Polestar 2 review

Driving a pre-production Polestar 2 indicates this will be a well designed and built electric car that could give the Tesla Model 3 a run for its money

Polestar 2
£46,400
Electric

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Sharp design
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Tight rear headroom
  • Model 3 has bigger boot
  • Launch model expensive
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 292 miles 11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW) 1hr 4mins (10-80%, 50kW)

While this Volvo spinoff brand's first effort was the rakish, limited-run, luxurious Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid, its latest model is a different proposition – and one that has its sights fixed firmly on the all-conquering Tesla Model 3. While the Polestar 1 was a great way for the brand to introduce itself, the Polestar 2 is the car that the Swedish company hopes will see it break into the mainstream.

Polestar bills the 2 as a ‘four-door all-electric fastback’, but to our eyes it's more of a coupe-SUV like the Jaguar I-Pace. It shares some design cues with its Volvo siblings and is built on some of the same architecture; some parts are shared with the Volvo XC40, for example.

Unlike the Polestar 1 before it, which was a plug-in hybrid, the Polestar 2 is fully electric, with power from a 78kWh battery being sent to two electric motors, one for each axle. There's 402bhp on tap and performance is fittingly exhilarating – 0-62mph takes less than five seconds.
 
The Polestar 2 is aimed directly at Tesla customers, offering a similar blend of style, performance and sophisticated in-car technology. UK deliveries have yet to begin – our early drive of a production-ready but still-unfinished example took place on a closed circuit.

It certainly looks the part – the Polestar 2 is just as sharply styled as the 1, but betrays its Volvo roots a little less. There are no trim levels as such, just a series of option packs – a streamlined, minimalist approach similar to Tesla’s. Our test car included the Performance Pack – a £5,000 option that adds 20-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and manually adjustable Ohlins dampers as found on 'Polestar Engineered' versions of Volvo models such as the S60 saloon and XC60 SUV.

Inside, the Polestar 2 feels cool and comfortable; the minimalism continues with clean lines, high-quality materials and a large, Android-powered central infotainment screen that’s used to control most primary functions and features slick Google-integrated services.

First impressions on the move are good: the Polestar 2 strikes a nice balance between control and comfort, even with the 22-way dampers fitted. Our car had these set somewhere in the middle of their range and it felt firm but pliant on most surfaces.

It’s agile, too – stability is great, there's loads of grip and body control is excellent. Come out the other side of a corner and there’s more than enough performance on tap – noiseless, linear forward shove is ready and waiting at any speed, while sitting at a cruise is a relaxed experience thanks to the hushed, well-isolated interior.

The Polestar 2’s claimed range of 292 miles is more or less on a par with its nearest rivals – better than a Model 3 in Standard Range guise (254 miles), but not quite as good as the Long Range (348 miles) or Performance (329 miles). It’s an exact match for the Jaguar I-Pace, which also has a claimed 292-mile range. Polestar has yet to confirm exact charging times for the 2, but the battery size indicates a 10-80% rapid charge from a 50kW point will take around an hour.

As it stands, we like the Polestar 2 a lot – it’s a genuinely desirable electric car with a useful range, slick infotainment, thumping performance and great build quality, along with a certain cool factor that’s sure to help it fly out of showrooms.

Taller passengers may feel cramped in the rear seats and the Tesla Model 3 has a bigger boot, but these are small blots on an otherwise clean copybook. We look forward to seeing how the Polestar fares on UK roads.