Polaris is looking to close the year out strong with a new model of its game-changing, three-wheeled motorcycle or autocycle, depending on what state you’re in.
Polaris opened the door for more people to experience the unique-looking vehicles when the company introduced its new AutoDrive transmission system. For the 2021 Slingshot model, Polaris brings back the popular feature with new updates plus some other new features that Slingshot owners have been asking for. I got a chance to test-drive the new model and firsthand what Polaris was cooking up in the garage.
Polaris flew a handful of writers, including special guest rapper/actor and proud Slingshot owner Shad Moss aka Bow Wow, out to the beautiful shores of Malibu, California, for the unique experience.
All guests stayed at the beautiful Surfrider beachfront hotel. Polaris’ team plus the hotel’s staff made sure the event was as “COVID-proof” as it could be with hand sanitizer and masks readily available for all those who attended.
Before we hit the road, the Polaris team unveiled the new vehicles at an outdoor dinner event. We learned that the AutoDrive feature is back but has been refined and re-tuned to give the driver and passenger a much smoother ride at any speed. Polaris enthusiasts will be happy to see in the new model is added new paddle shifters that give drivers more control over shifting than before.
There is also a new Vehicle Hold feature that aims to give drivers more confidence while driving. Basically, it dramatically improves slow speed drivability while on a hill, so you won’t have to worry about the Slingshot being able to make it up the hill after stopping. Before our drive, we were informed that the feature was not ready for use on the 2021 Slingshot models we would be driving but promise that customers can update their rides with the new feature when 2021 Slingshot becomes available.
Other new features on the new 2021 Slingshot model includes an all-new Rockford Fosgate Audio System that will have your playlists blasting as you speed or cruise through traffic.
The updated 2021 Ride Command featuring Apple CarPlay, this feature was also a popular request from Slingshot owners, and Polaris made sure to oblige by incorporating it in this model. It was straightforward to sync my iPhone with the Slingshot, but if you don’t want to use Apple CarPlay, you can sync your phone via the USB port.
There are not many significant changes on the design front (if ain’t broke, don’t fix it), and that’s fine because the Slingshot is one of the most customizable vehicles on the road. To build on that with the returning S Trim model and New R Limited Edition, Polaris expanded color accent options and added a new customizable LED interior lighting to increase personalization potential. If you have seen numerous Slingshots in the wild, you definitely noticed that no Slingshot is the same.
After the introductory event on the first night, it was time to hop in the cockpit and take the 2021 Slingshot for a spin. Polaris couldn’t have picked a better location for the test excursion. Once our fleet of Slingshots pulled out of the Surfriders parking area, we were taken into the lavish Malibu Hills. There we were able to test the Slingshot’s amazing maneuverability as we made our way around the sharp turns while navigating the hills.
This wasn’t my first rodeo with the Slingshot. I was invited by Polaris earlier this year to join them in Las Vegas before COVID-19 came through and crushed the building to test out the 2020 Slingshot model that introduced the AutoDrive transmission. While in the hills, I pushed the 2021 model, switching in between the slingshot mode, which puts the three-wheeled machine into more of a performance mode allows it to conquer turns and curves without sacrificing power.
Once we made out of the hills, it was time to cruise along Malibu’s beautiful shoreline. We were able to truly enjoy the open-air experience, which ironically is perfect for these times while cruising along, or in my case, zooming along while the playlist I curated for specifically curated for my drive blared through the speakers. I was very impressed that I could hear the music clearly, even with my helmet sealed and the engine revving.
The experience ended at a stop where all the drivers gathered to share our thoughts about the experience while taking in the Pacific Ocean’s beautiful view and enjoying a well-deserved lunch.
The 2021 Slingshot model isn’t a drastic upgrade from the 2020 model, but it does add some tweaks that should intrigue current owners to upgrade and at the same time lure in more first-time buyers. Since the introduction of the AutoDrive model, Polaris has seen much success in the middle of a pandemic, nearly doubling its business during peak seasonality from May through September and saw 80% of its dealers grow or remain flat in year-over-year sales comparisons. Over 80% of buyers were first-timers, and that is very impressive.
The world will be a different place as we still have to look for ways to entertain ourselves safely due to the COVID-19 pandemic still looming over the country. The 2021 Slingshot model is a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while remaining socially distanced. Its unique build gives drivers the fun and exhilarating feeling of riding a motorcycle while providing the feeling of comfort and thrill sports car owners enjoy.
If it’s feasible and you got access to a garage (most importantly), it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get yourself a new toy, aka the 2021 Slingshot model. You won’t be disappointed.
Pricing and color availability for the 2021 model lineup is as follows:
- S is available in White Lightning in both a manual ($19,999) and AutoDrive ($21,699)
- S with Technology Package 1 is available in White Lightning in both a manual($22,299) and AutoDrive ($23,999)
- SL is available in Midnight Blueor Red Pearlin both a manual ($24,999)andAutoDrive($26,699)
- R is available in Stealth Blue and Sunrise Orange, in both manual ($31,299) and AutoDrive ($33,299)
- R Limited Edition features an exclusive, custom-inspired Neon Fade paint and is available in both a manual ($32,799) and AutoDrive ($34,799) transmission.
You can head to PolarisSlingshot.com to find dealers and get more information on the 2021 model.
Photo: Polaris/ Barry Hathaway/ Bernard Smalls