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Heels on Wheels: 2010 Acura ZDX Tech Review


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2010 Acura ZDX

SEE ALSO: Acura Buyers Guide

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE ACURA ZDX VEHICLE

The all-new Acura ZDX – along with its less luxurious Honda Crosstour sibling – has likely caused you to turn your head and wonder exactly what kind of oversized sedan just blew by you. In the words of the Acura public relations team, the ZDX’s “sports coupe” design was developed for an expressive person that was looking for a vehicle that could go anywhere and accommodate their activities, but not at the expense of style and performance. Translation: although the 4-door, 5-passenger ZDX possesses many drivetrain components of their MDX crossover, it cannot tow, do serious off-roading or store as much cargo as an SUV.

I drove the 2010 Acura ZDX with the Tech Package option for a total cost of $49,995. Not cheap, but fully loaded. The ZDX is powered by a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 all-aluminum engine that generates and 270 lb-ft of torque. Other performance components include an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) and the standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The optional Advance Package boasts additional enhancing technologies like a blind spot information system, a Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Anytime a new vehicle shape arrives on the car lot, I’m suspicious to exactly what you are gaining as well as what you are losing. While the ZDX can woo you over with its bold styling, powerful performance (it is on par with the bigger MDX for sure) and supple interior, I had a hard time understanding how a consumer would want to trade the SUV space simply for this super-sedan when prices – and fuel economy estimates at 19 mpg – are nearly the same.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: One step inside any Acura and you’re sold on the luscious interior leather, cushiony seats, and more entertainment and convenience technology than you can imagine. The optional Tech Package list is long and includes a comprehensive navigation system with a back-up camera, sport seats, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and many other extras to make cabin life leisurely and luxurious.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Excellent safety is a major highlight of the ZDX. Passive safety features include a dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), dual-chamber side airbags with a passenger side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), front seats with active head restraints, knee bolsters for front occupants, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system with integrated load limiters. Numerous standard "active safety" features that help the ZDX driver minimize the risk of collision include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) along with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

Cost Issues: Base price for the ZDX is still steep at $45,495. Equipped with the Technology Package and the Advanced Package, price soars up to $56,045. You’re in for a beating at the fuel pump with an average EPA fuel economy rating of 16-city/23-highway MPG driving.

Activity & Performance Ability: The new Advance Package is a must-have if you want the smoothest riding experience possible in the car market. Choose the “Comfort” mode of the Active Damper System for a ride that features “real-time” shock adjustments designed to anticipate in less than five milliseconds your next road bump. These absorbers are filed with an iron-mixed fluid to thicken the presence of a magnetic field for a stiffer body. Like the MDX, braking is commanding and the new 6-speed transmission moves seamlessly through gears for perfect torque under any conditions. Turning radius is generous and cornering is a delight. This is one planted, smooth ride with an incredible powertrain possessing all-wheel drive ability.

The Green Concern: Well, the Acura isn’t winning any awards for using bio-sourced materials or incorporating energy saving and environmentally-conscientious measures such as LED lighting, a lightweight energy-efficient audio system amplifier with bamboo charcoal speakers – items you’ll find on its more eco-friendly Lexus competitor.

FINAL PARTING WORDS

If you’re looking for something different in a sedan experience – meaning top-of-the-line performance components – you’ll be attracted to the all-new Acura ZDX. But keep in mind while you do have all-wheel drive, you don’t have the all the cargo space that comes with a similarly performing SUV.

©2010 Katrina Ramser