Considering a Polaris Slingshot? Here’s What To Know

If you’ve ever spotted a three-wheeled machine like the Polaris Slingshot zipping through traffic, you’re probably a bit intrigued to learn more about this unique vehicle. It’s not exactly a motorcycle, nor entirely a car, and the Slingshot falls into the rising category of sporty recreational vehicles that exist between four-wheelers and two-wheelers.

Thanks to its reverse-trike design and comfortable seating, the Slingshot has gained popularity among those wanting a less intense alternative to a motorcycle.

Here’s an overview of everything you should know about the Slingshot vehicle, or is it a motorcycle, or maybe an autocycle?

The Manufacturer of the Slingshot Vehicle

Polaris, mainly recognized for manufacturing snowmobiles, side-by-sides, and other off-road vehicles, started designing what would become the Slingshot in 2010. This was Polaris’s first road-legal vehicle, aside from its Indian motorcycle division acquired in full, debuting in showrooms in 2014.

Does the Slingshot Qualify as a Motorcycle?

This is a tricky question because even the official Polaris website has conflicting information. In one part, it states the Slingshot is “not a car and certainly not a motorcycle,” yet later on, it clarifies that federal regulations classify the vehicle as a “three-wheeled motorcycle,” but most states consider it an “autocycle” for registration. Currently, 49 states have autocycle laws, with Massachusetts being the only exception.


The Slingshot is considered an autocycle not merely for its three wheels, but also for its steering wheel, seat belts, and brake pedal. This distinction is key, as autocycles often don’t need a motorcycle license, broadening Polaris’s market significantly. However, despite its autocycle status, some states mandate that riders wear a motorcycle helmet, especially those under 18 (or under 25 in certain areas).

Varieties of Slingshot Models Explained

Currently, the Slingshot comes in five versions. Besides the S, there’s the SL, SLR, R, and Roush Edition, each enhancing the technology and design of the previous models, offering a range of options from touring comfort to on-road performance. You can find all the latest models at a Slingshot® dealer in Denver, CO.

The SL upgrades the base model with added cabin features like steering wheel controls for the touchscreen infotainment system (which includes Bluetooth and a backup camera), silver interior trim, and a stitched steering wheel accent. The SLR builds on this with a more powerful engine, while the R adds Apple CarPlay, a variety of paint color options, a navigation system, and a vented hood. The Roush Edition combines the R’s features with unique styling, additional color choices, Brembo brakes, and a larger rear tire.

What’s the Price Tag on the Most Affordable Slingshot Vehicle?

The base model of the Slingshot, the S, begins at $21,499. What features come with it? The S model includes a manual transmission (with an optional automatic), cruise control, electronic stability control, keyless start, and a single USB port for device charging. For music on your drive, you’ll need to spend a few thousand extra for the Technology package, which adds a basic stereo system and an additional USB port.

What Speed Can You Expect from a Slingshot Vehicle?

All Polaris Slingshot models are equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine comes in two versions: one producing 178 horsepower (in the S and SL) and the other producing 203 horsepower (in the SLR, R, and Roush Edition).


The fastest Slingshot variants can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. The vehicle’s top speed is capped at 125 mph.

Is Daily Driving a Slingshot Feasible?

A Slingshot car is crafted to be more of a weekend fun ride rather than a daily vehicle. Using a Slingshot as your sole vehicle is doable, but it requires suitable weather conditions. The Polaris lacks side windows, allowing wind and rain to enter the cabin easily. You can get a soft top or a hard top from the manufacturer, but neither offers full protection against the weather.

Exploring the Practicality of the Slingshot

Enjoying the thrill of riding a motorcycle is great, yet let’s be honest, it’s not always the most convenient choice for getting around. Limited storage space means making tough choices about what to bring along. Sure, you could attach saddlebags or luggage, but that adds extra bulk and weight. With a Slingshot, those concerns vanish. Its numerous small compartments provide easy access to essentials, while larger storage areas behind the seats effortlessly accommodate weekend travel bags. This enhances the practicality of daily commuting or longer journeys with a Slingshot.