What started out as a niche market for sporty crossovers and SUVs with coupe-like styling -- heralded by the Infiniti FX 35 and BMW X6 -- grew in 2009 with the introduction of a model from Honda Motor Co.'s luxury arm.
A prototype of the Acura ZDX luxury four-door sports coupe debuted on April 8, 2009, at the New York auto show.
The five-passenger vehicle went on sale in the fall of 2009 aimed at jump-starting Acura’s lagging U.S. sales.
It was billed as “a luxury performance coupe” and designed to attract new customers to Acura.
Michelle Christensen, the ZDX’s exterior designer, aimed to create “an emotional vehicle that challenged conventional thinking of what a sports coupe should be.”
The vehicle was originally planned to be called the MSX. It was the first vehicle to be completely designed at Acura's design studio in Torrance, Calif.
Jon Ikeda, Acura's chief designer at the time, said Christensen's ZDX was "a balance of sleek, sporty, sophisticated and tough ... a very exciting shape."
The ZDX featured Acura's first six-speed automatic transmission, advanced ventilated seats, as well as other luxury appointments.
Some elements from the prototype, namely the panoramic glass roof and hidden rear-door handles, made it to the production version.
It was equipped with a V-6 engine mated to an all-new, six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The ZDX was vaguely similar to another low-selling Honda product, the Crosstour, but the ZDX didn’t share anything with the Crosstour. The ZDX was derived from the chassis used for the Honda Pilot and Acura MDX, while the Crosstour was based on the Honda Accord sedan.
U.S. sales peaked at 3,259 in 2010, its first full year on the market, and totaled just 6,118.
Acura had expected to sell 5,000 units of the ZDX annually.
Ultimately, the ZDX never caught on with consumers.
In 2012, Acura disclosed plans to drop the ZDX after the 2013 model year to “sharpens its focus on new models and core products."