This month, Acura is launching its bravely styled new brand leader, the 2010 ZDX crossover. Like the BMW X6, this similarly profiled soft-roader unabashedly advertises its form over function. Unlike the four place Bimmer, the ZDX will seat five, but it doesn’t have as much cargo capacity as the compact Honda Fit.

Fine. So Acura’s new luxury crossover will be an emotional, right brain purchase. In that context, it’s a pretty cool rig.

Acura’s new grinning metallic grill looks most at home here, parked on the front of this intriguing wedge with the origami edges and all-glass roof. With “hidden” rear door handles and an extreme fast-back profile, it tricks the eye into thinking it’s a two-door vehicle.

The ZDX is built in Alliston, Ont., along side the Acura MDX, from which it gets its platform and most mechanicals.

Motivation comes from the MDX’s 300 hp 270 lb-ft 3.7L SOHC V6 hooked to an all-new six-speed auto with paddle shifters. It also shares the MDX’s SH-AWD (super handling all wheel drive) with torque vectoring rear differential that overdrives the outside rear wheel when cornering.

The Acura MDX is certainly one of the more athletic full-sized SUVs, so it’s no surprise the ZDX takes this altheticism a step further with its lower centre of gravity and reduced curb weight.

Over the twisty canyon roads of our test loop, this four-door SUV/CUV coupe thingy never put a wheel wrong. While you can’t feel the active diff working, you know it is because of the ZDX’s quick turn in and fluidity through the bends. Suspension tuning finds a good balance between body control and comfort and the hydraulic steering has good feel

The ZDX’s interior is the nicest effort I’ve seen from this company, featuring an organic flow of concave and convex curves and top-shelf materials. Hand-sewn full-grain leather covers the lower sweep of the dash, door panels and seats.

Standard is a three-view rear view camera, powered tailgate, heated rear seats and headlight washers. The cabin is quieted by cancelling frequencies sent forth from the audio system.

Tall folks in the back seat will find their pompadours perilously close to the scooped out headliner.

No surprise there. The nicely appointed cargo area is designed to hold four sets of golf clubs though, so at least the passengers will have something to look forward to.

2010 Acura ZDX

Type: Luxury crossover
Price: from $55,990
Engine: 3.7L SOHC V6
HP: 300
Torque: 270 lb-ft

• Athletic performance
• Impressive interior
• Built in Canada

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