Polestar 2 review

Category: Electric car

The Polestar 2 has an upmarket interior and a long range, but there are better all-rounders for the money

Polestar 2 front right driving
  • Polestar 2 front right driving
  • Polestar 2 rear cornering
  • Polestar 2 interior dashboard
  • Polestar 2 interior back seats
  • Polestar 2 interior infotainment
  • Polestar 2 right driving
  • Polestar 2 front driving
  • Polestar 2 front cornering
  • Polestar 2 rear right driving
  • Polestar 2 rear driving
  • Polestar 2 front static
  • Polestar 2 rear static
  • Polestar 2 front detail
  • Polestar 2 front detail
  • Polestar 2 interior front seats
  • Polestar 2 interior seat detail
  • Polestar 2 interior detail
  • Polestar 2 boot open
  • Polestar 2 boot open seats down
  • Polestar 2 front right driving
  • Polestar 2 rear cornering
  • Polestar 2 interior dashboard
  • Polestar 2 interior back seats
  • Polestar 2 interior infotainment
  • Polestar 2 right driving
  • Polestar 2 front driving
  • Polestar 2 front cornering
  • Polestar 2 rear right driving
  • Polestar 2 rear driving
  • Polestar 2 front static
  • Polestar 2 rear static
  • Polestar 2 front detail
  • Polestar 2 front detail
  • Polestar 2 interior front seats
  • Polestar 2 interior seat detail
  • Polestar 2 interior detail
  • Polestar 2 boot open
  • Polestar 2 boot open seats down
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Introduction

What Car? says...

It's impossible to introduce the Polestar 2 without referencing its biggest rival. You see, for years the Tesla Model 3 was the default choice for any executive car buyer who wanted to go electric. Now, though, there are several credible rivals that you'd do well to consider.

The Polestar 2 is undoubtedly one of them, and it gets off to a cracking start when you look at how many miles it can do between charges. Indeed, it's one of very few electric cars that can officially break the 400-mile barrier.

Don't need to go quite that far before stopping? Well, then you can either trade some range for extra firepower (the Dual Motor Performance Pack can do 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds), or just save some cash and go for the entry-level Standard Range model. It can still officially do almost 340 miles.

This isn't the only like-for-like alternative to the Tesla, though; the BMW i4 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 cost similar money and have similar saloon-like silhouettes (although the Polestar 2 is actually a hatchback). Meanwhile, the Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 offer many of the same virtues in a high-riding package.

Keep scrolling and we'll tell you how the Polestar 2 squares up against its key rivals in all the important areas, including costs, charging, performance and comfort.

Overview

The Polestar 2 offers a smart interior, quick acceleration and a long range between charges. We reckon entry-level Standard Range Single Motor is the pick of the line-up, because it keeps the price respectable. However, the Tesla Model 3 remains a much better all-rounder, thanks its superior driving dynamics, more practical interior and better efficiency.

  • Long range between charges
  • Classy interior
  • Good Euro NCAP safety score
  • Unsettled ride
  • Noisier than rivals
  • Limited rear head room
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Whichever version of the Polestar 2 you choose, you won't have to worry about sluggish acceleration. Even the cheapest rear-wheel drive (Single Motor) variants can do 0-60mph in around six seconds. Okay, that isn't as rapid as any Model 3, but the 2 can build speed faster than an entry-level Ioniq 6 – or the majority of petrol and diesel alternatives, for that matter.

If you want sports car-rivalling performance, you'll need to go for the Dual Motor version of the Polestar 2. This can do 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds – or 4.0sec if you add the optional Performance Pack. Mind you, a Model 3 Performance can rocket to 60mph from a standstill in just 3.1sec.

Understandably, many buyers will be more concerned about range and, on that front, the Polestar 2 is even more impressive. Even the cheapest Standard Range Single Motor can officially do up to 339 miles on a charge, with the Long Range Single Motor capable of a massive 406 miles. That's thanks to its huge 79kWh (usable capacity) battery.

For context, the official range of the Model 3 varies from 305-274 miles, while the Ioniq 6 can do 322-338 miles. Of course, all of those official figures are out of reach in real-world driving. We've yet put the Polestar 2 thought our Real Range tests but, in warmer weather, you can comfortable expect more than 300 miles from the Long Range.

Polestar 2 image
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The Polestar 2 feels reasonably responsive when you turn in to a corner, although there's noticeably more body lean than in the lighter Ioniq 6 and Model 3. The 2's steering is also rather slow and numb whichever of the variable weight settings you choose, and the brake pedal doesn't always respond consistently to the pressure you apply, making it tricky to come to a smooth stop.

Ride comfort isn't very good either. You're jostled around too much, with even small road imperfections unsettling the car, especially at town speeds. The Ioniq 6 and Model 3 are more comfortable choices, although if ride comfort is a top priority and you want to go electric, take a look at the Genesis GV60.

On top of the extra oomph, the Performance pack adds adjustable Öhlins suspension to keep the Polestar 2's hefty weight under better control through corners. To adjust it, you need to get under the car and twist a dial on the damper at each corner of the car so, unless you know what you're doing, we'd suggest you leave the job to your local Polestar dealer.

The Öhlins suspension does improve agility a little, but the Polestar 2 still feels relatively heavy – and ride comfort is even less impressive than in the standard car. The 2 is noisier than its direct rivals, too, with lots of road noise at a motorway cruise.

Driving overview

Strengths Impressive range between charges; all versions are pretty quick

Weaknesses Firm, uncomfortable ride; feels heavy; noisier than rivals

Polestar 2 rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The driving position in the Polestar 2 is fundamentally sound. The pedals line up neatly with the steering wheel and seat, and there's a good range of electric adjustment for that seat, including for lumbar support (a memory function is available as part of the Plus Pack). That said, we'd like a bit more side support for harder cornering. 

You can change the angle of the door mirrors easily using buttons, whereas the rivals Model 3 requires you to delve into its centrally mounted touchscreen. And while the Model 3 displays crucial information, such as your speed, on its central touchscreen, Polestar has put a 12.3in digital driver's display right in front of you, behind the steering wheel.

Front visibility is decent, so you won't struggle to see out at junctions, while bright LED headlights (with an automatic high-beam function) help light up the road at night. You can upgrade to Pixel LED headlights, which can shape their beam to avoid dazzling other drivers, if you add the optional Pilot Pack.

Also available as part of the Pilot Pack is a 360-degree parking camera that displays a bird’s eye view of the car on the central touchscreen. You get regular reversing camera as standard, though, along with front and rear parking sensors. And because large rear side windows help make up for Polestar 2's small rear screen, backing into a space is never too tricky. 

A mix of squishy dashboard materials and plush inserts gives the interior a high-quality, sophisticated feel; it's noticeably more premium-feeling than the Model 3's interior. You might recognise the steering wheel and buttons from some Volvos, but the design and layout are different.

The rising centre console between driver and passenger leads up to an 11.0in touchscreen infotainment system that was co-developed with Android and, essentially, operates like Android Auto. Features such as Google Maps and Google Assistant (for natural speech voice recognition) are included as standard. Apple CarPlay is included, too.

The icons on the home screen are big and easy to hit, but the individual app icons are a bit small. As with all touchscreens, we'd rather have some physical controls to help make the system less distracting to use when you're driving. That's an area that the BMW i4 has a clear edge over the Polestar 2.

The standard eight-speaker stereo can be upgraded to a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system (part of the Plus Pack). It's certainly powerful, although can be a little bass-heavy at times.

Interior overview

Strengths Classy, high-quality interior; good driving position; plenty of visibility aids

Weaknesses Lack of physical controls for infotainment; hit-and-miss voice command system

Polestar 2 interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

If you’re sitting in the front of the Polestar 2, you won’t feel in the slightest bit cramped – and there’s decent storage, including a couple of cupholders, a cubby under the central armrest, and (admittedly rather slim) door bins.

Rear space is rather less impressive, though. Most six-footers who try to relax back in their seat and use the head rest will instead bang their head on the ceiling, and there's slightly less leg room than in the back of a Model 3, too.

In addition, a large hump on the floor of the 2 makes life uncomfortable for a central rear passenger. If you want limo-like amounts of rear leg room in the back of your electric car, take a look at the Ioniq 6 (or the EV6 if you're happy to sit a bit further from the road).

The Polestar 2 has a hatchback tailgate like the BMW i4, and there's a similar amount of space for luggage inside as there is in that car. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases below the tonneau cover. You'll fit quite a bit more in the boot of the Model 3, but will have to put up with a smaller saloon boot opening.

There's enough extra storage under the main boot floor for charging cables, plus another storage space under the bonnet. We say 'small' because it won't take a standard carry-on suitcase, whereas the front boot in the Model 3 will. The rear seatbacks fold down in a conventional 60/40 split.

Practicality overview

Strengths Spacious up front; boot has a practical hatchback opening

Weaknesses Stingy rear head room; hump on floor makes life uncomfortable for middle rear passenger; rivals have bigger boots

Polestar 2 interior back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Polestar 2 is priced roughly in line with the Ioniq 6 and Model 3, so it’s a bit cheaper than the i4. There isn't much between the three for company car tax, though, because they all quality for a low 2% rate.

All versions come with plenty of luxuries, including dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, a powered tailgate, lifetime over-the-air updates and keyless entry. Individual options are limited to metallic paint, 20in alloys and a semi-electric folding tow bar.

Everything else is bundled into packs. The Plus Pack adds a panoramic glass roof, the 13-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, heated rear seats, WeaveTech vegan upholstery, Black Ash Deco panels and a heat pump (which allows more efficient heating of the interior in cool weather).

As we mentioned earlier, the Pilot Pack adds more sophisticated LED headlights, but also LED front fog lights and adaptive cruise control.

The Performance Pack (available only on the Dual Motor variant) includes adjustable Öhlins suspension, more powerful Brembo brakes, forged 20in wheels and signature ‘Swedish gold’ details inside and out.

The charging speed of the Standard Range car is a little disappointing compared with most rivals: it can accept up to 135kW from a CCS charger, for a 10-80% top-up in around 35 minutes. The Ioniq 6 can charge at 220kW and the i4 at 200kW, while the entry-level Model 3 RWD can accept around 170kW.

The Long Range versions have a much more respectable 205kW charging speed, making a 10-80% top-up possible in around 28 minutes with a fast enough charger. A full 0-100% charge using a 7kW home wall box will take around seven hours in the Standard Range or roughly eight hours in Long Range.

The Polestar 2 finished mid-table in the electric car class in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, below the Model 3 but above the EV6. Most Polestar parts are covered by a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, while the Model 3 gets a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. The Ioniq 6 gets a five-year warranty on most components, although, like all three cars, comes with an eight-year battery warranty as standard.

The Polestar 2 scored the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety appraisal and did very well for child-occupant protection. You get plenty of active safety aids as standard, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Buying & owning overview

Strengths Plenty of standard creature comforts; impressive safety score

Weaknesses Rivals can charge faster; so-so warranty cover; likely to depreciate quicker than rivals

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Polestar 2 interior infotainment

FAQs

  • Although we hadn't put the Polestar 2 through our Real Range tests at the time of writing, you can expect 210-285 miles from a charge in the cheapest Standard Range Single Motor version, rising to 240-330 miles in the Long Range Single Motor. These figures are well below the official ranges for the Polestar 2, but are still very impressive by class standards.

     

  • The only car Polestar sells in the UK at present is the Polestar 2. We think Tesla's rival Model 3 is a much better all-round electric car, although some of the Swedish brand's future models, including the Polestar 4, look very promising. 

  • It depends how much you pay your provider for a unit (kWh) of electricity. Based on the current price cap, and factoring in a 15% loss in energy during the charging process (which is typical for electric cars), a 0-100% of the Long Range model would cost you around £24. However, charging the Standard Range model on a cheap overnight tariff (7.5p per kWh), would only cost you around £6. 

  • Polestar is relatively new, sub-brand of Swedish car maker Volvo. These days, Volvo is itself owned by Chinese giant Geely.

At a glance
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RRP price range £44,950 - £73,900
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £90 / £148
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £180 / £295
Available colours