Kevauto / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0
– Car/motorcycle hybrid.
– Offers sportbike style speed and handling.
– It’s dirt cheap, too.
The Polaris Slingshot presents a lot of problems to the poor automotive writer. Is it a car, or a bike? Well, neither, really. The Slingshot’s car qualities, or at least, car-adjacent qualities, are that it has proper seats, more than two wheels, a steering wheel, and a car-size engine.
“It’s an autocycle…but has the capabilities of a car.”
But look at it. The seatbelts buckle from the inside, connecting to the car’s exterior. It’s exceptionally lightweight, and a bit basic for a car.
According to Polaris, it’s an autocycle, which is regulated like a motorbike but has the capabilities of a car. This means they can get around certain regulations that apply to cars. Note the lack of a proper windscreen.
Is the Slingshot car/Slingshot bike good? Let’s take a look.
Engine and power
When you turn the keys in the Slingshot, the engine roars like an old Mustang’s. It’s only a 2.4 liter Ecotec, producing 173 horsepower, but that doesn’t matter. There’s no car body, no windscreen, no real soundproofing to block the sound from your ears.
This car is loud. When you drive it, the road noise is extreme. If you’re not used to riding a motorcycle, it’s going to be a novel new experience for you.
“The Slingshot is all too happy to ravage your body with torque.”
That being said, it’s an extremely exciting one. This car is like nothing else, save the Ariel Atom.
The 0-60 speed is 5.2 seconds, and the top speed is, apparently, 130 mph. When you start to get into triple figures, the car starts to rattle somewhat, and only the bravest will ever push it to the limit.
You feel the G-forces dramatically when you get above 3000 rpm. The Slingshot is all too happy to ravage your body with torque.
The hybridization of car and bike is at its most obvious when you drive this machine. The barbaric noise belies the traction control that keeps everything on the road. The steering is solid, and on a sunny day, this is an exceptionally fun drive.
On a rainy day, it probably wouldn’t be.
Calling the Slingshot’s cabin an interior is a little generous. You’re exposed to the elements here, with just a small wind diffuser between you and the 100 mph winds.
“You’re going to be exposed to every little bump and divot on the road.”
What there is in the cabin is actually pretty nice. If you opt for the SLR trim, you’ll get a Sparco wheel and gear shifter knob, which adds a touch of class. The bucket seats are fairly comfortable too. They’d need to be, because you’re going to be exposed to every little bump and divot on the road.
Some models come with USB ports and Bluetooth, but it’s not standard. You don’t really get anything except thrills, but luckily, there are a whole lot of those.
Suspension and ride
The 18-inch wheels provide a fairly smooth ride, on good roads, anyway. The suspension is ultra-stiff and has virtually no body roll.
About needing a good road, never is that truer than in the Slingshot. Every single pothole will threaten to shatter your spine. If you’re going at speed, you’re in for a bone-rattling experience on substandard roads.
Price and final thoughts
The Slingshot’s price is $20,999 for the base model. That’s the exact price point it needs to be at. If you’re looking for a fantastic second car to give you the driving thrills missing in your Ford Taurus, the Slingshot is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
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