Generally, our staff is likeminded to the point that we hardly ever view one vehicle in two entirely different lights. Sure, we'll disagree on a car's nuances, its levels of significance, superiority, or value, but rarely do we take opposite sides. Yet, there are instances when a vehicle proves as polarizing as a pair of Vuarnets.
Take our long-term Acura RDX, whose stiffly sprung suspension and edgy turbo engine had the team reminiscing about our love/hate relationship with the long-term 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR SE. As with the rigid and raucous Evo, some staffers adored the RDX's quick reflexes and force-fed power, while others came away sick and tired of its harsh ride and noticeable turbo lag. Styling? Several found the RDX's sheetmetal to be cute, handsome, or chic; others saw it as ho-hum and indistinct. Interior? Half were giddy with the cargo capacity, gadgets galore, and overall comfort; the other half frustrated with the large rotary-knob interface, "too techy" appearance, and busy center stack.
Still, despite its controversies, the RDX found plenty of willing takers. Just look at the trusty odometer, which, at nearly 28,000 miles, is proof positive that the RDX rarely held sleepovers in our parking lot. In fact, not only did the RDX accrue more mileage than two previous (and, with three rows, more accommodating) SUVs-the Mercedes-Benz GL450 (25,771) and the Audi Q7 4.2 (22,223)-but it also amassed the most love from our video team, who signed it out whenever action called.
Given the RDX doesn't offer a video player, what else about it could have possibly enamored our videophiles? The reasons were numerous-and the same ones that made it a winner of two comparison tests. It is small on the outside, so navigating tight or tricky spots was relatively easy for our staff, certainly with the backup camera that came with our tester's Technology Package. Further, that smallness, along with the peppy turbo engine, sure-footed "super handling" all-wheel-drive system, and sport-tuned suspension, helped make it feel compact, agile, and fun. For camera crewmen Jim Gleason and Mike Suggett, that always meant being able to keep up safely with a comparison-test squad on a twisty road, where editors, even behind the wheels of sport sedans, could never lose the Acura, which delivers 0.82 g of lateral grip and 0 to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds flat. Moreover, the RDX, with 60.6 cubic feet of cargo space, rear seats down (27.8 cu ft up), was easily able to swallow gobs of gear, namely multiple video cameras, bounce boards, rigs, and tripods. And, lest we forget, the RDX's capacious and tech-laden cockpit, boasting satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, an auxiliary jack for iPods, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, and center console that can conceal a 17-inch laptop, proved the ideal mobile office, locker, and entertainment room.