Exploring undriven trails while seeking to attract buyers who might have normally considered a luxury car, Acura wanted to cash in on the sport/utility boom by offering the same upscale comfort and amenities in a 4x4. Essentially a rebadged Isuzu Trooper, there was plenty of competition at the high end of the market: Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Land Rover Range Rover and the Lexus LX 450/470, among others.
Civilized, refined and luxurious, but tough as they came, the SLX was a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. It had a 190-horsepower V6 engine designed to provide plenty of low end torque to tackle uneven terrain. Standard equipment included shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive, dual air bags, an Acura Music System, Anti-Lock Brakes, power windows and door locks, and much more.
The SLX remained the only known SUV from Acura through April 2000, when it was replaced by the North American-produced Acura MDX, which remained the only SUV available since then until 2006.
The SLX was offered in one body style -- a 6-door wagon (four doors, plus 70/30 vertically split rear doors) and two trim levels—SLX and SLX Premium Package. There were no options available with either package.
One powertrain was offered—a 3.2-liter all-aluminum V6 that produced 190 hp, mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. A "power mode" let the engine rev higher between shifts, and a "winter mode" started off in Third gear to reduce wheelspin on slippery surfaces. It was required to move a lever to shift from 2wd to 4wd, at any speed under 60 mph. The SLX favors on-road cruising over serious off-road slogging, with an A-arm front/multilink-axle rear suspension, chassis tuning geared for comfort and quiet-running all-season tires.
Both SLXs came standard with ABS, air conditioning, cruise control, dual airbags, 6-speaker 100-watt sound system, tachometer and underbody skid plates. The Premium Package added fancier alloy wheels, rear limited-slip differential, power moonroof, leather seats and heated power-operated front seats.
An in-dash CD player became standard for the 1997 model year.
The 1998 SLX gained 25 more horsepower than its 1997 counterpart, in a bigger 3.5-liter V6 engine.
The price was unchanged for 1999, when the car was released for sale on December 1, 1998.
|Model year(s)||List price||Destination charge||Effective date|
|1996||$33,900||$420||November 1, 1995|
|1997||$35,300||$435||January 1, 1997|
|1998||$36,300||$435||November 10, 1997|
|1999||$36,300||$455||December 1, 1998|
A 2015 Acura RDX with all-wheel drive costs as much as a 1998/1999 Acura SLX.