2023 Polaris Slingshot S
- Radical styling (either you like it or don’t)
- Moderate price tag
- Available with a manual or automatic transmission
- Less refined than an auto, less visceral than a traditional moto
- Loose handling above highway speeds
- S model uses Polaris’ detuned drivetrain
Polaris’ 2023 Slingshot S brings a sense of familiarity you’d expect from a model revision rather than a complete overhaul. The entry-level three-wheeled “autocycle” retains its core features and spec sheet from the previous generation; however, additional colors, customizations, and minor revisions help with personalization.
Are these small changes enough to warrant a purchase? While the new colorways and wheel options alone may not justify an upgrade from your 2022 model, the 2023 Slingshot S improves upon the niche market’s already favorable machine. On paper, Polaris’ 2023 Slingshot S is the most refined iteration the company has produced yet.
Since its introduction in 2015, the Polaris Slingshot has always carved its own path. While three-wheelers are already a niche market, the autocycle completely obliterates the already loose definition of a three-wheeled powersports product.
Where most three-wheelers conform to the typical characteristics of seats and handlebars, the Polaris Slingshot opts for carlike aesthetics; you don’t ride a Slingshot, you drive it. Equipped with a two-seat, SxS-esque cockpit, the front half of the Slingshot feels like a modern take on a VW dune buggy. From the cockpit rearward, the machine looks as if you lopped off the rear differential and installed a sportbike’s rear running gear in its place, begging the question: What is it? Is it a car or a motorcycle? If you ask us, we’d say neither.
To whatever category you classify the Polaris Slingshot, it’s the premier example. Featuring aggressive styling, a peppy in-house-designed drivetrain, and an astounding amount of personalization, the Slingshot hits all the marks for an autocycle.
While missing some of the specifications of the higher-trim models, the starter Slingshot S exhibits an impressive showing, allowing new entries into powersports the chance to climb behind the wheel of a well-equipped autocycle at an affordable price point.
Updates for 2023
The 2023 Slingshot S is practically identical to its previous year’s counterpart, except for minor aesthetic changes. Rather than the previous model’s Ghost Gray body (or Slingshot Red with optional Technology Package I), the 2023 Slingshot S is available exclusively in Moonlight White (or Jet Black with optional Technology Package I).
The 2023 model also features revised split-five-spoke wheels.
Pricing and Variants
Like 2022′s Slingshot S, the 2023 model can be ordered in two basic trims: base ($21,499 MSRP) and Technology Package I ($24,299 MSRP). However, within these two packages, price hikes occur when adding an automatic transmission, raising MSRP to $23,349 and $26,149, respectively.
While both models feature the same drivetrain and overall feature list, Technology Package I adds premium Rockford Fosgate audio and 2.7-inch display, a security package, and clear windscreen.
Polaris also introduces its new personalization features for the 2023 model year, allowing consumers to build their own Slingshot S from various features, finishes, and accessories.
While the Slingshot is almost in its own space, there are similarly priced three-wheelers on the market, such as Harley-Davidson’s Freewheeler ($29,999), Road Glide 3 ($32,999), and Tri Glide ($36,499). Can-Am’s three-wheel lineup includes the Ryker ($8,999), Spyder F3 ($18,499), and Spyder RT ($24,699). And since we’re talking three-wheelers, it doesn’t hurt to mention Piaggio’s MP3 ($11,999).
Designwise, a closer relative to the autocycle includes the much more expensive Campagna T-Rex RR ($65,999), as well as the Vanderhall models, which include the Santarosa ($39,950), Santarosa GT ($44,950), and Santarosa GTS ($48,950).
Note: Listed MSRP are the starting price, and costs will vary depending on features.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All 2023 Polaris Slingshot models pack Polaris’ in-house-designed ProStar 2.0L four-cylinder engine, paired to either a five-speed manual synchromesh transmission with reverse or a hydraulically actuated automated manual (AutoDrive) five-speed synchromesh transmission with reverse.
While all trims feature the same drivetrain, the S is similar to SL models in that it uses Polaris’ detuned powerplant producing 178 hp at 8,500 rpm and 120 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,500 rpm. For comparison, SLR and R models pump out 203 hp at 8,250 rpm and 144 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,500 rpm.
The Slingshot S features an independent, double-wishbone front suspension setup utilizing forged-aluminum control arms and twin-tube, gas-charged coilovers at all three wheels.
Polaris utilizes the same front brake setup on its three lower-level Slingshot trims—the S, SL, and SLR—which feature standard 298mm vented rotors and single-piston floating calipers up front.
All four trims share the same rear setup, comprising another 298mm vented rotor and single-piston floating caliper.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
There is currently no fuel data for the 2023 Polaris Slingshot lineup. The S model holds 9.8 gallons of fuel.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
Unlike most three-wheelers, the Polaris Slingshot employs carlike ergonomics. Its cabin is surprisingly roomy, and dual bucket seats provide moderate support for you and a passenger. While the Slingshot won’t win any awards for cargo space, it features a convenient storage compartment at the rear of the cockpit.
One final note: If you plan to cruise at higher speeds regularly, we’d recommend the optional windscreen.
While even the highest-trim Polaris Slingshot can’t compete with the amenities of modern passenger vehicles, the lineup features several tech goodies and safety systems.
S models feature the fewest tech, but this entry into the Slingshot lineup does come standard with ABS, cruise control, and vehicle hill hold. Traction and stability control are standard, but vehicle drive modes are an optional upgrade.
Upgrading to Technology Package I adds a passive security system, Rockford Fosgate 2.7-inch display with Bluetooth and USB phone connectivity, and Rockford Fosgate 50-watt audio system.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Polaris Slingshot S features a two-year unlimited-mile warranty.
2023 Polaris Slingshot S Claimed Specs
|MSRP:||$21,499/$24,299 (Technology Package I)|
|Engine:||1,997cc ProStar 2.0L DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-4; 4 valves/cyl.|
|Bore x Stroke:||93.0 x 73.5mm|
|Transmission/Final Drive:||5-speed manual synchromesh w/ reverse / Hydraulically actuated automated manual (AutoDrive) 5-speed synchromesh w/ reverse / carbon-fiber-reinforced belt|
|Claimed Horsepower:||178 hp @ 8,500 rpm|
|Claimed Torque:||120 lb.-ft. @ 5,500 rpm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Multiport EFI|
|Clutch:||Dry, single plate; hydraulically actuated|
|Front Suspension:||Independent, double wishbone w/ forged aluminum control arms, revised twin-tube gas-charged coilovers; 6.3 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Twin-tube gas-charged coilovers; 6.3 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Aluminum 1-piston floating calipers, vented cast-iron 298mm discs w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Aluminum 1-piston floating caliper, vented cast-iron 298mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast aluminum; 18 x 7.5 in. / 20 x 9.0 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Kenda SS-799; 225/45R-18 / 255/35R-20|
|Ground Clearance:||5.4 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||9.8 gal.|
|Claimed Wet Weight:||1,636 lbs. / 1,655 lbs. (Technology Package 1)|