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Motoring: Acura ZDX nice set of wheels, though impractical

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | April 12th, 2010

This week I had the opportunity to test the Acura ZDX, which is an SUV that likes to pretend to be a sports coupe. Let's see how it fares.

From a styling point of view, I think it's a home run. The ZDX looks great. Its design touches are amazing. I love how nicely contoured its hips are, I love those door handles hidden almost in the C-pillar. Honestly, if your not paying attention, you'd think it doesn't have rear doors. Plus it's the only Acura I can think of where their new design nose actually works.

Round the back, you get an extra piece of glass in the vertical section of the tailgate, so the rear visibility is a little better than some comparable vehicles (although it's still a bit challenging).

However, the most challenging bit is to get comfortable in the rear seats. There is good hip room, but hardly any headroom due to the sloping roof. I surely would not like to be a passenger in the back of one of these, because if it gets rear-ended, I'd crack my skull open.

I also wouldn't want to use one of these on moving day either, because the trunk space is almost a joke. It's not wide enough and again thanks to the sloping roof, you can't put much stuff in it. If you did find something that fits in its back, then you'll find out its rear bumper is very high and thus you have to lift an item very high up to get it in there. Short people should look elsewhere.

So it's not practical, but then coupes are not meant to be practical, they need to be stylish and it most certainly is. For the driver and front passenger, the cockpit is also very inviting and once in it, you'll find it has pretty much all the toys you'd ever want. My test vehicle came with the technology package, and hence, had the navigation system, the upgraded stereo and the enormous sunroof. I do wish though that it had a heated steering wheel, because that feature is really appealing to Canadians.

Its engine is excellent as well. It is a tweaked 3.7-litre V6 that Acura has been using for awhile now, but now it produces 300hp. Thanks to Acura's first new sixspeed automatic gearbox, this vehicle is not only quick, it is frugal too - I averaged 13- litres/100km. I would have gotten even better fuel economy if I wasn't mashing my foot into the carpet every now and then. Because you see, when you put your foot down, you are greeted with one of the nicest sounding six-cylinder motors on the planet. I love it.

I love how it handles too. Thanks to Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, which can send power to the wheel that can best use it, this ZDX really comes close to handling like a sports car, no small feat for a vehicle that is 16-feet long.

Throw it into a bend and you can feel the system working, plus with its chassis and suspension set-up, and its big fat tires, it grips very well. I only wish it had more on-centre steering feel, something all Honda products are weak in.

What you may also be intrigued with is its price. Ask anyone who has seen a ZDX to guess how much it is, and most people will say it looks like it is worth near $100,000.

The reality is, you can have a ZDX for just $55,990. Even my loaded test model was just $59,590. Ok, so that isn't exactly cheap, but as a lifestyle vehicle, I think it is very well priced.
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