Driven: 2010 Acura ZDX Page 2

September 14, 2010
In our full review of the 2010 ZDX, editorial director Marty Padgett did a great job pointing out the obvious compromises of this vehicle, noting that it is "less practical than a real SUV," as well as "too tall to be a real coupe."

Try to fit more than two larger adults in the ZDX and you'll see what he means. While there's plenty of legroom, and a tall airy-ness to the cabin, front headroom was just barely adequate for this 6'-6" driver. In back, forget about trying to fit anyone approaching six feet tall; there's just not enough headroom, and the curvy shape makes the backseat a lot narrower than you might expect. The odd shape and short dimensions of the doors in back make getting in and out difficult, too. Visibility is tough, with huge blind spots, but straight back there's a smaller back window built into the hatch. It helps a little bit.

There are other alternatives, for those who like the idea of a hatch in back but need backseat room. BMW 5-Series GranTurismo gets some of the ZDX's fastback looks, yet the backseat in the GranTurismo is positively limo-like—an improvement over the 5-Series sedan or X5 and on par with the back of the 7-Series.

Shallow hatch is a compromise

Cargo space really isn't that bad in the ZDX. The cargo floor is surprisingly high, but you'll find a deep, additional storage area under the regular cargo floor at the back. But then again, be aware that nearly anything that you put back there will infringe on your rearview.

Yet with all the tradeoffs, the ZDX's two front perches offer top-notch luxury. Interior trims and materials (including soft leather with accented stitching) are remarkably good; the instrument panel has a stunning, wrap-around design that really does combine the utility (with all sorts of cubbies and bins) of a utility vehicle with the wrap-around cockpit feel of a coupe. The surround-sound system in the ZDX was bassy and rich yet clear at higher volumes, and it has DVD-Audio capability Bluetooth Audio streaming, as well as USB and aux inputs. We weren't as wowed by the navigation system, though we liked the display.

Ultimately, the ZDX is a limited-appeal vehicle. We can see urbanite antiquing types or gallery owners considering it; or empty nesters with a larger vehicle.

But for the majority of us, up close or from afar, perhaps the ZDX is best left just admired.

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