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Polestar 2 2022 review

  • DrivetrainFully electric
  • Battery Capacity78kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range480km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 CCS
  • DC charge rate155kW
  • AC charge rate11kW
  • Electric motor output300kW/660Nm
  • Electric efficiency20.2kWh/100km
Complete Guide to Polestar 2

A new brand like Polestar – the EV-focused spin-off of its Volvo and Geely parent companies – is by its very existence in Australia proof of why the electric era is exciting.

New players from all around the globe will pop up, bringing with them new ideas and this Swedish brand’s initial foray into our market with the Polestar 2 crossover, is perhaps the first of many.

Polestar is clearly targeting Tesla’s dominant Model 3 with the similarly sized Polestar 2, and it surprised us earlier this year by making its first offering in our market very competitively priced despite a seemingly premium look and feel, long range battery options, and lots of cabin tech.

So, does this stylish new Swede have what it takes to challenge the EV titan that is Tesla? We took a fully specified version at its Australian launch to find out.

Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Despite the new brand wanting to establish itself in a similar premium market position to its Volvo parent company, the Polestar 2 arrives with blockbuster pricing across its three-variant range.

It's clearly targeting the Tesla Model 3, but surprisingly undercutting many mainstream EV offerings from the Nissan Leaf e+ to the Hyundai Kona electric.

The most basic front-wheel drive version of the Polestar 2, the Single Motor Standard Range, wears an MSRP of just $59,900 and offers a long driving range of 470km (WLTP), offering Australians a relatively affordable entry-point to electrified motoring.

This matches the current pricing of the Model 3 Standard Range (also a 2WD) coming close on range, too (the $59,900 Tesla Model 3 will travel a claimed 491km on the WLTP test cycle).

Next up in the Polestar 2’s range is the Single Motor Long Range, wearing an MSRP of $64,900. It ups the battery capacity significantly, allowing 540km of range between charges.

The Polestar 2 arrives with blockbuster pricing across its three-variant range (image: Tom White). The Polestar 2 arrives with blockbuster pricing across its three-variant range (image: Tom White).

Its equipment matches the base car, and Polestar’s local division expects this model to take the largest share of sales.

Finally, the top-spec Polestar 2 is the more performance-oriented Dual Motor Long Range.

Wearing an MSRP of $69,900 this all-wheel drive version undercuts the equivalent Model 3 (the Long Range AWD - $73,400) although it doesn’t quite offer the Tesla’s absurd 614km range, delivering 480km on a single charge.

Its second motor almost doubles the power output on offer, making it more than just an all-wheel drive offering.

Standard spec continues many of the similarities with Tesla, as even the base Polestar 2 features a big free-floating 11.15-inch multimedia screen which has a Google-integrated nav suite and always-online features (meaning the car has its own sim card, regardless of whether you’re connected to a phone).

It’s also capable of over-the-air updates, but unlike the Model 3, the Polestar has a real 12.3-inch digital dash suite, in what I would consider a significant win for driver usability.

Even the base Polestar 2 features a big free-floating 11.15-inch multimedia screen (image: Tom White). Even the base Polestar 2 features a big free-floating 11.15-inch multimedia screen (image: Tom White).

Elsewhere, regardless of grade, the Polestar 2 range has 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, keyless entry with no ignition (the car is just ready to go once you put it in drive), vegan textile upholstery with charcoal headlining, a synthetic leather trimmed steering wheel, premium audio system, a powered tailgate, and a rear-view camera.

In a polite move, Polestar throws in a six metre long 11kW Type 2 to Type 2 charging cable as part of the standard gear.

Of course, in typical European style, there are three comprehensive packs which are essentially a way for you to create your own variant.

These include the 'Plus Pack' ($6000) which includes a panoramic sunroof, Harmon Kardon 13-speaker premium audio system, ‘WeaveTech’ vegan upholstery, blacked out bodywork, power front seats with memory function, and a heat pump which more efficiently manages the climate control while providing a heated steering wheel and wiper nozzles.

There is also the pack that we would most recommend, the 'Pilot Pack' ($5000) which includes the rear-facing safety gear notably missing from the standard equipment (more on that later).

It scores you adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear auto braking, higher-grade LED headlights with cornering function, and a 360-degree parking suite.

The launch car we tested was Performance Pack equipped, adding forged 20-inch alloy wheels (image: Tom White). The launch car we tested was Performance Pack equipped, adding forged 20-inch alloy wheels (image: Tom White).

Polestar points out that you can equip this pack on the base car and still be under the EV rebate scheme thresholds in NSW or Victoria.

Finally, there is the 'Performance Pack' ($8000) which is only available on the top-spec Dual Motor Long Range variant.

The launch car we tested was Performance Pack equipped, leaning into the performance angle, adding adjustable Ohlins dampers, a Brembo brake package, forged 20-inch alloy wheels, and ‘Swedish Gold’ highlights.

It’s a lot of very neat gear at an appealing price, and I’d be surprised if the Polestar 2 doesn’t take at least a few sales from its main electric rivals.

How is the brand able to do this? Well, it leverages Volvo’s R&D resources in Sweden, while being built in China where it can rely on Geely supply chains.

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

Design is core to Polestar’s brand identity. Parts of the Polestar 2 car will look familiar to its Volvo parent car, particularly in the “Hammer of Thor” headlight fittings as well as the steering wheel and digital dash cluster. But the brand promises more outlandish ideas will debut on its larger follow-up models due in the coming years.

Regardless, the Polestar 2 is a very good looking car, and one which brings the kind of fresh ideas you can expect from electric cars in the near future.

It somehow balances elements at opposite ends of the design spectrum, with a slinky sedan-like silhouette, decorated with crossover plastic cladding and riding at a near SUV height.

Looked at directly front-on, the Polestar 2 has a tough stance, with wide, flared wheelarches, while from the rear it looks again to Volvo’s past with squared-off light fittings.

The Polestar 2 is a very good looking car (image: Tom White). The Polestar 2 is a very good looking car (image: Tom White).

Proportionally it’s a bit odd, but I like it. It’s new, and fresh without being outlandish or weird, and wears enough detailing to make it entirely different from the simplicity of design offered by Tesla.

The interior has those steering and dash elements shared with Volvo, but this seems to be where the similarities come to a close.

Polestar favours Scandinavian minimalism, by reducing and simplifying the shapes which make up the dash so the design is less distracting, but on closer inspection all the materials have finely detailed patternwork and unusual textures.

This runs into the doors and seats, and our test car had the odd ‘WeaveTech’ vegan upholstery made of recycled materials. Not leather, not cloth, but something else entirely. It feels more like swimsuit material. I like it.

For an electric car, though, there are some areas where the Polestar 2 doesn’t make the most of its underpinnings. For a start, there’s a huge, raised console, making for a closed-in, driver-focused space compared to the flat floor and open space of many of its rivals.

Polestar says there’s a good reason for this, suggesting it's more ‘individualistic’ than its Volvo sister brand.

Looked at directly front-on, the Polestar 2 has a tough stance. (image: Tom White) Looked at directly front-on, the Polestar 2 has a tough stance. (image: Tom White)

An interesting point of difference, but the similarity of this approach to the way cabins are naturally compromised in combustion vehicles might turn off some buyers keen to show off the spacious benefits of the EV life.

In some ways, then, the Polestar 2 is the, um, polar opposite of something like Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 with its huge open platform and interior designed around the benefits of a skateboard EV platform.

On a final note, part of the Polestar brand promise is to build the world’s first truly carbon neutral vehicle by 2030. To that end, its cars will be built increasingly using renewable resources.

And the brand is open about the carbon intensity of building a battery electric car, and how many kilometres it will take before you start to break even with a combustion model. You can read all the detail in Polestar’s Life Cycle Assessment Report (LCA) for this car here.

Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

This leads us nicely into practicality. The Polestar 2 isn’t bad here, but considering it’s an EV, it could definitely do better.

To be fair to the brand, it is clear about the fact that it is more about driver engagement than it is about having a massive interior space, saying it seeks to move away from the family-oriented design of its Volvo parent.

It’s obvious in some areas, like the single cupholder in the centre console, the fact that there’s no cutaway under the dash for larger objects, and the fact that you have to choose between a second cupholder or any space inside the armrest console.

There are areas which are very good though. Like driver ergonomics. For a start, it’s nice that you just hop in and the car is on and ready to go, but the seating position is excellent, as is the floating screen; one of a handful of examples of touch functions actually being easy to use.

I was surprised to find how big the doors are given this car’s coupe roofline, making it easy to step in and out of. (image: Tom White) I was surprised to find how big the doors are given this car’s coupe roofline, making it easy to step in and out of. (image: Tom White)

While we normally don’t like the majority of a car’s functions, particularly things like climate, being moved to a touchscreen this is one of the best implementations on the market.

The touch elements are huge, and almost every function you need while driving is just two presses away, thanks to tabulated menus with simple option groups. It’s a good thing too, because more dials in this instance would clutter up an otherwise minimalist design.

The combustion platform compromises extend to the rear as well, with a raised transmission tunnel cluttering up the rear seat space and making the middle seat hardly comfortable for an adult.

Rear passengers score the same comfortable seat and door trims, plus a drop-down armrest with two bottle holders. (image: Tom White) Rear passengers score the same comfortable seat and door trims, plus a drop-down armrest with two bottle holders. (image: Tom White)

I was surprised to find how big the doors are given this car’s coupe roofline, making it easy to step in and out of, and I also had plenty of knee room and headroom behind my own seating position, despite a raised rear bench.

Rear passengers also score the same comfortable seat and door trims, a drop-down armrest with two bottle holders, a big bottle holder in the doors, nets on the backs of the front seats, and some handy appointments like two USB-C outlets, dual adjustable air vents, and even dual heated outboard seats with three levels of adjust. Nice.

The boot comes in at a little over hatchback-sized 405 litres VDA. The space is deep and wide, but not very tall, so I found to shut the boot with our three-piece CarsGuide luggage set inside, I had to remove the luggage cover.

It also scores a small frunk, which varies in size depending on variant. Weighing in at a minimum of 35L, though, it’s hardly a space for luggage, more a convenient spot to store all your charging cables.

  • The boot comes in at a little over hatchback-sized 405 litres VDA. (image: Tom White) The boot comes in at a little over hatchback-sized 405 litres VDA. (image: Tom White)
  • I found to shut the boot with our three-piece CarsGuide luggage set inside, I had to remove the luggage cover. (image: Tom White) I found to shut the boot with our three-piece CarsGuide luggage set inside, I had to remove the luggage cover. (image: Tom White)
  • It also scores a small frunk, which varies in size depending on variant. (image: Tom White) It also scores a small frunk, which varies in size depending on variant. (image: Tom White)

Powertrain - What are the key stats for the powertrain?

The Polestar 2 has two powertrains, either a single motor front wheel drive option, or a dual-motor all-wheel drive option,

The Single Motor produces a respectable but not outstanding 170kW/330Nm, while the dual motor adds a second motor of nearly equal outputs on the rear axle, almost doubling performance to 300kW/660Nm.

You should see a lot more of these motors in the future, as they seem to be the standard units set to be fitted to future Volvo and Geely models.

Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel?

Backing the Polestar 2’s motors is either a standard range 69kWh battery or a long range 78kWh version.

Range is officially stated as 470km on the standard range single motor, 540km on the long range single motor, or 480km on the long range dual motor.

These ranges aren’t as excessive as the ones achieved by the Polestar 2’s key Tesla Model 3 rival, but are certainly healthy when weighed up against most EVs from mainstream competitors.

It’s impressive the brand has managed this on a platform shared with a combustion vehicle.

Charging is a decent story, too. The Polestar 2 has a single European-standard Type 2 CCS charging port, and on DC it can charge at a rate of 130kW on the standard range variant, or 155kW on the long range variants.

At 11kW the AC charger will juice the Standard Range Polestar 2 in seven hours, or the Long Range version in eight hours. (image: Tom White) At 11kW the AC charger will juice the Standard Range Polestar 2 in seven hours, or the Long Range version in eight hours. (image: Tom White)

This should allow a charge from 10-80 per cent in around 35 minutes, regardless of variant.

On the lower-speed AC charging standard, the Polestar 2’s inverter can charge the battery at a max rate of 11kW. This matches most large battery rivals, and is necessary to make the most of convenience charging from more widely available AC public chargers as well as home wall box set-ups.

At 11kW the AC charger will juice the Standard Range Polestar 2 in seven hours, or the Long Range version in eight hours.

From a wall socket you can expect a charge time in the realm of 25–35 hours.

One small disappointment is the Polestar 2 has no two-way charging, so you can’t power devices or charge wallboxes with it, unlike the Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Ioniq 5. Worth keeping in mind.

Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Being a Volvo off-shoot, as well as sharing its CMA platform with various Volvo models, means the Polestar 2 is by nature a safe car. There’s a bit of devil in the detail here, though.

Polestar likes to say its brand position lets it do things its Volvo parent can’t, but apparently this also means putting some safety items which should be standard in an option pack.

That’s not to say most of the key active stuff isn’t standard, you still score freeway-speed auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and driver attention alert.

Behind a paywall in the $5000 ‘Pilot Pack’ is the rear-facing items, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear auto braking, a 360-degree reversing camera and even the adaptive cruise control suite.

The Polestar 2 has yet to be assessed by ANCAP but has a maximum five-star EuroNCAP score. (image: Tom White) The Polestar 2 has yet to be assessed by ANCAP but has a maximum five-star EuroNCAP score. (image: Tom White)

As upsetting as it is that those items are optional, even on the top-spec car, I’d recommend the pack anyway.

Firstly, because it’s worth getting those items to have the full suite, but secondly because if you tick that box on the base Standard Range, you’re still under the $3000 rebate threshold in NSW and Victoria.

On the crash safety front, the Polestar 2 gains enhanced structural protection for the battery pack, a complement of seven airbags, and dual ISOFIX mounts on the outboard rear seats.

The Polestar 2 has yet to be assessed by ANCAP but has a maximum five-star EuroNCAP score.

Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Polestar matches its Volvo parent company’s five year and unlimited kilometre warranty in Australia, with a separate industry-standard eight-year and 160,000km warranty for the high-voltage lithium-ion battery components.

Polestar says it is ironing out the details of its service arrangement in Australia, but you can expect to be able to take it to select Volvo workshops.

The interval is long thanks to its relatively simple electric drive components, at 24 months or 30,000km, whichever occurs first.

A service plan, covering five years or 100,000km, is complementary, so like its Volvo XC40 Recharge cousin it will cost you near nothing to run over the life of the warranty. A good offer.

Driving - What's it like to drive?

The Polestar 2 drives well. Really well. And I suspect much of this has to do with its unorthodox shape.

This car does a brilliant job of blending the virtues of a low-riding, wide-stanced sedan, with the ride height, suspension travel, and subsequently, ride characteristics of a small SUV.

It’s a new, fresh experience, and one quite different from not only its hard-riding, sporty Tesla Model 3 rival, but also remarkably different from its Volvo relation.

The steering tune surprised me by being much lighter than the XC40 Recharge, and while it does have an element of disconnect from the front wheels, thanks to slightly too much electrical assist, it still makes the Polestar 2 playful and easy to point.

The ride, as mentioned, is excellent. This comes with the caveat that I only experienced the top-spec Dual Motor with the adjustable Ohlins damper package.

The Polestar 2 drives well. Really well. (image: Tom White) The Polestar 2 drives well. Really well. (image: Tom White)

In this spec, the Polestar 2 is superbly sprung, filtering out the worst of the road, while providing excellent body control in the corners.

In fact, compared to its rivals both on combustion and full EV platforms, the Polestar 2 carries the weight of 78kWh of batteries in its stride. It’s one of the few EVs I’ve ever driven that doesn’t feel so burdened, matched perhaps only by the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

It’s fast, too, with the dual-motor set-up proving rapid for overtaking manoeuvres, always having seemingly limitless torque in reserve.

Don’t get me wrong here, though, it’s not excessively fast, not sledgehammer brutal like the Tesla Model 3. I’d say this is down to the DNA the Polestar 2 shares with its Volvo parent company.

It permeates every factor of the drive experience, from the steering, to the acceleration, and the grip on offer. It feels measured, safe, secure. Things you would normally associate with a Swedish luxury player.

It’s particularly impressive that the Polestar 2 provides this level of comfort and ability at the price.

It permeates every factor of the drive experience, from the steering, to the acceleration, and the grip on offer. (image: Tom White) It permeates every factor of the drive experience, from the steering, to the acceleration, and the grip on offer. (image: Tom White)

Negatives? There aren’t many, but then again, I’d like to drive that base car without the magic dampers.

If I have one complaint, it’s that tyre and wind noise pick up on this car above 80km/h. It seems as though the Polestar is missing some of the high-end noise cancelling features invested in by some other EV players.

Things like thick acoustic glass or even noise cancellation through the speaker system.

The ride, while generally superb, is also not bullet proof. This is still a sporting machine, and as such it can be a little busy over corrugations.

Still, the bar is set very high here. Particularly as this car’s key rival is the Model 3.

I found the extra ride height on offer remarkably useful, as I never once had to worry that this stylish Swede would scrape on driveways or ramps. I can’t say the same about the low-slung Teslas.

  • DrivetrainFully electric
  • Battery Capacity78kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range480km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 CCS
  • DC charge rate155kW
  • AC charge rate11kW
  • Electric motor output300kW/660Nm
  • Electric efficiency20.2kWh/100km
Complete Guide to Polestar 2

Finally, a proper rival to shake Tesla’s Model 3. The Polestar 2 is a triumph in its design, performance, and particularly its price. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t catch on with Australia’s increasingly EV-curious populace.

We’re keen to drive the price-leading Standard Range Single Motor variant, which could account for the biggest share of this newcomer’s sales as on the numbers alone it’s our pick of the range (with the Pilot Pack).

So, stay tuned for a future variant review to see how it measures up compared to the top-spec car we tested for this launch.

$59,900

Based on new car retail price

Score

4.2/5
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.