Polestar 2 review
The Polestar 2 is here to rival the Tesla Model 3. It looks great, drives nicely and has a superb interior, but a Tesla Model 3 is more affordable and can go further on a charge.
What's not so good
Polestar 2: what would you like to read next?
The Polestar 2 is a five-door hatchback electric car capable of almost 300 miles on a charge. Polestar is an EV-focused offshoot of Volvo, and this is its first serious attempt at giving Tesla something to worry about as the Polestar 2 is going head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3.
But while the Model 3 is strutting around like a peacock with its whoopee-cushion seats, the Polestar 2 is eagle-like: cool, understated but with more than enough power in reserve to thrill should you need it too.
That Scandinavian chic is evident outside, where the 2 has simple but bold lines, including its Volvo-style Thor-hammer LED daytime running lights at the front and its rear light bar borrowed from RoboCop. It looks taller than a typical hatchback, thanks to a black strip that runs along its sills and over its wheelarches.
If you’d missed it outside, Polestar’s ties with Volvo are more evident inside. The steering wheel and some switches are shared, but the 2 does have its own unique feel and importantly the quality you come to expect from Volvo is very much intact. Here, the Polestar has Tesla beaten – it feels like it’ll last longer.
The star of the show is that iPad-like screen propped up against the dash. It controls everything from the stereo to the heating and the navigation and is nicer to use than Volvo’s system, with cleaner graphics. It’s snappy in operation and is easy to follow, although Apple CarPlay won’t be available until after the car’s launch, so it’s just Android Auto from now.
Don't expect your Polestar 2 to come with gimmicks like a Tesla Model 3, it's cooler than that. It costs more, though, and has a shorter range.
Volvo knows a thing or two about great seats and Polestar has borrowed a wonderfully supportive set in the front. Space is generous upfront too and that also goes for the back, where a couple of adults will have no trouble getting comfy as long as they aren’t freakishly tall. That said, three adults of any size will struggle to side-by-side in comfort.
The Polestar 2’s boot has decent access with its hatch boot lid, but the bottom line is that you’ll get slightly more stuff in a Tesla Model 3. There’s also a small storage area at the front, but again, the Tesla’s one is slightly bigger.
The Tesla Model 3 is a quicker electric car and also has a better range than the Polestar’s 292 miles. Still, the Polestar 2 is hardly slow – it’ll still crack the sprint to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and feels extremely fast in and out of town. It even handles pretty sharply, too, feeling quite agile for such a heavy car.
However, the ride isn’t as good as some of the most comfortable electric cars, like the Jaguar I-Pace. Models equipped with the Performance Pack get adjustable Ohlins dampers, but they’re set up to make the ride quite harsh from the off, and it never becomes soft even by adjusting them. Better to opt for a standard car without the Performance Pack, as the ride is a fair bit more comfortable over bumps and it doesn’t sacrifice too much in the corners.
Charging a Polestar 2 takes as little at 40mins, but you’ll need a public 150kw charger for that. Via a typical home wall box it’ll take more like 8hrs at a cost of around £11. That’s some £20 cheaper than fuelling the average petrol car over the same distance.
So, the Polestar 2 doesn’t have quite the headline figures or driving experience of the Tesla Model 3, and it costs more to buy, but it’s still a seriously credible electric car that manages to be classier inside and out.