2024 Acura ZDX First Look: Bet You Can't Tell It's A Chevy Underneath

Years ago, General Motors and Honda announced a partnership that would bear fruit in the form of electric SUVs utilizing GM's Ultium battery technology. The first of these vehicles – the 2024 Acura ZDX – made its debut last Thursday during the fancy-shmancy Monterey Car Week. And, while its electric guts are shared with the upcoming Chevrolet Blazer EV, an early preview of Acura's new EV reveals an aura all its own. You have to look really, really closely to see the General Motors resemblance.

A quick refresher: The 2024 Acura ZDX will go on sale early next year, and while three variants will be offered, they'll all use the same 102-kilowatt-hour battery pack capable of 190 kW DC fast charging. You'll be able to get the standard A-Spec model in either a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive or dual-motor, all-wheel-drive configuration. The single-motor version is expected to produce 340 horsepower, go 325 miles on a full charge, and start in the mid-$50,000 range. Not bad.

The third ZDX – the Type S – is a bit more enticing. Acura estimates an output of 500 hp from the Type S' dual-motor setup, though its range will take a hit, with the company expecting 288 miles from a full charge. The Type S will come standard with an adaptive air suspension, 22-inch wheels, and large Brembo brakes. This one will cost about $10,000 more, so somewhere in the mid-$60,000 range.

Better than the concept

The Acura ZDX was previewed by 2022's Precision EV concept, and honestly, the production version looks better. That's a rarity, since concept cars usually have to be toned down a little for road-going reality.

Acura showed the top-shelf ZDX Type S in Monterey, finished in a lovely shade of Double Apex Blue with gray running boards and a 'floating' black roof — an automotive design trend that seemingly will not die. The 22-inch wheels look great, as do the bright yellow brake calipers peeking out from behind the rims. But more than any one individual detail, it's the ZDX's overall proportions that really stand out.

Take a look at the ZDX in profile and you'll notice two things: short overhangs and a generous dash-to-axle ratio. Walking around the ZDX, I heard many people make comparisons to the original Infiniti FX – one of the most beautiful crossover designs of all time. And, you know, I totally see it. The ZDX looks really, really good.

The devil's in the details

Much as I dig the ZDX as a whole, there are a few fussy details worth mentioning. Around back, the cutouts for the reflector strips in the lower bumper feel like an afterthought, and the ridges on the bottoms of the fender corners are supposed to look like vents, I guess, but aren't.

The rear end is also somewhat badge heavy. Between the Acura and Type S logos, ZDX nameplate, AWD designation, and the weird e-colon icon that the company says will be used on all its electric vehicles, there's a lot of haphazardly placed signage on this thing. Perhaps Acura should remember the infamous Coco Chanel quote: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off."

The front end is much less egregious, and even the illuminated 'grille' surround is tastefully restrained. Obviously, electric cars do not need a traditional grille since there's no engine to cool, but I like that Acura still left the impression of this long-standing bit of automotive design. The three-dimensional cutouts inside the 'grille' are a nice touch, too.

Cabin comparisons

Peep inside the ZDX and you'll see an interior that's somewhat restrained, especially compared to this SUV's GM sibling, the Blazer EV. Rather than Chevy's large, widescreen approach to infotainment, the ZDX has an 11.0-inch digital gauge cluster and a separate 11.3-inch central touchscreen. Acura says this is its first vehicle to feature the integration of Google apps — thanks, GM — and marks the beginning of a partnership with Bang & Olufsen for premium audio.

Arguably the most noticeable piece of parts sharing is the steering wheel, which not only has GM-spec buttons on its side spokes, but a big ring spanning between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions. The keen-eyed among you will immediately recognize this as the housing for GM's Super Cruise light signals, alerting the driver when it's A-OK to go totally hands-free on the highway. The Acura ZDX will use a version of this technology, too, which is great, since I think Super Cruise is the absolute best hands-free driving feature available today.

What's next?

After the ZDX goes on sale in early 2024, the second SUV from the GM/Honda partnership will arrive: the 2024 Honda Prologue. This one probably won't be as snazzy as the ZDX, but will also be priced more affordably. There will be more GM/Honda vehicles coming our way before the end of the decade, too, and yes, Honda plans to adopt Tesla's North American Charging Standard port in the coming years — when General Motors does, anyway. GM has said Ultium-based models will start using the NACS connector from 2025.

When it arrives next year, the ZDX will compete with a growing crop of electric luxury SUVs, everything from the Genesis Electrified GV70 to the Mercedes-Benz EQE to the Tesla Model Y and beyond. The Acura certainly looks poised to do battle with the world's best in this realm. We'll know for sure after we get our first go behind the wheel in the coming months.