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SH SLX: Acura Restomods its First SUV Into a 350 Horsepower AWD Sleeper

Do you remember the Acura SLX? There's a good chance you don't, because the SLX was only sold for a few model years during the late 1990s and it was actually a rebadged version of the Isuzu Trooper. During its run, Acura sold less than 6,600 SLXs in the US, making it a rare specimen on today's roads.

Acura SH SLX Project SUV

More than just a badge-engineered oddity of the '90s and the SLX was both Acura's first SUV and its first AWD vehicle, and to pay homage to that, Acura has just unveiled a thoroughly modified and upgraded 1997 SLX to debut at Radwood in SoCal this weekend.


While it doesn't look much different than a stock SLX, underneath the body the vintage SUV has been fully reinvented using parts from Acura's current RDX crossover SUV, and that includes the RDX's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system and its entire rear subframe as well.


Another huge change comes under the hood. Originally, powered by a longitudinally mounted 190 horsepower Isuzu V6, the SLX also sports a new front subframe with the 2.0 liter turbocharged VTEC four-cylinder from the RDX—which itself shares a lot of DNA with Honda Civic Type R's engine. In this case, some extra tweaks have raised the SLX's power output to an impressive 350 horsepower.

Acura SLX SH AWD Turbo

The new turbocharged engine is also mated to the RDX's snappy 10-speed automatic transmission, which is a massive upgrade over the four-speed automatic that originally powered the SLX back in '97.

Acura SLX SH AWD Interior

While the SLX's powertrain has been massively transformed, Acura's team took great care to maintain a period correct look elsewhere. The two-tone paint scheme has been retained but uses Acura's contemporary Performance Red Pearl hue and the machined finish on the 17" Fifteen52 wheels that also look like they came straight out of the '90s.

Acura SLX SH AWD SUV Off Road

With a unique base platform, some serious engineering effort and a nice attention to period correct detail, the "Super Handling SLX" has got to be one of the coolest OEM builds we've seen in a long time. Now, how can we arrange a test drive...

While on the subject of Acura, you can check out our detailed look at the new Type S Concept right here.

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