By on January 16, 2020


Retirement stands to become even more special in the just-revealed 2020 Polaris Slingshot. Revamped and re-engined for the coming year, the oddball three-wheeler that may or may not require you to wear a helmet (check local laws) remains a colorful choice for weekend outings.

Forgive the author for noting the age of your average Slingshot driver.

With the new model, buyers receive not just an in-house engine, but a transmission designed to atrophy your left leg muscles.

Yes, there’s a five-speed AutoDrive automated manual on tap for 2020, but lovers of the three-pedal lifestyle can still source a five-speed manual in the uplevel R model. The automated tranny offers gear selection via an array of pushbuttons. Two drive modes — “comfort” and “Slingshot” — allow owners to fine-tune their driving experience.

While the term “automated manual” calls to mind the atrocious shifting of a Smart Fortwo or, say, an Eaton-Fuller-equipped semi trailer, the Polaris experience may be far different. We haven’t driven one.

Entered the powersports fray back in 2014 with a 2.4-liter inline-four sourced from General Motors, the Slingshot now carries a 2.0-liter four, good for 178 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque in the standard SL model. That’s a mild horsepower upgrade, but a significant torque downgrade from the 173 hp/166 lb-ft GM engine.

Thankfully, buyers can upgrade to the hotter R model, which sees the ProStar 2.0L bulk up to 203 hp and 144 lb-ft.

It’s hard not to notice the Slingshot’s evolution into something just a little more car-like. The company says the model offers 70 percent new content, with a revamped cockpit aimed at improved occupant comfort. The addition of a padded center console and new storage compartments, plus adjustable dash vents, speaks to this. Cup holders now accept girthier beverage containers.

The tech side of things sees an updated Ride Command infotainment system come aboard, accessed via a 7-inch screen. Two USB ports greet occupants. In front and out back, LED lighting abounds — a good thing for navigating gloomy, mountainous two-lanes in New England. (Those brave travellers will want to spring for the Weekender series, one of three “collections” of the 23 accessories available on the 2020 model. Going the Weekender route brings overnight bags and boosted storage. There’s also a Design and Premier series.)

The 2020 Slingshot starts at $26,499. Opting for a manual R brings the price to $30,999, with AutoDrive being a $1,700 extra. The fun starts this spring.

[Image: Polaris]

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19 Comments on “Revamped Polaris Slingshot Gains Goodies, Ditches GM Engine...”

  • avatar

    They are cool but any time I seriously think about one I always wind up thinking I could have an NA and a nice NC to go with our NB all for the same price:)

  • avatar

    Does Polaris report unit sales? I see a surprising number of these on the streets in central Indiana in the summer time.

    • 0 avatar

      Plenty of them here in FL I assume due to never-cold driving conditions. Rain occurs often however which gives me a good laugh. Coming from a real car this is a step donw, but moving up from a motorcycle its likely just what customers want.

  • avatar

    One word: Pricy. That’s more expensive than many cars with similar power and a lot more usability. I’ll grant it’s a toy but how about a toy with a real trunk and doesn’t “require a helmet in some states.”

    • 0 avatar

      I have actually driven one of these. One issue is you hit almost all manhole covers and otherwise avoidable road imperfections because you have 3 tracks instead of 2. Also….primitive compared to a Miata in every way….no A/C or significant weather protection. The ride seemed very unrefined to me…like no harmonic testing was done or something. I think its a fun vehicle and if you crave attention you’ll get it in a Slingshot…For me…a Miata ND is so much more compelling that the Slingshot isn’t even on my radar…I think I would even rather have a late model Goldwing over it.

    • 0 avatar

      Quite a bit cheaper than a Morgan three wheeler.

  • avatar

    There is no way not to look like a dweeb in one of these. If you drive one the looks you get are not of envy.

  • avatar

    When I was a kid I thought it would be cool to have a Batmobile. I got older.

  • avatar

    I always thought that a good gas engine would have similar HP/Torque vs this 178/120. Should this be a red flag?

  • avatar

    The S2000 was similar, it all depends on where you are making power. If it is up high then you end up with figures like this.

    There aren’t many vehicles out there under 1800 pounds so it would be pretty go cart like, even compared to a Miata.

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