Test Drive: Acura ZDX

The coupe fairy strikes again.

The proliferation of four-door coupes, SUV coupes, Sport Activity Coupes, Crossover Coupes and even coupe coupes has one of the strongest influences on automotive design the last few years.? No longer limited to sporty two-doors, the new coupe definition expands to include a broad spectrum of models with sweeping rooflines and performance postures.

The Acura ZDX is the latest to take a stab at the ?coupe? look, and it works because under that sweeping coupe roofline is a well-designed mechanical package.? The ZDX is Acura?s first vehicle developed from start to finish in the new, dedicated Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., and by Acura?s first female designer, Michelle Christensen.

The design is a blend of sport coupe and all-season utility vehicle.?? It features the family signature front-end treatment, wide rear fenders and the longest glass roof in the business extending from the top edge of the windshield to the top edge of the tailgate glass.? The front section of the glass roof tilts and slides up and back along the outside of the roof allowing more headroom inside when the panel is closed.

The ZDX has the most sophisticated interior ever offered in an Acura with first-time features like a hand-stitched leather dashboard, door panels and center console.? The interior seats four or five in the elegant cabin.? However, the sweptback roofline and short rear door makes rear seat access tight and once inside headroom is limited. ?Cargo space is 26.3 cubic feet behind the rear seat with another 2.2 cubic feet in a compartment under the cargo floor.? With the rear seats folded, cargo capacity expands to 55.8 cubic feet.

The ZDX comes in only one model powered by Acura?s 300-hp, 3.7-liter SOHC all-aluminum V-6 engine.? The transmission is a new six-speed automatic with sequential sport shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel and the standard drive is Acura?s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive?.? The combination accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 6.5 seconds and gets a 16 mpg city and 23 mpg EPA fuel economy rating.? We actually averaged 20.4 mpg in mixed driving.

Riding on same platform as the Acura MDX and Honda Pilot, the ZDX has a four-wheel independent suspension setup with MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link system in the rear.? When equipped with the optional Advance Package it also gets an electronically controlled adjustable Magneto-Rheological shock system that can change from a minimum to maximum damping force in as little as five milliseconds (0.005 sec.)

In typical Acura fashion, the ZDX has an extensive list of features including leather seating, XM radio, Bluetooth, heated front seats, power tailgate, glass roof, alloy wheels and Xenon headlights for a base price of $46,355, including the destination charge.? ?The $4,500 technology package adds premium leather seating, navigation, AcuraLink communications, real-time traffic and weather, audiophile sound system plus several other features.

The $10,550 Advance Package adds the Technology Package feature along with adaptive cruise, the active damper system, ventilated front seats and premium tricot headliner.? For advanced safety, the package adds the blind spot warning system and the Collision Mitigation Braking System, which warns the driver of potential collision situations, and brakes when the system determines a collision is unavoidable.

The ZDX is not designed to run time trials at a local track or sprint through your favorite local twisties, but it gives the driver a confident, well-connected road feel along with a very quiet comfortable ride.? We haven?t tried the Advance Package with adjustable suspension, but we understand it makes a significant improvement in roadworthiness.

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