Polestar Polestar 2 2023
The Polestar 2 was rated second in a recent APA multi-car BEV road test that included the Tesla 3, the Ford Mach-E and the Chevrolet Bolt. Despite the high prices of all the cars involved, the Polestar was the sole car with the performance, style and cabin appointments to match expectations of luxury buyers. High quality plastics, copious soft-padded surfaces, chic wood accents and novel use of fabric on the dash and the door panels make for a very upscale cabin ambience. With a configurable digital display showing vehicle operation parameters in front of the driver, conventional, steering column-mounted wiper and lighting controls and a conventional (looking but not in operation) gear selector, the Polestar 2 permits drivers easy access to crucial controls in a way not possible on the Tesla 3. There is also an on-off-volume knob for the audio system, demystifying yet another frequently used control. All other controls for the infotainment system are screen-based, but the screen is closer to the driver than in the Tesla 3 or Ford Mach-E and access means that eyes are distracted less time from the road. Despite being built on a longer-wheelbase than the Volvo XC40, there is less rear legroom and the overly-vertical rear seatback diminish comfort for rear-seat riders than its corporate cousin, the XC40 and smaller windows enhance the feeling. Up front, the seats, though narrow, are comfortable, with the high and wide centre console leaves some drivers feel hemmed in. Limited oddments storage inside the 2 is disappointing. Substantial trunk is enhanced by hatchback versatility.
Access to the 2 is hampered by a keyfob, the functions of which are opaque, at best. There is no stop-start button for the 2, which is turned on when the driver occupies the seat. The lack of a “positive” on-off button will be a purchase objection from some buyers. Though not as blisteringly fast as the dual-motor Tesla 3 tested, the Polestar 2 is very fast and impressively refined. Three steering weights are available, with the Firm mode great fun for spirited driving but a bit “dirty” at highway speeds. Handling is predictable and steady but in tight turns drivers sense the high weight (250 kg higher than the other cars in the quartet). One pedal braking works very well. The 2’s ride is firm yet compliant and never devolves to harsh. A high dashboard cowl, shallow side windows and a small rear window with a large, non-glazed arc at its top centre portion, visibility is less than panoramic. Door mirrors are not located in any kind of surround and ice and snow can form around their perimeters. Bizarrely, despite being a hatchback, the 2 is not equipped with a rear wiper-washer. Quick warming seat heaters and a good heater from the heat pump system in the -5 centigrade temperatures experienced when we drove the car. The Harman-Kardon audio system in our 2 delivered pleasing sounds. The navigation facility in the 2 works well. The Google-based infotainment system, also used by Volvo, works well enough with some acclimatization.
The ideal weather range for 2 Dual Motor is 418 kilometers, with winter range reduced to about 280 kilometers. Charging to 80%, observed range at -5 C was about 200 kilometers.
Polestar self-identifies as a Swedish brand but the car is built exclusively in China. The Polestar 2 borrows the compact modular platform from Volvo-Geely (Geely is Volvo’s parent firm) also used by the Volvo XC40. Built on a longer wheelbase, the Polestar 2 is longer overall, a bit narrower and lower than the XC40. The base powertrain features front-wheel drive and 231 horsepower. The dual-motor, all-wheel drive variant produces 408 horsepower. The 78 kWh battery pack can power for the long-range, front-wheel drive variant, for 426 kilometres and 400 kilometres for the dual-motor mode.
The Polestar 2 is a hatchback car that reflects a very Volvo styling ethos with a hint of Kia thrown in.
The dual motor option cost $5000 on the Polestar 2. The Pilot package, offered on the base trim, which adds directional fog lights, a 360 degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, auto-dim door mirrors and self-parking, is overpriced. The Plus group includes a heat pump system, a fixed-glass roof panel, a Harman-Kardon audio system and real wood accent, but is priced beyond its value. The Performance includes larger wheels and tires, Ohlin-branded suspension struts and Brembo-brand brakes, but is overpriced.
Polestar is not offered by Volvo dealers in Canada. Polestar will deliver a new car, and pickup and return a car for service within 250 kilometers from their boutiques in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. However, there is no service available beyond 250 kilometers, so long-distance travel, even if you overcome the lack of brand-exclusive charging (like Tesla), may not be viable. It is a bit of a mystery why the Polestar brand is not offered via the established, nation-wide, Volvo dealer network.
Below average reliability is expected over the long term and the lack of servicing outlets limits the appeal of the car to strictly-limited geographic areas.
Last update: June 27, 2023
Engine78 kWh battery pack (231 HP, front-wheel drive, 408 HP, Dual-Motor, 476 HP, Performance Pack, Dual Motor)
Drive LayoutFront-wheel drive
Body StyleCompact SUV & Crossover Electric
What’s new this year?
No changes of note for 2023.
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