What's New for 1996
The SLX is one of the first luxury-badged sport-utes to be released in this country. Based on the successful Isuzu Trooper, the SLX is very similar to its twin.
Corporate sharing is reaching a fever pitch. Manufacturers are scrambling to fill the holes in their line-ups by slapping their badges on vehicles they buy from other makers. Even highly regarded firms like Acura are not above climbing into a cozy relationship with a lesser marque; witness the Acura SLX. Based on Isuzu's competent Trooper, the Acura is a marginally spruced-up version of the same truck. This isn't a bad thing since we have always thought the Trooper to be attractive, but it does seem dishonest. Imagine the embarrassment of the SLX owner who thinks they got something special only to find that they are driving an Isuzu?
The SLX has a 3.2-liter dual-overhead-cam engine that produces 190 horsepower. It delivers capable acceleration in a vehicle this large, and this vehicle is definitely large. Markedly wider and taller than most of its competitors, the SLX has a rear cargo capacity capable of hauling several sheets of plywood.
The Acura SLX is priced the same as the top-of-the-line Isuzu Trooper Limited. Offering similar levels of luxury as the Trooper, the SLX has a softer ride that results in improved on-road manners. Off-road capability is equal to the ground-pounding Trooper but large bumps may cause the suspension to bottom out; the price you pay for that luxurious highway ride. Of course, very few SLXs will ever find their way off-road, unless the gravel driveway of the local polo club counts.
We know that luxurious sport-utes of today are like the sports cars so prevalent in the mid-eighties. Designed for function but purchased for prestige, they are seldom driven to their capabilities. With this in mind, the SLX is a fine vehicle delivering the prestige and comfort that Acura owners have come to expect. Infiniti, Mercedes and Lincoln have plans to release luxury sport-utes within a few years; many of them based on vehicles that are already in existence. Who knows, with the rush towards these up-market trucks it may be more exclusive to own the vehicles on which they are based.