– Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here is the case to be made for the three-wheeled, open-topped, Polaris Slingshot: Most importantly, the driving experience is exhilarating. Beyond that, the vehicle gets attention everywhere you drive and stop – almost universally positive comments from friends and strangers alike. Finally, despite being on the market for eight years now, the Slingshot’s relative rarity makes it singular wherever it goes.

Here is the case to be made against the Slingshot: With suggested retail prices starting at $21,499 and topping out at $37,349 before add-ons, the Polaris lives in an uncomfortable spot between any number of cheaper motorcycles with far better performance and a Mazda MX-5 Miata that can be daily driven with far less compromise.

Gallery: 2023 Polaris Slingshot Review

The week that I was driving my tester – a Slingshot SLR in a striking Cobalt Blue with a manual transmission and about $2,600 in options – I had a long conversation with the crew over at RideApart about the three-wheeler. I haven’t ridden motorcycles since I was a kid, and to me the Slingshot offers most of the open-air thrills but for a wider possible audience (people without a motorcycle license).

And yet, the unanimous opinion of the RideApart editors was roughly: "Bullshit. I don’t want something that drives like a car when I want to ride a motorcycle."

Similarly, most of my fellows at Motor1 don’t have a lot of appreciation for the Slingshot’s unique selling points. "Miata is always the answer," was a common refrain, and the Mazda’s top, trunk, and more comfortable cabin – to say nothing of a very competitive sub-$30K starting price – were accurately cited as reasons to stick with four wheels.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Review

For me, there’s undeniable joy in driving the Slingshot, despite those very rational arguements against it. Listen, at the heart of it we’re talking about a vehicle with 203 horsepower (albeit roughly made by way of thrashy four-cylinder engine), a five-speed manual transmission, and a curb weight 1,656 pounds. The trike is a burnout machine but has tons of grip in a high-speed corner, steering is full of feel with immediate turn-in, and overall it’s a terrific companion on a great road. That’s a lot to like, even if the price to get there is steep.

Comparing the Slingshot to a motorcycle or a car is appropriate insofar as money is required to acquire any of them, and even in a discretionary fun-machine purchase, value is a consideration. However, as a class of vehicle, I think the Polaris is spiritually closer to things like snowmobiles, side by sides, and quad-bike ATVs. All of those machines live comfortably in garages with cars and motorcycles and rarely bear the weight of comparison with vehicles designed for more regular transportation. The Slingshot is built for fun – if you can afford one you’ll love driving it, even if there’s a Miata in the garage bay next door.


How Fast Do Polaris Slingshots Go?

The top speed for the Polaris Slingshot is 125 miles per hour. The sporty three-wheeler produces 203 horsepower from a four-cylinder engine and will hit 60 miles per in about 4.9 seconds.

What Is The Cheapest Slingshot You Can Buy?

The cheapest Slingshot you can buy is the base S model, which costs $22,199 with the $1,695 destination fee and commodity surcharge included. The next cheapest Slingshot is the SL model, which costs $28,199.

Is The Polaris Slingshot A Car Or Bike?

The Polaris Slingshot is technically classified as a three-wheeled motorcycle in the United States, but some states classify it as an Autocycle, which means you only need a standard driver’s license to operate it.

2023 Polaris Slingshot SLR

Engine 2.0-Liter I4
Output 203 Horsepower / 144 Pound-Feet
Transmission Five-Speed Manual
Drive Type Rear-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH 4.9 Seconds
Maximum speed 125 Miles Per Hour
Weight 1,656 Pounds
Seating Capacity 2
Cargo Volume 3.8 Cubic Feet
Base Price $21,499 + $1,695 Destination
As-Tested Price $33,038
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