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Polestar 3 2024 review


This is it. The Polestar 3 is the first true, actual, properly-original Polestar.

The existing Polestar 2, launched back in 2021, was just the warm-up act. It was meant to be a belated S40 replacement from Volvo, but instead spearheaded the until-recently in-house electric vehicle (EV) brand’s introduction globally.

But the Polestar 3 EV is new from the ground up for the recently-independent and now Geely-controlled firm, and is targeting luxury performance EV, hybrid and internal combustion engine SUVs as varied as the BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe an Porsche Cayenne.

Big rivals and big dreams, then. Is the most expensive mainstream Polestar out of its depth, or has the brand finally found its mojo? Let’s find out!

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 8/10

On sale in Australia now, the pricing situation is fluid. And complicated.

The first Polestar 3 to arrive is the Long Range Dual Motor (LR DM) model, and that kicks off from $132,900 (all prices are before on-road costs), putting it right in the centre of its EV SUV competitor set.

Next year, we should see a Single Motor and perhaps even Standard Range options added to the series, which should provide more affordable choices for luxury SUV consumers.

For now, however, it’s up to the sole LR DM model to do all the heavy lifting.       

Features a large-touchscreen multimedia system with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Features a large-touchscreen multimedia system with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Along with the expected LED headlights, keyless entry/start, climate control, a large-touchscreen multimedia system with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated front seats with memory and 20-inch alloy wheels among other gear, it comes with really good stuff, like all-wheel drive (AWD), air suspension with active dampers and Brembo performance brakes. This is an engineer’s EV SUV specification.

You’ll also find very Scandi-esque recyclable and animal-free technical weave upholstery that’s actually quite lovely.

And, being part of the VCU –Volvo Car Universe – means the Polestar 3 is a safety superhero, with most of the driver-assist tech you can think of. Check out the safety section below for more details.

Now, all of the above should apply to all Polestar 3 LR DM models – we think. It may change.

20-inch alloy wheels. 20-inch alloy wheels.

But the initial shipments from China consist of the Model Year 2024 Launch Edition (LE), the only model we’ve driven so far, which includes equipment that – when stocks run dry – may or may not be optional in the 2025 Polestar 3 LR DM that’s orderable right now via the company’s website.

At the time of publishing, no decision has yet been announced.

If you’re lucky to have scored an MY24 LE, it adds the 'Pilot Pack' option with a 360-degree/3D-view camera, 'Pilot Assist' that centres the car at speed right in the middle of the lane, lane-change assistance that moves the car into a lane automatically and advanced high-speed lane keep capability.

Comes with a heated steering wheel. Comes with a heated steering wheel.

There's also heating for the steering wheel/rear seats/wipers, a powered steering column, air filter, soft-close doors, an infra-red windscreen to cut cabin heat soak, privacy glass, a head-up display, 360-degree view camera, parking assist, lane-change assistance and a block-rocking 25-speaker audio upgrade that includes headrest speakers as well as active noise-cancellation tech. And more.

Most of the latter equipment is normally part of a $9000 'Plus Pack', meaning the MY24 LE represents more than $15K’s worth of extras for the base price, and may not apply to the MY25 LR DM models.

Note, too, that if vegan upholstery isn’t your vibe, the Nappa option switches that out for leather, vented and massaging front seats and more, for $7500 extra.

You’ll find very Scandi-esque recyclable and animal-free technical weave upholstery that’s quite lovely. You’ll find very Scandi-esque recyclable and animal-free technical weave upholstery that’s quite lovely.

Plus, there’s a $9000 'Performance Pack' (from $41,900), which adds a bit more power and racier-tuned suspension, along with 22-inch alloys. Most of the Polestar 3 photography you see is centred on this model.

Of course, paying 10s of thousands of dollars above base for desirable options is playing the German game, and that’s exactly where the Polestar 3 intends to win against the similarly priced and positioned BMW iX, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes EQE and Audi Q8 e-tron, as well as others like the Lexus RZ 450e and Genesis GV70 Electrified.

Even down to releasing the inevitable LE.

Where the Polestar 3 really differs from its medium and large premium SUV rivals, though, is in styling and packaging.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10

The Polestar 3 is twinned with the Volvo EX90, and they both run on the 'SPA2' all-electrical architecture, though you’d never guess by looking at them.

The Swedes ensured that’s the case by making one sleek and sporty, the other boxy and practical.

Contrasted against other large-ish SUVs, the 3’s main point of differentiation is its considerably lower and more cab-backward silhouette, starting with the long nose, raked windscreen, comparatively low roof line and long wheelbase.

  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Design 2024 Polestar 3 I Design
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Design 2024 Polestar 3 I Design
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Design 2024 Polestar 3 I Design
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Design 2024 Polestar 3 I Design

It's also worth noting the sunken bonnet emphasises the wheel arch bulges and lack of engine underneath this EV. Along with the window-line up-kick and dramatic roof taper as they meet approaching the back. The net result is sinewy by SUV standards, with efficiency-aiding aerodynamics to boot.

That some 200mm-plus of ground clearance as well as raised seating within a properly spacious vehicle for five occupants – there won’t be a seven-seater version for now as that’s Volvo’s domain – has also been achieved highlights how much of a balancing act the Polestar is.

Strikingly compact yet expressive when observed in the flesh, its key length/width/height/wheelbase dimensions are 4900/1968/1614/2985mm.

Does the outlandish design compromise interior space, comfort and practicality? Let’s see.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside? 8/10

With a lower roofline than usual, you might be wondering if it’s SUV-easy getting in and out of the Polestar.

Well, the answer is yes, because the 3 is physically quite a large car, anyway. Don’t forget, that floor is at least 201mm off the ground. And once sat inside, there’s no shortage of space, even if you’re wearing a hat or boasting a beehive.

The seating position is comparatively relaxed and reclined for this sort of vehicle, though you’d never call it tight or cramped. The fast windscreen angle and pillars also contribute to a low and sporty feel. But there’s also enough headroom to sit bolt-upright as well. The choice is yours. Which of course is the company’s intention here.

And we challenge anybody to show us a more sumptuously comfortable pair of front seats. Or cooler set of door mirrors, which are a work of art in themselves.

Now, given we’re in a Launch Edition model with Nappa leather, bombastic symphonic audio complete with cocooning levels of active sound-deadening and most everything else thrown in including a glass ceiling, the 3’s interior ambience and aroma are suitably luxurious, but not in a tired, clichéd way.

We applaud Polestar’s decision to be adventurous with recycled materials, harmonious hues and interesting textures. We applaud Polestar’s decision to be adventurous with recycled materials, harmonious hues and interesting textures.

The modern, fresh dashboard deserves to be singled out.

While shamelessly Tesla-esque in design and typically Swedish in its solid, sensible and minimalist execution, we applaud Polestar’s decision to be adventurous with recycled materials, harmonious hues and interesting textures, with all claimed to be either thoughtfully procured and some wholly vegan.

The 14.5-inch touchscreen looks and feels particularly lush, and is designed to be intuitive as well as fast-acting. Which it is after familiarisation due to configurable hot-key shortcuts for the important stuff without the need for menu-diving. And that’s just as well, as access to most of the vehicle’s operations lay within the screen.

However, in two test cars we sampled, some of the inputs stalled or simply would not operate; the explanation blaming pre-production model glitches. Otherwise, it worked easily and logically.

Speaking of sensible, we could not fault the effective ventilation and ample storage, either.

So far, so good. And then we sat in the back.

The Polestar 3’s rear bench is nicely angled, and features a sufficiently padded and supportive cushion. The Polestar 3’s rear bench is nicely angled, and features a sufficiently padded and supportive cushion.

At nearly five metres long and two metres wide, there’s more than enough room, even for larger folk, helped out by a deep, flat floor courtesy of the electrified skateboard platform, providing space to stretch. There’s definitely a bit of Tardis trickery going on in here.

The Polestar 3’s rear bench is nicely angled, and features a sufficiently padded and supportive cushion. Most amenities are present, including access to climate controls, USB ports, cupholders and plenty of storage.

What really stands out, though, is how unexpectedly wide-bodied-jet the gentle curvature of the sides seems, allowing you to see around and beyond both sides of the front seats. It imbues a new and unusual sense of travel. Like in a 787 Dreamliner – business class, of course. Especially when the ambient lighting makes itself known.

We’re not fans of the glass roof with no sunblock shade. Australia is too hot a climate for that. Apparently, a solution in the form of an optional clip-on screen is coming soon.

  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality 2024 Polestar 3 I Practicality

And the lack of grab handles is a misstep in an SUV with such sporting aspirations. Is the one gripe related to the other?

Further back, the cargo area is long and wide, though a bit shallow – unless you remove the floor to discover a massive well underneath.

Capacities are 484 litres up to the rear seat backs, 597L up to the ceiling and 1411L with the rear seats folded. Plus, there’s another 32L under the bonnet, though that’s probably best left for charging cables.

Note there is no spare wheel of any variety – just a tyre inflation kit. Not good enough, Polestar.

Still, the interior is a bit of a knockout. Isolating, pampering and architectural in presentation, in this loaded-up LR DM LE at least, the 3 delivers on the high-tech luxury SUV promise.

But what of the EV bits?

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor? 8/10

As the Dual Motor name suggests, a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors are fitted to the AWD Polestar 3 – one on each axle. A rear-motor disconnect clutch enhances efficiency.

Both motors make 180kW of power and 420Nm of torque, while the Performance upgrade ups those to 200kW and 490Nm, respectively.

Total standard outputs are 368kW and 840Nm, for a 0-100 time of a handy 5.0 seconds, on the way to a 210km/h top speed. Need more? The Performance Pack Launch Edition ups those numbers to 380kW, 910Nm and 4.7s to a hundred flat out.

That SPA2 architecture is a skateboard platform with wheels on each corner, held up by double wishbones up front and an integral link rear end. For now, air suspension is included in all Polestar 3s, though that will likely be optional in the SR SM grades. 

A 111kWh 400V lithium-ion battery pack is nestled down low, helping create a 50/50 weight distribution. Braked towing capacity, by the way, is 2200kg.

Among other tech advancements is a new torque vectoring system to make this 2.6-tonne hippo flitter about like a hummingbird.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time? 8/10

Polestar reckons the Long Range Dual Motor 3 offers a provisional WLTP range of up to 631km, while the Performance pack pegs that back to 561km. There is no data as yet on what the coming Single Motor and eventual Standard Range versions can achieve.

Under the same testing protocols, energy consumption is rated between 19.7 and 21.8 kWh/100 km. Add about 10 per cent for the more-muscular version.

A larger-than-usual 111kWh battery does require a lot of charging. With an 11kW AC Type 2 charger on board, you’ll need about 55 hours to fully replenish that.

Polestar offers a 7.4kW single-phase charger for under $3000, and that needs under 18 hours, while a 22kW three-phase charger for under $4K cuts that to under 12 hours.

Meanwhile, with up to 250kW of DC charging ability, a 50kW DC public charger needs over 1.5 hours to go from 10-80 per cent full, or under one hour using a 100kW outlet.

Driving – What's it like to drive? 9/10

Wow. This isn’t like any Swedish car we’ve ever driven before.

Being electric with a pair of electric motors, acceleration is as you’d expect – instant, rapid and ultra-slick, especially in the sportier modes. Effortless and immediate, it’s a portent of things to come.

For example, the steering is unlike any from Volvo and Polestar, being progressive and natural but also infused with a pleasing degree of feel. Unlike many other larger SUVs, you feel connected.

Factor in the Dual Motor’s rear torque vectoring tech, and the P3’s dynamic capabilities transform, providing a newfound agility and precision that makes the SUV feel like it shrinks around you. At 2.5 tonnes, the elephant can sure dance.

Then there’s the ride quality, courtesy of air suspension and adaptive dampers that deliver varying degrees of cushiness and – at times sumptuous – comfort.

  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving
  • 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving 2024 Polestar 3 I Driving

On the Spanish roads we blasted our Polestar along, there is a relaxing and assured quietness and control that eludes many so-called luxury brands.

Two issues we found were that occasionally, during really fast hairpin corners in one test car, it was possible to catch out the power steering, resulting in a bit of unexpected temporary heaviness, as well as some wobbliness at the straight-ahead when changing lanes, which could be down to the lane-keep driver-assist systems kicking in a bit too eagerly.

Maybe some more tech finessing is required here.

Otherwise, there is a sophistication to this thoroughbred EV SUV that is far, far above anything we’ve experienced with the Polestar badge.

Beyond that, the adaptive cruise control and other driver-assist systems, as well as the brakes, seem spot-on, as you might expect, leaving the Polestar driver with a sense of Volvo-esque security and confidence.

Of course, we’ll need to make a final dynamic driving assessment on Aussie roads, but until then, this Polestar 3 is looking very promising indeed. 

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating? 10/10

No official crash-test ratings have yet been divulged.

But the Polestar 3 is expected to follow the existing Polestar 2 with a maximum five-star result, thanks to active and passive safety tech that’s right at the forefront of the industry.

These include 'Advanced Driver Assist Systems' (ADAS) featuring nine exterior cameras, two interior cameras and a dozen ultrasonic sensors anticipating and preparing for the worst.

Collectively they help provide AEB vehicle-to-vehicle collision avoidance/mitigation with cyclist and pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert/braking, blind spot alert with steer assist, lane departure warning/assist, oncoming lane mitigation and torque-vectoring cornering control.

There's also run-off road mitigation, post-impact braking, night-time collision warning, occupant detection, rear-collision warning/mitigation, taillight warning sequence and adaptive cruise control with full stop/go functionality.

The Polestar 3 is expected to follow the existing Polestar 2 with a maximum five-star result, thanks to active and passive safety tech. The Polestar 3 is expected to follow the existing Polestar 2 with a maximum five-star result, thanks to active and passive safety tech.

Plus, there is electronic stability control, traction control, trailer stability assist, understeer control logic, road-sign info, a driver-alert monitoring and tyre pressure monitors.

At the time of publishing, ADAS and AEB operating parameters were not as-yet available.

On the passive front, nine airbags are fitted (front, side, inner-side, curtain and knee), anti-whiplash head restraints, alarm with interior motion sensors and post-collision automatic door unlocking.

The rear seats include ISOFIX mountings as well as child-seat latch points.

That the Polestar 3 has been co-developed with the Volvo EX90 also helps. This is about as safe as motoring gets in 2024.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs? 7/10

Polestar provides a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, as well as free servicing for that time frame or the first 100,000km – whichever occurs first.

An eight-year/160,000km warranty on the Lithium-ion battery pack is also offered, meaning it will be replaced for free if it falls under 70 per cent capacity within that period of time. There is also a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Service intervals are every two years or 30,000km.

Well. We never!

This might be the best Polestar we’ve ever driven, as well as possibly the best Volvo ever driven, to boot.

The Polestar 3’s design and engineering sophistication elevates it to the level you might expect from a Porsche Cayenne or a BMW iX. This is that good.

Let’s not get too carried away, though. While this Dual Motor AWD version is a knockout, it needs to also be driven on Australian roads for the definitive verdict.

Still, as it stands, we reckon Polestar is on a winner with this sporty/luxury electric SUV. Definitely worth checking out.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.

$132,900

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

4.1/5
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