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2010 Acura ZDX

Jeff Glucker August 17, 2010 Acura Reviews, Road Test Reviews 21 Comments

Vincent Van Gogh was born March 30th, 1853. He was a Dutch painter whose work is admired by many today. During his 37 years on this planet however, he was a tormented soul whose work was not appreciated or even looked at. After his death by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his fame slowly grew and he is now considered one of the greatest painters in history. His work is a major part of what is referred to as “modern art”.

The 2010 Acura ZDX is an all-new luxury sports crossover/wagon/sedan/vehicle. It blends sports car power and handling with luxurious amenities and comfort. It’s style is polarizing with some angles showing great beauty while others appear a bit beastly. Like Van Gogh, the ZDX is casting aside the shackles of past design ethos and experimenting to create something fresh. Will it need time to marinate in our minds or can the ZDX skip the posthumous appeal and grab a piece of your soul while it’s still alive?

The ZDX employs Acuras 3.7L V6 engine which produces 300 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually via paddles on the steering wheel. The engine note is surprisingly aggressive yet pairs nicely with the ZDX. The transmission shifts quickly enough for fun driving, but it’s certainly not as quick as a dual-clutch setup. The engine and transmission work well together making the ZDX feel faster than it actually is. Which is great because it’s certainly not slow to begin with. It’s able to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds which is a very respective time. It’s certainly not as quick as the similarly styled BMW X6 or similarly funky FX35, but it will hang out about a second behind (or less, compared to the Infiniti FX35) in the rear view mirror.

To get the power to the ground, the Acura ZDX utilizes the SH-AWD system. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive unit before, in the TL, and it is just as useful with the ZDX. It sends power quite wisely to the wheels which need it most. In conjunction with the SH-AWD, the ZDX features a MacPhearson front strut/multi-link rear suspension setup and 255mm wide tires. Everything works together to keep the ZDX planted and stable. It behaves far better than I expected and really relays a sporty experience to the driver. I never felt the center of gravity was too high and the ZDX was quite simply fun to drive. To prove that auto journalists know nothing however, I Googled “ZDX center of gravity” and found half of the reviews talking about the “high center of gravity” and the other half talking about the “surprisingly low center of gravity”. I usually don’t like to read reviews of vehicles I have lined up to spend time with, but I was curious as to what others thought in this regard. Clearly, I should stick to my plan here.

Like all Acuras in the current lineup, the interior environment is a the perfect blend of wonderful comfort and modern technology. The perforated leather sport seats are heated and cooled, supportive, and an all-around pleasure to sit in regardless of the distance left in one’s journey. The center stack still needs a refresh in design, but the features found within in are excellent and include a voice recognition system, real-time traffic and weather updates, GPS-linked climate control, and a mult-view rear camera. A panoramic glass roof with dual sun shades allows for a brightly lit cabin when the mood strikes. To complete the experience, the Acura ZDX  has a 10 speaker surround-sound audio system that fills the interior space wonderfully.

The downfall of the interior is rear seat comfort. Leg room is not the issue here, but due to the sloping roof line it’s head room that causes discomfort. If a friend pulled up to drive me somewhere and they owned a ZDX, I would fight my way to the shotgun position or skip the trip. If you are interested in buying a ZDX, start cutting your tall friends out of your life.

The real talking point of the 2010 Acura ZDX is the exterior styling. As auto enthusiasts, we often say we want bold and interesting not bland and boring. The ZDX is definitely bold and from many angles it is also beautiful. The sweeping shoulder line is one of my favorite elements of the car and I could stare at it all day long. When I swing around to the front…I walk back to where I was staring at the shoulder line. Overall, I really enjoy the ZDX style-wise and I quite happy that Acura is taking a chance on this design.  Unfortunately, I know that I am in the minority at least among other automotive enthusiasts. Luckily for Acura, enthusiasts are often very wrong about what will sell and what the public in general will like. I was constantly asked questions about this car wherever I took it and the general consensus gave the ZDX a major thumbs-up in the design department. The lines are both elegant and aggressive. It’s not often you get a chance to drive something that looks unlike the rest of the school of fish following the crowd down through the sea that is the 405 highway.

The base price for the Acura ZDX is $45,495. The Acura you see here is fully-loaded (minus a few random accessories) and has the Tech Package and the Advance Package which bring the total to $56,905.  That is more than competitive with the aforementioned BMW X6, which starts $56,500. The 2010 Acura ZDX is the new car that most people desire yet they can’t see it. It’s filled with luxurious and technological amenities, has boldly aggressive styling, and is fun to drive. It’s also more affordably priced then it’s closest competitor.

The ZDX is a car that should be appreciated in our time…yet I fear that it will become a greater draw after it’s production time has come to an early end.

  • Thanks for not dwelling solely on the physical size and/or quirky shape. A lot of enthusiasts, especially over at [redacted], never get around to realizing that the ZDX is a really well made car with some admirable qualities. I don't dislike the ZDX; I am sure it's a great car.

    But $56,905? For that money I'd sooner buy a Kia Soul and blow the rest on a $33K '66 Bronco Pickup, and a $6500 Aprilia SVX 4.5

    • You have to be in the market for something like this unfortunately that market is small.

      For nearly $55k, I too would probably buy multiple vehicles… most likely all used ones too.

  • SVT2888

    I think this is going to be one of those vehicles that sells poor which leads to it's cancellation. Then once it's canceled it will have a cult following all of a sudden, a'la Aztek or Vehicross Once it's gone people will complain that we get nothing but boring cars with no style…

    • I can only see myself appreciating this as an under-appreciated orphan weirdo car about 8 years from now.

      Mostly due to price. If I'm gonna jump through financial flaming hoops of death for a new car (i.e., spend over 35k), it's gonna be an UberWagon of some kind. This is more of an UnterWagon.

  • CJinSD

    Personally, I disagree with the existence of 4 door coupes like the Passat CC and CLS. They're just sedans with less utility and efficiency in the name of a silly styling fad. I like Hondas and Acuras. I think many of their products offer the best engineering and value in their various classes. This one does the same, but it isn't a class that should exist. Who needs the mass, dynamics and efficiency of an SUV without any of the utility? I'm no tree-hugger, but buying one of these instead of an MDX isn't something I'd like to see one of my friends do. Before the economy tanked and the prospect of energy being manipulated into a luxury good by our government a real threat, Honda was working on 3-series competitors with RWD and exciting engines. Somehow they were abandoned to focus car development on hybrids while this thing made it into showrooms.

  • Number_Six

    People who buy this instead of the MDX are the same people who swallowed goldfish and worms to impress their highschool friends.

    • What if we did it for different reasons?

      • Number_Six

        If a talking dog orders you to buy a ZDX, then clearly you have no choice.

  • BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ

    Can it cut one of it's side mirrors off?
    BTW this car does not do me nothing, as do most of Vincent's paintings

    • Come on… Starry Night is pretty awesome.
      Skull with Cigarette is kind of bad ass.

      • BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ

        "most" is not same as "all" 😉

        // I'm not a big art connoisseur.

    • Number_Six

      I prefer the story that Gaugin sliced his ear off in a bar fight.

  • Buickboy92

    The ZDX is awesome! Great review too!

  • Good review, cheers. Interesting that you should mention the Centre of Gravity debate, I read a lot of reviews and it irks me when reviewers mention the exact same point, in the exact same context, as if they have been programmed with a list of tag-lines from the press release. It's embarassing how so few journalists actually bother to derive their own conclusions. It's even more embarassing when you can tell that the writer has absolutely no idea what they're talking about, but then the chance to discuss C of G is mercifully rare.

    Interesting to see that reaction to the MDX has been largely positive, in the light of the BMW X6 being almost universally condemned. I love the X6 as well as hating it, and sincerely hope the value drains out of them until I can buy one. Or a Renault Avantime. Or Vel Satis. If Honda/Acura could muster a Diesel ZDX and do something about that gaffawing grille they'd sell boatloads over here.

    • I think addressing the grille will be their next plan of attack…it HAS to be right?

      I am no X6 fan…then I drove an X6M. Wow…

      • I've not driven the X6M, but I have the X5M. Two years ago in BMW training we were told that M Division would never produce a 4×4, and would stay naturally aspirated. The X5M represented an ethical U-turn and I approached driving it with contempt, mild hatred even. I was annoyed to my very core when the thing drove absolutely magnificently, reminding me of a tall E39 M5 in so many ways. Even the power delivery.

        I had to resort to criticising stupid things like interior plastics and switchgear feel, which are generic X5 foibles anyway.

        I guess I like the X6 'cos i'll probably never own an AMC Eagle SX/4.

        • Number_Six

          For people like me who live in a place that's frozen seven months of the year, the X5 and X6 (and especially the Ms)provide a lot of comedy moments. Sometimes I drop my nephew off at his school and get to watch a skidding, spinning, yawing line of BMWs whirling on the edge of disaster as the comically-oversized tires claw for grip and slack-jawed yuppy jerks saw desperately at the wheel and scream to themselves, "but the salesman said it's a four-wheel drive!" I've been shouted at and called names as I pass them up the hill out of the parking lot in my skinny-tired piece of shit Nissan hatchback.

          • joshuman

            I get that too every time it snows. The luxury cars with the low-profile summer tires are stuck (mostly due to poor driving) at the slightest incline. I live on a plateau about 700 feet above the valley floor so this makes me take the route home with the steepest hills because it will have less traffic.

        • The X6M drives exactly the same as the X5M. I have driven both on a track and they simply defy physics.

          I would have to go with the X5M over the X6M simply for the sake of rear seat headroom.

  • Maymar

    I will never have both the money and the need for a ZDX. I still love that it's out there, just because it's so out there.

  • Deartháir

    Someone recently photoshopped the whole Acura lineup with replacement grilles — specifically those from the previous generation Acurae. All I can say is, as a Volkswagenista, I'm tremendously glad that Acura has gone with Bucky the Beaver instead. With those grilles replaced, they suddenly became strikingly attractive. At least once a week, I'll have a customer come in and tell me they're cross-shopping with Acura, and would probably like the Acura as much if not more, if it just weren't SO ugly.

    The next generation, when that grille is gone, these will be really attractive cars.





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