In-depth reviews

Polestar 2 review

With the addition of two single-motor variants, Polestar's Tesla Model 3 rival is more affordable, but still strikes a great balance between practicality and desirability

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Sharp design
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Tight rear headroom
  • Tesla Model 3 has bigger boot
  • Firm ride with Performance Pack
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Standard Range Single273 miles9hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)32mins (10-80%, 125kW)
Long Range Single336 miles12hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)32mins (10-80%, 150kW)
Long Range Twin298 miles12hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)32mins (10-80%, 150kW)

The Polestar 2 is the most direct rival to the Tesla Model 3 yet. It arrived with great fanfare in 2020, taking the fledgling Swedish brand into the mainstream following the launch of its limited-run first model, the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid coupe. Now, as we await the arrival of the Polestar 3 – an electric SUV that's likely to rival the Tesla Model Y, among many others – the brand has also launched a pair of more affordable single-motor variants of its big-selling coupe-SUV, to provide even more competition to the Model 3. 

They slot into the range under the dual-motor all-wheel drive version, which produces a healthy 402bhp for a 0-62mph of less than five seconds. The new additions both use a single electric motor to power the front wheels, with the entry-level Standard Range producing 221bhp and the Long Range getting a slight bump to 228bhp. Yes, they're less potent than their all-wheel-drive sibling, but the single motor still provides enough poke for easy overtaking and satisfying shove off the line.

Importantly, the entry-level Standard Range uses a smaller 64kWh battery, as opposed to the 78kWh unit in the other two. But a maximum range of 273 miles is on par with what the Standard Range Plus variant of the Tesla Model 3 manages, and probably more than enough for most people day-to-day. The single-motor Long Range version can cover 336 miles, while the top-spec dual-motor car falls just short of the 300-mile mark – in both cases less than the equivalent Model 3.

The Polestar 2’s interior and technology are the same no matter what battery and motor option you go for. There's an 11.2-inch central infotainment touchscreen running Android Automotive software, plus a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. All Polestar 2s also come as standard with full keyless go, a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, heated front seats and lots of safety kit – as you might expect from a Volvo spinoff brand.

The same sharp styling features across the range and practicality numbers are unaffected by which version you choose, either: there's 405 litres of boot space in the back, plus 35 litres in the nose, which is ideal for charger cable storage. There’s plenty of rear legroom as well, but the car’s sporty roofline does limit headroom slightly. And the sizeable transmission tunnel is a redundant reminder that this cars sits on the same platform as the combustion-engined Volvo XC40.

Even with the addition of the additional battery and motor options, there are still no trim levels as such for the Polestar 2 – just a series of option packs. The first is the £3,000 Pilot Pack, which adds additional safety and driver-assistance features, while the £4,000 Plus Pack includes a panoramic glass roof, 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and other interior upgrades.

Notably, single-motor Polestar 2s aren't available with the Performance Pack that's offered for the dual-motor model. That £5,000 option adds 20-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and manually adjustable Öhlins dampers, as found on 'Polestar Engineered' versions of Volvo models such as the S60 saloon and XC60 SUV. This sharpens up the car's responses, but does result in a slightly lumpen ride quality for what is otherwise a fairly comfortable family crossover.

Charging speeds for the Polestar 2 are good, topping out at 150kW from a fast enough public rapid charger. That puts it slightly ahead of cars like the Audi Q4 e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, but behind the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. On balance, we recommend the single-motor variants, thanks to their excellent standard equipment, decent performance and long range. Plus, they’re a good deal cheaper than the dual-motor car. For a more detailed look at all the Polestar 2 models, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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