Polestar 2 Review & Prices
The Polestar 2 is here to rival the Tesla Model 3. It looks great, drives nicely and has a superb interior, but a Tesla Model 3 is more affordable and can go further on a charge
What's not so good
Find out more about the Polestar 2
Is the Polestar 2 a good car?
The Polestar 2 is a five-door hatchback electric car that’s available with a couple of battery and motor options, and is capable of up to 335 miles on a charge.
Never heard of Polestar? Well, it’s an EV-focused offshoot of Volvo, and this is its first serious attempt at giving the Tesla Model 3 something to worry about.
The good news is that the Polestar conveys a sense of zen-like calm, whereas the Tesla can be a bit US ‘yeehaw’.
That Scandinavian chic is evident outside, where the 2 has simple but bold lines, including its Volvo-style Thor-hammer LED daytime running lights at the front and its rear light bar borrowed from RoboCop. It looks taller than a typical hatchback, thanks to a black strip that runs along its sills and over its wheel arches.
Polestar’s ties with Volvo are more evident on the inside. The steering wheel and some switches are shared, but the 2 does have its own unique feel and – importantly – the quality you come to expect from Volvo is very much intact. Here, the Polestar has Tesla beaten – it feels built to a far higher standard.
The star of the show is that iPad-like screen that sits within the dash. It controls everything from the stereo to the heating and the navigation; and is nicer to use than Volvo’s system, with cleaner graphics. It’s snappy in its operation, and its menu layout is easy to come to grips with.
Volvo knows a thing or two about great seats and Polestar has borrowed a wonderfully supportive set for the front row. Space is generous at both ends of the car too – adults will have no trouble getting comfy in the back as long as they aren’t extremely tall. That said, three adults of any size will struggle to sit side-by-side in comfort.
I’d have the single-motor version of the Polestar 2 with the larger 75kW battery. It has the best range, it’s a bit more affordable, and performance is still good enough
The Polestar 2’s boot has decent access with its hatchback tailgate, but the bottom line is that you’ll get slightly more stuff in a Tesla Model 3. There’s also a small storage area at the front, but again, Tesla’s one is slightly bigger.
The Tesla Model 3 is also the quicker electric car; and its battery lets it travel further than the Polestar’s 335-mile maximum range. Still, the dual-motor Polestar 2 is hardly slow – it’ll still crack the sprint to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and feels extremely fast in and out of town. The single-motor version is a bit more languid, with 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds.
The Polestar 2 even handles pretty sharply, too, feeling quite agile for such a heavy car.
However, the comfort level of the dual-motor car isn’t as good as some of the most comfortable electric cars, like the Jaguar I-Pace. Models equipped with the Performance Pack get adjustable dampers, but they’re set up to make the ride quite harsh from the off, and it never becomes soft even by adjusting them. Better to opt for a standard car without the Performance Pack, as the ride is a fair bit more comfortable over bumps and it doesn’t sacrifice too much in the corners.
The single-motor car has the softer set-up, and is the most comfortable in the range.
Charging a Polestar 2 takes as little at 40 mins, but you’ll need a public 150kw charger for that. Plugged into a typical home wall box, it’ll take more like eight hours.
So, the Polestar 2 doesn’t have quite the headline figures or driving experience of the Tesla Model 3, and it costs more to buy, but it’s still a seriously credible electric car that manages to be classier inside and out.
How much is the Polestar 2?
The Polestar 2 has a RRP range of £43,150 to £60,700. Monthly payments start at £476. The price of a used Polestar 2 on carwow starts at £47,000.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to executive EVs, with the Polestar 2 being at the lower end of the market, price-wise. The Audi Q4 e-tron range starts at a similar level, while Tesla’s popular Model 3 is a bit more expensive. None of those come into the same bracket as the i4 from BMW, however, with the cheapest one – at the official price – coming in at over £50,000.
Performance and drive comfort
Plenty of great technology on board, including one-pedal braking, but visibility out of the back window is poor
The Polestar – like all electric cars – offers regenerative braking, which allows you to travel without hardly having to touch the brake pedal because when you lift your foot off the accelerator, the car will automatically begin to slow down and send power back to the battery pack.
In the Polestar 2, it’s possible to alter the amount of regenerative braking, which is useful given there might be situations where you want more or less than the standard setting.
The suspension is a little firm, which means that when you pass over bumps in the roads or potholes, you’ll know about it. The Polestar 2 doesn't crash through them, but it’s not as smooth as some other EVs of a similar size, for example, the Tesla Model 3. It’s far from awful, but it could make the difference if choosing between those two cars.
The turning circle is impressive and the one-pedal setup makes driving in town much easier. The Polestar can move around relatively small spaces with ease, however parking is hampered a little bit by visibility out of the rear window, which is far from class-leading. What helps here, though, is a 360° camera system, which saves even turning your head.
On the motorway
At higher speeds, the ride quality improves, making things much smoother in the cabin as the suspension works harder to prevent any bumps transmitting from the road to the inside of the car.
The seats are very well supported, which means long journeys are not an issue and drivers will often get out at the end feeling as refreshed as they did when they started.
It’s quiet, with just a bit of wind noise and very small touch of tyre noise, but that’s all. A very serene place to be, but plenty of acceleration when it’s required for overtaking or entering a motorway and getting up to the speed of other vehicles on the road.
On a twisty road
Away from main roads, the one-pedal setup can make the Polestar 2 feel a bit like a go-kart. Dynamically, the car is pretty well set up. There isn’t much lean into the corners and there is plenty of grip when going around corners.
While the Polestar 2 has plenty of attributes, it would be a stretch to describe it as ‘fun’. Certainly not when compared with a Tesla Model 3, which has better handling, but the Polestar does well in almost every department, so it will be a strong choice for many buyers who are looking to go electric.
Space and practicality
The interior offers plenty of practical touches, but bear in mind that sloping roofline if you’re expecting to carry taller rear passengers
There are a number of storage spaces in the Polestar 2, although the glovebox isn't very big. Rear passengers will have lots of legroom, but the sloping roof makes headroom a bit of an issue for taller passengers.
Up front in the Polestar there are a number of creature comforts, including wireless phone charging and heated and electrically operated seats. Those seats are vegan-friendly as standard, although leather ones are available as an option if preferred. There are also two USB charging points available in the front.
Passengers sit relatively high in the Polestar, but then this car is based on Volvo’s XC40, so it’s understandable that the seats would be slightly raised. It’s very easy to get comfortable using the electric controls on the seat, while the same can be said for the steering wheel, which offers manual adjustment forwards and backwards and up and down.
Practicality-wise, the Polestar offers plenty of cubby holes. There are cupholders and storage space underneath the moveable front armrest, although that does mean that drinks can get impacted if you decide to move the armrest forwards.
The glovebox is an average size and comes complete with a handy cleaning cloth for that large main infotainment screen. Elsewhere, door bins can accommodate large bottles and there are other spaces for small items under the centre console.
Space in the back seats
There is an abundance of legroom in the rear of the Polestar, making it easy to stretch your feet out under the seat in front of you. Unlike some electric vehicles that have batteries in the floor and, therefore a raised floor, the Polestar doesn’t suffer from this problem as it is based on the XC40, which has a traditional engine.
That does mean that it’s a bit compact in the middle seat, while headroom for rear passengers might be a bit of an issue due to a relatively low – and sloping – roof line. There isn’t quite as much room as you’d find in a Tesla Model 3, but it’s certainly not cramped.
There’s a central armrest with more cupholders, ISOFIX points and two USB ports in the rear. More storage comes in the form of netting on the back of the front seats, allowing mainly flat items such as magazines, laptops or tablets to be stowed.
To get into the boot, you can use the key or a button by the driver’s seat or the one on the boot itself. You can also use hands-free opening, which comes as standard. Simply move your foot under the car and a carefully positioned sensor will do the rest. There’s 20 litres less space than the Model 3 (405 litres vs 425 litres) but more than a Volkswagen Golf’s 381 litres.
Because the car has a hatchback tailgate the opening is huge, which means loading and unloading items into the boot is a piece of cake. The large boot opens high, meaning you’ve got lots of clear space around you, which is handy when manoeuvring objects of difficult proportions. There’s a small boot lip, but it doesn’t impact too much.
There are some useful additions to the luggage area, namely storage nets, tie-down points, a 12V socket and straps for securing smaller items. Lift the false floor of the boot and there’s even more room available, plus there is a boot divider, which makes carrying varied items much easier too.
In place of the traditional engine, there’s always an option in electric cars to add in more storage, as demonstrated best by Tesla. However, with the Polestar, there is only about 35 litres of space in the ‘frunk’ to play with.
Interior style, infotainment and accessories
Polestar has gone for a minimalist style, but some drivers will miss the lack of physical buttons throughout the cabin. The infotainment systems looks great, although the voice control system can be frustrating to use
The Polestar 2 interior has a minimalist feel to it, but not on the scale of a Tesla. The materials in the cabin are high quality and soft to touch at eye level, although there are some cheaper plastics used a bit closer to the floor – almost out of sight.
The door handles, gear levers and steering wheel are substantial and continue that quality feel. There is some familiarity, however, because the switchgear, steering wheel and many other parts have come from Volvo. Not that using parts from the Swedish manufacturer is a bad thing, of course.
The infotainment screen – a large portrait panel perfectly positioned – is built by Android. As a result, it is well designed and easy to navigate with plenty of opportunity to personalise the appearance and layout of the screen.
There is a direct link to your Google account and Spotify, if you have one – and a prominent ‘home’ button that helps if you want to get back to the start or quickly get to a different part of the system. In short, it sets the benchmark for in-car infotainment systems.
In addition to the main central screen there is a clear, large digital display situated behind the steering wheel. It can run Google Maps, but also can show vehicle and/or charging information, as well as audio details. One slight downer is that the mapping is quite dark, but Polestar claims that any brighter and it might be too distracting for the driver.
There’s also the Google voice command system included, but it can be quite particular in picking up what you say and might not respond unless directions are very specific. There’s a three-year subscription to Google included when you buy the car.
Elsewhere the cabin is airy and light, largely thanks to a panoramic roof and the stereo is a Harman Kardon with 13 speakers.
MPG, emissions and tax
The long range Polestar 2 features a 78kW battery and a maximum range of 292 miles, which is about 50 fewer than a Tesla Model 3 Long Range. Charging from completely empty using a three-pin domestic plug socket will take up to 40 hours, so using a 11kW wallbox is a better option as it will only take eight hours – easy to set running overnight, for example. Using a 50kW charger it will take around two hours to replenish the battery, while a 150kW unit means the job is done in 40 minutes.
The car has two electric motors – one at the front and one at the rear of the car, meaning it's got four-wheel-drive capabilities. Put them together and there’s 408hp to play with. That setup enables the car to sprint to 60mph from a standstill in 4.7 seconds.
There is also the option of a short-range Polestar 2. This model offers an official driving range of 273 miles and can be charged from 10-80% in as little as 35 minutes when using the highest powered charger.
Safety and security
When it was tested in 2021, the Polestar 2 was awarded a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP. Particularly impressive were the adult occupant protection (93%), with the child occupant score of 89% also being on a par with the highest rating across the industry. Completing the assessment, Euro NCAP awarded the Polestar 2 80% for vulnerable road user protection and 83% for safety assist technologies.
Be aware though, however, that rear passengers don’t get knee airbags (nor to front passengers) or side chest or pelvis airbags. However, the car does offer an active bonnet and autonomous emergency tracking for vulnerable road users and in potential car-to-car impacts. There is also speed assistance and lane keeping technology onboard.
The Polestar 2 offers keyless entry, with the doors automatically unlocking when you approach the vehicle and lock when you walk away. There’s no ‘start’ button needed either. All you need is to be present, flick the gear lever and off you go.
Reliability and problems
The Polestar 2 comes with an industry standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is the same of other vehicles in this bracket including those from the Volkswagen Group. Meanwhile, the car’s battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
In 2020 Polestar announced it was recalling all of its ‘2’ models to replace faulty battery inverters. Since then, there haven’t been any other reported issues with the car. Because the brand is relatively new, it’s a bit difficult to say how it would perform in reliability assessments, but having Volvo as a parent company is a major advantage.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.