2010 Acura ZDX
Acura is quickly becoming one of the more daring brands on the market these days--and exhibit A for that hypothesis is the 2010 Acura ZDX, a four door, all wheel drive, five passenger crossover. From its beak-like front end and bulging fenders, to the rear handle cleverly concealed in a rear window post, to the gorgeous, cockpi8t-like interior, it’s a mesmerizing, intriguing blend of coupe, crossover, and sport sedan that is guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go. Overall, the ZDX seals Acura’s fast growing reputation as the car of choice for the more adventurous, pioneering ones among us, those who have an eye for leading edge design, and who place great stock in technological prowess. Frankly, we think it makes a good top of the line model for Acura rather than the rather conservative aging RL model does. Wherever we went, crowds gathered, fingers pointed and jaws dropped. At one shopping center, the entire staff of a Mens Wearhouse store flocked to the front windows, some of them literally running to the front of the store to catch their first glance at what is surely one of the most controversial--and arresting--designs on the road. One of the debates we heard is whether this car has a masculine or a feminine nature. Not that it really matters, but some folks thought the car a feminine ambiance. But most thought that it was muscular, almost brutish and threatening-looking , all in a cool way of course, and thus, they felt the car had an essentially masculine nature. We say, what difference does it make? It’s just a cool car. Period. Interestingly enough, the ZDX was penned by 28-year-old Michelle Christensen who was only 25 when she penned the first version of the vehicle. Other than the looks, the signature of this car is the almost overwhelming amount of technology that you will find on it. Power comes from an advanced 300 horsepower, 3.7 liter VTEC V-6, which gets 16/23 miles per gallon. It also has Acura’s well-regarded SH-AWD (all wheel drive) system, which sends torque to the wheels that need it in a pinch and of course, a drive by wire throttle system. The car has side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, electronic brake distribution, ACE body structure, and a host of other important safety advances. The “Tech Package” on our test vehicle has a navigation system with voice recognition and a multi-view rear view camera., and Acura Link Communication system with Real-Time traffic and weather, a fabulous Acura /ELS Surround Sound audio system that has 10 speaker, and AM/FM/DVD, CD DTS. Dolby Pro Logic and a hard disk drive system. Meanwhile, the “Advance Package” has a collision mitigation braking system, blind spot information system, adaptive cruise control, and lots of other good stuff. In order to get the maximum pleasure and use of the ZDX, you must read the owners manuals and the other booklets that come with the car. Too many people buy cars and pay no attention to the owners manual; this is not a car that you can get by with that for long. Other standard equipment is quite extensive. The lengthy list includes 19-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, heated outside mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, ambient cabin lighting, a back-up camera with a rearview mirror display, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, heated eight-way power front seats, leather seat upholstery and interior trim, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a power liftgate. An eight-speaker stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack is also standard. Of course, you will pay for all this, and our ZDX Advance model had a base price of $56,045 and final price of $56,855. Driving impressions were generally favorable, though this is a heavy vehicle. It does have a stiff ride, and potholes do cause pretty noticeable jitteriness, a bit more, we thought, than we see with other crossovers. It takes some getting used to the proportions of the ZDX because it’s wide, yet relatively short in terms of length. Parking takes a bit more care at first until you get used to that. We did find the sloping rear hatch to be easier to see out of than the Honda crossover, which has a similar design, but seems far more cumbersome than the ZDX. Handling is pretty crisp, but this really is more of a luxury car with sporting undertones, rather than an out and out sports sedan per say. Altogether, we think Honda deserves plenty of kudos for going with such a distinctive design for the ZDX. There’s no mistaking this one for anything other than what it is, and we hope Honda continues to carve out some distinctive, even if sometimes controversial, path for its luxury brand.