The 2013 model year is likely the last for the Acura ZDX, an all-wheel-drive luxury crossover that offers the versatility of an SUV with the silhouette of a hatchback.
New for 2013 are some mild exterior updates, the most noticeable of which is a redesigned front grille. More equipment has been added, including rear parking sensors, power folding side mirrors, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. The 2013 Acura ZDX is available in a single trim, with expanded standard features that include upgraded leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, and a premium 435-watt audio system. Blind spot monitoring and collision-mitigation systems, once optional on the ZDX, are not available on the 2013 ZDX.
First introduced for 2010, the ZDX is based on the Acura MDX midsize sport-utility, but looks more four-door coupe, with its sharply raked windshield, fastback roofline and hidden rear door handles that give it a two-door look. Although interesting in theory, the ZDX forces buyers to compromise, since it isn't as roomy as most crossover SUVs, nor as performance-oriented as a true hatchback.
Still, the ZDX is no slouch. It's powered by Honda's all-aluminum 3.7-liter V6, which makes 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic with a manual sport shift mode. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Honda ZDX come in at a modest 16/23 mpg City/Highway.
The 2013 ZDX cabin is richly appointed, with hand-stitched leather and special materials used for a bold appearance. Although billed as a five-seater, the ZDX is most comfortable for two. Front passengers have plenty of head- and legroom, but the car's sloping roofline makes for a cramped back seat, unless the rear passengers are children or shorter adults. Also, the short rear doors make access to the back seats less convenient.
Underway, ZDX glides along with a plush, well-controlled ride. Throttle response is immediate and authoritative, and the gearshifts are smooth and positive. Noise levels are low while cruising, the climate-control system effective and the entertainment systems bright and clear.
In normal driving, the ZDX steers keenly and stays on line with an intuitive accuracy, responding with moves that belie its considerable size and heft. But the ZDX is more about luxury than sporty handling, its priorities highlighted by slightly numb steering and unhurried transmission response.
Cargo space is a meager 26.3 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, less than many four-door sedans. With the rear seats folded down, total cargo space expands to 55.8 cubes, but the sharply sloping hatchback prevents taller items from fitting. On the bright side, the liftover height is low, making loading and unloading cargo easier.
Those considering the 2013 Acura ZDX might also want to look at more traditional crossovers like Acura's all-new MDX, which seats seven, or luxury wagons such as the Audi allroad or the BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon. If you're set on a crossover with a sleek, coupe-like roofline you might consider stepping up to a BMW X6 or Range Rover Evoque.
The 2013 Acura ZDX ($50,920) comes with leather upholstery, dual climate-control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats with heating, ventilation and driver memory function, keyless entry/ignition, navigation system with voice controls, rearview camera, power sunroof, Bluetooth, and a 10-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio capability, USB port and auxiliary audio jack.
Exterior features include automatic xenon headlights, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, power liftgate, power-folding heated side-view mirrors and 19-inch wheels. (All NCTD prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices and do not include destination charge.)