For couples first
By Benoit Charette
Acura wanted to be clear upon specifying the place of the new ZDX on the market. First and foremost, it is a vehicle designed for couples: those who do not have children and those whose children have left the house. That is the reason why Acura has given a coupe look to the ZDX and has placed the focus on the two front passenger seats. The new ZDX is greatly inspired from the MDX that was designed before everything for the family. Both possess the same chassis, the same engine and are built on the same assembly line in Alliston, Ontario. Only the unique body and a new 6-speed automatic transmission distinguish the ZDX.
From the outside, opinions were greatly divided at the press launch in California. Most people agreed that the large and imposing rear end is the most interesting design element. The grille with a black smile did not always go over well though. For the ZDX, it gives us the impression that two different teams have designed the front and the back of the vehicle.
The ZDX’s front doors are longer to emphasize the impression of a coupe and the doors at the back without handles offer curves very similar to the BMW X6 or the Infiniti FX. We should note that the full-size glass roof can stretch right into the cargo space so as to not hinder visibility at the back. If you keep aside the grille, the general lines give it nice proportions. As the first vehicle completely redesigned in the new Acura Design Studio in California, the ZDX shows potential, but there is still work to do.
The 3.7-litre V-6 engine is the same as the one of the MDX. It generates 300 horsepower and uses the same Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) system. Performance and fuel economy benefit from the new 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel designed to satisfy more discerning enthusiast drivers. The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system actively varies the torque distribution between front and rear axles – then between the left and right rear wheels – to provide maximum power delivery under most driving circumstances. Despite its imposing weight, the ZDX provides surprisingly nimble handling.
A Glamorous Interior
Without a doubt, the ZDX is the most luxurious vehicle ever produced by Acura. The company wants to offer a glamorous alternative to those who want to leave the MDX, but still prefer driving a sports utility vehicle. There are good reasons why the ZDX will start at $5,000 more than the MDX. Acura wants to impress you. The cabin prioritizes the comfort and convenience of the driver and front passenger. Wide-opening front doors, complex and flowing shapes, and such niceties as leather accents throughout the cabin define the ZDX as the nothing short of the most dramatic Acura interior yet.
A hand-stitched leather dashboard and centre console usually found in German sedans give a great impression of intimacy and luxury. Together with a standard panoramic glass roof, LED-illuminated centre console, standard 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat and eight-way adjustable power front passenger’s seat and standard front seat heaters, the ZDX cuts no corners on comfort or luxury. As well as all the electrical conveniences, the optional Technology Package adds perforated Milano leather seats, a navigation system with voice recognition, and eight-inch high-resolution colour display, a superb Acura/ELS Surround premium 10-speaker audio system with DVD-Audio and Song By Voice (SBV) system.
A Pleasant Driving Surprise
The sinuous Los Flores Canyon roads located in the mountains that bound the Pacific Ocean near Malibu in California provided our first taste of the ZDX’s road manners. Weighing a bit more than two tons, it is difficult to talk about its agility, but its responsiveness is surprising. Using the manual mode and the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, drivers can easily extract all 300 horsepower available, and the SH-AWD system proves to be very impressive on tight switchback roads. The 19-inch wheels and 255/50R19 tires ensure excellent road holding, and when the engine passes 5,000 rpm, the VTEC delivers a second wind to the party. The body is heavy, but very well-balanced, the chassis is very rigid and the vehicle does not have any trouble developing high-rpm power. It is not a sports coupe, but it is easy to enjoy driving the ZDX.
It is true that the back seats do not possess the same space than other sports utility vehicles, and the particular shape of the rear of the vehicle hinders rear visibility slightly. But Acura does not conceal its intentions and aims for couples that enjoy the space and driving feel of a sport utility vehicle with a more sporting look. For those who fit this category, the ZDX provides an unusual combination of crossover performance and Acura’s most comfortable product yet.
Unequalled luxury for an Acura vehicle
An inspiring driving experience
The panoramic roof
A slightly banal outline, to some eyes
The back seats are a little tight on headroom
Market relevance remains to be seen
• V6 3,7 l SOHC, 300 hp at 6300 tr/min
Torque 270 lb-pi à 4500 tr/min
Transmission 6 speed automatic with manuel mode
0-100 km/h 8,2 s
Vitesse maximale 200 km/h
Fuel economy 10,8 l/100 km
• Other features
Active security ABS breaks, EBD (electronic brake distribution), BA (brake assistance), slip control,
ESC (electronic stability control, hill descent, anti roll mechanism
Suspension front/rear : independant
brakes discs on all four
wheelbase 2750 mm
lenght 4887 mm
Width 2174 mm
Height 1596 mm
Curb weight 2016 kg
Turning radius 11,7 m
Trunk 745 l, 1580 l (seats foldown)
Fuel capacity 79,5 l
Towing capacity 680 kg
Price : ZDX Tech 54 990 $