AUTO REVIEW: Sporty 2010 Acura ZDX: Nice weekend getaway vehicle for couples
It isn't unusual to go to a car show, admire a concept vehicle and say, "Wouldn't it be neat if they actually built that car?" Be careful what you wish for. The 2010 Acura ZDX looks like it rolled straight past the leggy spokesmodels, off the car...
It isn't unusual to go to a car show, admire a concept vehicle and say, "Wouldn't it be neat if they actually built that car?"
Be careful what you wish for. The 2010 Acura ZDX looks like it rolled straight past the leggy spokesmodels, off the car-show platform and into the street. It's striking, perhaps handsome, but undeniably hard to ignore. Long ago, Acura was frequently criticized for pedestrian styling. No longer.
The ZDX is based loosely on the useful, logical MDX sport-ute. Acura added a lot of sporty features to the ZDX and removed most of the practicality, including the third-row seat. Even worse, it removed much of the room from the rear seat. I didn't realize how much until I volunteered the ZDX to transport three average-sized male friends on a quick, 120-mile round trip; I'm still apologizing to the two who had to ride in the rear.
The swoopy roof line makes the two rear doors almost an afterthought, and once you manage to wedge into the rear, it's a startlingly tight fit. Motor Trend magazine noted there is less head and leg room than in the rear seat of a Mazda RX-8 sports car, something no one mistakes for a family vehicle.
And it's all due to the styling. The ZDX is 192.4 inches long -- about 6 inches longer than a Hummer H3 -- and weighs a hefty 4,452 pounds. Yet there's only 26.3 cubic feet of storage space in the rear.
So what is the ZDX? Essentially a sporty weekend getaway vehicle for a couple, Acura says. Indeed, there are lots of good things about the ZDX. The 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V-6 is a nice match to the six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage is EPA-rated 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway (though Acura specifies 91 octane gas). Acceleration is more than adequate, limited by the ZDX's weight.
Handling is better than you'd expect, as that weight is well-masked in tight turns. The ride is smooth and quiet. Front seats are excellent, and the instruments and controls were thoughtfully designed. Most any safety feature offered is included here, including all-wheel-drive. Don't mistake this for an off-roader, though -- get the MDX if you have any plans to leave the pavement.
The base ZDX starts at $45,495. A "technical package," including a navigation system, leather upholstery and a rear-view camera brings the price to $50,805. An "advanced package" includes all that plus a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking that stops the car short of a collision. That was our test vehicle, and the list price was $56,855.
Mechanically, there's a lot to recommend the ZDX, but the tiny rear seat is a turnoff, and the narrowish window openings make you feel a bit like a submarine commander.
2010 ACURA ZDX
Base price: $45,495.
Price as tested: $56,855.
EPA rating: 16 miles per gallon city driving, 23 mpg highway.
Details: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive SUV with a 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V-6 engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission.