2018 Polaris Slingshot: Everything you need to know

The 2018 Polaris Slingshots have landed! Get acquainted before your test drive

The 2018 Polaris Slingshot lineup
Handling, styling, and infotainment upgrades headline the 2018 Polaris Slingshot lineup. The biggest changes in the new Slingshots include a Ride Command infotainment system shared with sibling company Indian Motorcycles, upgraded shocks and wheels, and styling options. There’s also a limited edition top-of-the-line, fully-decked out model, the Polaris SLR LE with the highest ever Slingshot starting price. After a recent press ride, Digital Trends suggests riders who want the last inch of performance choose the SLR LE.

The 3-wheeled Slingshot speedster that looks like an escapee from a sci-fi movie set didn’t get a power bump for 2018, but you won’t hear complaints on that score. Since the Slingshot’s 2015 debut, General Motors 2.4-liter four Ecotec cylinder engines have provided fully ample power. Sticking a 173 horsepower engine with 166 pound-feet of torque in a 1,749-pound wet weight vehicle puts a smile on Slingshot drivers’ faces as they snick through the five-speed manual transmission’s gears.

You know the drill with the Slingshot by now. You sit in the Slingshot rather than on it. Your single passenger sits next to, not behind you. Slingshots have three pedals on the floor, a shifter, and a steering wheel. You drive it like a car — albeit an open and very low car.

States vary how they classify the Slingshot. Some states consider the 3-wheeler a motorcycle and require a moto license endorsement. Other states call it an “autocycle” and a regular driver’s license suffices.

Regardless of classification, you’ll want to wear a full face helmet with a shield to redirect incoming wind, rain, and insect-life, though the need is somewhat less with the short windscreen included with some models.

All Slingshot models include ABS and selectable electronic stability and traction control. During our 2016 Polaris Slingshot SL review, we noticed it was so easy to break the accelerating rear wheel loose, even with traction control engaged, that factor was the only serious ding in the evaluation. Thankfully, when we drove the 2018 models, we were pleased to see Polaris had addressed that particular issue. Read our full impressions here.

2018 Polaris Slingshot S

The entry-level Slingshot S starts at $20,000 and comes in Gloss Black only. This model hasn’t changed since 2017 but the look, the power, and the wide open design with no roof, no windows, no doors, and not even a tiny windshield is all many need for the Slingshot experience. The S model rides on cast 17-inch front wheels and an 18-inch rear wheel with a 265mm tire. S models can be upgraded with the same 305mm rear tire and wheel, premium audio kit, ride command system, and wind deflector that differentiate it from the higher level models. The only upgrade not available for the Model S is adjustable Bilstein shocks.

2018 Polaris Slingshot SL

The Polaris theme for the Slingshot SL is, “In the spotlight at every stoplight.” You can choose between Sunset Red and Navy Blue, each with hood accent graphics. The SL adds a slew of upgrades to the base model to earn its $25,500 starting price. You’ll find machine-cast aluminum 18-inch front wheels and a 20-inch back wheel, a clear wind deflector, a backup camera, and the new Slingshot Ride Command System. The standard Ride Command includes phone integration, USB connectivity, and customizable vehicle information screens with a 7-inch touchscreen that works with or without riding gloves. The SL model also has a premium Fossgate audio system.

2018 Polaris Slingshot SLR

Jump up to the $29,000 starting price Slingshot SLR and you get the open ride that Polaris equips for the track. Available in Electric Blue and Orange Madness, each with full body accent graphics, the SLR’s model theme is, “Track-ready. Street-legal.” The SLR adds to the SL’s feature list an extra-wide 305mm rear tire, Sparco racing components, a tinted wind deflector, high-performance forged wheels, and SLR-branded side-bolstered sport seats for cornering support. The SLR model also adds turn-by-turn navigation to the Ride Command System. Unlike with the S and SL, the SLR can be upgraded with the new Bilstein shock kit.

2018 Polaris Slingshot SLR LE

Life is best at the top. While the 2018 Slingshot SLR LE isn’t the brand’s first limited edition, but it’s definitely the best equipped and the priciest. The SLR LE’s $31,000 starting price includes every feature of the other models plus 10-way adjustable Bilstein shocks, an even higher performance, 200 watt Fosgate audio set up, premium sport seats with color-matched side bolsters, and an exclusive two-tone Ghost Gray color with Lime Squeeze accents and special edition graphics. The Slingshot SLR LE is the Polaris choice for drivers who want the highest performance and technology levels, stating this is the Slingshot, “For the devil on both shoulders.” Digital Trends agrees with that sentiment.

Polaris targets three groups with the Slingshot: touring bikers, attention-seekers, and performance enthusiasts. Tourers who want greater comfort than motorcycles can provide with a passenger sitting next to them and an open air, close-to-the-road experience are great prospects for the 3-wheeler. The second group of would-be Slingshot owners wants a performance vehicle that attracts attention and stands out as something different. The Slingshot scores for both groups, regardless of model. The Slingshot’s $20,000 to $31,000 price range is also about the same as big new touring bikes. Performance enthusiasts who routinely push their vehicles and themselves won’t settle for anything less than the top-end, Slingshot SLR LE.

If you’re searching for a touring bike alternative or a fun, open, ride that can turn up the excitement in a spare second, the 2018 Slingshots are at dealerships now.


Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.