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The 2024 Acura ZDX Type S Is Sporty Enough for a 499-HP Electric SUV, but It’s Missing Personality

Acura enjoys making use of the ZDX title to its most experimental fashions. The first was the simply forgotten coupelike crossover that debuted within the late aughts. Although that physique type would go into vogue about a decade later, the original ZDX was ahead of its time, did not promote properly, and disappeared after solely 4 mannequin years. Now, Acura has revived that moniker and utilized it to a different experiment, this time with General Motors as its lab accomplice. The ensuing 2024 Acura ZDX represents the automaker’s first electric vehicle and first electrical Type S efficiency variant.

Penned by a Los Angeles–primarily based design workforce, the brand new ZDX’s good-looking look incorporates Acura hallmarks comparable to “Jewel Eye” headlights and a pentagonal grille that is really a debossed panel with an illuminated define. Beneath its trendy bodywork is GM’s modular Ultium platform that provides a battery with 102.0 kilowatt-hours of usable capability, in addition to rear- and all-wheel-drive powertrains. The latter is normal on the top-spec, 499-hp ZDX Type S, which is what Acura introduced us to California to drive for the primary time.

Anyone accustomed to Acura’s lingo is aware of that its Type S badge will get affixed to a mannequin’s sportiest variant. The ZDX is clearly a product of badge engineering, but the Type S has myriad go-fast goodies that are not present in semi-siblings just like the Honda Prologue, making it clear that Acura tried to make sure the EV lives as much as that efficiency branding. Along with 544 pound-feet of torque—greater than the hybrid NSX supercar—the ZDX Type S alone affords an adaptive air suspension and yellow-painted Brembo six-piston entrance brake calipers pinching large 15.3-inch rotors. Heck, grippier summer season tires are even obtainable as a $1000 possibility—one thing not discovered on Acura’s different Type S SUVs.

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Acura

Set unfastened 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—though, to be truthful, that is par for the EV course. With Sport drive mode activated, urgent the precise pedal additionally introduces a artificial soundtrack that, to our ears, resembles a robotic making an attempt to make engine noises underwater. While it is necessary in Sport mode, it may be turned off through the customizable Individual setting for those who’d slightly mute the sideshow.

Individual mode additionally lets drivers regulate the brake response, damper stiffness, and steering effort. However, it is a little bit of a bear to handle, requiring a fingertip faucet dance via a number of submenus on an in any other case simple 11.3-inch touchscreen that runs Google built-in software program and contains each wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We spent most of our time driving the ZDX in Sport—not solely as a result of it did not really feel drastically totally different from the default Normal setting, but additionally as a result of it was annoying to alter modes, because the button is positioned in a clumsy spot on the decrease left-hand facet of the sprint. That made us miss Acura’s signature rotary drive-mode selector from its gas-fed fleet, together with the TLX sports sedan and the three-row MDX SUV.

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Acura

Wonky mode swapping wasn’t the one factor amiss on our first date with the ZDX Type S. As with any budding relationship, character issues. Had we been compelled to re-create a scene from Bird Box and drive blindfolded, we might reward the ZDX’s inside tranquility and the way adeptly the Acura modifications course with out a lot physique roll, but we might be hard-pressed to distinguish it from different “sporty” EVs. Most of them additionally supply breakneck take-offs and surefooted low-center-of-gravity dealing with, which means it is trickier to make a performance-minded mannequin stand out. We’ve seen this sort of existential limbo before, and we assume it will not be the final time we choose up on it both.

Sure, the ZDX has heavy steering that suggests sportiness, but it does not transmit a lot, if any, tangible suggestions. The brake pedal is pleasantly agency and responds naturally with or with out the 2 totally different regeneration settings, but there’s nothing on the 11.0-inch digital gauge cluster that clearly signifies what regen mode is at the moment chosen. Instead, you have to choose it by the “charge” meter or your personal equilibrium. Similarly and equally irritating, the energetic drive mode is not proven on the instrument panel, like it’s on most new autos.

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Acura

Apart from wishing the ZDX Type S was extra partaking from behind the wheel, our different minor gripes do not offset the Acura’s many redeeming qualities. Despite our automobile’s giant 22-inch wheels and low-profile tires, it had a luxury-grade experience, little doubt aided by the usual height-adjustable air springs. We loved the ZDX’s driving place too, which advantages from wonderful outward visibility and peaked entrance fenders that assist with wheel placement round tight corners. The again seat is palatial for two adults, and the flat ground makes it liveable for three.

We additionally sampled Hands Free Cruise, Acura’s model of GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driving tech. With regular lane positioning and seamless automated lane modifications on a busy Highway 101, the system is a game-changer for each day commuters in congested areas. Hands Free Cruise is simply supplied on the Type S, together with different fascinating options comparable to automated parking help, a digital rearview mirror, a head-up show, heated rear seats, and a third local weather zone with rear HVAC controls, which all contribute to the highest mannequin’s $74,7850 beginning worth. The Type S is eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit, but so are the rear- and all-wheel-drive A-Spec fashions that begin at $65,850 and $69,850.

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Acura

Acura says the A-Spec would be the quantity vendor, but sadly we did not have the chance to drive one. That’s a pity, as a result of the 490-hp AWD mannequin strikes us because the candy spot within the ZDX lineup. We’d in all probability even be much less disenchanted with the way it drives, in comparison with our greater expectations for something with a Type S badge. In addition, the A-Spec AWD affords an additional 26 miles of EPA-estimated driving vary (304 versus the Type S’s 278). Every ZDX has a 11.5-kW onboard charger and a DC fast-charging price that peaks at a decent-but-not-mind-blowing 190 kilowatts, which Acura reckons is nice for a 20 to 80 p.c juice-up in 42 minutes.

The ZDX has been obtainable to order since March via Acura’s new omni-channel gross sales course of, which might be carried out on-line or at a dealership. There’s no haggling, and deliveries have already began for the early adopters. But seller stock ought to stay fairly restricted, which may trigger frustration in relation to in-person buying. Much like its first EV, Acura says its new digital-heavy gross sales technique is an experiment, with the purpose of ultimately extending it to the remainder of the lineup. That’s why the brand new ZDX is a crucial first step for Acura’s electrical future. While we did not fall in love with the warmer Type S at first blush, we’re optimistic that a second date at our check monitor will reveal one thing we missed.

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