Polaris Updates Slingshot for 2023
For sheer enjoyment and hilarity, the Polaris Slingshot is about the most fun one can have with their clothes on in a road-going vehicle. Three wheels, a ripsaw engine, and a seating position seemingly an inch above the ground all conspire to create one heckuva grin machine. For the upcoming 2023 model year, Polaris is giving its rocket a few tweaks.
First out of the gate is a palette of new colors – something to which we wouldn’t regularly give notice or column inches when it comes to passenger cars, but the Slingshot’s personality is so expressive that any addition of looka-me paint choices is worth talking about. Head-turning paint schemes like Pacific Teal, Lime Shadow, and Miami Blue Fade are available on a smattering of trims and deliver retina-searing color to the already outrageous Slingshot lineup. It’s almost as good as the palette on offer for the soon-departed Charger and Challenger. Almost.
Anyone who’s into powersports (*raises hand*) knows Polaris is currently king of the game when it comes to in-vehicle infotainment – even in their off-road and snowmobile offerings. While other brands are content to provide displays reminiscent of a 1980’s bedside alarm clock (you know the one: Red digits, fake wood stickers on the sides), the North Star brand trotted out their RideCommand and hasn’t looked back. Available as a 7-inch touchscreen display in the Slingshot – and certain side-by-side off-roaders – RideCommand displays key vehicle information while integrating an honest-to-real infotainment system on some models. The latter now offers mobile phone connectivity via Bluetooth or USB, Apple CarPlay, and even turn-by-turn GPS navigation on the Slingshot R. Heated and cooled seats are available, as they were last year, but optional Brembo branded brakes and funky interior lighting are new.
For those unfamiliar, Polaris ditched the old GM Ecotec engine a couple of years ago in favor of a four-banger of their own design. Available in tunes of up to 203 horsepower in the Slingshot, it feeds power to the rear wheel through a belt-type system which will be familiar to anyone who’s piloted a side-by-side off-roader, producing alien sounds to anyone not used to this setup It is gloriously extroverted and totally bonkers. A manual transmission is offered, as is a single-clutch auto. This author’s experience says to go for the manual, not just for a more entertaining drive experience but because the auto ‘box tends to shift gears with the subtlety of a hammer.
Prices start at $23,349 for an entry-level Slingshot S but smart buyers will splash out an extra $850 for the Tech Package which brings a banging Rockford Fosgate stereo and some aero tweaks to keep bugs outta yer teeth. Some states require a helmet in this thing, some don’t; some require a bike license, and some don’t. Check your local laws. The range tops out at $33,999 for a top-rung Slingshot R with the manual transmission (add a few shillings if you want the automatic for some reason.
The 2023 lineup ships to dealers early next year.
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