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2013 Acura ZDX

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

After three short years on the market Acura is pulling the plug on the ZDX, a sporty four-door coupe-like crossover with all the bulk of a utility but none of the cargo and space benefits. Although possessing the attributes of an Acura – which include refinement, smooth powertrain and snazzy connectivity tech – the confining, clumsy shape never took to the designated target market, described by the maker as “drivers looking for a vehicle that can go anywhere and accommodate all activities, but not at the expense of style and performance.” At least they don’t want to go there in a ZDX, anyway.

I drove a 2013 Acura ZDX with the standard 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 all-aluminum engine that outputs 270 lb-ft of torque. Other performance components include a standard six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. Available in one grade, the following are standard features: power front seating; heated and cooled front seats; dual-zone climate control; ten-speaker surround-sound audio system with Song by Voice; steering-wheel mounted controls; navigation with display screen and rearview backup; Bluetooth; push-button start; power liftgate; fog lights; blind spot information system; panoramic sunroof; nineteen-inch wheels; Xenon headlights; and front and rear parking sensors. Price came to $50,920.

This is the last year for the Acura ZDX. A main competitor has always been the Toyota Venza, arriving on the market around the same time; this similar half-sedan, half-crossover vehicle escaped harsh criticisms as its curves and dimensions by luck of fate crafted something more versatile than awkward.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Acura does deserve credit for the ZDX’s all-inclusive presentation. No monkeying around on price and options; no infamous Tech Package to up the cost another $8k or must-have performance pieces for more money. It’s certainly stylish inside with all the marquee characteristics of an Acura – dark leather upholstery, smoked wood trim inlays – but it’s confining past two people with my three rear-seat passengers complaining about headspace and overall roominess (forget about putting a person in the middle). For the body size, you’d expect cargo to offer twice as much space. Acura’s infotainment system now needs revising, as Lexus just upped the flexibility of their mouse-like control.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Bulk does have its benefits: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Acura ZDX its highest score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarding it a 5-Star rating.

Cost Issues: Unlike its segment, takes the mystery out the true cost by giving the ZXD everything it needs at one price – $50,920. You’ll pay much more for an entry-level BMW X6 with a less-luxurious Toyota Venza’s top trim starting at $37,570.

Activity & Performance Ability: With the underpinnings of Acura’s mid-size MDX utility vehicle, performance is the ZDX’s strong point. You’ll be more than satisfied with the SH-AWD system, V6 engine and taut suspension. What will irritate your driving experience is the identity crisis you and the car will undergo when parking: you’ll be reminded the sedan portion of the ZDX strictly refers the interior, because you’ve got one heck of a yacht on your hands to steer.

The Green Concern: The ZDX hits typical V6 engine SUV fuel economy numbers of 16 miles-per-gallon city and 23 highway. I averaged about 18 miles-per-gallon.

The 2013 Acura ZDX’s all-inclusive presentation and price alone makes it something of a refreshing choice among luxury sedan-crossover choices – in other words, what you see is what you get. Unfortunately, consumers have never quite figured out what that was with the ZDX.

2013 Katrina Ramser