The Polaris Slingshot is a big, expensive toy. Really, it's like a $25,000 Big Wheel for grown-ups. And, oh, my, God... It's fun. Crazy, stupid, ridiculous, insane fun.
Before I go into all the fun stuff, though, I must stop and be a responsible adult for just a moment. Although the three-wheeled Polaris ( Slingshot has the engine, seating positions and controls of an automobile, it is not an automobile. It is, legally speaking, a motorcycle. That means it doesn't have all the safety equipment required of a car. There are no airbags in this thing and there's only just enough body to hold the seats and wheels in their respective places. )
It does have three-point safety belts and electronic stability control -- which is especially helpful in a three-wheeled vehicle -- but, if you were to crash into anything... Well, it's a motorcycle.
Now, with that out of the way... Did I mention how much fun it is?
Being behind the wheel of the Slingshot reminds me of driving an old convertible spoorts car. But it's even better. It's ultra-light and quick with steering that feels about as direct as motorcycle's handlebars. You are very low to the ground looking through your helmet visor and a plastic windshield. With so little around you, you can watch the road and all that surrounds it rushing by as the wind whistles past you.
On twisty roads it bears remembering that, since it does have electronic stability control, you can probably take those turns faster than you'd think in something this tiny.
The engine -- a 173-horsepower General Motors ( four-cylinder -- puts out well more than enough power to blast this wispy machine down the highway. Zero-to-60 acceleration is not the Slingshot's favorite pastime, though. That single back wheel starts to wriggle side-to-side when you try to push it too hard. Working the steering wheel kept the Slingshot in line but I found myself just backing off the gas a little since, really, it was plenty fast and fun without overworking that poor, lonely tire. )
The Slingshot's seats don't look comfortable, coated as they are in quick-drying plastic. Actually, they're surprisingly easy on the backside and nicely supportive.
The vision-distorting plastic windshield was the only slight annoyance since it bisected my field of vision out front. As I entered each curve, I had to decide whether to lift my head to look over it or duck my head a little to look through it because, if I just looked straight ahead, I saw two different curves at once. Fortunately, Polaris offers windshields of different heights so, if I were buying one, I'd opt for something taller or a little shorter.
I'm told the radio sounds good, too, but honestly, I was having too much fun driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway to bother fiddling with the stereo. With dramatic cliffs to one side, a Pacific Ocean sunset on the other and nothing to block my view, I had plenty to occupy my senses.