COLUMBUS, Ohio — We like quirky automobiles that don’t match into established segments, just like the Polaris Slingshot. We love handbook transmissions. It’s definitely no shock, then, that after spending a few weeks with a 2021 Slingshot outfitted with a correct shift lever and clutch pedal, we walked away safe within the data that the five-speed handbook transmission is the way in which to go for the last word three-wheeled expertise.

In addition to the gearbox, there isn’t a lot distinction between the Slingshot life between the automated we examined final yr and the handbook we examined this fall. Nothing modifications with the seating place, the two.0-liter engine — tuned to supply 178 horsepower at 8,500 rpm within the S and SL fashions, or 203 hp at 8,250 rpm within the S mannequin we examined — or the dealing with traits. Both manner, the Slingshot presents the type of low-slung, wind-in-your-hair, barely-there expertise of a traditional roadster.

These ponies equipped by the Polaris-designed four-cylinder engine come on robust because the revs climb. The bottom engine produces 120 pound-feet of torque whereas the upgraded model kicks out 144 lb-ft. With a curb weight of simply 1,653 kilos (1,667 with the automated), the power-to-weight ratio of 8.1 lb/hp pushes the Slingshot R to 60 miles per hour in simply 4.9 seconds. The highest pace is restricted to 125 miles per hour, however that definitely feels adequate. 

Extra vital than terminal velocity is the surprisingly robust 1.02 g of cornering grip on a skidpad. The Slingshot sticks to the highway with a fierce grip as long as the motive force doesn’t invoke an excessive amount of wheelspin from the one belt-driven rear wheel with the traction management turned off. The variable-rate digital rack-and-pinion energy steering system is completely tuned for the Slingshot, and its 2.5 turns lock-to-lock really feel appropriately fast.

There are two driving modes, one labeled Consolation and one labeled Slingshot. There’s a noticeable distinction between them, and we (once more, unsurprisingly) determined to go away it in sportier Slingshot mode. The quick throttle response fits the handbook gearbox fairly properly. Like traction management, stability management comes commonplace on the Slingshot, and it’s defeatable with a double press of a button positioned within the cockpit. With chilly and moist tires, the digital nannies actually assist; burnouts and donuts are a flip of a change away even with heat tires. Stopping energy from the 298-millimeter anti-lock disc brakes (one at every entrance wheel and one on the rear) is plentiful.

A 7-inch digital infotainment system known as Journey Command sits on the junction of the middle stack and dashboard. It’s simple to make use of, with clearly marked and weather-resistant buttons just under. A robust 100-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system is optionally available (commonplace on the R trim) and beneficial. Apple CarPlay and turn-by-turn navigation are additionally accessible, as is a backup digicam that we discovered very helpful for backing up the Slingshot’s unfamiliar triangular form.

A base 2021 Polaris Slingshot S begins at $20,899 (together with an affordable $900 logistics price) with the handbook transmission or $22,599 with the automated. The upgraded SL mannequin runs $25,899 or $27,599 and the top-shelf R mannequin brings further efficiency for $32,199 or $34,199. A Restricted Version (seen in our picture gallery) painted in vivid inexperienced with digital graphics and blacked-out badges is unique to 2021. By means of comparability, a 2021 Mazda Miata Sport, which is a extra sensible (how usually are you able to say that?) however much less explosive automobile, runs $27,825. A KTM 1290 Tremendous Duke R Evo, which is a much less sensible however extra explosive automobile, prices $19,599. We’ll allow you to choose their numerous worth propositions.

When you resolve the pricing is suitable, there’s fairly a selection between the entry-level Slingshot and a completely kitted-out mannequin just like the one we examined. We positively just like the windshield, expertise package deal and audio system of the upgraded SL trim, and the additional energy offered by the R mannequin is unquestionably felt from behind the wheel. When you’re primarily on the lookout for some enjoyable in-the-sun-style, the SL ought to suit the invoice. However if you need the last word Slingshot, you’ll should be prepared to drop greater than $30,000 on a plaything. Regardless of the case, we definitely wouldn’t blame you for parking such a greatest in your driveway in lieu of a extra sensible automobile or much less sensible bike.