Text: Wooley     Photos: Jonathan Walker

Initial impression…

I have NEVER gone this 180 on a vehicle before.

On the first drive (about 15 miles), I really didn’t like the Slingshot all that much. The single-rear-wheel had me a little unnerved. And that was combined with the full face helmet & gloves, which were killing my senses. It was all a little disorienting. And if I had been on a test drive with some stranger salesman in the passenger seat, I would have left it at that.

However!!! On Day-2, I made myself go get some significant seat time. It took about 40-50 miles… and then it clicked. Man did it click!

Polaris Slingshot blue


One week later…

This might be one of the most purely amusing vehicles I’ve ever driven – Honest to God. And here’s why:

  1. Single rear wheel
  2. No weight over the rear end
  3. Good linear power

Add it all up, and that = burnouts! Burnouts here, Burnouts there. Burnouts everywhere! It’s a Doctor Seuss book.

Here’s the key to understanding the Slingshot:

STOP trying to understand it!

STOP thinking about the Slingshot as a car!!!

STOP trying to rate it against your damn Miata or S2000.

STOP thinking of it as some retired man’s version of a motorcycle.

STOP trying to find artistic beauty in it.

STOP trying to add it up on paper.

STOP trying to let its current stereotypes define it to you.

And STOP trying to compare it against anything else. Because it’s not!

…If you just GOTTA compare it to something, then fine, think of it as a wave-runner that you can ride to the grocery store. (And that’s before you mod it.)

Polaris Slingshot Mercedes Benz Stadium Atlanta street race

Are you getting what I’m saying here? The Slingshot is a damn Hoon-ball… that’s what it is.

And the fact that our generation/demographic isn’t pouring all over the Slingshot, only points to one thing – lack of exposure. Maybe you’ve judged it from the bench, instead of the driver’s seat. Or maybe – you’ve let an old guy in elastic jean shorts steal your Happy Meal toy.

The truth is, when you EXPERIENCE the Slingshot with open eyes… it slaps a devious grin across your face that chart-statistics can’t explain. It’s the kind of ‘car’ that makes other fun cars seem all the sudden – less fun & committed. And more bloated, compromised, & conservative.


Here’s the key to understanding the Slingshot: STOP trying to understand it!

The Slingshot uses GM’s 2.4 N/A Ecotec engine at 175hp. Enthusiasts know that’s a strong engine with aftermarket potential. And the Ecotec has plenty of linear power delivery inside the 1,749lb Slingshot.

Polaris Slingshot modified engine Ecotec

The steering & brakes don’t feel very responsive on first drive. It definitely feels ‘analogue’. But as you get seat time, it becomes very natural & favorable. And I got to thinking – it actually probably helps the Slingshot to be more stable & predictable during transitions… and less twitchy. Remember now – it has 1 rear wheel, so being too responsive might/could upset the balance & grip.

The Polaris Slingshot does a great job of staying predictable when the rear tire slips out, and the vehicle pulls itself back inline very gracefully… keeping the fun high, and the fright low. The Polaris traction-control seems very well designed. It seems to work on some sort of speed-ratio, where it will loosen the leash a little at lower speeds… but protect you from the ditches at higher MPHs. The center of gravity is killer low. And it pains me to say – that it makes getting back into my ‘sports cars’ feel like I just got in a bobbly, over-responsive crossover.

Polaris Slingshot Arial Atom

In all the media cars I’ve driven over the years, I think the Polaris Slingshot is the most outside-the-box fun.

I didn’t say ‘the most beautiful’. Or ‘the fastest’. Or ‘the nicest’. Or ‘the most socially acceptable’. But the most FUN!! …if that’s what counts for you.