When Acura unveiled its new Precision EV concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance earlier this month, there was widespread speculation that it served as a thinly disguised version of the luxury brand’s first all-electric SUV. It seemed all the more likely when, a few days later, Acura announced the production electric vehicle will be called the ZDX.
It turns out there’s a very different story to be told, at least according to top Acura executives who gathered in New York this week to give another look at the Precision EV concept.
The the sexy, matte blue show car clearly signals the direction of the design that Honda Motor Co.’s luxury brand will take as it migrates from internal combustion to battery-electric propulsion. But don’t expect to see the Precision EV translate directly to a production model until at least 2026, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned.
Not the vehicle you think it is – or will be
This is because the ZDX is the product of a joint venture between General Motors and Honda. While the Acura SUV, as well as the all-electric Honda Prologue will have their own distinctive designs, they’re based on the same Ultium platform that GM uses for models like the Cadillac Lyriq and Chevrolet Blazer. So they can’t deviate from the dimensions that General Motors will use.
And it’s markedly different in shape from the Precision EV concept and battery-electric vehicles the Japanese automaker itself will develop and launch later this decade.
The show car reveals the dimensions of the platform that Honda and Acura are developing in-house. Double the “e:Architecture,” explained head of design Dave Marekit “allows for more clearance” than the GM platform, and a more classically sporty layout.
Caddy’s Lyriq and Acura ZDX will share some key design elements, including minimal front and rear overhangs and relatively short hoods due to their forward-cab layout. The in-house Acura platform will allow for a much longer, sportier nose, as well as a wide stance and relatively low roofline – all more classic sports car cues. The concept also features a distinctly wedge-shaped nose with a backlit grille featuring what Marek calls a “Particle Glitch” pattern.
As with other new luxury electric vehicles, lighting is an essential part of the overall design and the Precision Concept’s front LEDs illuminate when a motorist approaches the vehicle.
Some postponements despite a different platform
That said, we can look for some of the design elements of the Precision EV concept when Acura’s ZDX hits showrooms in just two years. This should include a variant of the Particle Glitch grille and more sculpted side panels than on current Acura SUVs.
The first full translation of the Precision EV concept is expected to be a new “flagship” coming in 2026 and based on the new e:Architecture, according to Acura brand boss Jon Ikeda.
Although company officials declined to provide many details, they did little to dismiss speculation that it was most likely an all-electric Acura MDX.
Even then, it is uncertain how much of the concept will be retained. The prototype ditches conventional side mirrors in favor of small wind cameras whose images would be displayed on screens inside the cabin. Japan has approved a limited number of vehicles using this technology. In the United States, however, federal safety regulators have not yet approved the approach – but could do so by 2026.
And whether these huge 23 inch wheels will be retained is also far from certain.
Longer term, “I want the Precision EV to pave the way for everything we do,” Marek said.
So while it will only have a modest impact on the 2024 ZDX, it will be the shape of the future for the Acura brand.