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Published on Sun, Jul 10, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2011 Acura ZDX
The 2011 Acura ZDX Advance

The Japanese art of origami can turn a piece of paper into a variety of things with a few (or more than a few) clever folds. Surely this must have been the inspiration for the Acura ZDX. Only this time, it’s metal instead of paper. And clever folding turns it from a two-door to a four-door coupe to a five-door hatchback to a crossover and ultimately to a coupeover. It’s the proverbial origami by design. John-Fredrik Wright reports. By John-Fredrik Wright At first glance, the Acura ZDX might be a crossover. But wait, there are only two doors! A coupe, maybe? Does that make it a coupeover? At second glance, you might notice the hidden handles, neatly integrated into the rear windows. That makes four doors, so we are back to a crossover. Then you realize that the trunk is another door, so we momentarily arrive at a five-door crossover. Add to it that the rear seats are somewhat small (more on that later), and we are back at coupeover. So a five-door coupeover is what the ZDX is. And a rather classy one at that. The third pillar, which doubles as the trunk and therefore might not qualify as a pillar, swoops in such a way as to tie together the roof with the trunk and connect that with the rest of the car, all in one. The roof of the ZDX starts to curve downwards from the point where it stops going upwards. So really, there is no roof, just a downward slant after the windshield peaks. Maybe this is one of the factors that Acura thinks makes the ZDX capable of bearing the slogan “Design Driven”.

2011 Acura ZDX

The ZDX really is design driven; in both interpretations. The car is driven by the design, meaning that the design is the overhanging element. At the same time, however, it is a piece of design, driven down the road. Both the exterior as well as the interior have a certain luxurious and refined feel to it. Classy, yet functional. Its sleek looks turn heads as if it was a sport car, and yet you can still fit a dog in the trunk. Sure, maybe not a Saint Bernard, but definitely a Labrador or Golden Retriever. And while on that note, any dog that gets to ride in this plush space will love the double windows on the hatch-part of the hatchback. The interior of the ZDX follows the exterior in being very stylish. Forward-thinking. The choice of interior illumination, the color or tint of it at least, makes a big difference in the feel of a car. The Acura ZDX has a great stylish bluish white that has a really crisp and distinguished look to it—like opening the door to a wonderful opera, and realizing that it’s just about to start. The light’s glow diminishes (after you’ve closed the door) and as you start the engine the show begins. Adjusting the suspension to your driving mood, just like the music adjust for different happenings in an opera, you can take part in a very comfortable and mellow ride, or choose the sport mode to stiffen up and make your ride more exciting. The great thing, unlike with many other cars and their multitude of choices when it comes to ride quality, is that the ZDX’s two settings are actually different. The sport suspension is much tighter and stiffer; you can even feel it just maneuvering around a parking lot. The comfort setting is much smoother, great for that Sunday afternoon stroll, err, drive.

2011 Acura ZDX

To complement the choice of a sporty suspension, you can choose sport mode in the transmission as well. It keeps the revs up, and tightens up the shifts. Sport mode is also the mode where the paddle shifters come in to play. Sure, they work in “drive” but the automatic transmission will still seem automatic; shifting for you if you floor it and soon going back to normal automatic mode unless you keep shifting. In sport mode, however, the gear you choose is the gear it stays in, almost like a true manual (just without the need for a clutch). The only time the transmission works its own agenda is from 1st to second gear. I couldn’t seem to find a way to keep the car in first gear. Yes, I know that first is probably not the best gear to be tooling around in, but still, as a driver, I demand the choice. For the drives where transporting oneself is key, leave the car in comfort mode and Drive. Then offload a little more of the driving to the car—use the adaptive cruise control (ACC). It will slow to adjust to the car in front of you, downshift and even hit the brake if need be, and generally take care of much of the driving. You just steer. Changing lanes? Check your mirrors, but then also check with the car. The ZDX’s Blind Spot Information System will shine a warning light by the mirrors to make you aware of cars that are in your blind spot. The one criticism of the ZDX, and as it is more a coupeover than anything else, is that the rear seat is pretty cramped. The very attractive sloping roof cuts into the amount of headroom in the back seat. Not only when seated, but also when getting in or out of the car—as the doorway is rather narrow. However, this will not be a problem for those who are looking for a great all-around car that for shorter drives will seat four.

2011 Acura ZDX

To turn the tables a little, fold the rear seat down and suddenly you have a station wagon. The interior opens up and suddenly there’s plenty of room to haul things. Moreover, the trunk space has a couple of very roomy compartments where you can store things. Both out of sight, but also out of reach for any four-legged friends that might come along for the ride. For the stylish and refined couple on their way to the opera, the Acura ZDX will do an astounding job at transporting them. For the businessperson looking to impress, the ZDX will gracefully pull it off. For the daily drive to the grocery store parking lot, the ZDX will make maneuvering a breeze; the turning radius is tiny (it seems as if the steering wheel knows no boundaries). And for all of the above, alone in the car and on a twisty back-country road, the ZDX will deliver. For more information about Acura products, go to

2010 Acura ZDX

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Acura ZDX Advance Price: $56,570 (base) $57,455 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 16 mpg (city) 23 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.7L aluminum-alloy V-6, Belt drive, SOHC, VTEC® 24-valve

2011 Acura ZDX

Horsepower: 300 @ 6300 rpm Torque: 270 pound-feet @ 4500 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed Automatic Transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters, Grade Logic, Shift Hold and Cornering G Shift Control systems Drive configuration: Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) Steering (type): Torque-sensing, variable power-assist rack-and-pinion. (ECPS hydraulic speed-sensitive steering: Advance Package) Suspension (front and rear): Front Independent MacPherson strut Rear Independent multi-link with coil springs and stabilizer bar Brakes and tires: 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist P255/50 R19 103H all-season Dimensions: Length: 192.4 in Width: 78.5 in Height: 62.8 in Curb weight: 4410 lbs

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