What Happened to the Short-Lived Acura ZDX?
Acura’s fans have no doubt noticed an egg-shaped hole in the market over the past seven years as the company finally pulled the plug on its ZDX model in 2013. It boasted typical comfort and performance for an Acura vehicle, and it certainly had its fans. But the upsides of the ZDX just weren’t enough to balance out some of its more unusual issues.
Why producing the Acura ZDX stopped making sense
The biggest issue with the Acura ZDX through 2013 was the price. In its final model year, the ZDX cost over $50,000, a far cry from many more popular Acura vehicles. Consumers were given the option to choose the ZDX over other Acuras at much lower prices or more established luxury vehicles at the same price, and very few of them chose Acura’s interesting design. While the ZDX turned heads with its very unique shape, it also may not have gone far enough.
With Acura operating as the luxury wing of Honda, the Acura ZDX came out looking like a slightly prettier, far more expensive version of the Honda Crosstour. The Crosstour itself wasn’t exactly flying off the lot, and a more expensive version under the Acura brand wasn’t enough to right the ship. Many of the ZDX’s ideas ended up in recent model years of the Acura RLX, but even that seems like it’s going out the door soon. Perhaps the ZDX is simply cursed.
More details on the ZDX’s flop
The Acura ZDX truly was unique in a series of good ways. Despite the car’s strange shape, it did come across as sporty. The ZDX did 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Not the most impressive numbers for an Acura, but incredible for something in its class. All-wheel drive added traction and handling, leading the ZDX to actually be a pretty decent driving experience.
But that wasn’t enough for potential Acura buyers. Over four years, the Acura ZDX simply didn’t make the sales targets necessary to continue production. As a wing of Honda, Acura execs need to constantly re-examine the bottom line. Nothing had to be wrong to cut the Acura ZDX from production, but poor sales ended up forcing the team’s hand.
Even more Acura ZDX flaws and the future of the luxury brand
Tow strength was another flaw in the ZDX design, and it may have led to poor sales. A luxury Acura wouldn’t normally be expected to haul 1,500+ pounds, but Acura’s entry into the SUV space didn’t come with enough towing to be reliable. While there weren’t any major reliability issues with the ZDX, some flaws have popped up in Acura models released in recent years.
Whether this would show up in a new model year of the ZDX is unclear, but it’s another headache that Acura is probably glad it’s avoiding by leaving it on the sidelines since 2013.
Since its first foray into the luxury car world, Acura has followed up on Honda’s history of affordable reliability with more upscale options. Every offering hasn’t been a hit, but Acura has succeeded by being bold enough to experiment. The Acura ZDX didn’t make enough sales to stay on the production line, but it probably won’t be Acura’s last try at something unique.
Even with its recent cutback on sedans, Honda is still doing everything it can to carve out new market space. Had the ZDX experiment worked, we could have seen recent years filled with imitations. Perhaps next time, Acura.