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Motoring: Acura ZDX a whole lot of fun


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | February 20th, 2012



First came the coupe, and then came the four-door coupe, but then something really unexpected happened: BMW came out with something that was a coupe SUV called the X6. No one else was expecting such a creation, and it seemed like no one else was really bothered to come up with a competing vehicle for the X6, except for Acura.

Yes, Acura, which has had nothing but a very conservative lineup since the NSX died in 2005, came up with their own coupe SUV called the ZDX.

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

Around the back, you get an extra piece of glass in the vertical section of the tailgate, which the X6 doesn't give you, so the rear visibility is a little better (although it's still a bit challenging).

However, the most challenging bit is to get comfortable in the rear seats. There is a good amount of 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 probably hit my head on the roof, which would hurt.

I also wouldn't want to use one of these on moving day, either, because the trunk space is almost non-existent. It's not wide enough or tall enough, again thanks to the sloping roof, so you can't put much stuff in it. If you did find something that will fit in its back, then you'll find out that 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.

It's not practical, but then coupes are not meant to be practical, they need to be stylish, which it most certainly is. For the driver and front passenger, the cockpit is also very inviting, and once inside, you'll find that it has pretty much all the toys you'd ever want. The only version of the ZDX offered now comes with the Technology Package, and has 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. I also wish it had a distance-sensing cruise control system, because other automakers have had this technology for a long time already, plus Acura offers that feature on the MDX, so why not on this model?

Its engine, though, is world class. 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 six-speed automatic gearbox, this vehicle is not only quick, it is frugal too; I averaged 14.1 liters/100km. I would have gotten even better fuel economy if I weren't mashing my foot into the carpet every now and then. Because, you see, when you put your foot down, you are then 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 sportscar — 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 setup and its big, fat tires, it grips very well. I only wish it had more oncentre steering feel, something all Honda products lack.

This car won't leave you feeling like you paid too much. Ask anyone who has seen a ZDX to guess how much it is, and most people will say it looks like it is worth nearly $100,000. The reality is, the ZDX, which now only comes one way with all the equipment, is yours for $54,990. Okay, so that isn't exactly cheap for most people, but as a lifestyle vehicle, I think it is very well priced. Plus, since it isn't the hottest-selling vehicle at the moment, you'll be able to get a decent discount on one of these.

So if you don't have grown-up kids to drag around, this is a very appealing alternative to the regular, boring SUV. I honestly enjoyed my time with this vehicle. It might not be the best way to spend nearly $60,000, but it is unique, comfortable, advanced and has an engine that will make you smile every single day. So is it worth it? Yes it is.
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