When we saw the line of Acura ZDX models waiting for us in the parking lot, the cleanness of the design stood out. The sheet metal looked smoother than any new car we had seen recently, and Acura didn't load the body down with jewelry, just nicely integrated headlight casings. And the grille, which stands out like a beak on the smaller Acura sedans, seems to have found its medium. Unlike when we first saw the ZDX earlier this year at the New York auto show, the design took on new life under the bright sun at this special driving preview.
Built on the Acura MDX SUV platform, the ZDX is lower but just a tad longer than its platform-mate. During a presentation, an Acura representative called it a "four door sports coupe," and touted its off-road characteristics by showing a video of it running on a snow track. That schizophrenic character points to the ZDX's blessing or curse--it will be a convenient multipurpose vehicle to some people, but not good at any particular duty for others. That said, the ZDX comes out at the same time as other automakers experiment with this new type of crossover. BMW has the X6, and is working on the 5-series Gran Turismo. Audi is looking at making a hatchback version of the A5. These companies are trying to develop an SUV-alternative for people that no long want to drive a truck.
Most concept cars lose their most interesting features when they come to production, but the ZDX didn't drop a thing from its initial showing. It uses a glass roof extending from the hood to hatchback, giving both seating rows a sunroof. The short rear doors have handles hidden in the C pillar graphics. The center stack looks black when the car is off, but backlighting highlights button labels when the audio system and climate control are turned on. We hope this feature finds its way into other Acura models, as it works well to hide the mass of buttons scattered over current Acura dashboards. … Read more