We tested the Polaris Slingshot earlier this year and were less than impressed by its AutoDrive transmission, which we described as an “exercise in compromise that can be downright maddening at times.”
The company is addressing our complaints for 2021 as they have done a “complete retune” of the transmission. Polaris says this “noticeably improves shifting at low and high speeds” as well as delivers “smoother, faster and more consistent shifts.”
The upgrades don’t stop there as the five-speed automated manual gains new steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. They come standard on the Slingshot R and are optional on lesser models with the AutoDrive transmission.
Driven: The 2020 Polaris Slingshot Is Fast And Fun, But Stick To The Manual
Furthermore, there’s a new Hill Hold function which comes standard on both manual and AutoDrive variants. It prevents the model from rolling backwards when you take your foot off the brake.
Owners of the 2020 Slingshot aren’t being left in the cold as the paddle shifters, gearbox recalibration and Hill Hold function will also be available on last year’s model.
New Base Model That Starts At $19,999
The other big news for 2021 is the return of the Slingshot S, which starts at $19,999. That makes it $6,500 less expensive than last year’s entry-level Slingshot SL.
Designed for drivers “seeking the essentials,” the model is sparsely equipped but is available with both manual and AutoDrive transmissions. Buyers can also opt for the Technology Package 1 which includes a wind deflector, a security system, and a 100-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with a 2.7-inch display.
Another new addition is the range-topping Slingshot R Limited Edition. It features an asymmetrical Neon Fade paint job, black badging and lightweight aluminum wheels with a matte black finish. The model also has a 7-inch Ride Command infotainment system with GPS navigation as well as Apple CarPlay.
More Tech And Customization
Since Slingshots are designed to stand out from the crowd, 2021 models offer more customization than ever before. There are seven new exterior accent colors and a premium interior lighting kit. The latter features six LED lights and an LED light pod, which can be choreographed to music or changed using the Slingshot LED app.
As mentioned above, the 2021 Slingshot gains Apple CarPlay compatibility. It comes standard on the R and R Limited Edition, and will be optional on the SL. Owners of 2020 Slingshots can also update their Ride Command system to support CarPlay.
On the topic of options, the new Concert Series package adds a roll hoop audio kit and the rave-style lights. There also new Drive, Design and Excursion packages which bundle together various accessories which focus on performance, looks and travel.
Under the hood, there’s a familiar 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 178 hp (133 kW / 180 PS) and 120 lb-ft (163 Nm) of torque in the Slingshot S and SL. Those numbers jump to 203 hp (151 kW / 206 PS) and 144 lb-ft (195 Nm) in the Slingshot R and R Limited Edition.
The 2021 Polaris Slingshot is currently headed to dealers and prices range from $19,999 to $34,799.