Polaris had us and the world wondering what was in store when they began teasing the 2020 Slingshot. Serving as a radical revamp of the lovable three wheeler that we had the chance to fully experience in Traverse City, the company promised that big changes were in store for the hot selling three-wheeler, and now that the covers have come off, and we have had a chance to soak it all in the 2020 model is a very different animal in a number of very encouraging ways.
The bulk of these changes will not be found in the exterior design. The same batman-esque fusion of sci-fi elements and jagged creases is still very much apparent, but a greater emphasis on refinement is on full display, with the front fascia getting all new LED lighting elements, and minor styling tweaks that help ramp up the levels of aggression offered by the Slingshot. The 2020 model also gets new wheel designs, and a revised suspension to help encourage more playful behavior when going through turns.
The interior has undergone a more aggressive transformation, with Polaris designers clearly getting some inspirations from rival Vanderhall and their trike offering. The functionality that we came to like in the outgoing Slingshot is still present, but a revised setup for the push button start system and a new passive entry feature will be the most noticeable things that will stand out when buyers have a chance to spend more time with the Slingshot. The center console features more storage and a revised Ride Command interface that promises to bring improved usability and screen quality to the party. Annoyingly, it appears that Polaris designers still have not added formal charging ports for smart devices, but the all new leather wrapped flat bottomed steering wheel does take a step in the right direction by adding new satellite controls for the audio system as well as other key features. Meanwhile, revised ventilation and lighting elements aim to make the cockpit more livable for occupants, and the latter feature should help make the Slingshot stand out during night time driving.
But the bulk of the changes are found in the performance hardware which has undergone a major reboot for 2020. The wheezy and ancient GM 2.4 liter Ecotec four banger has been pitched for an all new 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. However, Polaris decided to take a novel approach, and instead designed AND built the engine in-house. Dubbed “ProStar” (not to be confused with the campy 90’s television show of the same name) the engine is offered in two tunes with the SL model making 173 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the hotter “R” model makes 203 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. Compant reps chose to keep the SL’s performance figures under wraps for now, but did let slip that the R is capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
The other big change for 2020 is the transmission offerings that are available to buyers. The carryover five speed manual is still present, but buyers can now chose an all new AutoDrive transmission. Essentially an automated manual transmission, the unit works via push buttons, and is supposed to work like a conventional automatic. As is the case with certain high end sports cars, there is no formal park button, with the parking brake serving in this purpose. This is the first time that such a feature has ever appeared in the Slingshot, and it appears to be the second automatic alternative to be offered in the three-wheeler segment (Vanderhall beat Polaris to the punch with their automatic transmission a few years back.)
Pricing for the 2020 Polaris Slingshot starts at $26,499 for the SL, and $30,999 for a manual equipped R model. Adding AutoDrive to the R helps boost the price to $32,699. The second generation Slingshot is slated to go on sale this spring, with the full launch being completed by mid-summer.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.