Polestar 1 Review
The Polestar 1 looks superb, has a genuinely brilliant hybrid system and is great to drive. It’s pricey, though, especially when lots of its parts are found in much cheaper Volvos.
What's not so good
Polestar 1: what would you like to read next?
Like a grandad throwing on a tracksuit, escaping the nursing home and heading to a rave, Polestar is Volvo let off the leash. Through superb design, Volvo has already made a transition from boxy, safe and stuffy to sleek and stylish, but the Polestar 1 is grandad in the mosh pit.
The Polestar 1 is a £140,000, left-hand-drive only, carbon-fibre bodied, performance plug-in-hybrid coupe GT. Niche, then. It’s intended to showcase what Polestar is capable of before it focuses solely on EVs. The closest fast coupe competition is from the likes of the Bentley Continental GT and BMW 8 Series, although neither is a hybrid designed to be mean as well as green.
The 1 is pretty unique, then, and you certainly won’t miss it on the road. It looks stunning, with a low, sleek roofline, slimline door mirrors and a bold grille. Sure, there’s more than a hint of Volvo about the place, but, as new Volvo’s are a paragon of style and sophistication, this matters not a jot on the outside.
Inside, though, things are maybe a little too Volvo. You’re faced with what is essentially an S90 saloons’ dashboard, which given its lovely materials and solid build isn’t an issue until you remember the S90 costs a fraction of the price. Still, there’s enough additional carbon fibre, chrome trim and mood lighting to ensure the Polestar 1 feels special.
But uh-oh… the 1’s infotainment system is straight from the Volvo parts bin too. It’s portrait in style, has sharp, bright graphics and is responsive to touch, although there are a few too many small icons to navigate when driving. Volvo’s digital dials are also looking a little behind the curve these days next to the best on sale.
The Polestar 1 is what’s known as a 2+2. Two adults will have no problems getting comfortable in the front electric seats and the driver enjoys a fantastic driving position, but the rear seats are very tight on space. In reality, they’re only good for small children or a couple of bags.
The Polestar 1 is really a showcase for what this new kid on the block can do. Its Tesla-worrying Polestar 2 will be the one to watch.
You might need them for bags, too, because the Polestar 1’s boot is largely taken up by its batteries, leaving enough space for two or three weekend bags. Still, the 1’s electrical gubbins displayed beautifully behind a see-through panel in the boot will help take your mind off the fact.
On the subject of electrical gubbins, the Polestar 1 is a technical tour de force. It has a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine driving its front wheels, plus an electric motor on each rear wheel and a 34kWh battery pack in the middle. Altogether it produces 609hp and cracks 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, despite weighing a mighty 2.3 tonnes.
It isn’t just quick – the Polestar 1 is also good to drive both on country and town roads. It has quick, accurate steering, lots of grip and a clever torque vectoring system helps defy the 1’s weight and make it feel really quite agile. It’s comfortable too – on the firm side, but never uncomfortable over dodgy high streets.
Of course, you can also drive on electricity alone. The 1 will go up to 100mph in EV mode and has a 78-mile range, meaning you could quite happily charge it each night (which takes 40mins on a fast charge) and use it as an electric car most of the time – slashing your running costs.
It’s the Polestar 1’s breadth of talent that makes it so impressive. It’s a great electric car that also has an engine and thus the range to make it a proper long-distance GT. You’ll need to put up with some Volvo parts-bin bits and pieces and only 1500 are being built, but the 1 ultimately feels worth its hefty price tag.