favorite songs--on an amazing sound system I might add. Even though we had the rear subwoofer blocked by a large book-filled suitcase, we could hear it thumping. Likewise, I can't tell you how much I appreciated the fact that just about every control inside the car has a backup controller on the steering wheel. I especially enjoyed turning down the volume when some Kelly Clarkson song got turned up.

Once we got off the main freeway and headed over some chaparral range mountains to get closer to San Jose, the instant power and nimble size of the RDX was a huge asset. Unfamiliar city streets and impatient locals were both dealt with swiftly and easily with a blip of the throttle. We found quick access to our dorm building on campus thanks in large part to the wide-screen Nav system and were able to avoid one traffic accident and one construction zone, thanks to the real-time traffic reporting right on the screen. Again, this is something that every vehicle needed in a city should have.

Unloading went smoothly--in less than a half-hour her new room was set up and ready for decorating. No roommates when we got there meant she could settle in and get use to her surroundings at her pace. No need for dad to stick around, as she kept pushing me toward the door. "I could help you unpack, and maybe hangout when the flatmates get home," I said. She didn't laugh.


Once we found the right building, dodging a traffic jam and construction tie-ups, we prepped for unloading and the haul of the stairs. With all the stuff in her room, the she's ready to push dad out the door for the drive home.


On my way back, now nighttime, the lighted blues and use of soft colors are not at all distracting, and almost made for comfortable late-night driving. Must admit to a few uncomfortable moments (found out its difficult to laugh and stomp your foot while driving) when the wrong comedian came over the XM radio comedy channel.

In the end we drove 900 miles in our test unit from garage to car wash, and averaged 22.3 mpg, with occasional dips into the single digits during some winding road mountain pass running. Have to say the RDX came out the winner here, but then again as one of the top players in the luxury compact SUV segment at $37,895 (we have the Tech Package), it better be pretty good. Now if I could only be as sure about getting as much value from all that college tuition we're spending.