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Acura ZDX

A sport sedan on stilts gains a mild refresh.

Acura openly admits that the 2013 ZDX is a niche vehicle, but three years after its debut, we’re still trying to figure out exactly what that niche is. The ZDX shares its platform and powertrain with the more traditional MDX but wraps them in a rakish, coupe-like body that receives some minor tweaks for the 2013 model year. Many of those cues, including the steeply pitched roof, hidden rear door handles, and panoramic sunroof, lend it the character of a sport sedan — fitting, perhaps, as the big 4400-pound ZDX manages somehow to drive like one. The Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) tosses in adaptive dampers and a surprisingly stiff sport setting that helps iron out a fair amount of body roll in corners. Sadly, no amount of technology helps offset the shortcomings of the ZDX’s vanity. A tall floor and a low roof force all passengers to surrender headroom, and the tumblehome over the cargo area means there’s but a meager (for a crossover) 26.3 cubic feet of space. Buyers who aren’t quite ready to put form before function can always try on the MDX for size — it offers many of the ZDX’s attributes but with much more interior space and versatility.

COMPETITORS

BMW X6

Infiniti FX

Volvo XC60

new for 2013

Acura treated the 2013 ZDX to a mild cosmetic freshening, but the segment-blurring crossover still looks much as it did when it debuted for 2011. Acura has also slimmed down the range to a single variant, which it dubs a “value-added package.”

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are lumped into the technology package. Blind-spot detection, radar-based cruise control, and a collision-mitigating automatic braking system are included with the advance package.

MPG

CITY 16

HWY 23

PRO

Drives and looks like a tall TL

SH-AWD and IDS aid handling

Packed with technology

CON

Very little headroom

Small cargo hold

Sizable blind spots

Base Price: $51,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: 4-wheel

TRIM LEVEL: ZDX

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 3.7L V-6, 300 hp, 270 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 91.2 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 1500 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 26.3/55.8 cu ft

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