2018 Polaris Slingshot Review | Fun On Three-Wheels
The 2018 Polaris Slingshot is like no other production vehicle available. Since its debut in 2014, the Slingshot has been a welcome disrupter to the status quo, creating its own market segment.
The Slingshot is an “auto-cycle”, as recognized by 40 of the 50 state DMVs across the USA. Is it more car or more motorcycle? We decided to dodge the question altogether and focus on flogging the open-air roadster and having fun!
1. There are four flavors of Slingshot. The S is the standard model. The SL adds Slingshot Ride Command and a 100-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system. Moving up too the SLR gets you larger forged aluminum wheels and two-piece composite brake rotors. Go to the SLR LE and you’ll find Bilstein suspension, plus a 200-watt amp. All four models have the same powerplant.
2. Forget anonymity—the Slingshot is an undeniable head-turner. If you’re an attention junkie, this is the vehicle for you. From stoplights to gas stations, to the restaurant parking lot, definitely pad an extra 30 percent to your commute time to answer questions, give thumbs up, and chat up the curious pedestrian.
3. Look out Six Flags, this is a rollercoaster ride you can keep in the garage. Sitting just a few inches off the ground, even slow speed maneuvering within the posted speed limits can be an absolute blast. Be sure to download a G Force app to your Apple Watch, you’ll want to chart your progress.
4. Despite the theme park experience, the Slingshot is surprisingly comfortable. Without a roof, and as low to the ground as the Slingshot sits, getting in and out of the cockpit doesn’t require Olympic gymnast flexibility. Once seated, the ergonomics are well laid out for the driver, and the passenger experience is equally as comfortable.
5. The 2.4L DOHC 4-cylinder GM engine delivers the goods. With 173 horsepower at 6200 rpm, and 166 ft/lbs of torque 1500 RPM before that, the power-to-weight ratio is up there, as indicated by the audible scowl from the exhaust. Lighting up the rear wheel is just a clutch push away, and accelerating through the apex necessitates stiffening of the neck muscles.
6. It’s not only about the driving experience; it’s amazing fun to be a passenger. Don’t forget to keep a spare helmet when you’re driving solo; everyone you meet will want a thrill ride. Enhance the experience by investing in helmet-to-helmet communication to narrate the experience.
7. The stereo volume goes to 11. The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment center is a worthy upgrade providing full Bluetooth compatibility with your smartphone. My favorite mode is split-screen with vehicle information on the right and my Spotify playlists on the left. Just like in Spinal Tap, the SLR LE’s 200-watt Rockford Fosgate system pumps up to 11.
8. Bilstein suspension is virtual super glue. These high-performance German shocks offer 10 clicks each of rebound and compression damping adjustment without the need for tools. More importantly, they keep the rubber stuck to the tarmac. There is zero understeer and very predictable sliding of the rear wheel for spirited, devil-on-your-shoulder-type driving. However, you’ll have to spring for the SLR LE version to get them.
9. Behind the seat storage accommodates helmet and backpacks. Although the Slingshot is not your average grocery-getter, it does have a reasonable amount of storage for the essentials.
10. Ten gallons of fuel capacity provides adequate range. Even flogging the Slingshot through second-gear twisties, I managed to get over 20 mpg, which means the range is at least 200 miles per tank. Needless to say, under “normal” driving conditions the range would be substantially more.
11. If not already unique enough, the Slingshot is completely customizable. Gearhead aspirations? With an open engine layout and a GM powerplant, the aftermarket is flush with engine upgrades from turbo and supercharging kits, to intercoolers and cold-air intake solutions. Bodywork and aesthetic options are available through Polaris, the company that also makes Indian motorcycles, as well as ATVs, UTVs, and snowmobiles.
12. With an MSRP of $20k for the S Model, you’d be hard-pressed to find another side-by-side motorsport experience that comes even close. Value for the dollar is not typically a discussion point for the adrenaline or attention junkie, but it’s relevant here. With the baseline S model coming in at $20k, and the fully loaded SLR Limited Edition priced at $31k, that’s a thrilling equation you can take to the bank.
2018 Polaris Slingshot S Specs
- Type: General Motors inline-4
- Displacement: 2384cc
- Maximum power: 173 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
- Maximum torque: 166 ft/lbs @ 4700 rpm
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Clutch: Manual
- Front wheels: 17×7; cast aluminum
- Rear wheel: 18×9.5; cast aluminum
- Brakes: Cast iron
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 105 inches
- Width: 77.9 inches
- Fuel capacity: 9.8 gallons
- Weight: 1749 pounds
2018 Polaris Slingshot PRICE and COLORS
- 2018 Polaris Slingshot S: $19,999 MSRP (Gloss Black)
- 2018 Polaris Slingshot SL: $25,499 MSRP (Sunset Red; Navy Blue)
- 2018 Polaris Slingshot SLR: $28,999 MSRP (Orange Madness; Electric Blue)
- 2018 Polaris Slingshot SLR LE: $30,999 MSRP (Ghost Gray/Lime Squeeze)