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posted on May 13th, 2019

Reviewing the three-wheeled Batmobile

It’s hard to talk about the three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot without making any references to Batman. In fact, why would you want to when you have stories like this one from Calgary? It’s a story that makes you rethink your decision to get a sedan instead of the Batmobile, err-Slingshot Polaris.

Or perhaps you saw this story in Miami where Polaris donated a Slingshot to the Miami Police Department. No, it isn’t to chase down would-be bad guys (though it probably can do that), but rather to help police strengthen bonds with their community. 

But what is the Polaris Slingshot? What makes people everywhere want to climb in and give it a test drive? And more importantly, how can you get yourself into one? Well, Robin, you’re about to find out.

All about the Polaris Slingshot

Laurie’s 2015 Polaris Slingshot (Houston, TX)

The Slingshot is an open-air roadster, equipped with two wheels in front and a single rear tire. No doors, no windows, half a windscreen — just you, a helmet, and the biggest smile you can muster.

While it could easily be mistaken as a toy or even a car from the latest car racing video game, the Polaris Slingshot is fully street-legal. And it’s ready to take you from point A to point B.

Under the hood

Every Slingshot is equipped with a General Motors-sourced 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that sits between the front wheels. At peak power, the four-cylinder engine can push the Polaris Slingshot with a maximum of 173 horsepower at 6,200 RPM. And at top speed, the Polaris Slingshots can reach an estimated 130 mph. That’s zero to 60 in less than five seconds.

All Slingshots are equipped with a manual transmission — an Aisin-supplied gearbox to be specific. The shift lever navigates the gates with modest precision, and the three-wheeled autocycle features a double-wishbone front suspension. 

The 2019 Polaris Slingshot lineup includes the base S trim level — a focused, stripped-down version. The SL trim is equipped with the Ripper Series wind deflector to help keep the bugs out of your teeth. The SLR trim features bolstered sport seats, Sparco steering wheel, shift knob, and pedal covers. And the Grand Touring trim has gull wings to keep you in superhero status wherever you go.

Valter’s 2016 Polaris Slingshot SL (Miami, FL)

As for fuel economy, a recent review from Car and Driver has the three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot getting 25 mpg around town and 28 mpg on the freeway. Imagine how far you can go on a full tank. 

And if all of this is not enough to convince you to try a Polaris Slingshot, consider just how cool you’ll look riding in one.

Stop traffic in the Polaris Slingshot 

Take the Polaris Slingshot Grand Touring for example. Equipped with a Slingshade, the Polaris Slingshot’s new rooftop system, it resembles a winged butterfly and helps keep you fresh under the shade during long drives on a sunny day. 

Or maybe you want to stop traffic with the bold design of the Slingshot SLR? The striking graphics on the body are sure to make a statement, much like the design on Henry’s Slingshot in Las Vegas. The three-wheeler features the Orange Madness Edition design on the body and a canvas roof to keep you cool while you’re cruising on the Las Vegas Strip or enjoying the views at Hoover Dam. 

Or try out the Rockford Fosgate Audio that comes with the Slingshot Polaris LE. The audio is so good you’ll be able to listen to your favorite playlist while cruising down Route 66 sans windows. Or enjoy the ride and the looks you’ll get with the base model — there’s nothing wrong with that, either. 

Costs to drive a Polaris Slingshot

It’s not as much as you think. With the base S trim starting at $20,999 MSRP and the Grand Touring starting at $29,999 MSRP, a Polaris Slingshot will cost you about as much as a typical economy car. But if you’re not ready to drop that kind of change, book one on Turo to get you some three-wheel adventure time.

Safe cruisin’ — helmets recommended

The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) still classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a three-wheeled motorcycle, because they have yet to designate specifications for three-wheeled vehicles.

However, recently most states in the US agreed to a common designation for three-wheeled vehicles: autocycles. Under the autocycle designation, you can drive a Polaris Slingshot and similar three-wheeled vehicles with just a standard driver’s license. There are currently six US states that require a motorcycle endorsement or license before driving three-wheeled vehicles, so check your local laws before hopping behind the wheel.

Helmet laws also differ by state, though Polaris recommends you always wear one, regardless of where you are. Make sure you check out your state’s helmet requirements before taking a Polaris Slingshot for a spin. 

Reviews of the Polaris Slingshot

Discussions about the Polaris Slingshot have evolved through the years. Take for example SuperStreetBike.com’s 2015 reviews versus its more recent (2017) report of the 2018 Polaris Slingshot. 

In 2015, reviewers commented that “there are a lot of other cool things I would want before ever considering the Polaris. It’s kind of slow, very loud, and has an ‘unrefined’ feel to it.” But in the 2017 review, the writer had this to say: “Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, grin for grin, it might very well be the most fun I’ve had through the twisty roads of the world-famous Latigo Canyon.”

If you haven’t noticed, the Polaris Slingshot can get anyone to smile, even the naysayers.

A review of the 2019 Polaris Slingshot lineup puts it best as to why you should give a Polaris Slingshot a try, despite the reviews you may have read. “From affordable to luxurious to sporty, the 2019 Slingshot lineup has something for everyone who could want a three-wheel roadster.”

A ride you have to try 

Maybe your bank account says buying a Polaris Slingshot is a “no” right now. Or perhaps you’re not entirely convinced you could pull off the Batmobile look the next time you drive around town. Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself trying one out this weekend.

With hosts like Juan in South Florida sharing his red Polaris Slingshot SL on Turo, your first Slingshot experience is just one click away. And trust us when we say, this is one ride you have to try.

Go ahead. You know you want to.


Read our features on other popular three-wheel vehicles: Vanderhall Venice, Morgan 3 Wheeler, & Can-Am Spyder.