Acura SLX

For a limited time, specifically from 1996 to 1999, Acura offered the SLX, a full-size luxury SUV available only in the United States. The SLX is modeled after the Isuzu Trooper; however, it is a slightly upgraded version of the vehicle. The SLX was quite quickly replaced by the Acura MDX in 2001 as a result of surprisingly poor sales. The reason behind the lackluster sales is still under question; however, it is likely that sales were negatively affected by the "Not Acceptable" rating given to the 1996 and 1997 models by Consumer Reports. It is probable that the bad press surrounding the vehicle's tendency to roll over during testing left consumers with a sour taste, while not exactly prompting drivers to go out and purchase. Incidentally, a lawsuit was filed by the manufacturer stating that Consumer Reports had illustrated a "reckless disregard" leaving them with suffering sales and a PR nightmare. The technical specifications of the vehicle were not inferior to other such models on the market, especially not to the point of causing such a sales dilemma. The 1996 and 1997 models of the SLX had a 3.2-liter V6 engine with a maximum output of 190 hp. In 1998 the engine was replaced with a 3.5-liter dual overhead cam V6 that produced 215 hp. In fact, Acura was the first luxury automaker to release a luxury sport utility vehicle. Acura was acutely aware of the turning trend toward the merger of luxury and sport. Essentially, the SLX shared similar luxuries to the standard sedans available while providing off road capabilities equal to the other sport utility vehicles on the market. Such features included adequate cargo space, towing packages and 4-wheel drive system that can be activated on the go. It seems however that the negative consumer perception was extremely difficult to overcome, and the innovation of the Acura SLX was not enough to convince drivers to choose this model. Acura threw in the towel on the SLX in 1999 to gain a fresh start.