Sometimes, when designers try to put their best face forward, they fail miserably, ruining an otherwise serviceable automobile. What car needs a bag over its face?

We spent a lot of time debating between two different Acura products we like: the RDX and the TL SH-AWD. Both are fine, class-leading all-wheel-drive vehicles. The RDX is a heck of a good sporting mini-SUV, and the TL SH-AWD is like a Mitsubishi Evolution in a leather jacket. But their faces? Horrorshow. The TL takes the cake: It's like a bottle opener modeled on a 1980's anime techno-hippo. What we have here is the design-language equivalent of Esperanto: ostensibly for everyone, but appealing to no one.

Paper or plastic?

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