Remember tearing around your neighborhood on a Big Wheel or a Green Machine? The thrills you got from those rides were boundless and you probably haven’t giggled as hard since. A new machine is on the horizon that may eclipse those giddy times.
Polaris is best known for their snowmobiles and ATV’s, but they are about to release a new category of vehicle that is sure to turn heads on every block. This new concept is called “Slingshot” is set for release in the fall as a 2015 model. It looks to us like the Slingshot fun-factor is going to be off the charts.
What is the Polaris Slingshot?
The Slingshot isn’t quite a motorcycle and it isn’t quite a car, so for now we’ll call it a “three-wheeled street rod”. It offers “side-by-side” seating with two wheels at the front and is driven by a single wheel at the back. This unit is powered by a 173 horsepower, four-cylinder Ecotech engine from General Motors (similar to those found in late-model Chevy Cobalts). Expect the Slingshot to go from 0 to 60 mph in well under five seconds. Mix in features like a low centre of gravity, a wide steering stance, 11.7 inch disc brakes and a short-throw, 5-speed gearbox and you’ve got a unique recipe for pavement-scorching chaos.
Standard high-tech features an include traction control, anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability system from Bosch. The traction control can be turned off in situations where the driver is feeling a bit randy. The low ground clearance, rapid acceleration and numerous stability features means that the Slingshot is bred for fun and not necessarily as a vehicle you would buy for touring. The apparent lack of storage space seems to back up this assertion.
Can-Am Spyder vs Polaris Slingshot: The Obvious Comparisons
Although the Slingshot and Can-Am Spyder share the same number of wheels, we submit that the comparison stops there. The Spyder seating configuration and controls are comparable to a motorcycle. As the rider, saddle, controls and engine sit much higher on the Spyder, the rider experience would be similar to that of a snowmobile. The driver and passenger in the Slingshot sit low in a side-by-side configuration that is less than ten inches off of the pavement, so the experience would be feel more akin to a low-slung sports car. The Can-Am Spyder is designed for long-distance traveling with more comfort design features in place.
Our breakdown of the comparison between these two vehicles is as follows. The Spyder is the ideal candidate to load up and take for a smooth excursion out to the coast. Slingshot’s natural tendency will be to get you hauled before a judge and declared a public nuisance. One is made for touring and the other for mayhem.
The comparison between the Spyder and Slingshot is truly apples and oranges, so we don’t expect to see this new Polaris offering to nudge the needle on the Spyder’s market share.
So Is it a Motorcycle or a Car?
In Canada and many jurisdictions of the United States, three-wheeled vehicles are categorized as motorcycles. That means that you will need a motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license and be obliged to wear a helmet (where helmet laws are in place) to operate the Polaris Slingshot. Regardless of how dissimilar this unit is to a motorcycle, that is how the law will view this vehicle. This reason that Polaris designed this vehicle with three wheels (rather than four) is so that they could avoid having the Slingshot categorized as an automobile. Cars are subject to an avalanche of mega-expensive safety regulations from airbags to crash tests. Obviously going with four wheels would make a concept like this completely unfeasible.
Price and Availability in Canada
In Canada, the base Slingshot will retail for $21,999 (CAD). The upscale SL model with larger wheels, a windshield and an “infotainment” centre will sell for $26,499 (CAD). Expect a boatload of accessories and add-on items to follow. The Slingshot is expected to land at Polaris dealerships in early October.
With Polaris’s strong North American dealer network, there is sure to be a store nearby that would be happy to take your deposit.