2010 Acura ZDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Acura ZDX was new.


Performance: 8.1

The ZDX comes with a powerful V6 engine as well as a capable all-wheel drive system. Test drivers say it's fun to drive, although there are a few complaints about its steering.

  • "The steering is a little secretive about what's going on: the driver gives some input and waits to see what happens. Still, in general, the ZDX feels taut and poised, ready to rock and roll-but there's always an asterisk: agile, for something in this size class." -- Car and Driver
  • "While its most direct competitor, the 300-horse twin-turbo BMW X6 xDrive 35i, is quicker to 60 (5.9 seconds) and around the skidpad (0.87 g), the ZDX is more fun to drive. The reason, unsurprisingly, is weight. At 4445 pounds, the ZDX is no bantam, but it tips the scales with 540 fewer pounds than a comparably equipped X6." -- Motor Trend
  • "The ZDX is meant to drive something like a conventional luxury car, and it comes close. The big difference is that the floor is a bit higher off the ground than a car's, giving the ZDX more of an SUV-like feel." -- BusinessWeek
  •  "The ZDX will never be mistaken for a performance vehicle -- it honestly isn't enjoyable to drive hard -- but rest assured the Acura can handle the mission if it's ever called for duty." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The ZDX comes with a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower (the same engine is used in the Acura MDX). It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which test drivers say shifts seamlessly. Most reviewers say it offers ample power, although one or two say it's not quite peppy enough for the ZDX's weight.

The EPA has not yet rated the ZDX, but Acura expects it to achieve 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. This is about average for the luxury midsize SUV class and slightly better than the Acura MDX and BMW X6, but short of the Lexus RX 350's excellent 18/25 mpg rating.

  • "ZDX's V6 offers enough power for just about any situation; only long hill climbs fatigue it. The transmission is smooth and furnishes prompt downshifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Left to its own devices the ZDX feels a tad lethargic, particularly when overtaking on two lanes. The good news, however, is the transmission offers both a sport mode (revised mapping typically keeps the transmission in the lower four ratios, and locks out sixth gear) and full manual control via steering wheel mounted paddles." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 3.7-liter V-6 romps quickly up the rev range, catches a shrieking second wind between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm and the new-for-ZDX six-speed automatic snaps up to the next gear so quickly your senses almost don't notice." -- USA Today
  • "It's an excellent powerplant, but not exactly engaging for the enthusiast with its unoriginal soundtrack mostly coming from under the hood (we were told the exhaust was tuned for duty in the ZDX, but you really can't hear the rear silencers from within the cabin). The six-speed transmission shifts nearly imperceptibly and it responds well to the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The ZDX comes standard with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which contributes to its sporty ride. However, some reviewers report steering feel is too numb. The active damper system (available with the Advance Package) stiffens the suspension and increases steering feel for a sportier driving experience.

  • "A ZDX with the standard suspension and 19-inch wheels provides the best results. The Advance Package includes driver-selectable Sport and Comfort suspension modes. Comfort softens the ride for better absorption; Sport mode delivers stiffer tuning, making some bumps jar." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Low steering effort and sharp throttle response enable the ZDX to feel lighter than its base curb weight of 4424 pounds, and that sensation of relative nimbleness continued as we steered the car though Malibu's tight canyon roads." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Throwing it around some hard corners, the SH-AWD helped it hold its line, but the suspension couldn't entirely counteract wallowing from the car's weighty body. During our drive, the ZDX performed adequately, but didn't seem to excel in any particular manner. As we suggested, jack of all trades, master of none." -- CNET
  • "We sampled both models with and without Acura's active suspension (IDS alters suspension damping and steering effort) and found both handled about the same at the limit. Regardless of electronic intervention, the steering is rather numb on each. However, with a rock-solid platform and the variable (front-to-back and side-to-side) torque distribution of the SH-AWD clawing at the pavement, it was tough to break the ZDX's composure even when pushed beyond its limits." -- Autoblog
  • "The high-end model, Advance, has an adjustable suspension. The driver chooses ‘sport' for feisty moves or ‘comfort' when the road's a beast. Each setting automatically adjusts within a range. The test car with that system was a dream. Comfort was smooth, not sloppy; sport was firm, not harsh." -- USA Today

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