Talking Cars 369: Driving the Polaris Slingshot

We discuss what it’s like to drive a three-wheeled vehicle, and answer a question about testing programs for automaker emissions

Main theme: The Slingshot is a three-wheeled street vehicle—built by Polaris, a company known for its ATVs, side-by-sides, and snowmobiles—that blurs the line between a motorcycle and a car. We describe what it’s like to drive a vehicle that has two front tires but only one at the rear, an engine that revs to 8,500 rpm, and forgoes doors, a roof, and much in the way of safety features beyond seat belts, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control. We also discuss how the AutoDrive automated manual transmission, fitted to the model we rented from Polaris, is the Slingshot’s Achilles’ heel.

Audience question: I received a letter from a company asking if it could use my 2018 Mazda CX-9 to gather emissions data for Mazda. Have you heard of this program? And if so, do you think it’s okay if I let it borrow my CX-9 for testing? 

Talking Cars 369 panel
"Talking Cars" panelists Alex Knizek, Mike Monticello, and Jake Fisher.

Photo: Consumer Reports Photo: Consumer Reports

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Mike Monticello

After my dad gave me a ride on his Yamaha two-stroke motorcycle when I was 3, I was hooked on anything with an engine. I got a master’s in journalism as a means to an end: To drive cars and get paid for it, which led me to jobs at Road & Track and My most thrilling moment so far has been hurtling down the autobahn at a GPS-timed 217.1 mph in a Ruf Rt12. On weekends you can find me churning dirt on my mountain bike or doing car or motorcycle track days. Follow me on Twitter. (@MikeMonticello)