Complete Acura SLX lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1996 Acura SLX - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1996 - 1999 Acura SLX SUVSLX2 Trims 177 to 218 Hp

Rebadging in general is a common practice in the car manufacturing industry. On the corporate level of things, it can be a no-brainer. Why produce a completely new vehicle to fill up a gap in the line-up when you can just repurpose a model for a different market. Acura has done this many times over the years, rebadging their own vehicles, but the SLX is a bit different as it’s based on a car from a different carmaker - Isuzu.

The SLX is a softly upgraded and restyled Isuzu Trooper that was sold exclusively in the United States. While Acura had successfully played the rebadging game before, the SLX is their least impressive effort. This doesn’t mean that the car was a completely useless choice, but it was indeed riddled with sales problems and even some bad press regarding its safety.

Despite all of that, the SLX is still worth taking a look at thanks to its light improvements on the original Trooper. First of all, Acura streamlined the options by offering fewer engine options per version. These options included a 3.2L SOHC or DOHC V6 and later a 3.5L DOHC V6 for the remainder of the car’s production timeline. All of these engines delivered decent acceleration for a vehicle of this size.

For the majority of its run, the SLX included a Torque On Demand drive system that replaced the conventional four-high mode to provide better performance on paved or wet roads. Another improvement on the Isuzu is the noticeably softer ride. In general, the Acura version had a more ‘luxurious’ feel to the riding experience. This was great for the highways, but it also came at a cost to the off-road capabilities. Don’t get us wrong, the SLX is still as ground-pounding as the trooper, but it just doesn’t feel the same when you are on a bumpy dirt road.

The interior design is decent but shines brighter on the Premium variant which gets leather upholstery, powered and heated front seats, a moonroof, and even faux wood trims. The Premium package gives you chrome side mirrors with a one-touch fold-in feature and really nice six-spoke alloy rims.

Probably the biggest addition to the Trooper that the SLX makes is Acura’s Total Luxury Care package that includes a roadside assistance program, trip planning, GPS services, and even a “concierge” service. It’s great to see that even when using another brand’s vehicles, Acura can’t help but add more upscale touches.

The idea behind the SLX was to cater to entry-level luxury buyers who also need/want a little truck-esque ruggedness and utility thrown into the blend. For the most part, Acura hits this mark. One of the biggest alleged reasons for the poor sales of the SLX was the safety controversy and bad publicity the Trooper received between 1995 and 1997. The claim was that there was a tendency for rollover during testing. Further testing showed no issues or need for change, but supposedly the damage had already been done.

Even with the negatives on the table, the SLX has so much to offer and with the Premium package, it offers a nice upgrade to the original Trooper. You get the majority of the utility of heavier vehicles while pushing for more of the luxury that buyers are expecting from Acura. With such a nice combination of spacious cargo space and comfort, it’s clear that the SLX could have been a much bigger staple in Acura’s line-up and production history. At the end of it all, the SLX is a fine car that clearly shows a lot of Acura’s general philosophies despite being originally designed by a different car maker.