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2010 Acura ZDX ‘Something For Everyone’

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Filed under Acura, Automotive, Featured, SUV, Test Drives

Acura says that the all-new 2010 ZDX is a four-door sports coupe crossover.  With these attributes it has something for everyone-a sports coupe, a four-door sedan and a crossover utility vehicle.  I like to call it a space shuttle because of its unique wide stance, fastback styling, advanced cockpit configuration, easy entry and exit for up to five persons, and its functional rear cargo hold.  It’s got it all.  Like it or hate the looks, I think that it is a refreshing new niche in the booming crossover segment and breaks new ground for both Acura and the auto industry.

The all-new ZDX is the first Acura developed, designed and manufactured in North America and is the first Acura to feature a hand-stitched leather dashboard, door panels and sculpted center console, 19X8.5in. wheels and tires, plus the glass roof starts at the leading edge of the windshield to the trailing edge of the glass rear hatch and is the longest in the industry.

The ZDX styling is one of a kind with a long hood and slightly pointed front end, steeply sweptback A-pillars, and fastback roof leading down to the massive rear bumper with integrated dual exhaust outlets, and unique, large, wrap-around lamp clusters.

Up front is the new signature Acura aluminum grille with unique lamp clusters at the sides.  Below are round fog lamps surrounded by aluminum strips with extra air-intakes to bring cool air into the engine bay.

The silhouette is also unique with the coupe like look showing the fastback rear, hidden rear door handles, a full perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse and deep lower extensions.

From the rear you can’t miss the deeply sculpted, wide rear shoulders and flared fenders covering the large cast aluminum wheels and tires.

Under the skin of this beautifully sculpted body is the latest in Acura’s pursuit of power, performance, interior comfort, luxury, convenience and safety.

The new ZDX is equipped with a new generation of the 3.7 liter SOHC V6 engine.  The all-aluminum engine generates 300hp and 270lb.ft. of torque for quick launch response with good low and mid-range torque with high rpm power.  This new engine broadens the rpm powerband while simultaneously improving fuel efficiency with a new 2-rocker arm design VVT system applied to the intake valves.  Additionally, special high-lift camshaft specs during VTEC operation, a dual-stage induction system and an electronic Drive-by-Wire throttle system.  Even though initial launch is adequate for a quick getaway, I would like to see even more horsepower and torque since the new ZDX weighs in at over 4,400lbs.  Maybe Acura can put a new ‘V8’ engine into next year’s model.

Performance and fuel economy are further enhanced by the ZDX’s all-new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission that is designed to satisfy the most discerning enthusiast drivers.  In full automatic the shift changes are imperceptible.  Push the leather covered shifter into S’ sport and by taping the steering wheel mounted paddle shifter you can hold the gears up to redline to ring the most torque from each gear.  Coming toward a sharp turn you can blip a downshift to quickly slow the ZDX down and safely track through the curve, tap up and floor it heading out to the next corner.

Further enhancing the ZDX’s handling prowess is the standard and exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which is tuned for real-world driving conditions and has been performance proven on Germany’s famed Nurburgring road course.  It sets new standards for power delivery and handling response, SH-AWD actively varies the torque distribution first between front and rear axles, and then between the left and right rear wheels, to maximize available traction under most driving conditions, wet or dry.  This ‘torque vectoring’ operates automatically and seamlessly, and allows SH-AWD to overdrive the outside rear wheel up to 1.7% faster than the front wheels-thus creating a ‘yaw moment’ that allows the ZDX to better rotate around a corner while minimizing vehicle understeer.  The wide 67.7in. front and rear track works to further keep the vehicle on track when cornering hard.

Working together and enhancing the SH-AWD system is the new ZDX chassis that is tuned to provide an ideal balance of handling precision, road isolation and damping.

In front MacPherson struts team with coil-over springs and forged aluminum lower control arms for precise quick handling response and generous wheel travel, while hydro-compliance suspension bushings and a front subframe that ‘floats’ on rubber mounts provide superb road and engine isolation.  The ZDX’s multi-link rear suspension mounts on a separate steel subframe and employs aluminum uprights for reduced unsprung weight while the coil springs, dampers and anti-roll bar are tuned for optimum ride and handling control.

Included with the optional Advance Package, that I tested, is the new Integrated Dynamics system (IDS) tailors the ZDX’s fully independent suspension’s Active Damper System and speed-sensitive rack & pinion steering to suit your current driving preference for a more comfortable or a more sporting ride-available by turning a large dial.

Comfort mode prioritizes road isolation and reduces fatigue on long drives while Sport mode favors crisp handling response, heightened vehicle body control and maximum traction.

The heart of the ZDX’s Active Damper system is its electronically-controlled Magneto-Rheological shock absorbers, just like other high-performance vehicles, and can individually adjust from minimum to maximum damping force in as little as five milliseconds (0.005sec.).  along with the active dampers, the speed-sensitive hydraulic steering assist is automatically adjusted according to your choice of Comfort or Sport modes: lighter steering effort happens in Comfort mode, while firmer efforts results when in Sport mode.

Behind the wheel I have to say that the feeling is definitely felt between comfort or sport modes.  When driving over poorly paved roads the dampers soaked up the bumps beautifully.  When I had it in Sport mode, the reaction to the road surface was stiffer and quicker and the steering more precise, reactive and weighty when the steering wheel was moved right or left.

I was impressed at how well the ZDX gobbled up the miles comfortably in comfort mode on longer drives during my seven-day test drive, yet gave me excellent feedback from the road with quicker reaction from both the suspension and steering effort.  When I put the shifter into S mode the reaction times were even shorter to my feedback and I was able to hold shifts into higher rpm ranges when entering curves with more confidence and assurance.  This combination made the ride more neutral and reacted strongly to my directions.  You can shut the Traction Control system off but not the SH-AWD system but that is only a positive when attacking very steep corners.  The wide track and Michelin P255/50R19in. Latitude all-season radials further enhanced handling precision and adhesion when cornering.  The ZDX is one of the best handling crossover vehicles on the market with all of these latest technology features that only make the driving experience more memorable and appealing.  I wanted to drive the ZDX as much as possible, it felt that refreshing and with the ability to quicken your heartbeat at the right location and time.

Quickly and safely slowing the ZDX down from speed are large, four-wheel disc brakes.

Up front are 13in. vented rotors clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.2in. solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers.  Braking power and control are further enhanced with standard ABS, EBD and BA.

Of course all of these high-tech items are wasted if the interior isn’t up to par with comfort and sportiness; it is my favorite part of the ZDX.  The cabin exhibits the highest levels of refinement and sophistication ever offered from Acura.  Every ZDX interior features Acura’s first hand-stitched leather dashboard, door panels and sculpted center console.  The rich leather appointments give the ZDX a warm and inviting feeling while creating an intimate cockpit for you and the front passenger.  The cabin is well lighted thanks to extensive use of LED lighting along with the light from the unique moonroof that is an integral design aspect of the longest glass roof in the industry.  The panoramic glass roof has dual automatic sunshades that open and close at the touch of a button.

Behind the perfectly sized, three-spoke, leather wrapped, power tilt/telescoping is the easy to see and understand LED lit instrument cluster.  The steering wheel has buttons to control the audio system, trip computer and Radar Sensing Cruise Control.

To the right is the center stack, also lit with LED lights that fad out when the engine is turn off and light up is stark white when you push the red start button.  I am impressed with the layout of both the cockpit and center stack.  All buttons are placed in groups so tuning the great sounding audio system, deciding on the inside temperature of the dual-zone climate system, and using the electronic driving controls are easy to find and operate. It felt like I was behind the wheel of a small, personal space shuttle, especially at night.

The 10-way powered driver and 8-way powered passenger sport bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive plus they feature heating and air-conditioning with the loaded Advanced model.  The center console is padded to rest your elbow and there is plenty of storage in the bin that opens from either side with a push of a button.

The luxurious cockpit gives way to a generous cabin that provides comfortable seating for up to five-passengers with a fold-down center armrest with dual cupholders.

The ZDX’s flexible utility allows it to be a perfect weekend getaway vehicle, or for any type of personal storage use, allowing 26.3cu.ft. of space behind the second row seats and a total of 55.8cu.ft. when the seats are easily folded flat.  The cargo area is lined with loop-style carpet and there are LED lights to help you at night or in the dark.

The cargo area can also be expanded to accommodate longer items, such as golf bags, by removing the side panels in the compartment sidewalls.  As an added bonus, there is an integrated under-floor storage area which provides 2.2cu.ft. of secure space. Both the underfloor storage and side panels use sating metal release handles and the panels can be stored down below.

My favorite thing to do inside is open the standard power-operated rear glass lid.  It lifts straight up for easy and safe loading or unloading.  Other crossovers lift the whole rear door and leave it at a 90-degree angle where sometimes my head, I’m 6ft. 3in., unfortunately meets the metal and it hurts.  With the ZDX only the pane of glass lifts with the end of the glass panel far away from your head.

Other standard features in the ZDX Advanced not mentioned above include front auto up/down widows, power door locks, grab handles above each door, storage in the glove box and each door bottom, rain-sensing wipers, HID Adaptive front lamps, rear LED lamps, glass roof, power lift rear glass, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system with automatic humidity control and rear seat vents, a powerful 8-speaker audio system with six-disc CD changer, AM-FM tuner, XM radio with Note Function, Bluetooth audio, USB ports connectivity for my iPod, iPhone, or USB mass storage devices and AUX jack interface for portable MP3 players, self-dimming reaview mirror, power-remote controlled, heated/self-dimming side mirrors, aluminum scuff plates at the bottom of each door, overhead console with sunglass storage/dual LED map lamps, thick cut-pile carpeting and soft floor mats.

There are three distinct trim level ZDX models to choose from: ZDX, ZDX with Technology Package and the ZDX with Advance Package.  My test ZDX had the Advance Package and it is the way to go.

The ZDX comes with the long list above and the Technology Package adds the Acura Navigation system with Voice Recognition, 8in. full VGA hi-res color display, using navigation data stored on the built-in 60GB hard disc drive, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic, with Traffic Rerouting along with AcuraLink Real-Time Weather with weather radar image maps, Keyless Access system with push-buttons start, luxurious full-grain Perforated Milano premium leather, the 435-watt Digital Sound Processor amplifier Acura/ELS Surround premium audio system with 10-speakers, a 15GB hard disc drive media storage system, DVD-audio, DTS, CD, AM-FM turner, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth audio, USB and AUX connectivity, and a new multi-view rear camera.

The optional Advance Package includes everything in the Technology Package and adds premium brushed tricot headliner material, ventilated front seats, a sport steering wheel and additional LED ambient lighting.  The Advance Package also includes Acura’s Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control, a Blind Spot indicator that is placed on the black front glass pillar instead of the sideview mirrors making it faster and easier to see, and the Integrated Dynamics System that controls the Active Damper system and speed sensitive power rack & pinion steering.

Keeping you and your passengers safe in the event of a collision is the ACE body structure that more evenly distributes collision forces throughout the vehicle and also helps maintain the integrity of the passenger cabin in the event of a front collision.  Passive safety features include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, dual-chamber side airbags with passenger-side occupant position detection system, front seats with active head restraints, knee bolsters for front seats, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system with integrated load limiters, steel beams in each door, Daytime Running lamps, and the LATCH system for child seats.

Numerous standard ‘active safety’ features that help you minimize the risk of a collision or going off the road include Vehicle Stability Assist/Traction Control.  This system can be shut off by pushing a dash-mounted button to let the ZDX slide out a little coming out of sharp curving roads.

With all of these features aside, the ZDX is longer, lower, wider and has a significantly wider track that is primary competitor, the BMW X6.  The ZDX rides on a 108.3in. wheelbase, with an overall length of 192.4in., and it has an overall width of 85.6in. with a 67.7in. track front and rear, standing 62.8in. tall.  These dimensions allow the ZDX to offer a driving character that is as confident as its appearance is dramatic.

The all-new 2010 Acura ZDX fulfils a new niche with great coupe-like looks, power and performance found in smaller sporty sedans and coupes, an advanced and unique interior with more function and versatility that you can find in any other sporty luxury sedan or coupe.  It was fun and very enjoyable during my seven-day test drive of the all-new ZDX.



Price: Base $44,000 As-Tested Advance Package $56,045
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 192.4 in.
Width: 78.5 in.
Height: 62.8 in.
Wheel Base: 108.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 7.9 in.
Curb Weight: 4452 lbs.

Front Head Room: 38 in.
Front Hip Room: 57.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 59.7 in.
Rear Head Room: 35.3 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 55.4 in.
Rear Hip Room: 55.4 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.6 in.
Rear Leg Room: 31.1 in.
Luggage Capacity: 26.3 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 56 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6
Base Engine Size: 3.7 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 300 hp
Max Horsepower: 6300 rpm
Torque: 270 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4500 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1500 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 38.4 ft.
0-60mph: 6.5 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 21 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 17 mpg / 23 mpg / 19 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 357 mi. / 483 mi. / 399 mi.


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