2010 Acura ZDX

The all-new Acura ZDX is a bold attempt to capture a growing market. Taking its cues from BMW’s X6, the ZDX zeroes in on empty nesters – couples looking for a stylish ride without the need for excessive cargo space that traditional SUV’s provide.

With an attractive, overgrown coupe-like profile, the ZDX combines refined driving with lush features to match its frame. Inside, the first thing I noticed was the panoramic glass roof. Extending across the entire cabin, it allows natural light to stream through – regardless if you’re in the front or back – making the interior feel much bigger than it actually is.

The subtle details of the dashboard are impressive. With the ignition off, the face of the lightly brushed black dash appears smooth and sleek. Turn the key and suddenly bright white lights appear to illuminate the HVAC controls. Power the audio system and the same thing happens with those controls. When they’re not needed, they’re not seen. It’s a minor detail, but it conveys the amount of thought put into the interior design.

It’s a bit tight getting into the backseat. As the roofline declines, it’s slightly awkward to duck and hop in. But remember, this vehicle isn’t made for carrying a full load of passengers on every trip. When needed, it’s comfortable enough, but not on a fulltime basis.

Thankfully my tester came equipped with a rearview camera, because the view out back is virtually nonexistent. It’s very narrow and the hatchback door has a beam going across the back window, so the small view that is available is split into two.

But the driving experience makes up for the abysmal field of vision. Featuring Acura’s Super Handing All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), the ZDX is nimble and takes corners, turns and every minor movement with great confidence. The system sends power to the wheels that need it most – so when I was accelerating through a turn the rear outside wheel received more power to push through with greater accuracy.

The starting price of $55,990 seems a bit hefty, but it delivers an outstanding driving experience in a fashionable body, making it one of the best weekend cottage or golf trip vehicles around.