Notable features: A glass moonroof covers the entire top of the vehicle, and its width extends to the door frames -- no roof sheet metal helps support it.
Standard features include power tailgate, 19-inch wheels, Xenon headlights, adaptive windshield wipers, dual-zone climate control, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, LED cabin and foot-well lighting, heated leather power seats for the driver and front passenger and an eight-speaker stereo with six-disc CD player, XM satellite radio and subwoofer.
Elegant touches include loop-style carpeting, satin-metal handles and a hideaway area in the hatch that opens with elegant gas struts. The center console screen blacks out when not in use. An available adaptive suspension, featuring magneto-rheological shock absorbers, can adjust damping settings in five milliseconds.
What Acura says: "This is unlike anything seen from Acura," said Steve Center, American Honda Motor Co. vice president of advertising and public relations. "It provides an emotional coupe experience, with capability and utility."
Compromises and shortcomings: Rear-seat ingress is an origami lesson for anyone taller than 5-foot-10. Rear-seat legroom and headroom are claustrophobic. The giant hatchback pillar makes one wonder why the blind-spot alert system is optional. During cornering, the driver's hip frequently and irritatingly hits the button to open the center console.
The market: Acura hopes MDX owners are evolving into empty-nesters who want something with more emotional styling. The ZDX sales target is 10 percent of MDX sales, so in a nonrecessionary year, that's about 6,000 units. Pricing has not been announced, but Acura said the ZDX will sticker between the MDX and RL sedan. That would put it around $45,000.
The skinny: It's like an MDX, only smaller and more expensive. And it looks unusual. I'll eat a brake pad on rye if Acura can hit 5,000 units in the second full year of sales.