Acura’s new all-electric SUV proves the most expensive model isn’t always the best

The first electric vehicle I ever drove was a Tesla Roadster in 2011. I will never forget the feeling of the instant torque provided by the electric motor, propelling me to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds -- a feat my little Miata daily driver couldn't even dream of doing.

I've had a bit of a love affair with that kind of acceleration ever since. But like all relationships, time has left me wanting a bit more -- I want an EV that brings me as much joy in the twisties as it does on the highway on-ramps.

It was with great anticipation that I slid behind the wheel of the 2025 Acura ZDX Type S. Sure, it's a midsize SUV, but it wears the Type S moniker, a name reserved only for the most fun-to-drive in the Acura stable. Could this be the EV unicorn I have been looking for?

Y'all, it did not go as expected.

Nuts and bolts

acura-zdx-type s EV
acura-zdx-type s EV

Image Credits: Emme Hall

On launch, the ZDX will be available in A-Spec and Type S trims -- both of which come equipped with a 102 kWh battery. The A-Spec will be available in rear-wheel drive with 313 miles of range and just over 350 horsepower, while all-wheel drive drops the range to 304 miles but ups the power to 409 ponies.

The performance-oriented Type S gets power down to all four wheels and goes for broke with 499 horsepower and a whopping 544 pound-feet of torque. However, all those fast-moving electrons take a toll on range, as the Type S can only go 278 miles on a full charge.

Although I didn't get the chance to test the 190 kW charging capabilities of the ZDX, Acura says that it's quick enough to add up to 81 miles in 10 minutes of charging and to go from 20% to 80% battery capacity in 42 minutes. However, offerings from Kia, Hyundai and Genesis can do it quicker.

When it comes to charging at home, the ZDX sports a 11.5 kW onboard charger that Acura says can add nearly 30 miles in an hour, assuming a 60 amp wall charger.

The S stands for Sport, right?

Acura ZDX Type S EV
Acura ZDX Type S EV

Image Credits: Acura

Acura says the driver experience comes first in this new car, and that goes double for the enthusiast Type S. Unfortunately, the top trim doesn't put a smile on my face.

Slip the car into sport mode and it hunkers down 15 millimeters — that's just over a half inch to us Yanks — while the brake and throttle get a bit more responsive and the already heavy steering gets a bit more weighty. The adaptive dampers firm up and the car produces a subtle but noticeable performance sound.

Combined with the 544 pound-feet of torque, this should make for a supremely fun car to drive, yet somehow … it just doesn't.

The ZDX is a blast to launch on the freeway. Similarly, accelerating at higher speeds is also satisfying, and whipping around a Prius doing 55 in the fast lane is an easy job.

Still, I expected more joy from an Acura Type S vehicle.

Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing inherently bad about the driving experience. And yet, slinging the SUV through the back roads of Santa Barbara, California, felt clinical. Here's where it went wrong.

The Type S weighs over 6,000 pounds. Even if the weight is evenly distributed front to rear, that's a lot of heft to get around a turn. I like the hefty steering, but there isn't much feedback happening. The torque is always there on corner exit and body roll is kept in check, yet I'm not feeling the delight.

The 275/40 Continental Premium Contact 6 summer tires on the Type S offer up plenty of grip, but the low-profile sidewall combined with the harder run-flat rubber compound means that the ride is just a touch harsh.

Of course, Acura knows how to build a proper Type S car. The new Integra Type S is a veritable riot to drive. I just wish the company brought the same engineering to this much larger and heavier sibling.

Braking in the ZDX is confident with big ol' Brembo brakes up front and three levels of regeneration. You can turn regen all the way off, but why would you give up free electrons? It might take a bit of time to get used to the maximum regen, but it allows for full one-pedal driving, bringing the ZDX to a complete stop. Even if you're not in maximum mode, you can still bring in more regen by pulling the steering wheel paddle on the left.

There is also a snow mode that raises the suspension almost a full inch, as well as a choose-your-own-adventure individual mode, but most folks will likely just keep the car in normal mode and, again, that's just fine.

Acura will go it alone

The all-electric ZDX isn't entirely a Honda Motor vehicle. It was developed in partnership with General Motors, using the American company's battery technology. Originally the plan was to develop a series of affordable EVs, but late last year that plan was nixed as demand for EVs slowed. However, Acura wants 100% of all products to be zero emissions by 2040 and it has set a target of net-zero emissions for all products and corporate activities by 2050.

Designed through virtual and augmented reality in both the United States and Japan, the creatives at Acura clearly took the Precision EV concept we saw in 2022 at Monterey Car Week and called it good.

And mostly they were right.

The car is nearly the same length overall as the midsize MDX SUV, but the wheelbase is a full eight inches longer, pushing the wheels out to each corner for a somewhat aggressive stance. It sits lower than the MDX as well, giving the ZDX a bit of an "is-it-a-wagon-or-is-it-an-SUV?" profile, especially with its squared-off rear roofline. The rear end gives off some serious hearse design vibes, which, depending on your aesthetic, could be a good, great or bad exterior styling choice.

What Acura got right

acura-zdx-type s-EV
acura-zdx-type s-EV

Image Credits: Emme Hall

Acura has proven to be a master at color choices -- the Tiger Eye Pearl and Double Apex Blue Pearl -- are a welcome sight on a midsize crossover. Acura even offers a red interior on any Type S with a normcore black, white or gray exterior color.

Inside, the center console of the ZDX definitely divides the cabin into driving space and riding space. I dig it. There is plenty of small item storage here and the console also has a basement level for larger items like laptops and purses.

All trims get power-adjustable leather seats that are heated and cooled and a heated steering wheel. The Type S also adds heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, a digital rearview mirror and a head-up display.

Overall, the ZDX is comfy with clean design lines and plenty of passenger and cargo space. Sure there are a few buttons and dials from the GM parts bin, but the design is very Acura. The rear seat is especially spacious, with more legroom than the competition from Germany and Korea. Behind the rear seats is 28.7 cubic feet of space, including 5 cubes of underfloor storage. expanding to 62 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded.

acura zdx-type s-EV-interior-
acura zdx-type s-EV-interior-

Image Credits: Emme Hall

Anyone who has driven a GM product lately will immediately recognize the 11.3-inch infotainment interface. Google is built-in here and I think it's a more user-friendly system than anything currently on offer from Acura, so I ain't even mad. What's more, the Google-based navigation can be sent to the 11-inch digital gauge cluster and will optimize route planning for recharging. It can even initiate battery preconditioning. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are here as well.

All trims of the ZDX get the Acura Watch suite of ADAS features that includes things like blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and the like. The Type S adds a few features, including the Hands Free Cruise system -- essentially GM's excellent Super Cruise technology. During my test drive, I had one disengagement, when the lane markings disappeared on some newly laid pavement. This is why drivers must always be paying attention, even with a hands-off system.

Like Super Cruise, the Acura Hands Free Cruise can be set to automatic lane changes, leaving the computer to decide if it's safe to pass a slower-moving vehicle. The car performs its task well, safely moving one lane to the left in moderate traffic — it just surprises the hell out of me.

All Acura ZDX vehicles will be ordered online, either at home or at the dealership, so you can still get some guidance should you need it. Further, Acura gives buyers a few charging perks with their new electric SUV. Options include a level 2 charger, a $500 credit toward installation and a $100 public charging credit, or a portable charger, a $250 home charger installation credit and a $300 public charging credit. For those who can't charge at home, Acura also offers $750 worth of public charging.

While the original intent of the GM/Honda partnership was to eventually build an inexpensive EV, the 2025 Acura ZDX definitely ain't it. Sure, it qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit, but my top ZDX Type S tester is $74,850, including destination charges, a tough pill to swallow when the fun factor just isn't there.

Perhaps the EV road worth traveling is behind the wheel of the less expensive A-Spec.