The crossover market continues to astound with a dizzying array of shapes, missions and manufacturers. Regardless of your station in life, some manufacturer somewhere doubtless has a crossover for you. If you're a DINK (dual income no kids) and have some dollars to spend, then Acura would like to you to consider the upcoming 2010 ZDX. With swoopy styling, plenty of cargo room and a smallish rear seat, the ZDX is aimed at those whose priorities have shifted from rear seat room to coddling the driver and passenger. We recently drove the 2010 Acura ZDX in the hills surrounding Malibu, California, and discovered 10 things you must know about this latest Acura offering.
Photos courtesy of Acura
#10. The ZDX is for those wanting MDX luxury, but only needing RDX space
The ZDX is based heavily on the MDX, and the two vehicles share some key dimensions like wheelbase and width. The ZDX also has the same excellent 3.7-liter V6, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and suspension layout as the MDX. However, it isn't just a chop-top MDX; there's no third row, the rear doors are significantly shorter, and the ZDX is primarily focused on the driver and passenger, while the MDX is a full seven-passenger crossover.
#9. The 2010 Acura ZDX isn't just a BMW X6 clone
The 2010 Acura ZDX bears a striking resemblance to the BMW, and the two vehicles share a similar philosophy. Dimensionally they are very close, within a hair's breadth in width and length, although the BMW is significantly taller. However, we have to say that the ZDX puts its size to better use. It has a smaller overall back seat, but it can accommodate three; the X6 is two-only thanks to a center console. The ZDX also has greater luggage capacity.
#8. The ZDX has the best interior design, ergonomics and materials of any Acura
For years, one of the biggest complaints against Acura was that its cars were too similar to Honda products, especially inside. With the ZDX, Acura has finally broken free. The leather on the seats is sumptuous, and the leather dash inserts are first rate. The controls are ergonomic, of course, but the center stack features buttons that only light up when needed; for example, the audio system's buttons aren't lit until you turn the system on. Even the rear cargo area boasts metal-plated handles and looped carpet. It's all unique in the Acura lineup and very cool.
#7. You'll want the 2010 Acura ZDX's Advance Package
The ZDX comes standard with a lot of stuff, like active noise cancellation, premium leather, a backup camera and power everything. A Technology Package adds navigation (which includes weather and traffic info), a backup camera with three different views, and an awesome surround sound audio system. But the real nifty stuff is in the Advance Package. In addition to the blind spot detection, the Advance Package includes all the goodies from the Technology Package with the Integrated Dynamics System adjustable dampers, active cruise control, collision mitigation, ventilated front seats, and a gorgeous suede-like headliner.
#6. The 2010 Acura ZDX has great cargo space
Acura says that the cargo area of the 2010 ZDX was given as much thought – if not more – as the second row of seats. Thus, the cargo area easily accommodates four golf bags in its 26.3 cu. ft. of space, and it's all conveniently laid out. There's extra storage under the floor, and it's significant; you could fit a couple of briefcases under there. Panels on the sides of the cargo compartment fold down to accommodate golf bags. However, we wouldn't be surprised if many ZDX owners simply fold down the rear seats altogether, opening up all 55.8 cu. ft. of cargo space and treating the rear doors as cargo access hatches.
#5. You'll have to tell your rear seat passengers to watch their heads
The ZDX shares a key annoying characteristic with its BMW competitor: a head-smack-avoiding stoop to get into the rear seats. Once there you'll be comfortable…as long as you're not more than about 5-ft. 9-in. tall. Thanks to its sloping roofline and sexy, swollen rear fenders, the ZDX also has incredibly thick rear pillars. This provides the ZDX with tremendous rearward blind spots, despite Acura's inclusion of a small glass panel at the rear of the hatch. A backup camera is standard, and on Technology and Advance models, you can choose between three views; the Advance Package also has a blind-spot detection system.
#4. The 2010 Acura ZDX boasts the company's first six-speed automatic
After being behind the times with a five-speed transmission for years, Acura finally introduces its new six-speed automatic in the 2010 ZDX. Eventually available in the MDX and others, the new six-speed automatic can be slipped into the traditional "drive" setting, or the driver can control gear selection using paddles on the steering wheel when in sport mode. Combined with the 3.7-liter V6, the transmission gives the ZDX very good acceleration; 60 mph comes up in 6.5 seconds or so. The ZDX was also tested on Germany's Nurburgring racetrack, a venue increasingly used to fine-tune suspension settings on performance vehicles. All this combined with the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system makes the ZDX fun to drive.
#3. With Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, there's no ride/handling compromise
If you opt for the Advance Package, then the fun-to-drive nature of the ZDX doesn't have to come at the expense of ride comfort. An oversized dial on the dash selects between Comfort and Sport, with the first setting giving you a smoother ride over rough surfaces, and the latter sharpening the shock valving for better handling. The system works, albeit subtly; even on the Comfort setting the ride is quite firm, but it is notably smoother than the Sport setting. In our opinion, it's yet another reason to get the Advance Package.
#2. The glass roof on the 2010 Acura ZDX is more than just style
A car with a low roofline and pinched hindquarters like the ZDX runs the risk of feeling claustrophobic inside. Acura's solution is to eschew the traditional steel roof for glass panels, giving the ZDX a continuous line of glass from the base of the windshield, over the roof and down the rear hatch. Not only does it look cool, it makes the interior feel more open than it otherwise would. If it's a hot day, the power sunscreens can be rolled out to keep most of the light and heat out; we didn't feel as if it were any hotter inside with the screens as it would with an opaque covering. Combine that with a GPS-aware dual-zone climate control system that adjusts temperature and fan speed depending on the position of the sun, and the ZDX does a great job of keeping its occupants cool.
#1. The ZDX will be positioned towards the top of the Acura lineup
Acura hasn't yet announced prices, but has said that it will be positioned between the $40,000 MDX and the $50,000 RL sedan. Figure around $42,000 for the base model, and right below $50,000 for a loaded Advance. That's a lot, but a good $20,000 less than a comparably equipped BMW X6. Considering its aggressive looks and, we suspect, an equally aggressive marketing push, we wouldn't be surprised if the ZDX outsells the slow-selling RL, replacing it as the company's de-facto flagship.