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2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

The Polaris Slingshot is one of the most distinctive motorized vehicles on the market today, sparking curiosity and interest every time one zips through the streets. With the company rolling out its new 2023 lineup, Polaris Slingshot invites riders to dig deep into their artistic bags and design the ride of their dreams.

First, I’d like to personally thank Polaris for having me and other members of the media and riding community out to test drive the Slingshot in November. As I told some of the Polaris team, I’ve wondered for years what the hoopla was all about as it relates to the Slingshot. On a reasonably warm day no matter the season, it is customary to see Slingshots zipping through the Washington Metropolitan area in droves.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

I’ll be frank here, I largely thought of the Slingshot as the new mid-life splurge mobile as everyone I’ve ever seen ride one were your older professional types prone to playing classic funk, soul, R&B, and Washington, D.C.’s homegrown sound, Go-Go, from their speakers. I couldn’t have been more incorrect about my assessment. While the Slingshot is made to cruise the city streets or rolling hills of the suburbs, this is still a mighty powerful machine that has all the razzle and dazzle that would attract young (at heart) riders too.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

“Whether you’re looking to elevate your everyday, escape on an epic adventure, or utilize the three-wheel canvas for self-expression, the 2023 Polaris Slingshot delivers limitless possibilities to design your perfect ride,” Chris Sergeant, Polaris Slingshot Vice President, offered in a press statement. “Each year we continue to evolve the lineup by listening to our riders, and this year is another example of thoughtful additions and enhancements that answer the call and serve our passionate owners.”

Before we get into my experiences with the ride, let’s have a quick look at the 2023 Polaris Slingshot lineup and what prospective riders can expect.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

Slingshot S

The base model Slingshot S comes in one color, Moonlight White, and is offered as both manual (Starting at $21,499 & $21,799 in California), and AutoDrive (Starting at $23,349 & $23,649 in California).

Slingshot S with Technology Package 1

Slingshot S with Technology Package 1 up the ante with a 50-watt Rockford Fosgate® audio system with a 2.7-inch display, speaker pods, and Rockford Fosgate® tweeters in the dashboard for an all-around booming sound. This model also comes with a vehicle security package and a Ripper Series Clear Wind Deflector to keep the elements out of your face. This model comes in two colors, Moonlight White and Jet Black in both a manual (Starting at $24,299 & $24,599 in California) and AutoDrive (Starting at $26,149 & $26,449 in California).

Slingshot SL

The Slingshot SL gives riders four colorway options along with added style components, top-of-the-line paint finishes, a 100-watt Rockford Fosgate® audio system, and the seven-inch touchscreen display powered by RIDE COMMAND. The colors offered are Storm Gray, Cobalt Blue, Neon Lime, and Pacific Teal in both a manual (Starting at $27,499 & $27,799 in California; Starting at $34,799) and AutoDrive (Starting at $29,349 & $29,649 in California; Starting at $36,999).

Slingshot SLR

The SLR model is where we get into the high-end portion of the Slingshot universe. The SLR is finished in two-tone paint, added exterior lighting, a premium sports interior, and a 305mm rear wheel. The model is available in three new colors, Red Shadow, Lime Shadow, and Cobalt Blue Fade in both a manual (Starting at $30,399 & $30,699 in California; Starting at $38,699) and AutoDrive (Starting at $32,249 & $32,549 in California; Starting at $40,899).

Slingshot R

The Slingshot R is the top model of the lineup and makes its triumphant return for 2023. The model boasts a 203-horsepower ProStar engine, Brembo® painted front calipers, touchscreen controls powered by RIDE COMMAND complete with navigation, connected services, and Apple CarPlay®. The R also comes with a Sport Vented Hood, which really brings out the sleek look of the ride, and paddle shifters for AutoDrive riders. The five available colors are Desert Sky, Graphite Blue, Miami Blue Fade, Lime Dream, and Pacific Teal Haze in both a manual (Starting at $33,999 & $34,299 in California; Starting at $42,899) and AutoDrive (Starting at $36,149 & $36,449 in California; Starting at $45,499).

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

Austin City Ride 

Media members and industry professionals were invited to get hands-on with the Polaris Slingshot. Admittedly, I was nervous because I hadn’t been on the back of a motorcycle in years and the Slingshot, with all its bells and whistles, was slightly intimidating but the nervousness soon dissipated. While the AutoDrive setup is similar to driving an automobile, the three-wheeled concept takes things to a new level.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

Source: Polaris / Slingshot

On our first day riding out in the lovely city of Austin, Texas took us through the city to see how the Slingshot handles in an urban environment. As a first-time Slingshot rider, I was finally able to experience the rush I’m sure owners get from riding around town with all eyes on them. In simple terms, I had no idea what to expect but I can freely say that I see the appeal of riding in a Slingshot. If you’re someone who appreciates the outdoors and being one with the elements of nature, it makes perfect sense to hop behind the wheel of one of these beauties.

The handling of the Slingshot was not unlike driving a car. You are low to the ground and largely secure in the cabin, but the vehicle turns with the ease of a motorbike. Once I got acclimated to the Slingshot ahead of taking some snazzy photos, I was able to appreciate the experience in full. After our city ride, we were treated to cocktails and an Austin-styled dinner with pinstripe artist Skratch personalizing our helmets. But the true outdoor fun began the following day.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

Our second ride took us outside of downtown Austin through winding roads into Hill Country en route to Lake Austin and Ski Shores Cafe for a quick bite to eat. Our travels then took us through a rousing ride through some of the quieter neighborhoods northwest of Austin and ended with a ride across the Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge for a photo opportunity of a lifetime.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

From there, we had a little free time to ride around Austin before we (begrudgingly? Just kidding!) had to turn in our rides. I took in the city once more after the nature-filled ride from before, and it is an experience I won’t soon forget.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

As readers of HHW and CASSIUS know, I don’t cover the automotive industry but after this trip, I wish I did. The Polaris Slingshot seems like one of those unattainable items but it is surprisingly affordable, especially across its mid-range offerings. And if my fortunes continue to an upswing, I’m definitely going to hop in the market myself.

2023 Polaris Slingshot Austin City Ride

Learn more about the 2023 Polaris Slingshot lineup by following this link. The new lineup will become available in early 2023.

Learn more about Polaris here.

Photo: Polaris