2021 Polaris Slingshot gets the transmission we wanted
Polaris has announced the 2021 model Slingshot autocycle. The Slingshot is half-motorcycle, half-car with two wheels in front and one in the rear. Propelled by a high-revving four-cylinder engine, the 2021 Slingshot now has a shiftable automatic transmission as well.
When we drove the Slingshot in 2020, we found it to be an exciting, fun vehicle that allows those without a motorcycle license – or the wish to take on the liability that having a motorcycle can entail – to experience the fun of open driving. The Polaris Slingshot is, in most US states, considered a motorcycle for registration purposes, but a car for driving requirements. It's fast, handles very well, and keeps the driver and passenger engaged at all times.
For 2021, Polaris has added a new transmission option. Originally, the Polaris had only a five-speed manual transmission, but the company found that this was slowing sales as many people were intimidated by or did not know how to operate one.
So an automatic transmission was introduced for the 2020 model year. Polaris says that this resulted in sales nearly doubling (despite the pandemic).
That automatic was a great setup, but we lamented the fact that we could not control the gearing with it. Polaris is now remedying that by adding a paddle shifter-equipped AutoDrive transmission. This transmission also includes a new hill hold feature, and it replaces the previous automatic across the lineup.
Also added to the new 2021 Slingshot are Apple CarPlay for infotainment, a Rockford Fosgate stereo upgrade option, and several accessories for customization of the autocycle. These accessories are in collections called the Excursion Series and the Drive Series. The former adds more storage and comfort options, while the latter adds driver-oriented items like a dead pedal (something we also missed in the 2020 model). Tuning to add up to 15 percent more power is also available for the 2021 Slingshot.
Polaris is additionally offering new trim levels to the Slingshot for the 2021 model year, including the R Limited as a top shelf setup, and an S model with a sport-oriented, low-cost aim. This model starts at US$19,999 and becomes the lowest cost of entry for the Slingshot.
The 2021 Polaris Slingshot is shipping to dealerships now.