Acura updates ZDX for final year of production

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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In an odd move, Honda's premium brand Acura will update its slow-selling ZDX sport-luxury crossover before killing it off entirely when the 2013 model year runs out next fall.

The model has never enjoyed sales success since being introduced in 2009, selling just 1,564 units in the U.S. last year, which made it the fourth slowest selling model available. To make matters worse, the ZDX appears to be approaching collectible levels of exclusivity for 2012, having achieved just 642 unit sales during the first three quarters of the year.

Just the same, the 2013 ZDX will get a revised front grille, black wheel inserts, and new power-folding side mirrors, along with front and rear parking sensors, plus lane departure and forward collision warning systems to entice would-be buyers who want all the tech to go along with the unique model's radically advanced styling.

"People shopping for a luxury crossover vehicle will find the Acura ZDX an even more attractive product," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of the Acura Division of American Honda.

While the ZDX is an obvious sales flop, it isn't alone. Every carmaker has a model or two that doesn't garner enough sales traction and eventually needs to be discontinued, but it could be argued that Acura as a brand has more than most and has never really made a full claim on the luxury car marketplace.

Certainly it has enjoyed successes, such as the compact Integra sedan and coupe, midsize Legend sedan and coupe, and iconic mid-engine "New Sports eXperimental" NSX supercar in its early years, not to mention the RSX sport coupe that came a bit later, while the midsize MDX crossover and TL sedan are still selling quite well and the TSX sedan certainly deserves an honourable mention.

And what are the failures? Vigor, CL coupe and Isuzu-based SLX aside, the automaker has never been able break into the full-size luxury sedan segment, its languid RL sales a painful monthly reminder that it had better hit the nail on the head with the upcoming RLX replacement. Acura's new 2013 RDX is an example of doing it right, mind you. The model replaces an awkwardly styled performance-focused model with a more conservatively penned, fuel-conscious, thoroughly practical alternative that's already wooing buyers away from rivals. Likewise, its new compact Honda Civic-based 2013 ILX sedan has all the right ingredients to achieve the same level of success as the EL/CSX models that preceded it here in Canada, although a slew of new compact premium competitors make success a more formidable task. At least the ILX opens Acura up to new territory in the U.S. while introducing both markets to Acura's first hybrid, which can only increase the brand's overall sales tally while adding some feel-good environmental points along the way.

"We are refining the product lineup based on the Acura brand direction with a focus on flagship and core models like the recently redesigned RDX and the upcoming all-new RLX sedan," said Alexandre Roger, assistant vice president, Acura Canada.  "By continuing to provide the ideal balance of performance, technology and fuel economy that is right for each product, we will continue to advance the Acura lineup and provide Canadians with a unique driving experience that is active and emotional."

Concentrating on building strong core models that deliver style, performance and practicality is paramount for Acura. The brand needs a runaway hit like it had with its previous generation TL, and may want to look back to that model as another example of doing it right.

For the time being, the 2013 ZDX will be available from October 19 onward at a retail price of $54,690 plus destination.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Acura, 2013, ZDX, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Acura

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