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Where Do We Stand on the Polaris Slingshot?

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author photo by Eric Brandt February 2018

When the Polaris Slingshot was introduced in 2014, it didn't look like anything else on the road. Fast-forward four years, and this thing is still in a class all on its own. Polaris calls it an "open-air roadster," which I guess is accurate. It's technically part of the Polaris Motorcycles division -- but is this thing really a motorcycle?

First, let's get into what we know about the Slingshot. We know it has three wheels -- two in front and one in back. It's powered by a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four GM Ecotec engine, which has also seen duty in the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The engine is linked to a 5-speed manual transmission, which sends power to the big rear wheel via a belt final drive.

The Slingshot has carlike controls with the steering wheel, pedals and gear shift all where you would find them in a car. But this thing definitely isn't a car. It's officially classified as an "autocycle" in 41 states, meaning it doesn't require a motorcycle endorsement. The other states require a motorcycle license. Some jurisdictions require occupants to wear helmets, others don't. The law is still trying to figure out what to do with the Polaris Slingshot.

Have you ever seen one of these things in traffic? The Slingshot looks like a vehicle from another planet maybe more than anything else that's street legal in the U.S. It has sharp, angular styling reminiscent of Batman's tumbler, and it's just a weird shape and size that's truly unlike anything else.

The weirdest thing about the Slingshot is how many of these things Polaris is selling. It's been taking off big time in the last year or so with sales in Q4 of 2017 almost doubling that of the same time frame in the previous year.

Do you know anybody who has a Slingshot? If so, what do they use it for? I can't imagine it being a commuter, but I suppose there's no reason not to use it for that purpose if your climate allows it. Do people use these for touring like a touring motorcycle? Is it for motorcyclists who are no longer physically able to ride a motorcycle? Pricing starts at just under $20,000 and can go all the way up over $30,000, which just makes this vehicle even more confusing.

I don't have anything against the Slingshot, but I just don't get it. Maybe if I drove (rode?) one, I would feel differently -- but if I want that open-air experience, I'll just ride a motorcycle. What's really perplexing is the mere idea of the Slingshot in the first place: What on Earth gave Polaris, which mostly makes recreational off-road vehicles, the idea to make a 3-wheel "roadster" like this? And how did they know it'd sell so well? With the recent boost in popularity, I'm curious to hear where the Oversteer community stands on the Polaris Slingshot.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Where Do We Stand on the Polaris Slingshot? - Autotrader