Remember when trucks were trucks, cars were cars, and the twain never met? Those days are long gone, as evidenced by Acura's latest crossover cum coupé, the ZDX. Positioned between the RL and the MDX (which should yield an MSRP in the $40k range), this swoopy SUV-like five-door has the silhouette of a bulked-up sports car mated to a sedan. Confusing times, indeed.
The ZDX's interior is less of a mixed metaphor. Climb inside its cockpit, and you're enveloped in a smoothly flowing series of surfaces dominated by a concave, ribbon-like swath of leather stretching across the dash. The seats are supportive but comfortable, and the button-heavy center stack—nicknamed the "Monolith" by Acura engineers—features all-in-one audio and AC controls. Standard amenities include Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, a large panoramic moonroof, and a rear camera (which is helpful considering the ZDX's ample posterior). The Technology Package adds navigation, a multi-view rear camera, and a stellar 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround audio system, among other features. The Advance Package ups the ante with ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control, blind spot information, and Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, which automatically stiffens the suspension and steering during spirited driving.
On the road, the ZDX's 3.7 liter V6 offers reasonable pull off the line, which crescendos with stronger mid-range acceleration. Once rolling, its mass seems to shrink, especially when the shifter is clicked into "S" mode, making thrust more aggressive. The adaptive suspension on the top-line model heightens the ZDX's nimbleness, though the slow reacting paddle shifters trade immediacy for smoother cog swaps. Though not quite as razor sharp as a sports sedan, we're guessing most drivers will be content with the ZDX's performance.
This Acura's shortcomings come into play when rear passengers are introduced into the cramped back seat, which features awkward access and yields limited space. Likewise, the rear cargo area is small, as the swooping roofline impedes outright cargo capacity. But if you like your crossovers sporty and don't usually haul more than one passenger, the ZDX's stylish, self-possessed demeanor should satisfy.