2010 Acura ZDX Preview
By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
- Acura says the 2010 ZDX is a 4-door sports coupe that delivers "dramatic styling, outstanding performance, and the latest in advanced technology"
- Panoramic glass roof, hidden rear door handles, bold fender flares key components of Acura's "segment bending" design
- 3.7-liter V-6 engine with 6-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission
- 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque
- Paddle shifters on the steering wheel
- Standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD)
- Standard 19-inch alloy wheels
- Standard hand-stitched leather on the dashboard, door panels and center console
- Standard HandsFreeLink Bluetooth capability
- Standard power tailgate
- Standard USB and iPod stereo compatibility
- Available blind-spot information system
- Available multi-view rear camera
- Available navigation system with voice recognition
- Available AcuraLink traffic and weather reporting
- Available Acura/ELS premium audio system
- Available adaptive cruise control
- Available Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Priced between Acura MDX and Acura RL
Evidently deciding that BMW and Infiniti must know something it does not, Acura is moving fast to jump on the hopped-up, all-wheel-drive hatchback trend with the 2010 ZDX, which debuted at the 2009 New York Auto Show in prototype form. The production version of the 2010 Acura ZDX is scheduled to land on showroom floors this fall, set to battle the BMW X6 and Infiniti FX for a piece of the 17,208 sales these two models racked up in 2008.
"Hopped-up, all-wheel-drive hatchback" is our term. Acura refers to the ZDX as a "four-door sports coupe" but when we think of sports coupes, a Nerf on oversized wheels is not what materializes from the gray matter. Nevertheless, Acura's goal with the ZDX is to "blur the distinction between coupe, sedan and sport utility vehicle" while breaking new ground with "segment bending" design.
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Unquestionably, the ZDX is an Acura. Just take a glance at the nose, and it cannot be mistaken for anything else. The roofline kinks just above the driver and races at a sharp angle to the taillights. The ZDX has four doors, but Acura conceals the handles for the rear portals in the rear roof pillar to emphasize its "coupe-ness." An all-glass power tailgate opens to the cargo area, which features sizeable hidden storage under the floor and removable side panels that allow golf clubs to lay behind the rear seat. Furthermore, the rear seats fold to create additional space.
Dimensionally, the 2010 Acura ZDX matches up with the MDX in terms of wheelbase, width and overall length, though visually the ZDX looks smaller than the more conventional 7-passenger MDX. Designed from the outset to wear Acura's new styling cues, the ZDX's fender flares, shield grille, and other elements appear well balanced save for excessive front overhang evident when viewed in profile. The panoramic glass roof includes sunshades that can be pulled to shade the cabin from intense sunlight.
Inside, the ZDX follows the current Acura dual-cockpit theme, with round hooded gauges, push-button ignition, and a centrally-mounted navigation system controlled by a multi-use controller on the dashboard. Perhaps responding to criticism that the climate and audio controls have been arranged in a confusing manner, Acura provides clearly distinct control zones in the ZDX-climate, then stereo, then navigation-on the center stack. Notably, the dashboard, door panels and center console are wrapped in standard hand-stitched leather.
Acura installs a 3.7-liter V-6 engine under the hood, driving all four wheels through a 6-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission and the company's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The engine makes 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, and Acura says the ZDX will deliver "sport sedan performance on the road" as well as "outstanding handling and cornering capabilities in all-weather conditions." The ZDX rides on standard 19-inch alloy wheels.
Acura did not discuss its complete roster of safety features for the 2010 ZDX. However, most modern Acuras are engineered to provide top-notch crash protection and come equipped with front, side, and side curtain air bags as well as ABS with brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction control, and stability control. Add the SH-AWD, a new blind-spot information system for safer lane changes, and a new multi-view reversing camera that displays a normal rear view enhanced by wide-angle and top-down views, and the Acura ZDX promises to offer a high level of safety for its occupants.
The ZDX will also be available with Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and an adaptive cruise control system. The CMBS is designed to monitor traffic ahead, and when vehicles in front of the ZDX come to a stop, monitor the driver's reaction to the stopped traffic. If the driver doesn't react by depressing the brake pedal, CMBS issues alerts to rouse the driver and if the driver still doesn't react, CMBS will automatically apply the brakes to reduce speed before impact. The adaptive cruise control system also monitors traffic ahead, and automatically adjusts the ZDX's cruise speed to maintain a safe distance between it and the cars in front of it.
In addition to its new multi-view reversing camera and blind-spot information system, the 2010 Acura ZDX will be available with a navigation system that includes voice recognition technology, AcuraLink traffic and weather reporting in real time, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and an Acura/ELS premium audio system with XM satellite radio.
Perhaps the bigger question is: Why does Acura refer to its all-wheel-drive system as Super Handling? When accelerating, up to 60 percent of the engine's power is directed to the rear wheels. This is not unusual. However, when accelerating and turning, such as when powering out of the last curve of a favorite back road, the SH-AWD can direct up to 60 percent of the engine's power to the outside rear wheel to help the ZDX deliver what Acura calls "dramatically improved cornering."
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