My father-in-law is in town today and he got excited when one of these came on the T.V. So, I decided that it was time to go down and drive one! We had plans to go visit my WRX and take some more photos, then go over to the local car show (photo dump later), so it was easy to surprise him by pulling into the Polaris dealer.
There are plenty of reviews online where they thrash it much harder than I did, so I won’t go into any performance reviews. I will confirm that the steering is twitchy, the clutch is very light and engages very quickly, it lacks low-end torque (at least compared to my WRX), and there’s a LOT of vibration - so much so that it fuzzes the mirrors.
It doesn’t help that the mirrors are mounted on long stalks.
Whoever designed this machine has an unhealthy love of angles. The are found EVERYWHERE, outside and inside, from the front to the back. Even the steering wheel and shift knob have strange angles on them, making them a bit uncomfortable to grab.
There was a pretty good wind blast hitting right in my face, contributing to the motorcycle feel. Given the number of rock chips on my cars, I’m not sure I would want to drive this thing without a full-face helmet. I’ve hit bugs at high speed and it hurts. I’m sure that a high speed rock will be that much worse.
The low ride height, low seat height, and open cockpit make the Sligshot feel faster than it really is. My son swore I was driving “crazy”, but I didn’t break the speed limit or break the rear wheel loose. Everything just feels different.
Everything also looks different. So different that we had cars jockeying for position around us to get a better look. At one light, an SUV stopped three cars short so the family could gawk at us for the entire long light cycle. They didn’t roll down a window to talk to us. They just sat and stared. Weird.
Being a demo unit owned by a dealer, destined to land in a customer’s hands, I didn’t dog on the Slingshot like I really wanted to. I did several laps around a four mile loop with both my father-in-law and my son riding shotgun. Why didn’t my father-in-law drive? The Slingshot is considered a motorcycle and I was the only one with a motorcycle endorsement.
In the end, I decided that I’d rather have a new motorcycle than a Slingshot, but it is just about perfect for guys like my father-in-law. He never owned a motorcycle, so putting him on something with motorcycle controls would be a bad idea since he would have to learn a whole new skill set. With a Slingshot, he could just jump in and drive away. It really is that easy.
Is he going to buy one? The want is really bad. I, being the devil on his shoulder, told him that he isn’t getting any younger and if he ever wants to get one, he’ll need to do it soon. I think I am now persona non grata with my mother-in-law. I guess that’s ok for now. I got to drive a Slingshot!