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In-depth reviews

Polestar 3 review

The Polestar 3 has a quality feel to it, but this big SUV struggles to fulfil the brand’s sporty promise

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Impressive battery ranges
  • Top-quality materials
  • Spacious cabin

Cons

  • Technology can be frustrating
  • Disappointing driving experience
  • Expensive to buy
RangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
349-390 miles17hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 250kW)

Polestar 3 verdict

The Polestar 3 marks the Swedish brand’s debut in the growing electric premium SUV market, and it certainly has enough technology and plush materials to appeal to the more discerning buyer. Official battery ranges that start from 349 miles give it an edge over a number of rivals, too. The 3 isn’t as entertaining to drive as the Polestar brand positioning would have you believe, however, even if you choose the optional Performance Pack.

Details, specs and alternatives

The Polestar 3 is the third standalone model to come from this Swedish brand, hence its name. Prior to this, the Polestar 2 was its only mainstream market entry as the limited-production Polestar 1 PHEV sold in very small numbers. Of course, Polestar did exist before the 1 was introduced, but it was a performance subsidiary of Volvo at the time.

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This all-new arrival means a new market for Polestar to crack, as the Polestar 3 is a fully-sized premium SUV. This puts it in the ring with established models like the Audi Q8 e-tron, BMW iX and Mercedes EQE SUV, as well as the Volvo EX90, which shares the same SPA2 architecture.

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In order to keep this large SUV ahead of the competition in a literal sense, the Polestar 3 is powered by a substantial 107kWh battery pack which boasts some impressive claimed ranges. In standard Long Range Dual Motor form, the Polestar 3 can return up to 390 miles per charge on the official WLTP tests. If you’re prepared to exchange some miles for a bit more power, opting for the Performance Pack reduces this figure to 349 miles. 

In order to prevent the big battery from keeping you waiting around when you need to top it up, the Polestar 3’s 250kW peak rapid-charging speed allows it to be charged from 10% to 80% in 30 minutes.

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It takes more than a big battery for a car to appeal to buyers in this area of the market, though, so Polestar has ensured that its SUV’s design is a distinctive one. Exterior highlights such as the two-piece LED headlights, front and rear aero wings and flush side windows have been inspired by various sources including aircraft and the brand’s own Precept Concept car. The Polestar 3 is a bulky vehicle, but it’s clear that its design is heavily influenced by aerodynamics.

Take a step inside and things will look fairly familiar if you’ve ever been inside a Polestar 2. The overall theme is still minimalism, but the materials are of a higher quality and there’s a lot more space, too. 

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As to be expected, this premium SUV comes at a premium price. If you want a Polestar 3 at this very moment in time, you’ll have to opt for the Launch Edition. This variant will set you back by around £80,000, but it does come with a pretty generous helping of additional features including 21-inch alloy wheels, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system with Dolby Atmos, headrest speakers, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, heated seats, and even heated wiper blades.

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If you’re prepared to wait a bit longer for the standard version, this starts from around £75,000 and many of the features mentioned above are available as optional extras. Standard kit on both versions of the Polestar 3 includes a 14.5-inch central touchscreen with Google-based software, a 9-inch driver’s display, three-zone climate control and a heat pump. If you like the idea of the Performance Pack, be ready to shell out a premium of around £6,000.

Range, battery size & charging

ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge
Polestar 3 Long Range Dual motor390 miles17hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 250kW)
Polestar 3 Long Range Dual motor with Performance Pack349 miles17hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 250kW)

There’s only one battery to be found within the Polestar 3, and that is a sizable 107kWh unit. This is good for an official WLTP combined range of 390 miles in the Long Range Dual motor variant, which is more than the Audi Q8 e-tron, BMW iX and even the closely-related Volvo EX90. Opting for the optional Performance Pack will reduce this figure to 349 miles.

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When testing the Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor with the Performance Pack fitted, we saw an average efficiency of 2.4 miles per kWh, and this equates to around 256 miles of real-world range. 

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The 107kWh battery will need plenty of juice when it’s time to plug in, so in order to keep charging times down the Polestar 3 has a peak DC rapid-charging speed of 250kW. This allows a 10-80% top-up to be completed in around half an hour. If you’re charging at home, you’ll need to be prepared for a long wait as it’ll take around 12 hours for a full charge from a 7.4kW home wallbox unit. 

It’s also worth noting that the Polestar 3 sits on 400V architecture, and this pales a bit in comparison to the 800V setups found in some other high-end electric cars like the Porsche Taycan.

Running costs & insurance

The premium SUV market isn’t one that caters for bargain hunters, and the Polestar 3 is no exception to this rule. The Launch Edition is the only variant that’s available to buy straight away until late 2024, and this starts from almost £80,000. If you’re willing to wait, the standard car brings the starting price down slightly to around £76,000. Either way, it’s far from a small sum.

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The Polestar 3’s insurance groups are yet to be officially revealed, but many of its rivals sit in groups 45 and above, so it’s pretty safe to assume that there won’t be any mind-blowing savings to be found here. 

Where you will be able to save a few pennies, though, is with VED road tax. As with all EVs, the Polestar 3 avoids this charge until April 2025. Company car drivers are also able to benefit from a 2% Benefit-in-Kind tax rate.

The Polestar 3 should help to save you a small fortune on running costs when compared to a similarly-sized combustion-powered SUV. Fully charging it at home will cost you around £32 at a typical household rate of 30p per kWh. As always, public charging may cost considerably more.

Performance, motor & drive

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Polestar 3 Long Range Dual motor5 seconds130mphFour483bhp
Polestar 3 Long Range Dual motor with Performance Pack4.7 seconds130mphFour510bhp

Polestar prides itself on being a sporty brand, and it was originally Volvo’s performance division before evolving into a standalone carmaker. In fact, take a look at the brand’s website and the official slogan for the Polestar 3 is “Yes it’s an SUV, and it drives like a sports car". This is a bold claim, but we’re not entirely convinced.

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Our test car was fitted with the optional Performance Pack, and this is the most powerful Polestar 3 that you can currently buy. With this pack fitted, the dual-motor powertrain is boosted to deliver 510bhp and 910Nm of torque, which actually isn’t that much more than the standard car’s 483bhp and 840Nm. The result is a 0-62mph sprint time reduction from 5.0 seconds to 4.7 seconds, although both of these times are admirable for an SUV that weighs over two-and-a-half tonnes. The 130mph top speed remains the same.

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It can certainly shift in a straight line, but there’s no forgetting the Polestar 3’s heft when you’re sitting behind the wheel. The air suspension is floaty rather than firm, and this causes the 3’s weight to become very pronounced at lower speeds. It’s not all bad news when driving on smaller roads, though, as the Polestar is easy to place on the road and even has a reasonably compact 11.8-metre turning circle.

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If you forget the sporty intentions, the soft suspension actually pays dividends when it comes to ride comfort. At motorway speeds, the Polestar 3 remains well composed even when fitted with larger alloy wheels, and there’s also very little noise intrusion. 

When it’s time to slow down, the standard-fit Brembo brakes offer plenty of stopping power, but there’s only a limited amount of adjustment with the regenerative braking system. One-pedal driving is available by engaging ‘High’ mode, while the ‘low’ mode reduces the regen to be more passive in operation. Alternatively, you can also turn the system off entirely.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

Premium electric SUVs now account for some of the fanciest interiors on the market, and Polestar has addressed this by adorning the Polestar 3 with softer and higher quality materials than you’ll find on the Polestar 2.

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Rather than going all-out with the design, though, the cabin follows a similar minimalist theme to the one used by Tesla. It’s a smart look, but it does mean that there are very few physical buttons and switches.

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Instead of switchgear, the majority of the Polestar 3’s functions are operated via a 14.5-inch touchscreen running Google-based software. The layout of this system looks straightforward enough at first glance, however we quickly became frustrated with having to trawl through multiple submenus in order to access basic functions. To help reduce the time it takes to reach more commonly-used functions, there are a limited number of customisable shortcuts on the home screen.

In front of the driver is a smaller 9-inch screen which acts as the instrumentation display, and this is very well laid out with a pleasingly high resolution. There are also some buttons fitted to the steering wheel but these aren’t illuminated or marked in any way, so you’ll need a very good memory.

Boot space, seating & practicality

LengthWidthHeightBoot space
4,900mm2,120mm1,614mm484 litres

The Polestar 3 is a big car, so it’s only right that it should offer plenty of space inside. This is indeed the case as five passengers (even taller ones) have loads of room to stretch out, especially in the back seats. Even though it’s fitted with a sloping roofline and a panoramic roof, there’s still plenty of headroom in Polestar’s SUV.

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There’s a reasonable amount of room for bags with 484 litres of boot space in the Polestar 3 - increasing to 597 litres when measured to the ceiling. If you’re carrying any large objects, folding the rear seats will increase the Polestar 3’s carrying capacity to 1,411 litres. To prevent any unfortunate back injuries when lifting heavy objects into the car, the 3’s air suspension can be lowered by up to 50mm.

If you need to hook up a trailer or caravan, the Polestar 3 is rated to tow a maximum of 2,200kg. Pressing a button in the boot will deploy the electric tow bar from the rear bumper.

Reliability & safety rating

It’s still a very new brand, but Polestar’s reputation for reliability is already a bit tarnished. According to our most recent Driver Power satisfaction survey, an alarming 69% of Polestar 2 owners experienced a fault within the first year of owning their car. Hopefully the brand has taken this into consideration when building the Polestar 3, but only time will tell.

One area where Polestar is off to a strong start, though, is safety. Clearly channelling its inner Volvo, the Polestar 2 managed to score a full five-star Euro NCAP rating, and we’d expect the Polestar 3 to follow suit. 

To help boost its score, the Polestar 3 is fitted with a suite of standard safety tech. The list includes 12 ultrasonic sensors, nine cameras, collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, road sign recognition and rear cross-traffic alert.

On top of all the standard safety kit, the optional Pilot Pack also brings in pilot assist, lane-change assist and 360º cameras with 3D view.

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