The Acura ZDX was an automotive oddity. Depending on your perspective, it either answered a question no one asked or served as an extreme exercise in vehicular form over function. Essentially a rebodied second-generation Acura MDX, the ZDX had a fastback style that cut deeply into the rear passenger and cargo compartments. That sloping roof eliminated more than 3 inches of rear-seat headroom, making the rear seating suitable only for shorter adults or kids. Maximum cargo space suffered, too, measuring only about two-thirds of the MDX's.
With its swoopy styling and much shorter stance (it's 5 inches lower than its contemporary MDX), the ZDX would seem to have a handling advantage over the MDX. Sadly, that isn't the case. In our testing the MDX either equaled or beat the ZDX in every performance category, making the ZDX an impractical curiosity and a hard vehicle for us to recommend.
Most Recent Acura ZDX
The first and only generation of the Acura ZDX spanned 2010-'13. No significant changes occurred during its lifetime.
The midsize luxury crossover was powered by a 3.7-liter V6 with 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control was the only available transmission. The ZDX came with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that seamlessly transferred power to individual wheels to maximize handling and grip through turns in fair or foul weather conditions.
Standard equipment included 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power heated front seats, leather upholstery, Bluetooth and a power liftgate. The standard audio system featured an in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional equipment highlights included keyless ignition and entry, ventilated front seats, a navigation system, a multiview parking camera, an upgraded audio system and an electronically adjustable suspension.
In reviews, we found that despite its sportier, rakish appearance, the Acura ZDX wasn't really a better performer than the already athletic MDX. The SH-AWD system provided impressive levels of grip and control, though the available adjustable suspension didn't offer enough of a performance upgrade to justify its added cost. The 3.7-liter V6 sounded inspiring and boasted a strong midrange, but lacked low-end grunt. The ZDX also came up short in useful cargo space. Behind the rear seats, up to 26 cubic feet could be stuffed to the glass. With the seats folded flat, maximum cargo space only increased to 56 cubes, well short of other midsize luxury SUVs.