The 2019 Polaris Slingshot may be one of the most unique vehicles in TFLcar’s long term fleet. It’s a three-wheeled attocycle with an engine in the front driving the single rear wheel. That’s unusual given that many three-wheelers with the same layout are either front-wheel drive (like the failed Elio) or rear engine with rear-drive (like the T-Rex).
Under the hood, the Polaris Slingshot’s engine is a 173 horsepower 2.4-liter sourced from GM. The EcoTec four-cylinder engine that makes 166 lbs-feet of torque. It’s connected to a tight, short-throw five-speed manual transmission. While it’s no fire-breather, it revs fairly quick and it only has to haul about 1,700 lbs – minus the occupant(s). In fact, to find out just how slow or quick it is, we drag raced it against a Tesla Model S. The result is exactly what you’d expect.
I spent a few days driving the Slingshot. Not just around the hills of Boulder, Colorado, but back and forth to my home. That’s a 45-mile commute, each way. I transported my kids, one at-a-time, and even attempted shopping during my multi-day trial.
It took time, but I began to warm up to the Slingshot. Its shortcomings are easy enough to pick apart, but it has a ton of positive attributes too. Like other specialty cars, this one definitely has a unique personality.
Noteworthy thoughts about the 2019 Polaris Slingshot
It’s not the best commuter. Given its low, almost nonexistent windshield, you will get a face full of air. Rocks, sand, rain and bugs will find your face. Setting up your drive with face protection on each highway jaunt is a must. Remember, you have no windshield wipers, HVAC or even doors, much less a roof. Although, a partial roof is an option.
Little kids think it’s as cool as a Lamborghini. Nearly every kid in my neighborhood ran alongside or yelled as I passed. Every gas station I went to and nearly every time I parked, people came by and asked lots of questions.
There is very little cargo space. It’s not like other sports cars that have a tiny trunk/boot. There is no saddle bag compartment either. You have two locking compartments behind the seats that are able to hold a helmet or a backpack. It also has a big glove compartment that locks as well.
It’s remarkably compliant, for a three-wheeler. Three-wheelers have a massive weakness – they will hit any imperfection in your lane. You can’t straddle a pothole like you can in a conventional car. Still, compared to all the three-wheelers I’ve tested, the Polaris Slingshot has the best ride. It’s easy to drive and park too.
You’re hard to see. This is an extremely low vehicle. Out in traffic, big rigs and tall trucks have a hard time seeing you. Despite that, the 2019 Polaris Slingshot brings all the fun of an old sports car without the burning oil. That’s right, it is as fun as an old-fashioned MG, with better seats, no burning oil and no smell of gasoline.
A big fella like me isn’t exactly graceful getting in and out of the Slingshot. It’s not not easy to find good places for your hands and if it’s a hot day, your buttocks will feel the burn.
At the end of the day – it is stupid fun.
The Polaris Slingshot SLR is not a cheap toy, though. At $29,999 to start, it is skirting Mazda MX-5 Miata RF territory. There are cheaper models, though, as the range starts at $20,999. You can actually get a base model Miata for that price, as they start at $25,730 for a 2019 model. Is it worth it Its feedback, handling characteristics, top notch grip and speedy acceleration were video-game-like fun. Just point and shoot. It excites your senses and reminds you why driving can be fun. So, while it’s illogical on a daily commute, it’s one hell of a fun weekend toy.