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2021 Polaris Slingshot is its own animal

There's no cheaper way to grab more attention than this funky three-wheeled autocycle.

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Chris Paukert

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2021 Polaris Slingshot R
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Say hello to the 2021 Slingshot, the latest version of Polaris' unmistakable three-wheeler.

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For 2021, Polaris retuned the Slingshot's available AutoDrive automated manual gearbox and added paddle shifters, updates that were badly needed.

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If you happened to buy last year's model with the AutoDrive gearbox, Polaris dealers will provide a software reflash free of charge to smooth it out, but you'll still have to pay extra for the paddles.

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The Slingshot was about 70% new for the 2020 model year. You can spot the new ones most easily by their LED lighting.

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The Slingshot's cabin was comprehensively updated last year, including a new flat-bottomed wheel with higher-quality feel, richer-feeling materials and so on. Even still, because this cabin has to remain weatherproof, it doesn't feel like the same quality as an automobile.

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Rear visibility would be a challenge without the rearview camera.

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Since last year, the Slingshot has been powered by Polaris' in-house designed Prostar, a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four cylinder.

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Available in two states of tune, lower-end models generate 178 horsepower and 120 pound-feet of torque, while higher-end Slingshot R models get 203 hp and 144 lb-ft.

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For 2021, Polaris made Apple CarPlay available, along with a louder Rockford-Fosgate audio system and new light kits.

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That 20-inch rear Kenda tire is going to be busy back there...

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A new hill-hold feature is a welcome update to the AutoDrive gearbox, as well. 

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A five-speed manual is still standard. If you aren't stuck in traffic all the time and you know how to operate a three-pedal gearbox, it remains the Slingshot's transmission of choice -- it's smoother, cheaper, simpler and more fun to drive.

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Keep clicking or scrolling for dozens of additional images of the 2021 Polaris Slingshot.

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