Review – Polestar 2 is serious EV challenger to Tesla Model 3

Scandinavian simplicity.

You step into the Polestar 2, put your foot on the brake pedal and snick the neat gear selector into D and away you go.

There is no starter button. There is no mode selection and there is no fake engine noise.

You might recognise the Volvo switchgear, but this will be the first time you’ve seen the unusual Polestar badge that is in front of you on the steering wheel boss.

I’ve long been looking forward to driving the Polestar 2.

Polestar 1 was a limited edition and expensive high-performance car that is achingly beautiful; the Polestar 2 is the first large-volume electric car to come from Volvo’s new stand-alone brand.

It’s a direct rival to Tesla’s huge-selling and extremely good Model 3.

There’s not even a start button
(Image: newspress.co.uk)

What about the Polestar 2’s styling? It’s part-saloon, part-fastback, but almost has the stance of a crossover. I think it looks superb.

Praise that continues into the car’s interior – it has lovely materials and textures.

But strangely, while Polestar is heavily promoting the vegan angle of the car and its sustainability, our test car is fitted with optional leather upholstery. Yes, leather once fitted to a real cow.

Polestar is also very proud of the infotainment system. The iPad-like touchscreen is mounted portrait-orientated on the centre of the dashboard like a Tesla’s.

Colin thinks it looks superb
(Image: newspress.co.uk)

Where the Polestar’s system differs is that it is the first car ­infotainment system that is powered by Google’s Android smartphone software (it’ll be compatible with iPhones next year).

You can assign your Google profile to your car and then go mad adding apps for music-streaming, online news etc.

It also features Google Assistant that provides much more sophisticated voice control than voice recognition usually does.

We barely touched the surface of what the system can do. Might be something that an owner could task a teenage offspring to explore.

Your teenager might understand this car more than you do
(Image: Newspress)

Hidden inside the Polestar 2’s steel chassis is a 78kWh battery pack that powers two electric motors that each drive an axle. Four-wheel drive is standard then.

The total power available is 402bhp, which has to shift a car that weighs a hefty 2,048kg.

Still, it’s a quick car with 0-62mph taking only 4.7sec. That puts the Polestar 2 firmly into the performance-car category, but regularly using the acceleration available will savage the car’s range. Which for the Polestar 2 is a maximum of 292 miles.

Drive the car briskly without undue attention to energy-saving and you’ll see nearer 200 miles from a full charge.

A five-grand option gives you gold seat belts

The Polestar 2’s list price is £49,900, from which you can deduct £3,000 for the PICG.

Our car’s optional leather bumps up the price by £4,000, but it doesn’t have the optional ‘Performance Pack’.

This five-grand option gives you gold seat belts, gold Brembo brake calipers, 20in forged alloy wheels, lowered springs and adjustable Ohlin dampers.

The brakes and the belts look sexy but for me that doesn’t make the pack worth having – who will want to start adjusting their dampers?

The infotainment system is powered by Google’s Android smartphone software
(Image: newspress.co.uk)

You can, if you’re not concerned about range, hustle the Polestar 2 along very briskly and enjoy seamless and potent acceleration.

While there are no driving modes on offer, you do get to select how much regenerative braking effect the car provides, with settings that go from little to a level at which you hardly need to use the brakes at all.

You can also choose whether the car creeps forward with your foot off the brakes or comes to a standstill. Oh, and you can adjust how heavy you want the steering.

Car Reviews

The Polestar 2 is not cavernous inside but there’s room for four adults. The charging cables go in a small 35-litre boot under the bonnet, which leaves 405 litres of luggage space in the rear, and 1,095 litres if the seats are folded.

Polestar is a new brand and an unfamiliar one. Not for long, I suspect, because the Polestar 2 is the most desirable EV that we’ve tested so far.

Competition in the EV world is hotting up and that’s great news for the customer and enthusiast.

THE FACTS

Polestar 2

Serious competition – and seriously good
(Image: newspress.co.uk)

 

Price: £46,900 inc PICG

Power: 402 bhp

0-62mph: 4.7 sec

Range: 292 miles

THE RIVALS

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range is still best value at £46,990

Excellent range, Supercharger network. Still the best choice.

£46,990

Jaguar i-Pace

The Jaguar i-Pace will set you back £65,950

Stylish and good to drive. Real world range not hugely impressive.

£65,950

Audi e-Tron

The Audi e-tron costs £67,450

Just like any Audi but electric. Against the Polestar it’s not really a contender.

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