Did Acura just build the most rad SUV ever?
SUVs have changed a lot since the 1990s when most of them were essentially body-on-frame trucks. Today SUVs are more likely to be car-based crossovers, better suited to on-road use. Acura's current SUV lineup includes the RDX and MDX, both of which are SUVs of the crossover variety, but it wasn't always this way. In fact, Acura's first-ever SUV, the SLX, was a rebadged version of the Isuzu Trooper.
You probably forgot all about the SLX, which makes it the perfect candidate for a Radwood revival. Radwood is an '80s and '90s themed car show and this year, Acura decided it wanted to show up with something special. Acura has extensively restored a 1997 SLX and will bring it to the Radwood Car Show in Orange County on Saturday, December 7.
The SLX was originally powered by a 3.2-liter V6 sending just 190 horsepower out through a four-speed automatic to a 4x4 drivetrain. Acura has ditched the original powertrain in favor of a brand-new 2.0-liter VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder (the same one used in the RDX and Honda Civic Type R) mated to a 10-speed automatic. This engine has also been race-tuned to deliver 350 hp and now routes its power to Acura's modern Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.
Acura says it tried to leave the exterior mostly stock, though the original two-tone paint scheme has been updated using the company's newer colors, Performance Red Pearl and Champagne Silver. The SLX now rides on 17-inch Fifteen52 Tarmac wheels wrapped in Yokohama Geolander A/T tires and the original vinyl spare tire cover has been replaced by body-color hard shell one. You may also notice a subtle SH-AWD badge on the tailgate and a license plate that reads 'SHAWOOD.'
Inside, the SLX remains mostly true to its '90s heritage but Acura has reupholstered the seats in Milano leather and added a grey wood applique on the door panels and dash. The "Super Handling SLX" will be on display at Radwood alongside a 1991 NSX, a 1986 Integra Coupe from the Acura Museum in Torrance, CA, and an original 1996 Acura SLX, which is owned by collector and Acura enthusiast Tyson Hugie.
"Acura is an '80s kid, so Radwood is a perfect event for us to display our heritage," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. "Nostalgia for '80s and '90s vehicles has grown tremendously, and we're seeing them start to become really collectible. Radwood is always packed with a lot of fun and interesting stuff, so we knew we would have to bring something a little crazy to the table."
This is just a one-off, so Acura does not plan to put it on sale. In fact, Acura listed the original SLX MSRP as $33,900 ($57,100 adjusted for inflation) but quotes a price of "Don't even ask" for the Super Handling SLX.