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2011 Acura ZDX SH-AWD TECH Review (video)

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Mathieu St-Pierre
A mystery
History tells us that some car designs were great on paper, but turned out to be total flops once launched. There are many, many examples of bad ideas gone worse, and I've had the pleasure (or is that displeasure?) of driving a few in my short career. One such vehicle was the Pontiac Aztek, famous for being hideous. It was functional, but only the vision-impaired could fully appreciate its design.

2011 Acura ZDX 2011 front 3/4 view
It's difficult to say how automotive history will look back on the Acura ZDX. (Photo: SĂ©bastien D'Amour/

Other letdowns included the Plymouth Prowler which, other than being utterly useless and slow, was actually a fine machine to stare at. It's difficult to say how automotive history will look back on the Acura ZDX. Actually, no it isn't: It'll be considered an expensive mistake. Terrible thing to say, eh?

Like all good flops, they have strong points. The Chevrolet SSR had a huge trunk and the Jaguar X-Type had a wagon version. The Acura ZDX has an Acura interior. Other than being far too dark and even drab for some, Honda and its luxury division have long since been masters at crafting automotive cabins.

The saving grace
The ZDX interior is a mesh of MDX and TL with a busy centre stack, a large top-mounted screen, nice materials, and good fit and finish. The seats are classic Acura, again champions in the department. They are firm, supportive and sporty in nature. There are few areas in which to empty your pockets, and storage up front is limited. Perhaps this is what opens the door to the ZDX's raison d'ĂȘtre.

Essentially, the ZDX is a two-person car with four doors and something like a trunk. If you can't fit something up front, like a purse or a camera, throw it in the second row; no one will ever sit back there anyhow.

The rear bench is fine comfort-wise, but leg and headroom are in very short supply. The ostensibly smaller Honda Fit and Civic offer more, much more, volume in these instances. What's more, getting in and out of the rear is tough. The lower portions of the door openings are quite narrow and the roofline will, more often than not, meet with your forehead. The ZDX's trunk capacity is a commendable 779 litres, however, its shape coupled to the steeply raked hatch severely limit its usability.

Mathieu St-Pierre
Mathieu St-Pierre
Automotive expert