You may know Polaris as a maker of ATVs, side-by-sides, four-wheelers, snowmobiles, and other off-road use vehicles. Polaris also owns Victory and Indian motorcycle companies. The 2015 Polaris Slingshot is what happens when you combine some of the four-wheeler, motorcycle, and car. You get a three-wheel street legal performance machine.
This thing is an open cockpit motorcycle (three wheelers are considered motorcycles) powered by a GM-sourced 2.4L four cylinder ECOTEC motor. It’s backed up by a 5-speed manual transmission that goes to a short driveshaft and then on to a carbon-fiber reinforced belt drive to power the single rear wheel. The vehicle weights 1,725 pounds at the curb and the motor puts out 173 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque @4,700 rpm. Each horsepower is burdened by only 10 pounds, which gives the Slingshot a better power-to-weight ratio than the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST and many other performance cars.
You are sitting just five inches off the ground as you wind the relatively large motor to its 7,000 rpm redline. You are also using a steering wheel (not handle bars) and rowing your own 5-speed transmission. What can be better? Not much. However, you do have to wear a helmet and have a valid motorcycle driving license. The steering is using Polaris EPAS, which means it’s electrically assisted. We cannot pass judgement on this without driving it.
The Slingshot has a 9.77 gallon fuel tank and recommends using 91 octane. Fuel economy estimates are not listed, but if you can take it easy – this light-weight “car” should give you more than enough range between fill-ups.
There are two models available. The base Slingshot starts at $19,999 and comes with 17 inch front and 18 inch rear wheels. You can choose the SL model with larger wheels (18 inch front and 20 inch rear) and more available options. The SL starts at $23,999.
The Slingshot is playing in a niche segment with vehicles such as the BRP Can Am Spyder, Elio, and Campagna T-Rex. All of these vehicles are unique in their own way and have different pricing. It will be interesting to see how the market accepts the Slingshot. Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.