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2021 Polaris Slingshot scores much-needed improvements, lower price – Roadshow

2021 polaris slingshot r limited edition ogi 1

There’s nonetheless nothing on the street that appears like a Slingshot. That is the brand new R Restricted Version vary topper.


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The outrageously styled Polaris Slingshot three-wheeler acquired its first main overhaul for the 2020 mannequin 12 months, gaining a brand new, in-house-designed Prostar four-cylinder engine and an optionally available computerized gearbox, plus new infotainment tech. Together with a modest restyling and varied different modifications that totaled as much as a 70% redesigned car, the much-improved trike has helped Polaris understand file Slingshot gross sales in 2020. Throughout peak top-down motoring season — Might by way of September — Polaris says the Slingshot vary practically doubled its gross sales. 

A lot of that improve is being credited to the provision of the AutoDrive transmission — for the primary time, you do not have to know learn how to function a handbook gearbox with a purpose to pilot a Slingshot — though a part of credit score possible additionally has to belong to the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered sizzling gross sales for each energy sports activities tools and RVs. These upgrades and that momentum are nice information, however that does not imply the better-driving autocycle has been with out important nits to select. Now, the 2021 Polaris Slingshot is right here to handle these points and add some new options, too.

AutoDrive transmission enhancements

These shortcomings began with the aforementioned all-new computerized gearbox. Whereas the provision of AutoDrive was a really welcome growth, the transmission itself wasn’t correctly sorted out. Single-plate, dry-clutch items just like the one within the Polaris are inherently quick on smoothness, as they lack a torque converter or second clutch to boost gear-change refinement. 

The upshot? At the media press drive in January, I discovered that the pushbutton transmission serially delivered sluggish, jerky and infrequently ill-timed shifts that marred each informal, around-town motoring and concerted on-track hammering. Bafflingly, Polaris hadn’t even included paddles to let drivers manually preempt the transmission’s ham-fisted programming. Mercifully, all that ought to change for 2021. A Polaris rep tells Roadshow that each transmission and engine software program has been overhauled, with the most important enhancements mentioned to be discovered within the trike’s low-speed maneuvers. 

In response to Polaris, for the brand new mannequin 12 months, AutoDrive has acquired a “full retune” that “noticeably improves shifting at high and low speeds in each drive modes.” The proof might be within the driving, however that sounds encouraging. Simply as encouraging is phrase that an computerized hill-hold function has been added, too. The very best information, nevertheless, could also be that paddle shifters come customary on 2021 AutoDrive-equipped R fashions, they usually’re optionally available on different lesser trims.

When you’re the proprietor of a 2020 Slingshot with AutoDrive, you are in all probability seeing crimson proper about now. Worry not, as Polaris has thoughtfully pledged to make transmission reprogramming, hill maintain and paddle-shifters obtainable to present house owners. That is nice information throughout, and will lead to each a smoother and extra partaking driving expertise for everybody. The brand new calibration might be free for all 2020 AutoDrive house owners, and all MY20 house owners can add Hill Maintain performance to their Slingshots for $299. When you personal a 2020 AutoDrive or are shopping for a 2021 S or SL AutoDrive and also you wish to improve to shift paddles, the associated fee is $399.

New Rockford Fosgate tunes

The Slingshot’s enhancements do not cease there. A brand new Rockford Fosgate audio system features Apple CarPlay connectivity (Normal on R and a brand new R Restricted trim, optionally available on SL). Polaris says that is an “industry-first for side-by-side three-wheeled automobiles” — admittedly a really particular market segmentation. Just like the transmission updates, 2020 R and Grand Touring Restricted Version house owners may even have the ability to obtain this new function to their Slingshots at no cost, as effectively. 2020 and 2021 SL clients can rating CarPlay by upgrading to a brand new Navigation 2.zero bundle that features turn-by-turn navigation and related providers. 

In any case, the Slingshot’s redesigned audio setup presents the identical 100-watt output as earlier than, nevertheless it boasts a 3-decibel peak improve by way of smaller speaker pods, and there are new tweeters constructed into the sprint in addition to an expandable plug-and-play amp. That is all welcome information, because it has been laborious to benefit from the Sling’s earlier audio methods at pace — even with out a helmet.

In different audio information, there’s an optionally available new Stage Three roll hoop audio equipment from Rockford Fosgate that may be paired with multicolor LED illumination supplied by XKGlow. The latter permits for choreographing pulses of sunshine to match the audio system’s music. A novel LED mild pod will be mounted in varied locations of the inside and two different-colored lighting zones will be user-selected by way of a particular cell phone app.

Lookie! Now you can get Apple CarPlay in a side-by-side autocycle. What a world.


Polaris

Pricing and trim

Lastly, there is a new prime trim degree, R Restricted Version, displacing final 12 months’s Grand Touring LE, which is not obtainable. Provided with both a six-speed handbook gearbox or the AutoDrive transmission, the R Restricted Version is a closely optioned mannequin that includes distinctive aesthetic touches together with matte-black alloys, asymmetrical Neon Fade paint and blacked-out badges. 

The pricing ladder for the 2021 Polaris Slingshot begins with the manual-transmission S. This trim returns for the brand new mannequin 12 months priced at $19,999 — $1,000 lower than the lowest-priced mannequin you can purchase beforehand. On the different finish of the spectrum, pricing tops out at $34,799 for an AutoDrive-equipped R Restricted Version (any relevant supply and setup prices are decided by your native supplier). 

The brand new fashions are beginning to roll out of Polaris’ manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, and into showrooms as you learn this.

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Author

Chris Paukert