2010 Acura ZDX Advance

Although people generally look good in formal wear, there are probably only about two people on the planet—George Clooney and Charleze Theron—who not only look good, but seem as though they are comfortable in the outfits.

Although people generally look good in formal wear, there are probably only about two people on the planet—George Clooney and Charleze Theron—who not only look good, but seem as though they are comfortable in the outfits. For the rest of us, it is a sacrifice that we make for the sake of style.

 

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Photos: Greg Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Which brings me to the Acura ZDX. Yes, it is stylish formal wear that is, well, not particularly comfortable.  At least not entirely.

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The exception is this. And this is a big exception. If you are lucky enough to be behind the steering wheel (note that the price as delivered and Driven is $56,855), you might feel like Clooney or Theron, because the ZDX, with its 300-hp engine and SH-AWD (Super Handling All-wheel Drive) system is exhilarating to drive. Yes, this is a big car, with a curb weight of 4,462 lb., yet you don’t feel the mass. It is responsive and capable. You may not win drag races with it, but you also won’t find yourself doing a sotto voce “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon” on the end of a freeway ramp (and let’s face it: the latter is a more common experience than the former). And as you survey the interior materials and the quality, fit, finish, and deployment of them, you feel like this is a car that readily competes and even bests the best that the German luxury carmakers have to offer. This is not only the good stuff, but whether it is something you sit on or what’s on the headliner, whether it is sweeping across the IP or surrounding the gear shift, it is well done. The leather is fit to purpose. The metallic accents—in place of the wood, real or plasti, that is too often an anachronistic default meant to evoke luxury—are delightfully technical. The driver’s seat was so comfortable that I wish I had something like it in the family room, although I suspect the bolsters would be eyed with some suspicion.

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So what’s the sacrifice alluded to in the second paragraph of this?

It’s getting into the rear seat. Although the ZDX has a sloping, coupe-like roofline and hidden handles for them, there is a set of rear doors. And therein lies the problem. Literally. As in the contortions that one must go through in order to get into the back seat, not because of the roofline but because of that wonderful rear fender form and location of the rear wheels, which attenuates the area that one has to put one’s lower extremities into the vehicle.

 

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But once you’re in: Damn you look good. Almost like a movie star.

Selected Specs (Advance Package):

Engine: 3.7-liter, SOHC, VTEC V-6

Material: Aluminum alloy

Horsepower: 300 @ 6,300 rpm

Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic with Sequential Sport Shift

Steering: Speed-sensitive, variable power assist rack-and-pinion

Wheelbase: 108.3 in.

Overall length: 192.4 in.

Overall width: 78.5 in. (at doors)

Overall height: 62.8 in. (unladened)

Curb weight: 4,462 lb.

Fuel economy: 16/23/19 mpg (city/highway/combined)