As promised, here is my review of the Polaris Slingshot.
Disclaimer: Polaris wanted me to review this ‘motorcycle’ so badly, they sold it to a nice chap named Leon, who then rented it out on Turo for $90 a day (bargin) who then let me loose with unlimited miles for the day. My appologies for the lack of pictures, I was busy having wayyyyy to much fun.
So the million dollar question is “is it a car or motorcycle?” Truthfully the answer is neither. Legally it is a motorcycle, with a sticker between the two seats claiming you need a helmet. But, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise, it sure as hell doesn’t drive like a motorcycle.
If you can imagine the bastard offspring of a snowmobile, and an open wheel racer, you arrive at the slingshot.
Is it fast? Quick certainly, but I think it boarders the line between quick and outright fast. 0-60 is something like 5 seconds and change and it mostly depends how quickly you can shift. It is very punchy though, lots of torque down low and low weight are the big contributing factors here. You can shoot gaps in traffic all day long in this thing. I think it has a perfect amount of power. Plenty to use all of it on a spirited drive, but not so much as to be scary and get tickets with every outing. The fact that your ass is 3 inches off the tarmac certainly makes it feel much faster than it really it. It really feels like an over-sized go kart.
The engine is GM’s 2.4 ecotech paired with a 5 speed only, no auto’s here. It sounds great for a 4 banger, probably because your knees are about 5 inches from the engine, and 2 feet from the exhaust.
Speaking of which, I LOVED the shifter on this bad boy. I don’t think it was stock because throws were stupid short and extremely mechanical and satisfying. Stupid short is defined here as not having to move you palm from the center console and only using your fingers to shift.
For the day I picked up the ‘car’ in Riverside CA, and immediately headed for Idyllwild. The route up the mountain is great and being a Friday, I avoided the worst of the traffic.
The road snakes up the mountain with plenty of twist and turns to test out the handling. I have driven this road close to a dozen times on my ST3, but I can say with certainty, the trip up with the slingshot was probably the fastest I have been. The combination of wide front track with gripy tires, and near motorcycle power:weight ratios mean one this, fast cornering. With my fiancee in for the ride (speaking of which, the wedding is in a month, better get back to work on that...) we made up about half an hour faster than I was anticipating.
The ride is very firm, like go kart firm. You feel all the bumps and cracks in the road in this thing. Not a bad thing since it adds to the experience, but I can’t say I’d recommend this as a daily (duh).
We drove back down the mountain in a spirited manner and gave the breaks a good workout. The brakes work and well, but they felt totally unassisted to my foot, you really had to stomp on the pedal for quick stopping. They also weren’t particularly good in the feedback department. But the worked and the power train was set up for pretty decent engine braking so I was never worried.
Next, I insisted that we do something silly with it since we had about an hour before I had to drop off my Fiancee and continue my adventure. So, in SoCal, its sunny, so logically it had to be In and Out drive through time!
Which brings me to one of the best (or worst) parts of the Slingshot. It is a head turner to put it lightly. You would turn less heads if you tried to ride an elephant through a drive though. To put things in perspective, I ride a very red and very loud Italian motorcycle. I am used to people approaching me at gas stations asking for trades, or how fast or whatever bullshit. Usually people are nice enough and relate to the bike somehow, but the slingshot it on another planet. The first time I stopped at a gas station because my fiancee had to adjust her intercom system (highly recommended btw) I had a guy come up with his son asking all about it. In the drive though everyone was starring like a just committed murder in the first degree in plain sight. It was sunny, at lunch time at an In and Out, so anyone who has ever been to California can get an idea how many people we are taking about. I really enjoyed the look on kids faces when I waved back to them after I caught them starring. One kid was practically climbing out the window of his mom’s suburban to wave at us
After picking up our milkshakes from the girl who nearly peed her pants in excitement (I wish I was joking), I dropped off my fiancee and headed to pick up my uncle from his middle school in Fontana (he’s a teacher, not a student). This is possibly one of the greatest moments of my life.
If you’re not familiar, Fontana is referred to as a ‘ghetto’ in white people speak. Basically all latino population, really tough socioeconomic area. I really feel for the kids who tough it out here, as I have books worth of heartbreaking stories from my uncle.
Now combine one bright red attention magnet at 2:30 pm as school is letting out with HUNDREDS of attention seeking preteens and you can probably guess the result. I could hardly maneuver through the parking lot without running over kids trying to get pictures, or ask for rides. It was hilarious. I tried to snap some pics of the kids, but I was too busy trying to not run them over! I will most certainly be renting the Slingshot again and just taking these kids for rides.
Picked up my uncle and I grabbed shotgun as we headed up to Crestline. This gave me a bit of time to get the rest of the feel of the slingshot. Seats are comfy, but the headrest comes out too far. Combine that with a helmet with an intercom battery attached, it can makes for uncomfortable head angles. It could also use a taller windscreen, as the air flow was right at the perfect height to cause very high frequency buffeting. The stereo was actually usable, but it felt awkward using it because at stops everyone could here your Taylor Swift blasting on the radio.
We returned the beast that evening feeling very tired like I just spent all day on an a real bike. Pro tip though, remember, this is a roofless auto, so don’t forget sunscreen
My sun burn turned watch tan line with remind me of the slingshot trip for some days to come!
I could for sure see myself owning one of these in the future. Its not a motorcycle, and not a car, but it is so much fun you forget you are struck in some legal grey area.
1. Need a helmet? Legally yes, and intercoms are a necessity if you don’t want to scream at each other.
2. How long can you drive it on 2 wheels? Not long, its so low and wide you would be turning into a roll very fast.
3. Does it baby? If you are my hero, yes
4. How easy does the back slide out? Is it fun? Its not easy to get it to slide, the traction control is pretty good and tires very gripy. I did feel it start a couple of times, but it was no biggy. Fun? Hell yes, I would own one if I had the money
5. Is it worth the money? New, I think its a bit pricey. Lots of plastic and it feels like it was built by the same people who build Polaris snow mobiles. Used? Most certainly. I’ve seen them go for as little as $11K-$12K on the used market. Now you’re talking.