2012 Acura ZDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Acura ZDX was new.


Performance: 8.0

Most test drivers say the 2012 Acura ZDX is fun to drive, but some aren’t as impressed, saying it merely gets the job done. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, but its heavy curb weight keeps it from driving like a true sport-tuned vehicle.

  • "This engine along with the Super Handling All Wheel Drive adds up to one powerful and extremely fast coupe that is ready for the road." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The ZDX is light on its feet, too, belying the 4400 pound curb weight. The drive is smooth and the braking is sure and even, eliminating any uncertainties. Outfitted for curly country roads and snow-saturated passes, the ZDX is at home in the tough stuff." -- Automobile.com
  • "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." -- Business Week
  • "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 offers one engine, a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Most reviewers say the engine offers plenty of power, although one or two say the ZDX’s high curb weight makes it more sluggish than they would like. Most praise the ZDX’s transmission for being responsive and quick-shifting.

According to the EPA, the Acura ZDX gets 16/23 mpg city/highway. That’s about average for an all-wheel drive SUV that weighs as much as the ZDX.

  • "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
  • "The ZDX's powertrain is one of Acura's best.” -- 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

All-wheel drive is standard on the ZDX, and test drivers say it helps to give it sportier handling than most other luxury midsize SUVs. The available Integrated Dynamics System allows drivers to choose from comfort and sport modes, adjusting suspension firmness and steering feel depending on whether you want tight, sporty performance or relaxed, smooth cruising.

  • "Overall, ZDX is fairly car-like with well-checked body lean and decent cornering ability; it deftly handles narrow twisties. When selected, the Advance package's Sport suspension mode firms up the steering and provides crisper handling.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "[All-wheel drive] helps this deceptively long coupe carve canyons with surprising aplomb. A tight chassis and finely resolved electric power steering conspire to make this the best handling SUVesque vehicle Acura has ever made.” -- Motor Trend
  • "At 4400 pounds, it’s a bit lighter than the MDX, and it delivers prompt responses. But it’s hard to call it fun to drive.” -- Car and Driver

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