By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating:
Acura's 2012 ZDX sport crossover is a difficult car to justify. Its sharply-sloped back and aggressive front end are meant to impart a coupe-like stance, while its four doors and rear liftgate speak to a more utilitarian side. Unfortunately, the Acura ZDX crossover doesn't really pull either image off very well. It's not very coupe-like, and its roof design translates to a severe lack of rear-seat head and legroom. We might be able to forgive these transgressions if there was some performance benefit waiting at the other end of the push-button ignition, but its V6 engine doesn't have what it takes to really thrill, leaving us to suggest that unless you're totally enamored by this ZDX's looks, you might want to look elsewhere.
If you're looking for a unique shape that stands apart from the mundane, but you also covet the peace of mind of Acura's reliability and engineering expertise, the 2012 Acura ZDX might just be your cup of tea.
If you're seeking a sporty, coupe-like sedan with all-wheel-drive, you might look to the Audi A7 or even just a nice Land Rover Evoque. Those seeking a crossover utility vehicle that can tow 5,000 pounds or comfortably fit three in the backseat won't find it in the 2012 Acura ZDX.
There are no major changes for the 2012 Acura ZDX.
Driving Impressions From a handling standpoint, there is much to like about the way Acura's 2012 ZDX rounds corners. The steering is tight and communicative and the suspension cautiously straddles the line...between a compliant ride and athletic performance. The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system aids in the ZDX's ability to round tight turns with confidence, seamlessly shifting power to the tires with the best grip; SH-AWD is also quite nice to have when the roads are covered with snow and ice. Alas, some of the fun is taken out of the mix when it comes to acceleration. While the 3.0-liter V6's 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque look good on paper, the combo just isn't enough to move the 4,400 pound ZDX with much gusto. Helping matters a bit is Acura's excellent 6-speed automatic with steering-wheel paddle shifters. This transmission is responsive and smooth and definitely fun to play with when the road gets twisty.
INTEGRATED DYNAMICS SYSTEM
The available Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) uses magnetically-controlled active dampers to stiffen the suspension when needed, or create a smoother luxury-car ride. A control knob in the center console allows the driver to choose between Sport and Comfort modes.
ACURA/ELS 10-SPEAKER PREMIUM AUDIO
Part of the Technology Package, this audio system includes a 435-watt amp, 10-speaker Surround Sound, 15-GB hard drive, DVD-audio, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio input jack.
Despite the numerous controls, the Acura ZDX's sophisticated-looking dash is actually quite easy to figure out. An LCD view screen displays the optional navigation as well as the rear backup camera, and the instrument cluster includes large, legible gauges bathed in a soothing blue light. Seating up front is first rate, with tall sport seats that hold the body tightly during aggressive driving. The rear seats, however, are far from welcoming, with little legroom and even less headroom. The wide cargo floor can be expanded by folding down the rear seats but the extreme angle of the liftgate obliterates all vertical cargo space.Exterior
The 2012 Acura ZDX looks like nothing else on the road, which is exactly what Acura intended. The silhouette is designed to evoke a coupe-like profile, but there is something that gets in the way. Maybe it's the tall ride height. Black panels run the length of the roof and back onto the liftgate, the front two concealing a panoramic sunroof. In a nod to maintaining the coupe theme, Acura has recessed the rear door handles into the rear door's upper corners, thus keeping the side sheet metal clean and unbroken.
Standard on every 2012 Acura ZDX is a 3.7-liter V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, SH-AWD, dual-pane glass sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, HID headlamps, power-operated rear liftgate, 10-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated rear backup camera display, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Active Sound Control sound canceling, AM/FM stereo with 253-watt amp and 8 speakers including a subwoofer, Bluetooth, USB/aux input, cruise control and a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, front-seat side and full-length side-curtain airbags.
For 2012, Acura has paired the ZDX's options into two well-equipped packages. The Technology Package brings the 10-speaker Acura/ELS premium sound system, voice-activated navigation with rear backup camera, GPS-linked solar-sensing tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless access and push-button start and upgraded perforated Milano leather seating. The Advanced Package includes the Technology Package plus Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) active dampers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Blind Spot Information System, ventilated and heated front seats and auto-leveling headlamps.
To power its 2012 ZDX sport crossover, Acura looked to the MDX's 3.7-liter V6. This engine has good power reserves but doesn't provide the kind of immediate rush felt with a big V8. Still, the trade-off for using a V6 is usually better fuel economy but, in the case of the ZDX, the numbers really don't add up.
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2012 Acura ZDX starts around $47,000 and can climb as high as $58,000 with the Advanced Package tacked on. The public hasn't exactly flocked to the ZDX, and the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price reflects this in its noticeably lower sales price (sometimes by as much a $5,000). Making things more difficult for Acura are the many competitors in this price range that offer more power and more interior room, not to mention better resale. In this price range, buyers can shop the Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX and the Land Rover Evoque. For about $10,000 more, the BMW X6 is within grasp. As for resale, the ZDX does not hold up as well as other Acura products, with five-year projected resale figures well below the Cadillac SRX, BMW X6 and Lexus RX, but on par with the Mercedes-Benz GLK.
By old couple (OH) on Sunday, October 21, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "everything except rear head room"
Cons: "rear head room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Gas mileage is not as bad as some report. 25-27 (at 70+) on long trips. Around town close to 20. Folded down rear seats when purchased and have only had them up a couple of times. Handles in ice and snow as would be expected from an Acura SH-AWD. Have an RDX which has slightly more room in back and cargo area but not as sporty. Advance Package provides extra safety. If 2013 is the last year I definitely will be getting another."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Shawn (NV) on Saturday, July 07, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Extremely fun, handles well, very luxurious"
Cons: "Lousy resale vale"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I own (am leasing) the 2010 ZDX. I love my car 29 out of 30 days a month. (I hate my car on my payment due date.) The ZDX is probably the nicest and most fun car I have ever or will ever own. My ZDX is bronze with the tech package, and I LOVE valeting my car on the Las Vegas strip. I almost always get stares or compliments. The sound system is great, the car handles like a sports car, and it has plenty of power. Although it doesn't rain or snow here very often, I was amazed at how well my ZDX handles wet and snowy roads. The bad news is that passengers in the back will have a hard time getting in and out. Also, the resale value is lousy. I'm starting to look for my next car, and I've got a lot of negative equity to overcome. Despite that, I still think the ZDX has a lot more pros than cons as long as you do your research and make sure that it fits your lifestyle."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By RM (KY) on Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Cons: "Backseat not for tall passengers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have never had a car that I simply caught people staring at. The inside, fully loaded, has everything built in to make it not only very safe (Collision Avoidance, Blind Spot Alert), but fun to drive (Fantastic stereo, handling, GPS, weather, XM etc)."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Duke (CA) on Sunday, August 28, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, fun to drive, technology"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"As an L.A. Couple with 1 young child and most family living out of state, the MDX was just too much car. We have had the ZDX for 5 months now and it's a perfect fit for our family. Absolutely no problems with the car. Handling and performance are exceptional for a crossover. The exterior design is stunning and ahead of it's time. Lots of looks! I'm a sports car guy who likes coupes and with having kids, the 4 door practicality with coupe looks are just what I was looking for. A bit pricey for the younger customers who this car will likely attract. The rear seat is not difficult to get in and of like some mags say, unless of course your a much older customer. It has steep low roof line that you have to remember to duck under when getting in and out. You will have find a car seat that doesn't have too high of a base which can make it difficult to get your child in and out of the seat. Love this car! Did I already say that?"
11 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By buckeye (ohio) on Tuesday, January 04, 2011
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"Great deals available. Got a new advance equiped with 35 miles on it for 48,000.00 that is 9000 under msrp. It makes a great two seater. Put the back seats down and plan to leave them down, Gas mileage could be better"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful