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1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Acura ZDX is endearingly weird, the sort of vehicle you might expect Citroën to produce, were it still doing business in America and hoping to slake our countrymen’s thirst for an all-in-one crossover/sports coupe/sedan/SUV. What the ZDX is not, philosophically, is a Honda. “This isn’t the old Acura way of ‘Honda Plus,’” says Acura’s executive vice-president John Mendel, and indeed, this thing is seriously out of compliance with the Honda ethos. The ZDX trades efficiency and rationality for a big ol’ bag of interesting.

It’s a five-door fastback that seats two to three fewer occupants than the MDX and Honda Pilot SUVs on which it’s based. It tows as little as a Honda CR-V (1500 pounds). It has less cargo space than the subcompact Honda Fit. Acura wanted to create a sporty coupe, so naturally it, um, gave it heavy running gear and lifted its center of gravity?

Maybe we’ve had our defenses broken down by the begrudgingly excellent BMW X6, but the ZDX starts to make sense once you drive it, especially in its element, i.e., the winding coastal roads of northern California or the snowy passes of Tahoe. This is a vehicle for those well-tanned, Cialis-addled boomers you see frittering away their early retirements on winery tours, decorator consults, and elective surgeries. In other words, the kind of people a maitre d’ seats us far away from.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon


ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 224 cu in, 3664cc
Power (SAE net): 300 bhp @ 6400 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 270 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting

Wheelbase: 108.3 in Length: 192.4 in Width: 78.5 in Height: 62.8 in Curb weight: 4450–4500 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 6.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.3 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph

EPA city/highway driving: 16/22 mpg
It’s a low-stress machine. Though it feeds an ample 300 horsepower from its 3.7-liter V-6 through Acura’s new six-speed automatic transmission and its torque-shuffling SH-AWD system, the ZDX’s dials are angled toward luxury rather than sport. True, it does have an optional sport mode (part of the Advance package), which livens up steering effort and damper response. But there remains a tendency for the ZDX to worry itself around corners, not providing the steering feedback and off-center torque buildup you get in the MDX. The brakes are easy to predict, though, and the vehicle stays composed through hard bends and over broken roads, thanks to the Advance pack’s magneto*rheological adaptive dampers.

The ZDX’s exterior is deeply alluring and reconciles, finally, Acura’s new “shogun warrior” styling theme. Its long panoramic glass roof terminates in a transom window set between the ZDX’s ultra-wide, sculpted hips. The interior, though difficult to access through the rear doors, is roomy and filled with high-quality touches—loop carpet, a strut-equipped cargo-bin lid, and leather that feels like it slid off a side of Wagyu beef.

Coming to market nicely loaded—a roughly $3500 Technology package adds nav, an eight-inch display screen (a camera with rearview-mirror-integrated display is standard), and ELS audio; the Advance pack offers all that, plus stuff such as blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise for about another $2000—the ZDX will start around $44,000, sitting, pricewise, between the MDX and the RL. It will offer 15,000 or so empty-nester MDX buyers a way to stay in the Acura brand without having to resort to driving a sedan. Because that would be far too rational.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

Acura calls the new ZDX "a provocative new four door sports coupe", but it's hard to feel shocked or outraged that anyone would attempt to pass off an SUV as a sports car. In the context of vehicles like Caddy's Escalade, Porsche's Cayenne, Infiniti's FX and BMW's X6, trying to define exactly what an SUV is these days is like trying to explain the differences between a Corvette and a Camry to a caveman.

The reality is the Acura ZDX is about as sporty as you'd expect a 4400lb all-wheel drive truck with 300hp, an automatic transmission, wide tires, and a relatively high center of gravity to be: A well-driven V-6 Camry SE sedan will blow its doors off on a winding back road. But with ZDX sportiness has nothing to do with function. It has everything to do with form.

The ZDX's sheetmetal is the work of 25 year old Acura designer Michelle Christensen, and looks remarkably close to her original theme sketches. Turning those sketches into the real thing required some serious rule-breaking by American Honda engineers. The sharply creased, broad shouldered rear quarter panel required a draw twice as deep as Honda regulations allowed, for example, and the development of a new phosphate coating so the metal would slip cleanly in the die. The fully glazed upper -- glass runs from the base of the windshield over the roof and down to the taillights -- raised concerns over weight and cost.

The interior shows the same dedication to form over function. Designer Michael Wiedeman's swooping concave feature lines, which arc across the dash, linking the center console and the doors, take more than an hour and a half to hand finish in leather. Honda can assemble almost a tenth of a whole Civic in the same time.

Yet there is a practical side to the ZDX. It will accommodate five, though the rear doors are relatively narrow, and that swooping roofline means visibility is limited. The rear load space might look compact, but there's a hidden under-floor compartment for extra storage, and side panels that can be removed to allow golf bags to be stowed crossways. The rear seats fold forward to create a near flat area that reaches forward to the B-pillar and offers 55.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Under the hood is Honda's 3.7-liter V-6, which develops 300 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and 270 pound-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. The engine drives through a new six speed automatic transmission, and the latest iteration of Honda's complex but effective SH-AWD system. Like many Honda engines, the V-6 feels light on torque; a sensation not helped by the ZDX's mass and the widely spaced ratios in the transmission.

Left to its own devices the ZDX feels a tad lethargic, particularly when overtaking on two lanes. The good news, however, is the transmission offers both a sport mode (revised mapping typically keeps the transmission in the lower four ratios, and locks out sixth gear) and full manual control via steering wheel mounted paddles. A quick double tap on the downshift paddle allows the transmission to skip from sixth to fourth, fifth to third, fourth to second, if needed. Put some effort into your driving, and the ZDX responds accordingly.

Standard suspension is by way of MacPherson struts up front, and a multi-link rear axle, both anchored by beefy sub-frames. Top-of-the-range ZDXs get magneto-rheological shocks as part of what Acura calls its Integrated Dynamics System (IDS). Controlled via a large knob on the center console, IDS switches both damper and steering rates between "comfort" and "sport" settings. On our early-build tester (one of two ZDXs that are by now crumpled heaps of metal in Honda's crash lab) the sport setting's damper rates felt a touch too firm mooching around town, while the comfort setting's steering felt too light. Acura engineers have subsequently confirmed production ZDXs will get more steering feel in the comfort setting, which seems the ideal compromise.

Standard equipment is lavish. The base ZDX comes equipped with the all-glass roof, leather interior, power tailgate, backup camera, and 19in wheels and tires. The Technology Package adds sat nav with real time traffic and weather, Acura/ELS audio, keyless access and a multi-view rear camera. The Advance Package includes a sport steering wheel, ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, the aforementioned IDS, and blind spot monitors, which really ought to be standard across the range.

If you want an Acura for family road trips, buy an MDX. The ZDX is designed for couples -- trendy youngsters or fifty-something empty nesters -- who want a vehicle that not only stands out in the valet line at a hip hotel, but is a comfortable and capable ride for quick getaway trips, regardless of the weather or the road surface.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Press Release

The all-new 2010 Acura ZDX four-door sports coupe will arrive this winter at Acura dealerships with dramatic styling, outstanding performance and the latest in advanced technology. The segment bending ZDX features stunning coupe-like styling with the added benefit of a commanding presence and flexible utility. Staying true to the prototype model that debuted at the 2009 New York International Auto Show in April, the production ZDX will feature the key design highlights of a panoramic glass roof, hidden rear door handles and bold fender flares.

"The ZDX is like nothing you have ever seen before from Acura," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "It combines the best attributes of a coupe, a sedan and a sport utility – all wrapped in a beautifully sculpted package – that will attract an entirely new luxury customer to the Acura brand."

Designed, developed and manufactured entirely in North America, the ZDX breaks new ground for Acura in many ways. The ZDX is the first vehicle to be styled from start to finish in the new, dedicated Acura Design Studio in Torrance, CA, allowing exterior and interior designers to work closely together throughout the entire design process. Staying true to the original sketch from Acura's first female designer, Michelle Christensen, the ZDX features sensuous curves, deeply sculpted shoulders and strong character lines.

Inside, the ZDX exhibits the highest levels of refinement and sophistication ever offered from Acura. Every ZDX interior will feature Acura's first hand-stitched leather dashboard, door panels and sculpted center console. The rich leather appointments give the ZDX a warm and inviting feeling while creating an intimate cockpit for the driver and front passenger. The cabin is well lit thanks to extensive use of LED lighting along with the light from the unique moonroof that is an integral design aspect of the longest glass roof in the industry. The panoramic glass roof has dual automatic sunshades that open and closes at the touch of a button.

The luxurious cockpit gives way to generous cabin that provides comfortable seating for up to 5-passengers. The ZDX's flexible utility allows it to be a perfect weekend getaway vehicle, allowing for 26.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row seats and a total of 55.8 cubic feet when the seats are folded flat. The cargo area can also be expanded to accommodate longer objects (such as golf bags) by removing side panels in the cargo-compartment sidewalls. As an added bonus, there is an integrated under-floor storage area which provides 2.2 cubic-feet of secure space.

The all-new ZDX not only boasts head-turning style but also outstanding performance. The 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 all-aluminum engine generates 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque for immediate acceleration response, outstanding low- and mid-range torque and superior high-rpm power. The all-new 6-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters gives the ZDX excellent acceleration while also enhancing fuel economy. EPA estimated city/highway fuel mileage of 16/22 mpg* and a large 21-gallon fuel capacity allow for the ZDX to have a long cruising range. Plus, the ZDX complies with the latest EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

Standard on the ZDX is Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system. SH-AWD® expands the ZDX's appeal by providing outstanding handling as well as excellent all-season capability. Standard on the ZDX are 19x8.5-inch 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels- the largest standard wheel in the Acura lineup.

Adding to the dynamic capabilities of the ZDX is the available Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), which tailors the fully independent suspension's Active Damper System and speed-sensitive steering together to suit the driver's preference for a more comfortable or a more sporting ride – all available for easy change at the turn of a dial. Comfort mode prioritizes road isolation and reduced passenger fatigue, while Sport mode favors crisp handling response, heightened vehicle body control and maximum traction.

Befitting its "sports coupe" design, the 2010 ZDX is longer, lower, wider and has a significantly wider track than its primary market competitors. The ZDX rides on a 108.3-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 192.4 inches, it has an overall width of 85.6 inches with a 67.7-inch track front and rear, and it stands 62.8 inches tall. These dimensions allow the ZDX to offer a driving character that is as confident as its appearance is dramatic.

When the ZDX goes on sale this winter, customers will have the choice of three distinct trim levels: ZDX, ZDX with Technology Package and the ZDX with Advance Package. Like all Acura models, the ZDX will come generously equipped. The panoramic glass roof with moveable sunshades, hand-stitched leather interior, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® connectivity, power tailgate and a high powered audio system with CD player, AM/FM radio, XM® Satellite Radio and USB audio connectivity with iPod® integration are all standard features.

The ZDX with Technology Package adds several key features including an Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, an Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system and a new multi-view rear camera. The Advance Package boasts additional customer enhancing technologies like a blind spot information system, a Collision Mitigating Braking System™ (CMBS™) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

When the ZDX goes on-sale, it will bring a new level of prestige to the Acura lineup. The ZDX will be positioned and priced between the MDX luxury SUV and the RL luxury performance sedan. ZDX pricing and additional details will be released at a later date.

The all-new ZDX is equipped with a new generation of the 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine that continues Acura's longstanding mission to provide V-8 level horsepower and torque with the size and fuel efficiency of a V-6. The all-aluminum engine develops 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque for immediate acceleration response, outstanding low- and mid-range torque and exciting high-rpm power.

Helping broaden the powerband while simultaneously improving fuel efficiency of the latest 3.7L V-6 is a new 2-rocker arm design VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system applied to the intake valves. In addition, special high-lift camshaft specs during VTEC® operation, a dual-stage induction system and an electronic Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system team to improve engine performance.

Performance and fuel economy are further enhanced by the ZDX's all-new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission that is designed to satisfy the most discerning enthusiast drivers. EPA estimated city/highway fuel mileage of 16/22 mpg* and a large 21-gallon fuel capacity allow for the ZDX to have a long cruising range. Plus, the ZDX complies with the latest EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

Standard on the ZDX is Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system, which is tuned for real-world driving conditions and has been performance proven on Germany's famed Nürburgring road course. Setting new standards for power delivery and handling response, SH-AWD® actively varies the torque distribution first between front and rear axles, and then between the left and right rear wheels, to maximize available traction under most driving situations. This "torque vectoring" operates automatically and seamlessly, and allows SH-AWD® to overdrive the outside rear wheel up to 1.7-percent faster than the front wheels- thus creating a "yaw moment" that allows the ZDX to better rotate around a corner while minimizing vehicle understeer.

The ZDX chassis was tuned to provide an ideal balance of handling precision, road isolation and damping. In front, MacPherson struts team with coil-over springs and forged-aluminum lower control arms for precise handling with generous wheel travel, while hydro-compliance suspension bushings and a front subframe that "floats" on rubber mounts provide superb road and engine isolation. The ZDX's multi-link rear suspension mounts on a separate steel subframe and employs aluminum uprights for reduced unsprung weight; the coil springs, dampers and anti-roll bar are tuned for optimum ride and handling.

Included with the available Advance Package, the new Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) tailors the ZDX's fully independent suspension's Active Damper System and speed-sensitive steering to suit the driver's preference for a more comfortable or a more sporting ride – available at the touch of a switch. Comfort mode prioritizes road isolation and reduced passenger fatigue, while Sport mode favors crisp handling response, heightened vehicle body control and maximum traction.

The heart of the ZDX's Active Damper System is its electronically-controlled Magneto-Rheological shock absorbers, which can individually adjust from minimum to maximum damping force in as little as five milliseconds (0.005 sec.). Along with the active dampers, the speed-sensitive hydraulic steering assist is automatically adjusted according to the driver's choice of Comfort or Sport modes: lighter steering effort is generated in the Comfort mode, while firmer effort results when in Sport mode.

The exterior design goal for the ZDX was to merge the emotional appeal of a sports coupe with excellent all-season ability and good ground clearance to allow for moderate off-highway use. The unique design of the wide rear fenders and aerodynamic cabin give the ZDX a decisive and powerful appearance, while the panoramic glass roof provides occupants with a breathtaking view of the world around them.

The unique moonroof design teams with the surrounding glass structure to make for the longest glass roof in the automotive market- stretching from the leading edge of the windshield to the trailing edge of the tailgate glass. In the front section of the glass roof is the moonroof that tilts and slides up and back along the outside of the roof. This opening design helps to preserve maximum interior headroom while also retaining the dramatic and personal "sports coupe" design of the cabin greenhouse. A fixed glass panel over the rear seat area further brightens the cabin. Dual motorized sunshades cover both the front and rear glass panels should the ZDX occupants choose to reduce sunlight entering the interior, while a mesh fabric pop-up air deflector achieves a new standard for wind-noise performance when compared to a traditional blade-type wind deflector.

Opening the power-actuated tailgate reveals an impressively detailed rear cargo area that offers a total of 26.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Lined with premium loop-style carpet, the rear cargo area also offers a cleverly hidden 2.2 cubic-feet cargo bin positioned under the floor. Hidden behind removable side panels are additional storage areas in the cargo-compartment sidewalls. Like the under-floor access panel, the removable side panels have satin-metal release handles, and can be stored in the under-floor cargo bin to generate a wide load space designed to accommodate up to four golf bags. With the second-row seats folded, the ZDX offers a fully carpeted near-flat load floor and a total of 55.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Combining premium materials with a new standard of attention-to-detail and craftsmanship, the ZDX interior takes its place as the ultimate expression of Acura interior design. Following the "2+Freedom" design concept, the ZDX interior emphasizes the needs of the driver and passenger, while also offering the loading freedom to easily accommodate a weekend golfing trip or a piece of bulky cargo. For occasional use, the ZDX's second-row seats can comfortably accommodate two full-size adults, or three passengers for shorter rides.

New manufacturing processes allow top-grade leather to precisely follow complex, flowing shapes on the instrument panel, center console and door panels. LED interior lighting and a striking center instrument panel that blacks out when not in use give the ZDX a clean, technical feel.

Standard ZDX interior features include leather seating surfaces, a supportive 10-way adjustable power driver seat and an 8-way adjustable power passenger seat. Also standard is the panoramic glass roof, power tailgate and a dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system with automatic humidity control and rear seat vents. Additional standard equipment includes a powerful 8-speaker audio system with 6-disc CD changer, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio, Bluetooth® Audio, USB port connectivity (for items such as iPod®, iPhone®, or removable USB mass storage devices) and AUX jack interface (for portable MP3 music players).

The ZDX auto day/night rearview mirror includes an integrated rear view camera display, while Tech and Advance models display camera information on the navigation system's full VGA color display.

Advanced Technology
An available Technology Package increases both connectivity and comfort. The package starts with a Keyless Access System with push-button start, luxurious full-grain Perforated Milano Premium Leather for the seating surfaces and an Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™. The system has an 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display, uses navigation data stored on a built-in 60 GB hard disk drive (HDD) for impressively quick operation and includes AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™ along with the AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with weather radar image maps. For the ultimate in connectivity, the AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System allows direct communication between the ZDX and Acura, including the ability to make automated appointments for vehicle service.

The Technology Package also features Acura's renowned Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system with a 435-watt Digital Sound Processor amplifier, a 10-speaker surround sound array and a built-in 15-gigabyte hard disk drive (HDD) media storage system that allows the ZDX owner to download and store about 3,500 up to songs† for later playback. The Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system offers DVD-Audio (with 500-times higher resolution than traditional CD audio), DTS™, CD, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio, Bluetooth® Audio, plus USB and AUX jack connectivity.

The available Advance Package includes everything in the Technology Package, and adds premium brushed tricot headliner material, ventilated front seats, a sport steering wheel and additional LED ambient lighting. The Advance Package also includes Acura's Collision Mitigating Braking System™ (CMBS™), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), a blind spot information system and the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that controls the Active Damper System and speed-sensitive steering.

Acura's acclaimed Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and a comprehensive array of active and passive safety features help the 2010 ZDX offer a high level of passenger safety. The ACE™ body structure more evenly distributes collision forces throughout the vehicle and also helps maintain the integrity of the passenger cabin in the event of a severe frontal collision.

Passive safety features include a dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), dual-chamber side airbags with a passenger side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), front seats with active head restraints, knee bolsters for front occupants, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system with integrated load limiters.

Numerous standard "active safety" features that help the ZDX driver minimize the risk of collision include Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) along with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

An additional active safety feature included in the available Advance Package is the Collision Mitigating Braking System™ (CMBS™) which helps the driver reduce the likelihood of a collision by alerting the driver to potential collision situations and activating the brakes if the system determines a collision likely is unavoidable.

Although the ZDX has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as of press time, Acura internal testing projects the ZDX to achieve top ratings in NHTSA** frontal and side impact testing, as well as earn GOOD ratings from the IIHS.

Along with every other new Acura, the 2010 ZDX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000 miles powertrain limited warranty. Additional benefits of ownership include Acura Total Luxury Care (TLC), which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 270 dealers within the United States. The 2010 Acura lineup features six distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sports sedan, the turbocharged RDX luxury crossover SUV, the award-winning MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the all-new ZDX four-door sports coupe.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Motor Trend

Super Looking All-Wheel Drive
September 23, 2009
/ By Ron Kiino
/ Photography by Brian Vance

Whether you like the daring curves of Acura's all-new ZDX crossover, there's no denying that there is something super about its shape -- it stands out among today's array of sport/utilities like an Armani suit at 24 Hour Fitness. While one editor thought the ZDX resembled a "Mitsubishi's Dakar-racing Pajero Evo mated with a TL," an overwhelming majority of our team was drawn to this audacious Acura, especially its blacked-out all-glass roof, accentuated fenders, and hidden door handles just fore the C-pillar. "Calling the ZDX distinctive is an understatement," says associate Web producer Carlos Lago. "It looks otherworldly. It's the best looking vehicle in Acura's camp -- and I mean that as a compliment. Love the view from the rear. Its strong, wide shoulders give a dominant, purposeful shape." Editor at large Arthur St. Antoine says, "I'll admit it: I was taken aback -- no, shocked -- by my first sight of the ZDX in the metal. This thing is out there-to my eye, way edgier and more futuristic-looking than the X6. But the more I looked, the more I found the ZDX...interesting. Even...stunning." Sure, the ZDX sports Acura's signature and controversial can-opener grille that we've ridiculed on the TL, TSX, et al, but on this bigger, fastback sport/ute, it works -- at least more so than on the brand's sedans.

We experienced similar fuzzy feelings from behind the wheel. Slide into this so-called "four-door sports coupe" -- watch your head, because the sloping roofline is lower than you expect, especially when entering the back seat -- and you're treated to the most elegant cabin in a luxury Honda to date. A leather-stitched dash? You bet. Leather-stitched door panels, too? Why not. Even the cargo area is lined with premium loop-style carpet that wouldn't look out of place in a Beverly Hills living room. Speaking of the cargo area, it features side panels than can be niftily detached, allowing for such long, bulky objects as golf bags. Our top-of-the-line test vehicle, equipped with the available Advance Package, also included ventilated front seats, blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control, Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS), and Acura's new Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), which allows for adjusting the dampers between comfort and sport modes. Lest we forget, the Advance Package encompasses everything in the available Technology Package -- ELS premium audio, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, backup camera, and navigation with traffic and weather updates.

Step on the throttle and turn the fat-rimmed three-spoke leather-wrapped wheel, and those fuzzy feelings are quickly transfused with adrenaline. Underhood resides a 3.7-liter single-cam V-6 that routs 300 horses and 270 pound-feet through a new six-speed automatic and Acura's signature "Super Handling" all-wheel-drive system. Zero to 60 takes just 6.5 seconds and lateral grip, at 0.83 g, falls right in sport-sedan territory. Depending on how you set the IDS, the ride can be tuned from sporty firm to tautly supple. And even with our lead foots spurring it along, the ZDX delivered 17.1-mpg observed fuel economy.

While its most direct competitor, the 300-horse twin-turbo BMW X6 xDrive 35i, is quicker to 60 (5.9 seconds) and around the skidpad (0.87 g), the ZDX is more fun to drive. The reason, unsurprisingly, is weight. At 4445 pounds, the ZDX is no bantam, but it tips the scales with 540 fewer pounds than a comparably equipped X6. Sure, the BMW's twin-turbo I-6 and nifty xDrive all-wheel drive make it quick in a straight line and around a circle, but it can't cheat the laws of physics and mask 4985 pounds when tackling a twisty road. What about the Infiniti FX? Yes, in terms of test numbers and road manners, the lighter 4293-pound FX35 AWD is more akin to the ZDX, scooting to 60 in 6.1 seconds and around the skid pad with 0.82 g of lateral grip. Nevertheless, while it's a looker, the FX doesn't wear the shock-and-awe lines of the ZDX, nor is it as fun to drive, lacking the Acura's utter sure-footedness.

Then there's the value proposition. A base ZDX, which comes standard with 19-inch wheels, Xenon headlamps, leather, power/heated front seats, power moonroof and tailgate, XM satellite radio, and Bluetooth, should start in the neighborhood of $44,000. A base X6, which offers heated front seats, power tailgate, satellite radio, and Bluetooth as options, opens at $56,725. When similarly equipped, the Acura should represent a $10,000-$15,000 savings compared with the BMW. And the Infiniti? An FX35 AWD starts at $44,465 and, unlike the Acura, doesn't come standard with Bluetooth, 19-inch wheels, or paddle shifters. Tart up an FX to mimic a ZDX with the Advance Package, and you're looking at a $50,000-plus crossover.

Of course, the ZDX isn't perfect. A couple demerits worth mentioning are the challenging ingress/egress, a cramped back seat (it offers less headroom and legroom than in a Mazda RX-8), and somewhat compromised cargo capacity, which, at 26.3 cubic feet, is less than in the stubbier and narrower Audi Q5. That said, Acura isn't marketing the ZDX as a family transporter; rather, it's a "passionate getaway" car for two adults. So if you need a rig for hauling the spouse and kids, Acura will gladly point you in the direction of the RDX and MDX. Otherwise, opt for the ZDX. No other Acura is as engaging to drive or scintillating to behold -- period.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)

The Acura ZDX press drive's going on in Manhattan today. We'll have more on that later. For the moment, feast your eyes on the mega-gallery of brown metal flesh — and the nicest Acura interior ever — below the jump.

Although I didn't have a chance to drive the car — John's doing that as we speak — thanks to the nice PR folks, I did get a chance to sit inside the new big-assed Acura. The coolest feature I was able to quickly see inside is the center stack's big graphite black button-filled face plate. What's cool about that? Well, the buttons illuminate and glow upon need. So, for instance, if you're listening to the radio, the radio buttons are illuminated. HVAC on? The HVAC buttons are illuminated. All of it's pretty sweet. The leather's sumptuous-looking and rich in texture.

The back seat presents somewhat of a problem for anyone over, say, 5'10" — and the doorway (really, it's more like a hatch) — is somewhat claustrophobic with the easy-to-hurt-ones-ass door jamb readily accessible to smack your tailbone upon entry.

Still, the interior's hot — especially the dual-cockpit front seats — and the exterior? It don't look so bad up close. At least not nearly as bad as we'd initially thought upon the first look at the press shots.

More to come later.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
USA 2day

By James R. Healey, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Automakers say they are hearing this message from some important (well-heeled) shoppers: Give us the SUV's high seating position with such a nice view and handy cargo space and the foul-weather and bad-road capability that comes with all-wheel drive and ample ground clearance. But change the look, either to the mainstream appeal of a tailored sedan or the excitement of a sports coupe.

Replies so far include Toyota's Venza in the mainstream category and BMW's X6 in the coupe genre.

Come December, Honda's Acura luxury brand joins the fray with the 2010 ZDX.

Penned three years ago by Michelle Christensen — then 25, fresh out of design school and newly hired by Honda — ZDX's style is distinguished by a tucked and tailored roof covered in black glass panels and by rear-wheel bulges that would be striking even if the roof's taper did not accentuate them. It's three-dimensional drama. ZDX looks far less exciting in photos than on the road.

It's all but unique for a rookie designer to have sketches embraced by a car company and rendered almost literally.

ZDX is an Acura MDX crossover SUV underneath, though that's hard to believe because of the differences in looks, interiors and personalities. Same wheelbase and track width, similar suspension but retuned for ZDX, same engine. Transmission, developed for the ZDX, is shared, too, beginning with the 2010 MDX.

Acura views ZDX as a niche product: 6,000 sales the first year, maybe 10,000 in a hot year. Only way to make money on so few is such hardware sharing.

A morning in city traffic here, then a rural romp on parkways and lanes to the north, plus 250 hot-shoe highway miles back home to Virginia and a few more miles through suburban duty in two preproduction ZDXs left a crisp impression:

If you are willing to accept the compromises that come with the coupe styling — and coupes are all about style — ZDX is one terrific piece of work.

Acura says ZDX is meant not as a family vehicle, though it seats four or five adults. It's more for a couple with no kids at home and craving something exciting to see and drive. Able when necessary to tote back-seaters in relative comfort, but the front-seaters get the emphasis.

Compromises (as you'd find in any coupe, which typically is a two-door car with sleek styling):

Awkward rear entry. There are back doors, but the low roofline means you'll duck and tuck like a suspect going into the back seat of a squad car.

Once in, leg and knee room are far better than suggested by the 31 inches of rear leg space in the specifications. That's due mainly to sculpting of the backs of the front seats. The curving roof, though, skirts the skull closely.

Poor rear visibility. Fat rear roof pillars and a horizontal crossbar partway down the tailgate's glass panel mean you'll need the rear-view camera and the blind-spot warning system.

Imperfect cargo space. To carry four golf bags, for instance, you remove side panels from the cargo area and put them under the cargo floor.

On the other hand, ZDX is:

Exotic. That roofline, especially seen from above. And covering the roof in black glass, attached to a metal frame, is daring. On a black ZDX, the monochrome look is delectable.

A skylight covers both front and rear seats and includes a sliding sunroof over the front. The dashboard, including challenging convex surfaces, is covered in premium leather (inspired by leathered walls at the St. Regis hotel in San Francisco).

Erotic. Dangerously close to a Cialis ad, Acura says ZDX is for couples who might like a weekend getaway to, uh, reconnect. Goes pretty much anywhere they'd like, any time they wish, Acura says.

The wide rear fenders are supposed to suggest wide, sexy shoulders, the automaker says, illustrating with a photo of a woman's shoulders graced only by narrow straps.

Exciting. The 3.7-liter V-6 romps quickly up the rev range, catches a shrieking second wind between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm and the new-for-ZDX six-speed automatic snaps up to the next gear so quickly your senses almost don't notice.

The high-end model, Advance, has an adjustable suspension. The driver chooses "sport" for feisty moves or "comfort" when the road's a beast. Each setting automatically adjusts within a range. The test car with that system was a dream. Comfort was smooth, not sloppy; sport was firm, not harsh.

The less-than-handy configuration imposed by the dramatic style could be a turnoff, but those who can make allowances might find ZDX irresistible.

About the 2010 Acura ZDX

•What? Sleek, four-door, five-passenger, crossover SUV aimed at coupe lovers who don't need family-style passenger room but want the stance, capabilities of an SUV. To be marketed as a car but classed by the government as a truck.

•When? Mid-December.

•Where? Built at Alliston, Ontario.

•How much? Not set yet, but between the $41,000 MDX and $47,000 RL.

•What's the hardware? Acura MDX SUV chassis, retuned; 3.7-liter V-6 rated 300 horsepower at 6,300 rpm, 270 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm; new six-speed automatic; standard SH-AWD (Acura-speak for its performance-oriented "super-handling all-wheel drive); driver-selectable suspension (optional).

Rear camera with selectable views (normal, fish-eye, straight down); side-curtain air bags with separate chambers that inflate near the roof in the event of a rollover.

•How big? Midsize SUV outside, compact car inside. ZDX is 192.4 inches long, 78.5 in. wide, 62.8 in. tall on a 108.3-in. wheelbase. Passenger space is 91.2 cubic feet. Cargo space, 26.2 cu. ft. behind rear seat, 55.8 cu. ft. when the seat's folded.

Tows 1,500 lbs., weighs 4,424 lbs. to 4,462 lbs., depending on model.

•How thirsty? Rated 16 miles per gallon in town, 22 mpg on the highway, 18 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

Trip computers in the preproduction test vehicles showed 18.8 mpg and 19.8 mpg in two legs of brisk driving on rural parkways, 22 mpg in high-speed interstate highway driving, 14.2 mpg in spirited suburban use.

Burns premium, holds 21.7 gallons.

•Overall: Entertaining, exciting if judged (as Acura intends) as an all-weather, all-road sports sedan rather than as a family-oriented SUV.​

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

The new Acura ZDX has a distinctive exterior, a sumptuous interior and both are strangely proportioned. So who, exactly, does Acura think is going to buy this thing? In a word: DINKs.

No, not dorks or dweebs, although there may be some who overlap into this bracket. We're talking DINKs, as in the acronym for Double Income No Kids. Your DINKs are people for whom no one else exists save that one significant other; couples with grown children or no plans to have children. This immediately distances the ZDX's mission from that of the soccer-mom and grocery-hauler SUVs. Acura's core concept for the ZDX was the "Passionate Getaway," meaning the car would be both vehicle and destination in itself. As it turns out, as odd-looking as it is outside, it's actually an extremely pleasant car for two people to be inside.

The cockpit of this Acura is one of the nicest we've seen, period. It doesn't really break any new ergonomic ground, although everything is right where it should be. What makes it truly stand out is the design, which puts the driver and passenger in comfortable and attractive "pods," and the quality and tactile feel of the surfaces. A lot of time and effort was spent in determining the best materials for surfaces in the ZDX, and it was time well spent. The leather, which Acura selects and applies by hand using techniques developed specifically for this car, is of especially high quality and is a tactile delight. Plastics are few but sturdy and soft-touch where they occur. Nighttime accent lighting gives a nice, subtle blue backlight to your surroundings. It's a great place to spend time with your companion/partner/spouse and your no-kids.

Your no-kids will also enjoy the back seat, which is just the right size for nonexistent children. To be fair, existing children will fit back there, but double-income couples with more than two friends, or only two friends who happen to be over five-foot-nine, will need to take another car for longer Passionate Getaways. These seats seem built specifically to fold down, which they do, nice and flat, giving you plenty of room for a double income's worth of active-lifestyle stuff on the cabin floor and in the many cubbies.

So you and your co-DINK have no kids and no friends, which means the two of you are splendidly isolated in that extremely nice cabin even before the Passionate Getaway. If that's what you like, the ZDX can give you isolation in spades. The already remarkable sound and vibration insulation is augmented to almost eerie levels by an ingenious, if invisible, active noise cancellation system, in which white noise is piped through Acura's legendary sound system to counteract background noises so you can hear yourself (and possibly one other person) think.

That legendary ELS sound system, plus the climate control and optional nav system, are controlled through the nifty "Monolith" center stack, which has no visible lettering on the switches until powered on with each set of switches only powering on when needed. Although not very practical, i's a very striking user interface. Once you can see what's going on, it's easy enough to use, and the familiarity of ownership may have DINKs playing it like a piano, but to the newcomer it may seem somewhat unwieldy.

It should, in all fairness, be mentioned that there's also a capable 300 HP 3.7-liter VTEC engine in front of this lovely interior. The ZDX puts that adequate if not exactly stirring power down through a paddle-shift 6-speed auto transmission which will actually shift down two gears with one pull if the revs are available, which is genuinely cool but may be wasted here. The drivetrain incorporates Acura's SH-AWD system with torque vectoring across the rear axle, which should allow DINKs to make their Getaways nice and Passionate in all kinds of weather. And while the ZDX is based on the big MDX platform, lots of careful and clever chassis engineering has been done on this SUV-like but coupe-esque-from-certain-angles vehicle. As a result it can do more than just getting out of its own way, delivering unobtrusive if not inspiring handling while delivering an extremely smooth ride over most surfaces.

We're assuming most potential buyers won't care about most of that. They'll care that the ZDX does everything a person, or two persons max, could want it to on a getaway, passionate or otherwise. It has all the connectivity luxury buyers have come to expect, and all the nifty gadgets like adaptive cruise control and ventilated seats are available. From the outside, the wide-haunched and glass-heavy exterior styling which looks good from the rear except for certain viewing angles which look almost Aztek-y, and that Acura grille that always makes us want to open up a really big bottle. But none of that stuff will be important to the DINKs who will be inside, enjoying each other, that marvelous interior, and little else while Passionately Getting Away from everything.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Business Week

The new Acura ZDX may just be the best-looking new model of 2010. But its handling and performance prove it's more than a pretty face

By Thane Peterson

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5

The Good: Rakish styling, beautiful interior, sporty all-wheel-drive system

The Bad: Marginal rear seat, so-so fuel economy

The Bottom Line: A gorgeous new model aimed at affluent empty-nester couples​

Up Front

What's the best-looking new model on the market this year? My vote could easily go to the all-new 2010 Acura ZDX, a rakish-looking crossover vehicle that Honda's (HMC) luxury car division describes as a "four-door sports coupe" (never mind that coupes, by definition, have two doors). The ZDX looks even better in reality than in photos. When I test-drove a couple of preproduction ZDXs through Manhattan recently, even jaded New Yorkers were stopping in their tracks and shouting questions about the new model, which will hit dealer showrooms in December.

The ZDX is designed mainly for affluent empty nesters, couples whose kids are grown and who no longer need the passenger capacity of a true SUV. It combines the good looks of a luxury coupe such as, say, a Mercedes CLS550 with enough luggage capacity to stow four golf bags behind its second row of seats.

The market for such vehicles will grow, Acura contends, "as the population matures, becoming couples again rather than large family units, and enjoying the fruits of their success through travel, second homes, and unique lifestyle activities." To put it more prosaically: As baby boomers age, Acura figures that a lot of active, affluent old geezers will be in the market for a vehicle that seems more stylish than an SUV but less sedate than a luxury sedan.

Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but the ZDX is expected to start at around $45,000, rising to perhaps $55,000 when you load it up with options. Its image is meant to be upscale and exclusive. Acura sees the ZDX competing with, in addition to the Mercedes CLS, such diverse models as Nissan's (NSANY) Infiniti FX35, BMW's (BMWG) X6, and the Porsche Cayenne. Acura only expects to sell about 6,000 ZDXs in 2010, and 8,000 to 10,000 annually in later years.

The ZDX is Acura's first truly North American model—engineered in Ohio, styled in California, and manufactured in Ontario, Canada. It has the oomph Americans like under its hood, provided by the same marvelous 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V6 engine found in the Acura MDX SUV. Also in keeping with mainstream American tastes, the only available transmission is a six-speed automatic—though with a manual function for those who wish to do the shifting themselves, as well as the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that are now de rigueur on any North American model with pretensions to sportiness.

The ZDX's fuel economy—16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway—is only slightly better than that of the '09 MDX and six-cylinder BMW X6 (15/20) and about the same as that of the Infiniti FX35 (16/23). However, it's markedly better than the six-cylinder Porsche Cayenne (14/16).

Behind the Wheel

The ZDX is meant to drive something like a conventional luxury car, and it comes close. The big difference is that the floor is a bit higher off the ground than a car's, giving the ZDX more of an SUV-like feel. The ZDX isn't intended to be superfast, but it's lighter and therefore somewhat quicker than the Acura MDX, which accelerates from zero to 60 in under eight seconds. That's plenty of speed for most people, and there's a ton of power when you punch the gas at highway speed. The cabin is luxury-car quiet.

I'm a big fan of Acura's new Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, which comes standard on the ZDX.

The system (obviously) improves performance on snow and ice, but also dramatically improves the vehicle's handling during hard driving. It varies the distribution of torque between the vehicle's front and rear axles, and can shoot extra power to the outside rear wheel when you're going around a curve or corner. This dramatically improves grip and reduces understeer during hard driving. I tested the system in an Acura TL at the Pocono Raceway last year, and it really is remarkable. When your brain is screaming at you to hit the brakes, you can hit the gas instead and accelerate.

The ZDX's cabin is designed for owners who travel alone or with a spouse and only occasionally have adult rear-seat passengers. The rear doors are unusually narrow, with stylish recessed handles that are nearly invisible. That gives the vehicle a cool side profile, but makes getting in and out of the rear seats a chore. The rear seats also are too cramped to comfortably accommodate adults during long drives, partly because headspace is severely limited by the vehicle's radically sloping roofline. In a pinch, you could squeeze three adults into the back, but the seat is only really designed for two. Another inconvenience: There are no storage bins built into the rear doors.

The ZDX's interior is absolutely gorgeous, with a beautiful curved dash and soft, natural-grain leather throughout. I've driven numerous luxury cars, including many far more expensive than the ZDX, and I don't recall ever seeing interior leather with such a quality look and feel to it. Dual panoramic sunroofs give the cabin an open, airy feel and add to headspace when they're open. From the outside, the entire roof looks as though it's made of dark glass.

Luggage space behind the second row of seats is a sizable 26.3 cu. ft., expanding to 55.8 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded down. There's also a 2.2-cu.-ft. storage space under the rear deck. An innovative feature is that the side panels in the rear cargo area can be removed and stowed in the under-deck storage space. That makes the rear cargo area wide enough to accommodate golf bags laid down sideways (which is why four of them will fit in back). The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 pattern and there's a pass-through to accommodate skis when there are passengers in the rear seats.

Buy It or Bag It?

Although the ZDX is mainly aimed at couples whose kids are grown, it's stylish enough to appeal to some singles and roomy enough for families with one or two small kids. However, the vehicle's high price, tight rear-seat compartment, and lack of a third row of seats make it impractical for many families.

The ZDX's likely $50,000-or-so price tag makes it more expensive than the conventional Acura MDX SUV, which sold for an average of about $41,000 in '09, and the '09 Infiniti FX35, which averaged about 45 grand, according to the Power Information Network (which, like BusinessWeek, is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP)). The ZDX is in the same price range as an '09 Porsche Cayenne with a six-cylinder engine (average cost: $52,962).

The '09 BMW X6 with six-cylinder power cost far more than a ZDX, an average of $64,382, according to PIN. Ditto for the '09 Mercedes CLS550, which has a powerful 5.5-liter, 383-hp V8 engine and an average price of nearly $79,000.

With the exception of the Mercedes, however, the ZDX is better-looking than any of those models, in my opinion—both inside and out. If you don't do a lot of people-hauling and are in the market for a truly distinctive new vehicle, check it out.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #9

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Dude, the dinosaurs are dead. Which goes to show that all things must evolve in the face of cataclysmic change or, you know, die off for good. So it is with the auto industry and, more pointedly, sport utility vehicles.

A decade ago (akin to the Paleolithic era in swift-changing car years), 18-foot-long Suburbans and Excursions lumbered around our highways, slurping down petroleum and filling the air with emissions. Americans needed vehicles that could carry the entire family and the kitchen sink, plus be able to ford Donner Pass should the need arise.

Thankfully, the SUVlithic Age has (mostly) passed. Yet like crocodiles and other saurian holdouts who look similar to their prehistoric forebears, many sport utility vehicles look pretty much the same, too.

Now we’re told that a Darwinian evolution has arrived: Acura’s ZDX. A newer, smarter breed of SUV -- sorta, kinda, maybe.

The company has the audacity to call the ZDX a “four-door sports coupe,” a stretching of vernacular that might work for the Porsche Panamera, but not this vehicle. After all, it’s more than 5 feet tall and rides on the same platform as Acura’s regular ol’ SUV, the MDX.

A better description might be “an SUV with a coupe-like silhouette and sporting aspirations.”

While the ZDX may be less than an evolutionary leap forward, it does look sleeker and more agile than most of its blocky, shambling counterparts -- a velociraptor perhaps, in a world of brontosauruses.

Premium Gasoline
The vehicle is an all-wheel-drive, seats five in a pinch, and offers 55.8 cubic feet of storage with the second row of seats folded. Its 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway is more in line with SUVs of old than any new, advanced life form. And it needs premium gasoline, too.

The four-door will be in dealerships mid-December, carrying a luxury level of technologies, comforts and price. Acura says the price will be between the MDX and RL, so expect the new addition to start around $45,000, rising to $50,000 for the most popular model with the technology package. That puts it within range of other lither SUVs like the Infiniti FX, and some $10,000 less than the BMW X6, another SUV-cum-“coupe.”

For now, the ZDX will only be sold in North America, and Acura expects a volume of around 6,000 a year to begin. A niche player rather than a game changer.

So just how sporty is it? Well, the 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower sounds pretty good until you realize that the auto weighs 4,400-plus pounds. More disappointing is the miserly 270 pound-feet of torque available at 4,500 rpm. That’s simply not enough grunt when you need it, especially when you’re looking to surge into gaps on the highway.

Lazy Power
The six-speed automatic transmission takes a moment to drop to the gear below. Power comes on lazily. By then, the space you were hoping to shoot into has probably closed.

Buyers can opt for a system that can switch between sport and comfort settings. Sport tightens the steering and suspension noticeably and body roll is minimized. You can then truly appreciate the excellent all-wheel drive, which transfers torque to the outside wheels as you take curves.

Ultimately, this evolution is less a leap in function than in form. From many angles, the ZDX looks pretty terrific. (The fresh exterior was created by two young American designers, Michelle Christensen and Damon Schell, from the company’s Torrance, California, design studio.)

You’ll first notice the shape of the long roof, which is tallest at the point where the driver and front passenger sit, and then gracefully tapers as it extends to the rear.

Glass Roof

The black roof is constructed completely of glass from hood to bumper, and is only interrupted by two bisecting lines. The ZDX is most compelling from the rear three-quarters and back, where the extremely deep shoulders lend a sports-car look and shows off the width of the vehicle.

Even better is the complex interplay of tail lights, glass roof and the arc of the lift gate. It all fits neatly together like a geometric puzzle. The rear door handles are also integrated into the side windows, which is super cool.

Inside, that sloping roof means much less headroom in the rear. If you’re unlucky enough to be the middle rear passenger, I suggest you practice calling “shotgun” next time. (Still, the BMW X6 has buckets in front and back, so only seats four.) The front seats are extremely adjustable and upholstered in high-grade leather.

Generally the inside shows the same level of detail and care as the exterior. Acura and Honda excel at electronic comforts -- paddle shifters, a power tailgate, rear camera, and iPod and Bluetooth connectivity are standard. Navigation with traffic and weather features come with the technology package. The ability to switch to sport settings, a blind spot warning system and adaptive cruise control are included in the top-level “advance” package.

The ZDX is not the energy-efficient people mover of the future, but it is a step out of the primordial SUV ooze.

The 2010 Acura ZDX at a Glance

Engine: 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic.

Gas mileage per gallon: 16 city; 22 highway.

Price as tested: $52,000 (estimated).

Best feature: Emphasis on exterior design and craftsmanship.

Worst feature: Underpowered.

Target buyer: The people hauler who’s looking for an SUV with style.
(Jason H. Harper writes about autos for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Jason H. Harper at [email protected]

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Consumer Guide

Our road test for the 2010 Acura ZDX includes a full evaluation of the 2010 Acura ZDX from the inside out. We evaluate not only engine and handling performance for the 2010 Acura ZDX, but also interior cabin and cargo space. Let our comprehensive road test ratings for the 2010 Acura ZDX help you decide if a 2010 Acura ZDX is right for you.

Technology 6
Advance 6
Class Average 5.9
ZDX's V6 offers enough power for just about any situation; only long hill climbs fatigue it. The transmission is smooth and furnishes prompt downshifts.


Technology 4
Advance 4
Class Average 3.5
No opportunity to measure. Acura recommends premium-grade gas.

Technology 6
Advance 6
Class Average 5.8
A ZDX with the standard suspension and 19-inch wheels provides the best results. The Advance Package includes driver-selectable Sport and Comfort suspension modes. Comfort softens the ride for better absorption; Sport mode delivers stiffer tuning, making some bumps jar.

Technology 6
Advance 7
Class Average 5.4
Overall, ZDX is fairly car-like with well-checked body lean and decent cornering ability; it deftly handles narrow twisties. When selected, the Advance package's Sport suspension mode firms up the steering and provides crisper handling.

Technology 7
Advance 7
Class Average 6.5
The cabin is impressively hushed and well isolated from wind and road noise. In certain driving conditions, low levels of tire thrum are present. ZDX's 3.7-liter V6 emits a fairly muted, but still sporty note on acceleration and fades during cruise.

Technology 5
Advance 5
Class Average 5.5
The audio and climate controls are easy to use, but the sheer number of them takes some getting use to. The fact that the buttons are dark until the car is turned on only highlights the vast number of controls and cluttered look of the panel. The navigation screen is large, mounted high on the dashboard, and decently removed from glare. It is fairly simple to use and only absorbs iPod audio controls. The control nob, however, is mounted low near the center console, which forces eyes off the road until functions are mastered. iPod integration is nearly seamless, even custom playlists are easily controlled. The navigation system's Doppler-style real-time traffic function is neat. The multi-view camera's 180 degree view is very similar to the regular angle, and the top view displays a straight-down picture of the rear of the car. The Advance package's adaptive cruise control and blind-spot-detection systems are helpful tools. The blind-spot system illuminates an icon on the C-pillar rather than the side mirror, making it less distracting than other systems.

Technology 8
Advance 8
Class Average 6.6
The cabin is trimmed in top-notch materials, including supple leather with detail stitching. Non-leather surfaces are nicely grained, soft-touch plastics.


Technology 7
Advance 7
Class Average 7
Front seat headroom is adequate for average-size testers, but those above 6 feet will need a bit more clearance. The seats are all-day comfortable, but taller occupants may need a longer seat for more thigh support. Thick C-pillars, a small rear window, and sharply raked roofline combine to impede visibility straight back and to the corners. The Advance Package's ventilated seats are a nice touch on a warm day, though the fan noise is louder than expected.


Technology 5
Advance 5
Class Average 5.6
The sloped rear roofline cuts into headroom, but there's enough room for smaller adults; most everyone will require more legroom. The small second-row door opens wider than expected, but the opening is fairly narrow, hindering ingress and egress. The low roofline also requires some hunching to get into the backseat.

Technology 8
Advance 8
Class Average 7.6
Small items storage is decent and comprised of a fairly shallow glovebox; a deep, two-tiered center console; and several small cubbies. The rear seats fold completely flat. The trunk features hidden side-panel and underfloor storage spaces.

Technology 7
Advance 7
Class Average 5.9
If standout styling is high on your list of attributes a car in this class must possess, move ZDX to the head of the class. With standard AWD and plenty of amenities, ZDX is a comfortable, capable choice, but lacks practicality with its small backseat and poor rear visibility. If you're looking for a sporty, yet practical SUV in this class, Acura's own MDX likely will better fit your needs.

Total Score
Technology 69
Advance 70
Class Average 65.3


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

Internet can be a rough-and-tumble sort of place. That's a fact Acura has learned first hand with its ZDX, which met with a lot of resistance before it was ever in a reviewer's hands. Now that we at High Gear Media have had a chance to give it the once-over, however, we think the masses may have gotten it wrong--at least in part.

Yes, we're still confused as to what it actually is. But what it does is easy enough: it gives Acura an answer to the question asked by the BMW X6 and repeated by the 5-Series Gran Turismo. What was the question? Who knows. Apparently it involved something about hatchbacks, crossovers, and not wanting to fit into established categories.

Once you get past the ontological issues, however, the Acura ZDX--like the X6--is actually an interesting car. Priced to start at $42,500 in base trim, it's also the most affordable of the new breed of luxury crossover/hatch/coupes.

The styling itself is often successful--a muscular fender, a graceful turn of the roofline. But its the utility/performance package that really makes the ZDX. And though it sacrifices a lot of utility with that swooping roofline, it does pack in a fair dose of performance. The 3.7-liter V-6 engine is rated at 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, capable of hauling the big vehicle to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds with the help of a six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox.

Power can be shifted around a lot as well, thanks to the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. While normal driving sees a typical 90-10 front-rear torque split, up to 70% of the engine's power can be sent rearward when necessary. That's enough to give the ZDX a distinctly rear-drive feel, and combined with the ability to send power side to side across the axles, it makes the biggish crossover feel more nimble than it would otherwise.

High Gear Media's editors don't like the advanced Integrated Dynamics System for the suspension, however, preferring instead the single-setting system in the base vehicle. When the Comfort mode of the IDS is selected, it's often too floaty and disconnected even for mundane city driving, while in Sport even flowing two-lane black top can feel like a washboard. The base's compromise setting nabs the best of both worlds.

Going back to the issue of passenger and cargo space, there were some obvious compromises made to give the ZDX its aggressive profile. Rear-seat passengers are short on head room, and also on leg room, and the seats themselves are hard to access due to being recessed somewhat behind the door openings. Cramped conditions in back mean front-seat passengers will have to sacrifice their otherwise adequate space, crowding the cabin further.

This is an obvious symptom of a car designed to be used primarily as a two-seater, but capable of occasional rear-seat duty. And at that level, the ZDX succeeds. Just don't expect it to be a grand tourer for four like the BMW X6 or 5-Series GT. At some point, given the compromised weight, passenger space and cargo room, you have to ask yourself if you wouldn't be better off with a true two seater for the weekends and an SUV or crossover for the week.

As for features, the ZDX shows its Acura colors by offering an excellent range of standard equipment, including 19-inch alloy wheels, USB MP3 and iPod connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, a panoramic glass roof, and a power rear liftgate. Like most other Acuras, a Technology Package is also available, adding navigation, voice recognition, a DVD Audio system, reverse camera, keyless entry and real-time traffic and weather info. Opting for the Advance Package adds the irritating IDS suspension system, ventilated seats, and a sport steering wheel.

Finally, there's safety to think about. Since a lot of the reason behind moving away from a small, lithe two-seat sports car and into the realm of crossovers is perceived safety, it's a fair consideration for any ZDX shopper. The 2010 ZDX meets its goals in terms of features, though neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have yet published test data for the car. Still, with a flotilla of airbags, antilock brakes, stability control and all-wheel drive standard, the ZDX has a head start on the game. An optional 180-degree multi-view camera lets you see all the way around the rear of the vehicle, a real help when reversing in potentially chaotic environments. Optional blind spot alert, collision mitigating brake system and adaptive cruise control further boost on-road safety.

Overall, the 2010 Acura ZDX is a bit off-putting to some, and requires a willingness to compromise for others, but provides a quality, high-tech package that blends SUV and coupe bodystyles.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

Whats more important — looks or practicality?

Its a natural question for shoppers considering Acuras newest sport utility vehicle, the ZDX.

The new-for-2010 ZDX pushes the styling envelope with a sleek, coupe-like body that rides high above the pavement, SUV-style. But the tradeoffs include compromised visibility out the back and lengthy front doors that can bang into adjacent cars in parking lots when passengers try to exit the vehicle.

The ZDX, arriving in showrooms Dec. 15, comes with the most modernly luxurious interior of any Acura, including handsome, closed-loop carpeting and hand-applied leather strips on the dashboard. But back seat room is surprisingly cramped, and the ZDX roofline can cause some passengers to bump their heads as they enter.

With a starting manufacturers suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $46,305, the ZDX is $1,335 less than the base price of Acuras most expensive vehicle in base form, the RL sedan.

But where the RLs top model has a retail price of $55,060, the top ZDX, which was the test model, is $56,855.

Such lofty pricing puts the five-seat ZDX, which comes standard with a 300-horsepower V-6, automatic transmission, leather-trimmed seats and all-wheel drive, in the company of other high-brow luxury SUVs.

The 300-horsepower, 2010 BMW X6, for example, has a starting retail price, including destination charge, of $57,125. Meantime, the 2010 Infiniti FX35 with 303-horsepower V-6 starts at $43,265.

Acura officials reportedly only expect some 6,000 ZDX sales annually, which would make it the second-lowest-volume Acura after the RL, based on calendar 2008 sales results.

Despite its looks, this newest Acura uses some familiar Acura parts. The ZDX rides on the platform thats used by the eight-passenger Acura MDX, and the ZDX is powered by the 3.7-liter, single overhead cam V-6 thats in the MDX.

The two SUVs, as well as the Acura RL, use the companys Super Handling all-wheel drive system that can distribute engine torque between front and rear wheels as well as between right-side and left-side wheels. The ZDX weighs almost as much as the MDX, too — 4,424 pounds for the base ZDX, compared with the base MDXs 4,550 pounds.

And yet, the ZDX is less of an SUV. It can tow just 1,500 pounds, maximum, which is as much as the lighter-weight Honda CR-V with four-cylinder engine. In contrast, the MDX has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

The ZDX cargo capacity, even with the second-row seats folded down, is just 55.8 cubic feet. This compares with the nearly 60 cubic feet in BMWs X6 and the 62 cubic feet in Infinitis FX35.

The test ZDX was comfortable, though still let in some road bumps, when its suspension was set on "comfort" mode. When moved to the "sport" mode, the firmness in the ride became pronounced, with passengers feeling some road bumps sharply. The different mode settings change damper settings on the suspension as well as steering. In "comfort" mode, the steering on the test ZDX had a light feel.

The interior was decently quiet, even as the ZDX rode on the biggest standard tires ever on an Acura — 19-inch Michelin all-season tires. The vehicles raked profile kept wind noise at a minimum. Like several other Honda vehicles, the ZDX includes an active noise control system to keep unwanted sounds away from passengers.

But it was awkward to step over the multiple sills at the doorway entrances of this SUV.

I also disliked the smallness of the side windows in the ZDX doors and both the thickness and positioning of the metal pillars around the windshield. The rear window was constricted, too, providing limited views of cars behind me.

In fact, when cars pulled up right behind my rear bumper, I couldn't see their headlights or hood, only their windshield and roof. The combination of blocked views made me feel a bit closed in inside the ZDX and hesitant about whether I was seeing everything around me.

As a result, I appreciated that the test model was the top-of-the-line ZDX that included amber blind-spot lights that illuminated at each front door to tell me if a vehicle was next to me.

I also had to use the rearview camera when backing up. Theres simply no way to see much through the smallish rear window on the tailgate.

Still, I have to mention the well-done panoramic roof with two sunshades thats standard on the ZDX. With both roller shades moved out of the way, the roof provided a sunny ambience.

The tester was loaded with all kinds of other nifty features, including a large display screen with navigation map and Acuras premium ELS audio system.

The ZDX doesnt do well on fuel. Premium gasoline is required, and the government mileage rating is just 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

I had good power — and needed it — to move the hefty-feeling ZDX around town and on highways. Torque peaks at 270 foot-pounds at 4,500 rpm. But I managed only 16.8 mpg in travel that was 70 percent city driving.

The ZDX, by the way, has Acuras first six-speed automatic transmission, and in the tester, there were times when it felt as if the tranny was wondering what gear it should be in. Then, it shifted noticeably.

The ZDX comes standard with most safety equipment, including curtain air bags, traction control, electronic stability control and even Trailer Stability Assist. The federal government has not posted ZDX crash test ratings.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #13

Highs and Lows
Highs: Smart handling, epicurean interior, seven-year-olds think you’re Batman.

Lows: An MDX minus half the useful space.​

Top Competitors

* BMW 5-series Gran Turismo
* BMW X6
* Infiniti FX
* Mercedes-Benz M-class

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon

ESTIMATED PRICE AS TESTED: $55,000 (estimated base price: $46,000)

ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 224 cu in, 3364cc
Power (SAE net): 300 bhp @ 6300 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 270 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting

Wheelbase: 108.3 in Length: 192.4 in
Width: 78.5 in Height: 62.8 in
Curb weight: 4421 lb​

Zero to 60 mph: 6.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.0 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 6.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.9 sec @ 95 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 127 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 177 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g

EPA city/highway driving: 16/22 mpg
C/D observed: 20 mpg


96 Posts
I drove (well rode in the passenger seat) the ZDX during training a couple of weeks ago. It was awesome to say the nonetheless. Cant wait until I can actually drive one. The ride was smooth quiet and the interior was luxurious and different. I definitely encourage peeps to own one.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #15

NitroBahn Review of 2010 Acura ZDX

Rating **** 4/5

The Acura ZDX is a sporty crossover designed to mimic the styling of a sports coupé. It is based on the same platform employed by Acura’s largest vehicle, the MDX. In the ZDX, the roofline sits a half feet lower than the MDX, and it sports five seats as opposed to the MDX, which can seat seven. It is longer than the MDX by a couple of inches. The ZDX falls into the newly created segment of cars, which was created by BMW with the X6. More and more manufacturers have started to venture into this previously unknown segment, with cars that offer the practicality and high driving position of an SUV while wearing a sporty design similar to a sports coupé.
2010 Acura ZDX

* Excellent standard safety features
* Fresh and bold design
* Powerful engine
* Advance Package includes cutting edge features
* Fun to drive


* Unimpressive gas mileage
* Runs only on premium fuel
* Difficult ingress/egress
* Cramped back seats
* Lack of cargo space​

The ZDX wears the familiar Acura chrome grille at the front, which now looks more aggressive than any other models made by the company. The Acura looks handsome from which ever angle it is viewed from, but looks especially brilliant in profile. The slopping roofline, blackened B-pillar, and the neatly hidden rear door handles make it look more like a large sports coupé. The 19 inch seven spoke wheels match the size of the car and add to the sporty appeal of the car.

Even though the car can seat five people comfortably, the rear seats are not as spacious as one would expect from a car of its size. The ZDX has by and far, the best interiors even seen in an Acura. The leather lined cabin and the elegant carpets gives rich aura to the interiors. The passengers are pampered with a long list of standard equipments. The list gets even longer with the addition of the optional packages.

Standard features include

* Panoramic glass roof
* 19 inch wheels
* Leather clad seats and dashboard
* Heated and power adjust front seats with memory for the driver’s seat
* 6-CD changer with Satellite Radio
* Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
* Reversing camera

The Technology Package includes

* Upgraded Milano leather upholstery
* Advanced satellite navigation system
* 8 inch LCD screen
* Premium stereo
* Keyless entry and start

The Advance Package includes

* LED ambient lighting
* Sports steering
* Ventilated front seats
* Adaptive cruise control
* Integrated Dynamics System
* Collision Mitigating Braking System​


The car is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.7 liter engine that runs only on premium quality gasoline. The V6 that generates a healthy 300 horsepower is mated to a six speed automatic gearbox with sequential paddle shifters. The gearbox can be set to either drive or sports mode depending on the response that is required. The car features a permanent all wheel drive system. The ZDX can accelerate from zero to sixty mph in 6.5 seconds

* 300 hp V6 engine
* Runs only on premium fuel
* Six speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters​


Despite the huge size of this car, it handles more like a sporty sedan. The all wheel drive system aids the car’s handling, while the Integrated Dynamics System allows the damper and the power steering settings to be altered to be sporty or comfortable, depending on the mode selected. The IDS and the brilliant all wheel drive system makes this car amazingly fun to drive. The optional adaptive cruise control allows relaxed cruising though the motorways.

* IDS works brilliantly delivering best of both worlds
* Handles like a sporty sedan
* All Wheel Drive system aids handling​


The ZDX leaves no stones unturned when it comes to safety. The car has a total of six airbags to protect its occupants in the event of a crash. ABS, brake assist, traction control and ESP are standards in the car. It has active head restraints for the front seat to reduce injury to the neck in the even of a rear end collision. The advance package includes a collision mitigation system that uses radar to prevent collision. The system warns the driver, and then prepares the seat belts and finally brakes automatically in order to prevent the car from crashing into the one in front.

* Six airbags
* Optional collision mitigation system is a potential life saver
* ABS, brake assist, ESP, traction control standard​


The Acura ZDX is a brilliant car that is fun to drive, good looking and extremely safe. However, the fun is limited only to the front two seats as the rear seats lack in both legroom and headroom.

Primary Competitors

* BMW X6 xDrive 35i
* Infiniti FX35
* Audi Q5​

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

Vehicle Tested: 2010 Acura ZDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Advance Package (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
Pros: High-quality interior materials, smart AWD system.
Cons: Mediocre acceleration, cramped backseat, meager cargo capacity.
You can find a buyer for just about anything in the good ol' USA, but the 2010 Acura ZDX might be a hard sell. Acura started with the capable and practical three-row MDX crossover, removed the third-row seat and added a rakish fastback roof line that makes the second-row seat as cramped as a coupe's. ZDX buyers also get exclusive leather-wrapped dash panels and a nifty center stack panel that fades to black when it's not in use. Perhaps that will be enough to win the hearts of empty nesters in search of something more daring than a typical luxury crossover.

This is not a new formula. BMW did something similar with its X5, replacing the optional third row with a fastback shape and calling it the X6. The X6 offers a choice of two turbocharged engines that you can't get in the X5, and its two remaining rear seats (the middle position is omitted) still have room for lanky adults. The ZDX, conversely, shares the MDX's 3.7-liter V6 and six-speed automatic gearbox, so it has no performance edge to justify its less functional design.

Accordingly, the 2010 Acura ZDX's distinctive aesthetic will likely determine its fate. Shoppers with $45,000-$60,000 in their pockets tend to appreciate individuality, and there's certainly nothing on the road today that could be mistaken for Acura's new creation. However, they also appreciate performance and practicality, and there are many vehicles that outdo the ZDX on these counts. You can get an X5 for this kind of coin, or a Mercedes-Benz M-Class or a Porsche Cayenne — or, at the rough-and-tumble end of the spectrum, a Land Rover LR4. And if the fastback-SUV concept appeals, note that the quicker and sharper X6 starts at the same price as our loaded ZDX tester.

Still, the ZDX starts at thousands less than that BMW, and it promises to announce its driver's independent streak like few vehicles of this sort. That just might be enough reason to take a 2010 Acura ZDX for a spin.

The ZDX isn't unlike anything else on the road, but it's close. Only the BMW X6 compares aesthetically.

The ZDX's interior is impressive. Exclusive hand-stitched leather dashboard panels headline the high-quality materials used throughout.

From dead astern, the ZDX's voluptuous rear haunches are evocative of cars like the Audi TT and Porsche 911.​
The ZDX is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission. Fuel economy is a factory-estimated 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. The ZDX's maximum towing capacity is 1,500 pounds.

In real-world driving, the ZDX's V6 provides adequate acceleration, but it's nothing special. The last MDX we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, and the ZDX isn't significantly quicker. The new six-speed automatic is smooth and quick on upshifts, but it can be sluggish when downshifts are called for.

On winding roads, the ZDX handles relatively well thanks to its standard "Super Handling" AWD system (SH-AWD), which is found in many Acura products. This system apportions varying amounts of power to individual wheels to maximize traction through turns and in inclement weather. One result is reduced understeer in spirited driving, as the system automatically sends more torque to the outside wheels while cornering. However, there's no hiding 4,400 pounds of mass and a high center of gravity, even if the ZDX does ride a bit lower than the MDX. It's still a crossover SUV, albeit an athletic one, and it drives the part.

On the highway, the 2010 Acura ZDX is fairly quiet, though some tire hum makes its way into the cabin. Our Advance Package test vehicle had the two-mode adjustable suspension, but we found that the modes aren't that different from one another, and our experience with a base ZDX suggests that the default suspension setup delivers an agreeable combination of ride comfort and cornering poise. The front seats are welcoming and supportive, and the armrests are nicely padded all around.

The backseat is another matter. Acura markets the ZDX as a four-door coupe, and when it comes to the cramped rear quarters, it might have a point. Even average-size adults will find their headroom encroached upon by the fastback roof line. The seat cushion is also uncomfortably low, and legroom behind the front seats is limited. It's frankly rather remarkable that Acura could start with the MDX's spacious second row and end up with this.

The ZDX's gauges are clear and attractive in Acura's current fashion. The so-called Monolith center stack is fundamentally similar to the MDX's, but it fades entirely to black when not in use — an interesting touch. The standard dual-zone automatic climate control system is fairly straightforward in operation, but the center stack is a bit cluttered overall, with too many similar-looking buttons clustered together. Our test vehicle's navigation system worked flawlessly, however.

In terms of real-world functionality, the 2010 Acura ZDX's 56 cubic feet of maximum cargo space are eclipsed by the econobox Honda Fit (57 cubes), to say nothing of rival crossovers like the BMW X5 (75 cubes). Also, that sloping roof line makes child safety seat installation a chore. The hatchback design is convenient for loading groceries and such, but the same can be said for any crossover SUV.

Design/Fit and Finish
The ZDX's exterior design is a unique confluence of SUV, hatchback and coupe styling cues. The tapered rear end looks dramatic, but we're less sure about the elevated ride height (only marginally lower than the MDX's) and prominent prow. Inside, the high-quality materials are a home run, especially the hand-stitched soft leather panels on the center console and dash. Our test car was a pre-production model, but its build quality left nothing to be desired.

Who Should Consider This Vehicle
The 2010 Acura ZDX should appeal to MDX fans who want more style and don't require the functionality of a traditional crossover. Otherwise, we'd recommend taking a close look at the many other capable crossovers in this price range.

Others To Consider
BMW X5, BMW X6, Land Rover LR4, Porsche Cayenne.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Escquire Car of the Year Nominee

Is the Acura ZDX The Best Car of the New Decade?

The first nominee for the Esquire Car of the Year is the most gorgeous, thrilling, undeniably American Japanese ride of 2010

By Dan Neil​

The wildly styled Acura ZDX is the Lady Gaga of new cars: out of nowhere, time-warped from the future, icy cool, hard to define, fascinating, gorgeous. And like our Gotham-born little Lady, the ZDX is absolutely, undeniably American.

Ordinarily, the Japanese bosses treat Acura's Yankee designers with a kind of benign condescension, much as a proud owner would treat a beloved poodle. But for whatever reason, the product executives empowered Acura's California design staff and they, in turn, ripped the skin off the ball.

In a season of gene-spliced coupe crossovers such as the BMW X6 and 5-Series GT, the Honda Crosstour and the upcoming Land Rover coupe-crossover, the ZDX is one of the few, maybe the only one, that work as sculpture. Based largely on the MDX — with the trucklet's high ground clearance and all-wheel drive — the ZDX is more than five inches shorter, canopied in a daring, all-glass greenhouse that tapers dramatically toward the back above hindquarters that are right out of the Porsche 911's playbook. As rakish as sling-back hiking boots, the ZDX disguises its four-door conformation with blacked-out roof pillars and concealed rear-door handles (hidden in the rear sail panel). The glowering, visorlike front end suggests a sex android here to devour your bank account. See Lady Gaga, above.

Under the skin, the ZDX features Honda's excellent, turbine-smooth 3.7-liter, 300-hp V-6, new six-speed automatic AWD system, and nineteen-inch alloy wheels. Acura has applied all its usual blandishments to the chassis, wadding the frame with abundant acoustic materials and applying its active noise-cancellation technology in the cabin, which works like the headphones you use on airplanes.

Aside from the styling, the ZDX's other outrage is its value. At a base price of $45,500, the ZDX is handsomely equipped with an all-leather interior, power tailgate and rear camera, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity. At about $56,000, the full-boat ZDX is a tech lover's dream: two-mode dynamics system (with a sport mode for quicker steering and stiffer suspension); adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation; navigation with voice recognition; Elliot Scheiner — brand ten-speaker audio system. The list is long and tempting.

In these deeply troubled times for the domestic auto industry, the ZDX offers a balm to our national vanity and reminds us that American car design can still be one of the nation's great cultural exports.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #19

They are strange conveyances -- part beasts, part beauties, vehicles that in the process of becoming, from one perspective, became the wrong thing.

From another view, they are works of genius, blending function and design into a rendering of the modern American psyche -- a mind-set that says you can become one in marriage and parenthood without losing your individual identity . . . and that you can age without growing old.

In short, the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour and its upscale kin, the 2010 Acura ZDX, are motorized contradictions. They are sedans designed to do some of the work of wagons or sport-utility vehicles with the appearance and attitude of sports coupes.

As such, the Honda Crosstour and Acura ZDX are among the latest crossover vehicles, a highly lucrative model segment created for adults trapped in the river of denial and the messiness of redefinition.

Honda's genius is that it has discovered how to exploit the many layers of the cross-purpose, crossover phenomenon, by slicing it into gender, income, age and life stage (young parents in need of a family hauler and golden-parachute empty nesters desirous of hauling, for instance).

Thus, we have the Honda Crosstour for the middle class, a purchase mostly expected to be influenced by women in those households. And we have the Acura ZDX, expected to be favored by well-employed single men, well-employed young couples without children, or those golden-parachute empty nesters.

I, my wife, Mary Anne, and Ria Manglapus, my Washington Post assistant for vehicle evaluations, developed these ideas on test drives in Northern Virginia. Additional research here at the North American International Auto Show, where I interviewed Honda executives and show spectators about the Crosstour and ZDX, backed our theories.

In unscientific polling, we interviewed eight men and 10 women, ages 30 to 62, all employed, all with some college or professional training, all parents and half (nine) divorced. Two of the women and two of the men drove both the Crosstour and ZDX.

Here are some snippets:

-- All eight men interviewed, including Brian Armstead, a fellow automotive journalist who joined me in driving both vehicles, ridiculed the Crosstour's excessively long nose and wide, fat rear end. "Confused," I said. Brian said . . . well, what Brian said can't be printed in a family newspaper.

With the exception of two complaints (Mary Anne and Ria's hatred for that Honda Prelude-like split-rear window extending to the trunk), the women praised the Crosstour. They called it "beautiful" and "really pretty." A medical tech friend, a hardworking mom in her late 40s, called it "hot" and "sexy."

Here's an interesting note: The men hated the Crosstour because it has four full side doors, giving it the appearance of a sedan that someone tried, unsuccessfully, to turn into a coupe before giving up and settling on something that, at best, resembles a hatchback wagon masquerading as a sports car.

But the women loved the Crosstour's four side doors. (Ever tried putting a child's safety seat into a coupe?) They also liked the Crosstour's split folding rear seats that collapse into a flat load floor, as well as a rear hatch opening capable of accepting bikes, carriages, or whatever is on sale at Tuesday Morning.

Here's a puzzler:

The Acura ZDX has a starting price nearly $9,000 higher than that of the Honda Crosstour. Both bodies have Honda Accord breeding. Both look remarkably similar, although the ZDX looks more like a coupe. But it's not really a coupe.

Through clever design, the ZDX's rear side doors appear to be part of unbroken, coupe-like side panels -- a subterfuge enhanced by the design of rear access handles that appear to be air vents.

Both men and women raved about the Acura ZDX -- men much more so than women.

Middle-income men who pilloried the Crosstour joined their richer brethren in praising the ZDX -- two vehicles separated not by much.

The Honda Crosstour comes with a standard 3.5-liter, 271-horsepower V-6 engine. The Acura ZDX comes with a 3.7-liter V-6 that delivers a maximum 300 horsepower. Crosstour specifications say it has a maximum 51.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The specifications for the ZDX claim 56.

But therein is a ruse, provable by transporting five bottoms 500 miles in both vehicles. The backs and butts in the Crosstour will be much more relaxed at the end of the trip, because the Crosstour affords more comfortable space for rear-seat occupants than what is available in the ZDX, which appears to be a chariot more designed for two, despite its claims of being able to seat five.

In the end, clearly, it doesn't matter. Kurt Antonius, public relations chief of American Honda, has long held that cars are so much more than the sum of their parts.

"In many ways, they are what people think of themselves," he said in an interview at the auto show. "We aren't saying the Crosstour and the ZDX will be mass-market sellers. But they will find their niche. There are people out there who think of themselves the way these two were designed."


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #20

Rating: 7.6

Bottom Line:
The 2010 ZDX brings the Acura experience to the luxury crossover market — the good and the bad. Unique styling and a great drivetrain will likely spur sales, but vague steering and the styling could limit appeal.

* Unique styling
* Cool torque-vectoring all-wheel drive
* Great engine and transmission


* Unattractive familial nose
* Confusing dashboard arrangement
* Detached steering, especially in the Tech Package​

The luxury crossover segment is growing like a California wildfire, but Acura's new ZDX competes in a very specific niche of that segment, also occupied by the BMW X6. Acura is actually calling the 2010 ZDX a 4-door sports coupe, not a crossover.

Regardless, it's a crossover designed to fall between the company's MDX and RL in both size and price.

As we've come to expect from Acura, the uniquely styled ZDX brings plenty of technology to the table, as well as an excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. But shoppers might be a bit perplexed by the 5-door's looks at first.

Model Lineup
Like most luxury crossovers, the ZDX — built on the MDX platform — comes in a 5-door configuration. The rear doors open up into a reasonably sized seating area, and a large hatch allows for easy access to the cargo area. Storage space is noticeably compromised compared to the MDX, but Acura figures buyers won't need the MDX's hatch room.

Standard amenities include a leather interior, power-adjustable front seats and dual-zone climate control. Acura is sticking with the standard 2-tier option package on the ZDX, and as a result you can have a Technology Package that adds features such as keyless entry, push-button start and a sweet navigation system with voice recognition. If that's not enough luxo-tech for you, there's an Advanced Package as well. The top-of-the-line ZDX adds adaptive cruise control, an adaptive damper system and speed-sensitive steering.

Under the Hood

Acura has done a great job with the drivetrain in the ZDX. Power comes from a 3.7-liter V6 engine. Variable valve timing and lightweight aluminum construction help the engine turn out 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Those are pretty smart numbers, even in a full-time all-wheel-drive crossover. Even more surprising is the fuel economy — according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ZDX returns 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Not bad, but not stellar either.

Acura's 6-speed automatic transmission adopts gear ratios specifically designed for the ZDX, and the smooth-shifting unit's efficiency helps return those decent fuel economy numbers. The company calls the manual actuation SportShift, and while it yields quick enough shifts, we don't foresee many buyers clicking off gears on their way to the local Pottery Barn.

Mated to that transmission is the company's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, or SH-AWD. The system uses torque vectoring to put power where it's needed most, meaning you get zero wheel spin and a neutral driving experience. Torque is shuffled between the rear wheels to negate understeer and help with turn-in. A display on the dash shows you exactly where your engine's power is going, too. While the display is about as useful as pumping up your sneaks, it's still cool to watch.

Inner Space
The ZDX seats five, though the second row is best left for just two passengers — two very small passengers. Fortunately, those seats fold flat to allow for a substantial amount of cargo room, given the inherent compromises mandated by styling. A large rear hatch does much to make loading and unloading easy.

The interior in the ZDX is one of Acura's best efforts so far. Real metal door pulls give the cabin a sense of quality, and Acura says the optional leather dash is clad in material straight from Italy. In the Advanced Package, the driver and front passenger get the most effective ventilated leather seats we've ever experienced, and LED lighting soaks the cabin at night.

Acura has carried over the dizzying array of center console and dashboard buttons from the MDX. Navigating the audio/climate/entertainment/navigation screen is perplexing enough while stopped and all but impossible while on the go. The one saving grace is voice recognition — but it's safe to expect the passenger will handle most of the controls.

On the Road

We had the good fortune to take a spin in both the ZDX Technology Package and the ZDX Advanced Package. While both cars offer plenty of horsepower and a sweet-shifting 6-speed automatic, the real difference between them is in the steering. In the Technology Package, expect a seriously detached tiller. With little feedback from the road, the ZDX Technology Package feels geared for a trip to the soccer field, not through the twisties.

Fortunately, the situation gets a little better in Advanced Package trim. Speed-sensitive power steering helps give a little feedback when you yank on the wheel, and offers a more planted experience all around. Though the Advanced Package delivers an adaptive damper system that allows the driver to choose between Sport and Comfort modes; both settings overcome variations in pavement extremely well and offer a comfortable ride at the expense of a sporting nature.

Truth be told, the vague steering and plush ride aren't bad things. Though the ZDX may be marketed as a sportier blend of sport utility and sedan, the crossover's MDX underpinnings and high ride height make it clear this vehicle is built more for touring wine country than cutting up your local canyon. And since that seems to be perfectly in line with the stereotypical CUV buyer, we don't see that as a problem.

Right for You?

Acura is keeping pricing details to itself for now, but says we can expect a price somewhere between the MDX, at around $41,000, and the RL, which runs approximately $47,000. We aren't math geniuses, but that would put the base price somewhere in the mid-$40Ks. If you're after a very comfortable cruiser with extra cargo room, the ZDX might be just the ticket — but don't expect to keep pace with the Bavarian competition.
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