Unique new vehicle

Here are three things to know about the Polaris Slingshot

The Polaris Slingshot is one of the most unique vehicles on sale today.

Polaris

The Polaris Slingshot is an interesting beast. It is, by far, one of the most unique vehicles you can buy in the U.S. today, though depending on where you live, it may require a motorcycle license. However, in most states, you can buy and drive one just like a normal car, albeit one that should only be driven while wearing a full-face helmet.

I recently spent a week with a 2021 Polaris Slingshot R and came away from the experience more than a little conflicted. On one hand, it's too much for me on a personal level, as I think it's too wildly styled and costs too much money. On the other hand, it's impossible to ignore the charm of the thing. It's loud, too quick for its own good, and a totally crazy driving experience that lands somewhere between being a complete riot and terrifying, depending on how and where it's driven.


2021 Polaris Slingshot There's no ignoring this when it's next to you in traffic.Chris Teague


However, for many, the Slingshot remains a complete mystery, so here are three things you need to know.

It's Loud

No, I don't mean loud in the sense that you can hear it coming – though that's part of the deal, too. I mean loud in the visual sense. Like, 1990s ugly sweater loud. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the one thing that isn't up for debate is that the Slingshot is eye-catching. Add a couple of people wearing full-face helmets and it's nearly impossible to look away from the thing.

It's a Crazy Driving Experience

It's true that this isn't a motorcycle, but the way the Slingshot puts its passengers' rear ends just a couple of inches off the road surface and not all that far away from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine creates one lively experience. Every bump, crack, and sound can be felt and heard, though it's not unpleasant at all and adds to the experience. Couple that with the open-air driving experience and giant tires communicating it all into the steering wheel and the Slingshot is a wild ride.

It's Surprisingly Quick

I tested the Slingshot R, which is one of the flashier and more expensive models Polaris makes. Its in-house four-cylinder engine checks in at 2.0 liters and delivers 203 horsepower, 144 pound-feet of torque, and a whole lot of noise. The advertised 0-60 mph time for the R is 4.9 seconds, which is quicker than some sports sedans, though it feels much more violent and faster than that in person. The optional Autodrive five-speed gearbox is an automated manual, which means that it will shift itself when asked, but is happiest with the driver firing off shifts with the steering wheel-mounted paddles.



The Slingshot is one of the few vehicles that defies almost everything to be what it is. It doesn't make sense for people who want a motorcycle and it's not particularly appealing to someone wanting a convertible or roadster. You have to be in the market for a Slingshot to end up buying a Slingshot, and for those that are, they've never been better than they are now.

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Tesla quietly released the "toy" today.

Tesla

Tesla is known for being unpredictable, so today’s news is not totally shocking, despite being extremely cool. The automaker released a new vehicle today, but not for use on the road, and not for use by grownups. The Cyberquad for Kids landed today with a sophisticated feature set and a very adult price tag of $1,900.

The Cyberquad for Kids checks in at 122 pounds and can carry a person that weighs as much as 150 pounds. Two forward speeds include 5 and 10 mph settings, and reverse can reach 5 mph. Depending on the rider’s weight and speed, the Cyberquad for Kids can travel up to 15+ miles on a charge. Tesla says that an empty battery can take up to five hours to fully recharge.

A full steel frame underpins the quad, and though it’s being pitched for kids, the ATV features adjustable suspension, rear disk brakes, LED light bars, and a cushioned seat. The futuristic EV looks almost identical to the larger Cyberquad we saw during the initial Cybertruck demonstration.

A thorough set of assembly and troubleshooting directions are available on Tesla’s site, but despite the Cyberquad for Kids’ complexity, don’t get any ideas about using it on the street. Tesla recommends using it on sidewalks and for stunts, but I think we’re all looking forward to the eventual tidal wave of YouTube videos this thing is going to generate.

Tesla Cyberquad for Kids Kids 8 years and older, and up to 150 pounds can ride. Tesla

If you’re hoping to get a Cyberquad for Kids, you might be out of luck. Though it only launched today, it’s already out of stock. There’s no word on if more will become available. Those that were lucky enough to snag one should start receiving them in early 2022.

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New sports car

Toyota announces pricing for 2022 GR86

The new GR86 gets more power and chassis refinements.

Toyota

Toyota and Subaru are among few remaining automakers still building small sports cars. The 86 and BRZ twins are a rarity these days: Two-door, rear-drive sports cars with available manual transmissions. Even so, the cars were down on power and needed structural improvements to truly stand out, both of which they got for the 2022 model year. Today, Toyota announced pricing for the 2022 GR86, which starts at under $30,000.

2022 Toyota GR86 Pricing is reasonable at under $30,000.Toyota

The new GR86 addresses many of the complaints that buyers had about the last generation cars. A new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is on board that makes 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque – both improvements on the previous model's 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration improves from a 0-60 mph time of 7.0 seconds to 6.1 seconds for cars equipped with the manual transmission(MT) and from 8.0 to 6.6 seconds for cars with the automatic transmission (AT).

2022 Toyota GR86 Power and torque are both up for 2022. Toyota

Toyota says that the GR86's chassis is stiffer for the new model year, thanks to new front cross-members and bracing under the hood. Engineers focused on weight control for the cars, resulting in a curb weight of just 2,811 pounds for MT models and 2,851 for AT models. For reference, that's between 400 and 500 pounds more than the tiny Mazda Miata, depending on transmission choice.

2022 Toyota GR86 Small sports cars are a dying breed.Toyota

The base GR86 with manual transmission starts at $27,700 before destination and the top GR86 Premium with automatic transmission starts at $31,800. Pricing for the 86 is reasonable, no matter which way you cut it, but there's a bonus that makes the deal even sweeter. Every buyer of a 2022 GR86 will get a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA), which includes the ability to attend a high-performance driving event and admission to other NASA events.

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