Wacky $20,000 2021 Polaris Slingshot Might Not Be the Deathtrap We Think It Is

Do you have to wear a helmet with a Polaris Slingshot?

Polaris Slingshot recommends drivers and passengers always wear a DOT-approved, full-face helmet and fasten seat belts when operating. Never drink and ride.

What type of gas does a Slingshot take?

Slingshot recommends using only unleaded gasoline with a 91 pump octane minimum and a maximum ethanol content of 10 percent. DO NOT USE E-85 GASOLINE OR GASOLINE CONTAINING METHANOL. Using E85 or gasoline/methanol blends can result in poor starting and driveability and may damage critical fuel system components.


Polaris Slingshot Maintenance Costs

  • 5,000 mile service: $450.
  • 10,000 mile service(includes brake fluid change): $530
  • 15,000 mile Service: $450
  • New Tires(set of three) $600-$900
  • Protective riding Jacket: $150-$800
  • Helmet: $80-$400
  • Motorcycle Insurance: $500-$1000 a year.
  • Winter Storage: $75-$600

Good Hustle, Kid

First off, the Polaris Slingshot R is a genuinely capable performance car. A double-wishbone front suspension and swing-arm rear axle do a good job maximizing the tires’ contact patch over varying road surfaces. The Slingshot is prone to some crash-through over broken pavement, a problem exacerbated by the triangular layout – odds are good that at least one of the wheels will encounter a pothole.

But the payoff for the stiff ride is zero body roll, which also helps provide incredible response from the unassisted steering. Corner turn-in is sharp and controllable, and somehow, kickback over bumps is nonexistent. And thanks to a curb weight of just 1,640 pounds, the steering wheel is still easy to muscle around at low speeds. Transitional response is among the best in the business, making the Slingshot a delight to hustle up a deserted canyon road.

The Polaris Slingshot R is a genuinely capable performance car.

The engine and transmission also do their part in such situations. The shifter is definitely rubbery and vague, but the pedals make up for it by offering good clutch feedback and being perfectly placed for heel-toe braking. New for 2020 was a 2.0-liter ProStar four-cylinder engine from Polaris, which replaced a GM-sourced EcoTec 2.4-liter. Unchanged for 2021, the front-mounted inline-four makes a healthy 203 horsepower in Slingshot R guise, up from 178 on the S and SL models.

Of course, it requires 8,500 revs on the tachometer to make that power, and there’s only 144 pound-feet available at 6,250 rpm, so you’ll need to downshift for forward momentum. Spinning that quickly, the engine doesn’t make particularly inspiring nosies, sounding like it came from Polaris’ RZR lineup (which it did). A new exhaust would do wonders. But if the engine doesn’t sound sporty, it certainly feels it, giving the Slingshot a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. There aren’t many $32,000 vehicles that can claim such fleet acceleration.

How Many Miles Can a Polaris Slingshot Last?

A Polaris Slingshot can last over 70,000 miles if it’s well-kept per the service schedule, appropriately stored, ridden responsibly, and broken in per Polaris’s break instructions. There are multiple real-life examples of Polaris Slingshots on the road with 70,000+ miles that have never had a major issue.

Here are two examples of high mile Slingshot rider testimonies:

  1. One Slingshot rider from Virginia clocked over 82,000 miles on his Slingshot’s odometer on a stylish Slingshot that claimed the Polaris prize for best theme. Not only was this high-mile Slingshot in good enough condition to receive a syle based award, but the Slingshot also seemed to run as good as the day he bought it.
  2. One rider we heard from in the forums shared a picture of his Slingshot’s Odometer, 79,000 miles, and he says he’s never had an issue. But the story doesn’t stop there. The Slingshot enthusiast mentioned a couple he knows with more miles than even he had—the couple makes cross-country trips in their Slingshot that include visits to Alaska without any mentionable reliability issues.

If we investigated these real-life examples of high mile Slingshots further, we’d probably find they were all subject to stellar ownership habits.

We’ll get more into some Slingshot ownership tips below, but for starters, it’s imperative to adhere to the Engine and Drivetrain Break-in Period outlined in the Slingshot owner’s manual:

Engine and Drivetrain Break-In

The Below extract is taken from Slingshot Help Center:

Failure to properly follow the engine break-in procedures outlined in this manual can result in severe damage to the engine. Follow all break-in procedures carefully. Avoid full-throttle operation and other conditions that may place an excessive load on the engine during the break-in period.

1. Fill the fuel tank with gasoline. Heed the fuel warnings found in your Owner’s Manual

2. Check the oil level. See your Owner’s Manual. Add the recommended oil as needed to maintain the oil level between the safe and add marks.

3. Vary speed. Do not drive at a constant speed, whether fast or slow. Do not drive at sustained idle.

4. Avoid full-throttle starts and do not drive at full throttle.

5. Do not exceed 70mph (113km/h).

6. Avoid the use of downshifting to brake or slow the vehicle.

7. Avoid making hard stops for the first 200 miles (322km).

8. Perform regular checks on fluid levels, controls, and areas outlined on the daily pre-ride inspection checklist found in your Owner’s Manual.

9. Change both the engine oil and filter at 500 miles (800km).

For more information, see your authorized Slingshot Dealer. Find a dealer near you with the Dealer Locator.

Does the Slingshot offer active safety systems?

2021 Polaris Slingshot | Polaris
2021 Polaris Slingshot | Polaris

RELATED: New Tech, Classic Style, 3 Wheels – The Nobe Electric Car

Despite the lack of critical safety features, the 2021 Polaris Slingshot does offer some safety systems onboard. Since this three-wheeled motorcycle tips the scales at around 1,743 pounds, you don’t need massive brakes to stop it efficiently. Despite this, you get ABS as standard on all Slingshot models. This should make it much harder for novice drivers to lock up the rear wheel.

The 2021 Polaris Slingshot is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter engine developing 178 hp. Even with this relatively low power output, it can be easy to overwhelm the rear wheel and lose traction. To stop this, Polaris gave the Slingshot traction control. As a result, it should be easier to keep this vehicle in shape during hard driving.

Regardless of these safety systems, it is worth pointing out that there is no way to compare how a Slingshot stacks up to a normal car since there are no official crash tests. Just remember that you’re in an open-top, three-wheeled vehicle with no airbags.

How long can you finance a Polaris Slingshot?

Plus, certain terms will have certain rates available. The best Polaris Slingshot loan term is the one with the right balance of time, rate, and budget for you! Our most commonly used loan terms are between 36 – 72 months.