Home Design Here’s Why Acura Stopped Making The SLX SUV

Here’s Why Acura Stopped Making The SLX SUV

Here’s Why Acura Stopped Making The SLX SUV

Keen to jump into the highly profitable and steadily burgeoning SUV craze of the mid-90s, Honda’s luxury arm Acura released its first-ever SUV, the SLX, in 1996. The SLX was fundamentally a rebadged Isuzu Trooper. The two brands did a similar deal in 1993 on the first-generation Honda Passport, which was an Isuzu Rodeo with Honda branding.

Honda figured the second-gen Isuzu Trooper fit the bill for Acura’s first SUV, marketing the SLX as a luxury SUV that could deliver both high-level amenities and the bulletproof performance of a good utility vehicle. Under the hood was a gutsy 3.2-liter V6 delivering 190 horsepower and 188 lb-ft. of torque.

The SLX’s future was rosy at first, with Edmunds claiming in its 1996 Acura SLX Review that “the SLX is a fine vehicle delivering the prestige and comfort that Acura owners have come to expect.” However, Acura stopped making the SLX after the 1999 model year in favor of the MDX, an in-house Honda design. What happened?

Acura SLX rollover controversy

Per The Auto Channel, a 1996 Consumer Reports press release gave the second-gen Isuzu Trooper — that is, the Acura SLX with a different name badge — a “Not Acceptable” safety rating when the agency discovered the vehicle’s tendency to roll over when performing the Nordic moose test. The maneuver entails the driver swerving into the opposite lane and swerving back to mimic avoiding an unexpected obstacle on the road –- like a moose, for instance. According to the New York Times, the October 1996 issue of Consumer Reports even featured an upended Isuzu Trooper on its cover under the title “UNSAFE.” Isuzu sued for defamation and the jury found both parties partly at fault, but the PR damage to the Trooper and its Acura-branded clone had been done.

Consumer Reports eventually warmed up to the SLX in 1998 after Acura gave it an updated engine and a few other mechanical and safety mods. However, it never got rid of its unsafe image, and Acura pulled the plug after 1999. In 2019, Acura unveiled a first-gen SLX restomod with a 350-horsepower turbo four-pot engine and the brand’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), a reimagining of what could have been if Honda/Acura did it right the first time.

Read whole article here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.