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Part car, part motorcycle, Polaris Slingshot is the inverted trike every kid dreams of

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July 28, 2014

Polaris touts the cornering prowess of the Slingshot

Polaris touts the cornering prowess of the Slingshot

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Take your favorite three-wheeler from childhood, flip it around, give it the power and handling of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car, and the look of something out of a futuristic comic book. The result is the brand new Polaris Slingshot.

The noted Minnesota-based maker of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles officially unveiled the new three-wheeled roadster this week in the United States and Canada. Because of its open cockpit, this two-seater reversed trike is officially classified as a motorcycle rather than a car, meaning you'll need a helmet and a motorcycle endorsement on your license to drive one.

The unique combination of car and motorbike offers a driving experience that's also different from both, thanks to its broad stance, sport-tuned suspension and a chassis that rides just five inches above the road. Polaris' marketing materials make a great deal of the Slingshot's hard-charging design that corners aggressively all day long.

Rather than an elastic band and a little bit of potential energy, this Slingshot is powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC Ecoboost engine producing 173 horses mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. There's storage behind the two waterproof seats and in the locked glove box.

The Slingshot's steel frame skeleton

The vehicle clocks in at a dry weight below 1,700 pounds (771 kg), heavier than competitors like the Campagna T-Rex or the much more motorcycle-like Can-Am Spyder. The Slingshot is priced competitively, just a bit higher than the Spyder, and way below the luxury toy price tag that comes with the T-Rex, starting at US$19,999.

The base model gets titanium metallic paint, 17-inch alloy wheels in front, and an 18-inch rear wheel. An upgrade to the SL trim for $23,999 adds red pearl paint, larger 18-inch forged aluminum front wheels and a 20-inch rear wheel, a blade windscreen for wind protection, an LCD media console with back-up camera, Bluetooth, and a 6-speaker audio system. Both models will be available in a few months at North American Polaris dealerships.

The Slingshot can be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Polaris

About the Author
Eric Mack Eric Mack has been covering technology and the world since the late 1990s. As well as being a Gizmag regular, he currently contributes to CNET, NPR and other outlets.   All articles by Eric Mack
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20 Comments

Where has this been all my life? At $20k it's only about $5k more than a base Spyder and $45k cheaper than a base T-Rex. You could buy a pair of SL's for the price of a T-Rex and have $17k left over.

One minor correction though is I think they are using the Ecotec engine rather than Ecoboost. They are both Ford but the Ecoboost is the name for the tubro charged version

I'm kind of looking forward to see what some of the modders do with it. A batmobile or mad max theme would probably be easy. They could probably fund a design competition for a lot cheaper than a marketing campaign. They should probably donate one to aero3s to have a kit built for it.

Daishi
28th July, 2014 @ 02:21 pm PDT

I'm a bit disappointed with this. I was hoping for a potentially affordable track car. Ideally something closer to a BAC Mono, KTM XBow or Ariel atom. This meets the cheap requirements, but is overweight, under powered and seemingly lacks grip in the corners. They should look into adding another wheel on the back and find a way to drop 300 - 500 lbs.

Matt Sanders
28th July, 2014 @ 02:52 pm PDT

would a 4th wheel mean you could ditch the helmet? Gee buy an old Miata add some extra power and you'd have 5 times the machine at about the same dollar.

Rehab
28th July, 2014 @ 07:32 pm PDT

So, if you already own a motorbike, as you would need to in order to be a licence holder, you can now 'progress' to half a car?

T N Args
28th July, 2014 @ 07:36 pm PDT

Heaven help any pedestrian who has the misfortune to be hit by one of these. No matter where it hits them, any speed above a gentle trot is going to do a lot of damage, with amputation being the likely outcome if it is being driven in the manner it has been designed for.

The problem with reverse trikes is that if you lose the back end on a corner, the weight distribution and relative contact area means it will most likely come out of the spin traveling backwards, which is not the best way to crash into anything if you would like to avoid becoming para/quadriplegic.

All in all, not this week's winner of the safest vehicle design prize.

Mel Tisdale
29th July, 2014 @ 03:48 am PDT

I have a question. You write: "Because of its open cockpit, this two-seater reversed trike is officially classified as a motorcycle". My understanding (such as it is), is that it is the three-wheeled nature of an automated trike that allows it to be LEGALLY classified as a motorcycle, not that it has an open cockpit. Otherwise, by your definition, couldn't a soft top convertible with the top down also be classified as a motorcycle?

Anybody else care to weigh in here?

yrag
29th July, 2014 @ 06:13 am PDT

REVERSE Trike, not INVERTED Trike - nobody wants to invert the thing! And for all of you decrying the lack of a 4th wheel, you are missing the entire point of this vehicle. Reverse trike history goes back to the beginnings of the Morgan Car company, and some of us just absolutely love 'em. Combined with the reduced costs of having a vehicle that is legally a motorcycle, the fun of being totally and completely exposed to the elements, and the exclusivity of the design, it's exactly what many of us want. Want an Ariel Atom? Well heck, go get one, because this ain't the same thing, isn't supposed to be the same thing, and I'm damn glad it's NOT the same thing! Now all I need is one of these, an Elio, and a decent Range Rover, and I'll be set...

Mike Barnett
29th July, 2014 @ 08:20 am PDT

Actually for clarification, the ECOTEC engine, used on the Slingshot is made by GM, not Ford.

Andy Marocco
29th July, 2014 @ 08:22 am PDT

That fact that it has 3 wheels not 4 is what classifies it as a motorcycle. I would be very tempted to buy one to replace our second car if it was a year round vehicle with a weatherproof soft top, heat and A/C. It would be a lot more fun to drive than any Miata and would cost a lot less.

Jeff Goldstein
29th July, 2014 @ 08:31 am PDT

The styling is a little overwrought for my taste, and aerodynamics are bound to suffer, but there are those who will like it despite its impracticality. It will probably handle quite well, although I get the sense that the owner will be buying lots of rear tires.

Bruce H. Anderson
29th July, 2014 @ 08:31 am PDT

Interesting, after years of the delta design being praised as more safe than one-wheel-in-front, the conjectural safety people come out. Gotta love the Gizmag experts.

Somebody needs to dig up Mythbusters and have them do comparo.

"Inverse trike" sounds wrong to me....like the bottom of the vehicle is somehow in the top. "Reverse trike" seems more apt.

C. Walker Jr.
29th July, 2014 @ 08:49 am PDT

yrag: That was the old law (3 wheels). If covered with a hard top, no helmet is needed. Does that mean it was re-classified also? Don' t know.

No mpg given is telling (must be low). The Elio is one third the price & 84mpg, if it's not a scam.

Every year I read Aptera is coming in the spring of next year. Still waiting.

Don Duncan
29th July, 2014 @ 09:06 am PDT

Bloody heavy for a trike.

The successful Grinnall Scorpion 3 http://www.grinnallcars.com/scorpion-III-sports-car.html weighs approx 390kg (860lb) and uses a BMW motorbike engine- which is ideally suited to a lightweight 3 wheeler.

Of course, the most successful trike in history (discounting 3-wheeled cars such as the famous Reliant Robin) must surely be the Morgan trike, recently re-released after many decades absence from the market. Their latest uses an S&S 'Harley type' 2 cylinder engine and weighs in at 525kg (1157 lbs). Not particularly light then, but it isn't intended to be an outright 'sports' machine. http://www.morgan3wheeler.co.uk/smallsite/smallindex5.html

Why on earth saddle an otherwise relatively light trike with a heavy car engine? Must play havoc with weight distribution.

bergamot69
29th July, 2014 @ 09:27 am PDT

Stylewise and moneywise, my vote goes to the owner-built XR3. Lots more options for economy/power ratios. BTW, on this, how fast you gotta go before those wings make your frontend airborn? Now that would be exciting.

Neil Larkins
29th July, 2014 @ 10:57 am PDT

Elio is probably a scam. The most fuel efficient motorcycles don't even hit 84 MPG. They are building a fully enclosed, non-hybrid car meant to get a 5 star crash test safety rating, all for $6,800? There is absolutely no way that's going to happen. They were going to launch in 2015 but to my knowledge have not yet even begun hiring for or retooling the old GM plant they used government help to secure.

Elio has burned through about 50 million and counting and they haven't hired employees for the factory yet. They are asking the government for another 200 million now. Keep in mind it cost Tesla less than $200 million in development to begin shipping the roadster and its a much more sophisticated vehicle and they actually had employees.

Elio was selling slots for reservations for like $500 then they were selling different tiers at $500 and $250 with different priorities and now as they are continually running out of cash they have announced a new $1000 tier for reservations for people to upgrade to and cheaper $100 4th tier of vehicle reservation. $1000 is a decent chunk of change to take for a reservation on $6,800 vaporware.

Daishi
29th July, 2014 @ 01:30 pm PDT

Thats a HUGE plate of Awesomesauce!!!!

Joe Sobotka
29th July, 2014 @ 01:49 pm PDT

I shudder ot think how many of those rear tires you must go through...

Start up, put foot, straight to tyre dealership for a new one....

Greg McDavid
29th July, 2014 @ 11:29 pm PDT

You say, "the power and *handling* of a motorcycle" but that is obviously bollox since no 3-wheeler is ever going to *handle* like a motorcycle unless it can *lean* like a motorcycle! The obvious example is Piaggio's very successful MP3 family; much more expensive, but much more protective is the Van Den Brink Carver, which leans like a bike, despite having a steering wheel and full enclosure. And as others have pointed out, this thing is decidedly porky by motorcycle and even by Grinnall standards. I can't believe it's street legal either, when there isn't even the vestige of a mudguard for the rear wheel! Finally, in common with all other trikes of this width (and sidecars) they combine the worst of both worlds: the traffic-stuck width of a car, with the weather-vulnerability of a conventional bike. There's not much joy in having a fun vehicle if you get stuck behind all the slow-moving stuff while all the bikes whizz past!

paulblez
30th July, 2014 @ 05:33 am PDT

There is a kickstarter project for a trike. Although the video shows two wheels in the back, the bike is originally outfitted for one rear wheel.

http://mcxtechnology.com/gallery/MCX-1.jpg

https://kickstarter.com/mcxtechnology/mcx-motorcycle-crossover

it's only a prototype but the team is looking for funds to build a production model

Javier Dakota Duarte
4th September, 2014 @ 09:12 am PDT

They are well priced/spec'd. Though I would much prefer to see the Euro Spec Ford 1 Litre, 3 cylinder, EcoBoost engine 125HP and good torque, VERY Light/Small. Outline of engine is A4 paper sized and 125HP, plenty with the extra weight-saving it gives, plus lower frontal area, lighter frame/brakes/components. Would be a superb option.

PaulYak
4th September, 2014 @ 05:43 pm PDT
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