2024 Acura ZDX Type S Is a Sporty-Enough EV but Lacks Personality

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Acura enjoys applying the ZDX name to its most experimental models. The first was the easily forgotten coupelike crossover that debuted in the late aughts. Although that body style would go into vogue about a decade later, the original ZDX was ahead of its time, didn’t sell well, and disappeared after only four model years. Now, Acura has revived that moniker and applied it to another experiment, this time with General Motors as its lab partner. The resulting 2024 Acura ZDX represents the automaker’s first electric vehicle and first electric Type S performance variant.

Penned by a Los Angeles–based design team, the new ZDX’s handsome appearance incorporates Acura hallmarks such as “Jewel Eye” headlights and a pentagonal grille that’s actually a debossed panel with an illuminated outline. Beneath its stylish bodywork is GM’s modular Ultium platform that supplies a battery with 102.0 kilowatt-hours of usable capacity, as well as rear- and all-wheel-drive powertrains. The latter is standard on the top-spec, 499-hp ZDX Type S, which is what Acura brought us to California to drive for the first time.

Anyone familiar with Acura’s lingo knows that its Type S badge gets affixed to a model’s sportiest variant. The ZDX is obviously a product of badge engineering, but the Type S has myriad go-fast goodies that aren’t found in semi-siblings like the Honda Prologue, making it clear that Acura tried to ensure the EV lives up to that performance branding. Along with 544 pound-feet of torque—more than the hybrid NSX supercar—the ZDX Type S alone offers an adaptive air suspension and yellow-painted Brembo six-piston front brake calipers pinching huge 15.3-inch rotors. Heck, grippier summer tires are even available as a $1000 option—something not found on Acura’s other Type S SUVs.

Set loose on California’s U.S. Route 101 and curvier Highway 154, we unleashed the mightiest ZDX’s forceful acceleration, which arrives in an instantaneous wave of thrust—although, to be fair, that’s par for the EV course. With Sport drive mode activated, pressing the right pedal also introduces a synthetic soundtrack that, to our ears, resembles a robot trying to make engine noises underwater. While it’s mandatory in Sport mode, it can be turned off via the customizable Individual setting if you’d rather mute the sideshow.

Individual mode also lets drivers adjust the brake response, damper stiffness, and steering effort. However, it’s a bit of a bear to manage, requiring a fingertip tap dance through multiple submenus on an otherwise straightforward 11.3-inch touchscreen that runs Google built-in software and includes both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We spent most of our time driving the ZDX in Sport—not only because it didn’t feel drastically different from the default Normal setting, but also because it was annoying to change modes, as the button is located in an awkward spot on the lower left-hand side of the dash. That made us miss Acura’s signature rotary drive-mode selector from its gas-fed fleet, including the TLX sports sedan and the three-row MDX SUV.

Wonky mode swapping wasn’t the only thing amiss on our first date with the ZDX Type S. As with any budding relationship, personality matters. Had we been forced to re-create a scene from Bird Box and drive blindfolded, we’d praise the ZDX’s interior tranquility and how adeptly the Acura changes direction without much body roll, but we’d be hard-pressed to differentiate it from other “sporty” EVs. Most of them also offer breakneck take-offs and surefooted low-center-of-gravity handling, meaning it’s trickier to make a performance-minded model stand out. We’ve seen this sort of existential limbo before, and we assume it won’t be the last time we pick up on it either.

Sure, the ZDX has heavy steering that implies sportiness, but it doesn’t transmit much, if any, tangible feedback. The brake pedal is pleasantly firm and responds naturally with or without the two different regeneration settings, yet there’s nothing on the 11.0-inch digital gauge cluster that clearly indicates what regen mode is currently selected. Instead, you must judge it by the “charge” meter or your own equilibrium. Similarly and equally frustrating, the active drive mode isn’t shown on the instrument panel, like it is on most new vehicles.

Apart from wishing the ZDX Type S was more engaging from behind the wheel, our other minor gripes don’t offset the Acura’s many redeeming qualities. Despite our car’s large 22-inch wheels and low-profile tires, it had a luxury-grade ride, no doubt aided by the standard height-adjustable air springs. We enjoyed the ZDX’s driving position too, which benefits from excellent outward visibility and peaked front fenders that help with wheel placement around tight corners. The back seat is palatial for two adults, and the flat floor makes it habitable for three.

We also sampled Hands Free Cruise, Acura’s version of GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driving tech. With steady lane positioning and seamless automatic lane changes on a busy Highway 101, the system is a game-changer for daily commuters in congested areas. Hands Free Cruise is only offered on the Type S, along with other desirable features such as automated parking assist, a digital rearview mirror, a head-up display, heated rear seats, and a third climate zone with rear HVAC controls, which all contribute to the top model’s $74,7850 starting price. The Type S is eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit, but so are the rear- and all-wheel-drive A-Spec models that start at $65,850 and $69,850.

Acura says the A-Spec will be the volume seller, but unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to drive one. That’s a pity, because the 490-hp AWD model strikes us as the sweet spot in the ZDX lineup. We’d probably also be less disappointed with how it drives, compared to our higher expectations for anything with a Type S badge. In addition, the A-Spec AWD offers an extra 26 miles of EPA-estimated driving range (304 versus the Type S’s 278). Every ZDX has a 11.5-kW onboard charger and a DC fast-charging rate that peaks at a decent-but-not-mind-blowing 190 kilowatts, which Acura reckons is good for a 20 to 80 percent juice-up in 42 minutes.

The ZDX has been available to order since March through Acura’s new omni-channel sales process, which can be done online or at a dealership. There’s no haggling, and deliveries have already started for the early adopters. But dealer inventory should remain quite limited, which could cause frustration when it comes to in-person purchasing. Much like its first EV, Acura says its new digital-heavy sales strategy is an experiment, with the goal of eventually extending it to the rest of the lineup. That’s why the new ZDX is an important first step for Acura’s electric future. While we didn’t fall in love with the hotter Type S at first blush, we’re optimistic that a second date at our test track will reveal something we missed.



2024 Acura ZDX
Vehicle Type: mid- or front- and mid-motor, rear- or all-wheel-drive, five-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base: A-Spec RWD, $65,850; A-Spec AWD, $69,850; Type S AWD, $74,850; Type S AWD with Performance Wheels and Tires, $75,850


Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Power: 358 hp
Torque: 324 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 102.0 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.5 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 190 kW
Transmission: direct-drive


Front Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Rear Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Combined Power: 490 or 499 hp
Combined Torque: 437 or 544 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 102.0 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.5 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 190 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive


Wheelbase: 121.8 in
Length: 197.7 in
Width: 77.0 in
Height: 64.4 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 53/49 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 62–63/29–30 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 5500–6100 lb


60 mph: 4.0–5.5 sec
100 mph: 10.0–14.5 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.0–14.0 sec
Top Speed: 120–150 mph


Combined/City/Highway: 86–88/93–95/80–82 MPGe
Range: 278–313 mi

Eric Stafford’s automobile addiction began before he could walk, and it has fueled his passion to write news, reviews, and more for Car and Driver since 2016. His aspiration growing up was to become a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like car collection. Apparently, getting rich is harder than social-media influencers make it seem, so he avoided financial success entirely to become an automotive journalist and drive new cars for a living. After earning a journalism degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper, the years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored jalopies finally paid off when Car and Driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a manual ’97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.

Source: Reviews -


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