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STYLING | 7 out of 10
A mash-up of sedan, SUV, and sports coupe
ZDX looks far less exciting in photos than on the road
Interior lives up to the aesthetically ambitious exterior
What is it? You might ask the same question at first sight of the 2010 Acura ZDX, another of the recent rash of coupelike crossover vehicles. On sale this winter for about $42,500 base, the new ZDX slots between the Acura RL sedan and its big seven-passenger MDX crossover.
The 2010 ZDX shares some mechanicals with the big MDX crossover, but gets a coupelike body more suited to its seductive mission. The rear end has a muscular appeal, and the side view does all it can to convince you it's a coupe. Up front, the big, controversial Acura shield grille gets its most attractive installation yet. But there's something about this class of vehicles that just doesn't work in TheCarConnection.com's eyes. Some reviewers have moderate praise for the ZDX's styling. CNET calls Acura's latest MDX derivative "a mash-up of sedan, SUV, and sports coupe," while USA Today points out "a tucked and tailored roof covered in black glass panels and...rear-wheel bulges that would be striking even if the roof's taper did not accentuate them." Car and Driver considers the Acura "endearingly weird, the sort of vehicle you might expect Citroen to produce," though whether you find that charming or off-putting is a matter of personal preference. On the positive side, most reviewers agree with CNET's assessment that "the grille, which stands out like a beak on the smaller Acura sedans, seems to have found its medium" on the 2010 Acura ZDX.
The ZDX's cabin has a more dramatic flair inspired by destination hotels, with alternating concave and convex surfaces in plastic and real leather-but also a stark, monolithic center stack of black keys that "come to life" with white lighting when the car starts. USA Today deems it "the most elegant cabin in a luxury Honda to date." Jalopnik drools over the cockpit, calling the ZDX's driving environment "one of the nicest we've seen, period," thanks to a design that "puts the driver and passenger in comfortable and attractive ‘pods.'" Popular Mechanics appreciates that "the central multifunction knob intuitively navigates through menu functions" on the Acura's onboard computer. CNET describes the monolithic center stack that "looks black when the car is off, but backlighting highlights button labels when the audio system and climate control are turned on." The design is so striking that CNET reviewers "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."
The 2010 Acura ZDX misses the mark with its exterior styling but finds redemption in its striking interior layout.