2020 Polaris Slingshot teased -- big changes in store?

Patents suggest substantial changes lurk underneath, too. We'll know more Jan. 14.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read

The original Slingshot seemed to come out of left field for powersports juggernaut Polaris. The angular three-wheeler burst on the scene in 2015, and it has essentially had the autocycle market to itself since that time. Five years have passed and competition for the sit-down trike market remains extremely limited, but that doesn't mean Polaris' unusual roadster isn't due for some upgrades. 

For the moment, it's unconfirmed what updates the 2020 Polaris Slingshot will undergo outside of some visual changes to the front end. The Minnesota-based company has released this new teaser video on social media, and it's clear that the model has new lighting -- presumably LEDs -- arrayed in a striking opposing-arrowhead array. There's also a central headlamp as before (a requirement under federal autocycle regulations) and the front wheels appear to be more enclosed than they are in the current model.

It's also not immediately clear if there are any changes in the open cabin, let alone under the hood. The latter has long housed a version of General Motors' 2.4-liter naturally aspirated EcoTec, an engine that used to be found under the hood of a wide variety of cars, from previous versions of the Chevrolet Malibu to the long-dead Pontiac Solstice. In today's 2019 Polaris Slingshot, the powerplant delivers 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel. 

Polaris Slingshot SLR
Enlarge Image
Polaris Slingshot SLR

This is the way today's Polaris Slingshot looks.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

It's worth noting that's visible in the shadowy 15-second teaser video above appears to match patent drawings discovered by Motorcycle.com in November. That publication's report also indicated that the Slingshot could be set to receive a new four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission (to this point, only a five-speed manual gearbox has been available).

Along with the technical details, we'll also have to wait for confirmation on pricing. Retail prices for the departing 2019 Slingshot start at just under $20,000 for the base S model, with the range-topping Grand Touring ringing up at nearly $30,000.

In its announcement, Polaris only noted "New Year. New Slingshot. Are you ready?" on its Twitter feed, but the company's consumer site features a countdown for the new model, which suggests the 2020 Slingshot will debut Jan. 14.