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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Drive train doesn't exactly rocket the car forward
Adequate if not exactly stirring power
Angled toward luxury rather than sport
Car and Driver
The 2010 Acura ZDX is pleasant enough in its role as a daily driver or long-distance conveyance, but the promise of the sharp exterior lines and "sports coupe" design are a little overstated.
The basics are strong and powerful; a 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque finds a home under the hood, same as it does in the Acura RL. Here it's mated to a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic gearbox, and the duo's pretty dynamic. There's enough grunt to pull the ZDX to 60 mph in under 8 seconds, and the transmission's "S" mode allows you to choose and hold a gear up to the rev limiter. Jalopnik reports "adequate if not exactly stirring power." Motor Trend finds that "zero to 60 takes just 6.5 seconds," but CNET still feels that "the drive train doesn't exactly rocket the car forward." The reason for that might be the engine's VTEC design, which Popular Mechanics says makes the engine "more forceful when the V6 stretches past the 5000 rpm mark." As for the six-speed gearbox, Popular Mechanics reviewers report that it "demands some planning on the driver's part, as a lengthy pause between depressing the paddle shifter and actual gear engagement can hamper power delivery."
CNET estimates fuel economy at "16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, numbers which probably mean never passing 20 mpg in normal use." Acura has since released final fuel economy of 16/23 mpg. While that figure wouldn't be bad for an SUV, crossovers routinely offer mid-20-mpg fuel economy.
The ZDX's power is routed through Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system for better handling and all-weather capability. The SH-AWD system can shuffle power from a 90/10 percent split to the front, to 30/70 to the back, lending the ZDX a whiff of rear-wheel-drive feel. It also can shift power side to side, which helps mitigate the big-SUV feel behind the wheel and gives the ZDX some lightness at the helm, aided by a strut and multilink independent suspension. Popular Mechanics says that the SH-AWD typically "diverts between 10 and 70 percent of the torque to either the front or rear, and up to 100 percent of torque between the right and left wheels."
Base cars have a single suspension and steering setup, which TheCarConnection.com's editors find to be superior to the Comfort and Sport settings in the optional Integrated Dynamics System (IDS). The ZDX has conventional suspension and steering components (not electronic or fully active, as with some competitors), and adding dynamic control to those systems doesn't do much to improve the ride or handling. The IDS' Comfort mode can come across as too loose on city streets, and Sport makes a country ride seem jittery and caffeinated; the base setup strikes the best compromise. Popular Mechanics reports that the ZDX feels "lighter than its base curb weight of 4424 pounds," which endows the ZDX with a "sensation of relative nimbleness." Car and Driver agrees, pointing out that "the ZDX starts to make sense once you drive it, especially in its element," which they say are winding coastal roads and snowy passes. They add that the "brakes are easy to predict," bringing an element of security and safety to the driving experience.
The 2010 Acura ZDX's performance doesn't connect to its sports car appearance, but it's amply quick and comfortable-especially without the electronic add-ons.