2024 Acura ZDX First Look: Electrified With a Little Help From My Friends

The first ZDX was a bit of a moonshot for a cautious Acura brand, jumping headfirst into the then-nascent SUV coupe genre with the underpinnings of a performance sedan (but not the engine, unfortunately). The idea made sense, what with the surprise success of the BMW X6, but it just didn’t catch on the same way. Now, the brand is swinging for the fences again and applying the nameplate to its first EV, although the 2024 Acura ZDX is a more conventionally shaped SUV.

Lend Me Your Right Foot

Billed as “the most powerful and quickest accelerating SUV” in Acura history, the ZDX is debuting in its Type S performance trim promising 500 total horsepower from an electric motor on each axle. At that power level, range from the 102-kWh battery is estimated at 288 miles. The base A-Spec model will be available with a single- or dual-motor powertrain which makes 340 horsepower regardless. Range improves noticeably to 325 miles for the single-motor and 315 miles for the dual-motor. Single-motor models are rear-drive, which should imbue a sporty character.

Also helping in part is the front and rear multilink suspension, which Acura says has been tuned to balance refinement and handling performance. A-Spec models will ride on coil springs and passive adaptive dampers while the ZDX Type S will feature a height-adjustable air suspension with electronically controlled active dampers. It will of course also be tuned for performance driving and will feature multiple drive modes.

The Type S also gets Brembo six-piston front brake calipers clamping significantly larger 15.6-inch rotors, up from 12.6 inches on the A-Spec. Both share the same rear brakes. Encasing the brakes will be 20-inch wheels on all-season tires for the A-Spec and 22-inch wheels with either all-season or summer high-performance tires on the Type S. Getting the summer tires also swaps the machined-finish wheels for gloss black units.

The design otherwise hews closely to the Precision EV Concept of a year ago. In traditional Acura and Honda form, their concept cars are very close to production. Exaggerated elements have been pulled back a bit and the exterior LED lighting has been toned down, but the essence is still there. Unlike the original ZDX, the new one doesn’t lean too heavily in the “coupe” roofline thereby preserving rear head room and cargo space. It’s more or less a sleeker RDX with a solid grill that glows around all but the top edge.

With a Little Help From My Friends

The “state-of-the-art electric vehicle platform” that underpins the ZDX is in fact GM’s Ultium battery and motor technology, which the General uses for all of its new EVs and will also be shared with the upcoming Honda Prologue. Acura says its version will charge at up to 190 kW and as such the most-efficient A-Spec rear-drive model can pick up 81 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes. 190 kW is significantly slower than other Ultium vehicles, so we hope to see software updates in the future that speed up the process.

Acura has not said what charging port the ZDX will be fitted with, the CCS Combo standard or Tesla’s NACS plug. Many automakers are switching to NACS including General Motors, but when we reached Honda and Acura for comment, their press office deflected the question without answering.

The new Acura phone app will help ZDX owners find charging stations and, after you set up your profile and billing, allow for plug-and-go charging sessions on supported networks so there’s no downloading multiple apps or swiping credit cards. Acura says more than 90 percent of current DC fast charging networks will show up in the app. For home, the new Acura Home Electrification digital store will connect you with local electricians who can install a Level 2 charger.

Getting to those public chargers should be pretty easy thanks to full Google functionality built in. Among other features, it makes Google Maps the navigation system and can display it on the 11.0-inch digital instrument cluster or the infotainment screen. Maps has even been tailored to the ZDX so it can not only tell you how to get to a charger, but how long to charge to keep your charging stops and overall trip as short as possible. It’ll also pre-condition the battery for faster charging if a public Fast charger is a waypoint or destination.

Unlike GM, which is also adopting full Google integration, Acura still plays nice with Apple. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will work on the 11.3-inch infotainment screen and play through an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Down the Road With a Little Help

Every ZDX comes with the “AcuraWatch” package of active and passive driver aids which now includes a system that won’t let you change lanes when there’s someone in your blind spot. On the Type S, you can get AcuraWatch 360+ which brings Acura’s first hands-off cruise control called, fittingly, “Hands Free Cruise.” It works on 400,000 miles of mapped roads, which makes us think it may be a reskinned version of GM’s Super Cruise. 360+ also gets Automatic Parking Assist, which does parallel parking for you.

Should you need to bring many things with you, the ZDX can tow 3,500 pounds in either trim. No word yet whether Hands Free Cruise works while towing as Super Cruise does on GM vehicles.

What Will You Cost?

The base rear-drive ZDX A-Spec “is expected to start in the $60,000 range,” Acura says. Pricing for the dual-motor powertrain hasn’t been announced. The ZDX Type S, meanwhile, “is expected to start in the $70,000 range.” While AcuraWatch is standard, AcuraWatch 360+ may cost extra; the company hasn’t said yet.

While you’ll still take delivery of your ZDX at a dealer and sign the final paperwork there, ordering can be done there or at home through a dedicated website. Reservations open later this year with the first cars being delivered in early 2024.

2024 Acura ZDX Specifications
Base Price$60,000-$70,000 (mfr est)
LayoutRear- or front-and-rear-motor, RWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Motors340-hp/NA-lb-ft AC permanent-magnet electric, 500-hp/NA-lb-ft AC permanent-magnet electric
Transmissions1-speed auto
Curb Weight5,600 lb (MT est)
Wheelbase121.8 in
L x W x H197.7 x 77.0 x 64.4 in
0-60 MPH4.5-5.5 sec (MT est)
EPA City/HWY/Comb Fuel EconNA
EPA Range, Comb288-340 miles
On SaleEarly 2024

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