2010 Acura ZDX Tech new car reviews

Better than: VW Tiguan
But not as good as: Infiniti FX50
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 39.11

The 2010 Acura ZDX has an unmistakable profile that helps it stand apart from a crowded market of small crossover SUVs. The styling definitely takes center stage with this vehicle, as the ZDX is essentially the same as its tradtionally shaped MDX sibling. Love it or hate it, there's nothing else on the road that looks like this.

Under the skin, the ZDX has a punchy 300-horsepower V6 and the acronym-tastic Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system to carry it down the road. Our test vehicle was equipped with Acura's Tech package, which adds real-time traffic and weather information and a hard drive for music storage.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Honda has turned out some stellar products over the years, from the Cub to the CRX to ASIMO. Sadly, though, I can't put the ZDX in that same group.

The big reason? Access to the rear seats is horrible--horrible! And this is a four-door SUV, not a 2+2 sport coupe. People generally buy this kind of car because they're big and comfy and relatively easy to use. Rearward vision was also pretty poor.

The pluses: It goes down the road nicely, the air blows cold and our test car had satellite radio. These days, however, there's lots of vehicles that do that.

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

Ouch. After the less-than-fantastic feelings I got from the Infiniti FX50, I had high hopes for the Acura. Unfortunately, the styling folks at Acura seem to have kidnapped any sort of usability or function from the ZDX. I'm all for having a characteristic shape, but not if it means rear seat passengers need to be yoga qualified to enter the car. Even my kids had trouble getting in and out of the back seats; not so much from the space in the seat but from the ridiculously small rear door opening. It's almost like the ZDX is a 2+2 configuration with rear doors. Unforgivable fail.

Interior quality seemed less than impressive to me as well. I don't know if Dodge has come a long way up or if Acura is slipping badly, but I wasn't alone in seeing some very similar materials in use between the two manufacturers.

Dynamically, the ZDX has charm. The SH-AWD is impressive, and gives the little crossover a downright sporty ride. If Acura decided to make an RSX or Integra with this drivetrain and and a manual transmission, I'd be ready to fall in love. Please, Acura, make me fall in love again.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

There's a sick part of me that really likes the ZDX; it's a terribly impractical concept trucklet that somehow escaped from the convention center floor and out into the real world. I love the way it looks; aggressive, sporty and unapologetic. Don't like the huge Acura shield in the front or the car-of-the-future tail? Too bad, it doesn't car what you think, it's too busy being from the future.

Unfortunately, that swoopy roofline comes at the cost of rear seat usability; they sculpted the headliner to give adults a fighting chance at not going crazy, but bring bandages to keep the bleeding to a minimum, as you'll hit your head or shoulder every time trying to get in the darn thing. The fit and finish were subpar for an Acura of this price point, too; My 10-year-old bare-bones Type R has nicer interior materials for the door panels.

The ZDX is like a really expensive micro-sized purse. Heavy on style, light on functionality, and too darn expensive to be worth it.

Steve Chryssos Steve Chryssos
Reader

The Acura ZDX is an SUV designed for loners. Make that loners without cargo. Mechanically, the ZDX is pure SUV. The 4450 pound curb weight supports that assertion. The sloping roofline, however, limits cargo height. So what's the point of the ZDX? My best guess is that this car is for people who truly want an SUV, but are afraid to be SEEN in an SUV.
Despite reasonable rear seat legroom, headroom can only be described as comical. It reminds me of my Audi TT coupe. At least Audi was good enough to publish a rear passenger height disclaimer in the TT's owner's manual. At 5'11", my head was literally tilted sideways in the back of the ZDX. And the rear passenger doors? The current Chilean mine disaster offers better ingress / egress than the Acura ZDX.

People: If you want an SUV, buy an SUV. If you want a car, buy a car. And if you want a car with "SUV like" cargo capacity and rear seat dimensions, buy a station wagon. Long live the station wagon.

Sarah Young Sarah Young
Editorial/Art Assistant

I spent a small amount of time with the ZDX--to the office and back home--so I'll make my comments similarly short. Sure, it handles and brakes with minimal input, just like many modern commuters. No complaints there, but look behind you. The rear window is a narrow slit bookended by two hefty blind spots. Let's just say this isn't the kind of vehicle you'd want to be changing lanes with in Daytona during Biketoberfest. At first I kept adjusting the rearview mirror, thinking surely a properly sized rear window would appear if I just angled it the right way. No dice.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

I loved this Acura. Okay, I lied. This car/trucklet is the biggest POS I've driven in the last 10 years. Okay, maybe the Caliber is worse, but it is also $18K, not $50K. As other staffers have mentioned, the rear seat access is a bad joke, the build quality is subpar for a 10-year-old Dodge (A-pillar trim fell off in my hand), and it clomps down the road with all the grace of an Excursion. I can understand styling exercises, but at least make the vehicle functional. I'm not sure what is going on at Honda/Acura, but this is a bad, bad omen for the company. For my $50K I'd rather have, well, anything else.

Did I mention I hated it?

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Comments
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Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
9/21/10 3:04 p.m.

Acura never meant for people to use the rear doors. No, really. It was in our info back when they introduced it to the dealers last fall/winter. It was meant for empty nesters on the verge of retirement as a weekend getaway mobile. Not as a people hauler. Their intended market base is very small, hence the low production numbers.

With that said, I have to agree with the reviews.

kainoeske
kainoeske New Reader
9/23/10 9:45 a.m.

@David: "People generally buy this kind of car because they’re big and comfy and relatively easy to use. " - you mean the people buyng that kind of car, right?

What an abortion. First, it looks like every effing "crossover" (=useless POS) SUV: toad on wheels. Second, 4500 lbs??? 3rd: @Tommy: Wow. It takes me 30 seconds to reconfigure the seats, and my Corolla Sedan fits a 9ft surfboard trunk-to-dash (and will outrun that abomination on a racetrack AND on a snowy mountain road). 4th, $51,000??? That buys an insanely-modded AWD wagon - WRX or recent S4 - that does EVERYTHING 10x better than this thing.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/23/10 7:06 p.m.

Right, all of your above points are why we all hated it. Maybe that didn't come across in the reviews?

kainoeske
kainoeske New Reader
9/23/10 8:09 p.m.

@Tommy: oh it did. I just needed to rant! :)

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/23/10 9:27 p.m.

Oh, ok. I thought you were angry because we didn't hate it enough or something.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter PowerDork
9/24/10 8:19 a.m.

I'm just wondering how the turd managed two stars. Ya'll must've been feeling generous with the ratings.

If I were rating it:
Stock Performance: 3
Performance Potential: 0 (how could you make it better?)
Daily Driver Manners: 0 (based on lack of visibility, seat annoyances, useless rear, etc)
Fit and Finish: 1 -- and that's being generous when it was compared unfavorably to a Calibre and things fell off. Overall: 1. And that's only because it didn't blow up.

jstein77
jstein77 SuperDork
2/28/11 8:41 a.m.

Instead of ZDX, they should have called it the 2xCRX. Twice the size, twice the weight, twice the doors, but even less practical.

DUMONT
DUMONT New Reader
9/19/11 1:42 a.m.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The 2010 Acura ZDX has an unmistakable profile that helps it stand apart from a crowded market of small crossover SUVs. The styling definitely takes center stage with this vehicle, as the ZDX is essentially the same as its tradtionally shaped MDX sibling. Love it or hate it, there's nothing else on the road that looks like this.

Under the skin, the ZDX has a punchy 300-horsepower V6 and the acronym-tastic Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system to carry it down the road. Our test vehicle was equipped with Acura's Tech package, which adds real-time traffic and weather information and a hard drive for music storage.

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