Polestar 2 review: a stylish and safe Swedish EV
The stylish, all-electric Polestar 2 oozes quality and is a decent alternative to a Tesla, but it’s held back by an overly firm ride
The Polestar 2 continues to deliver quality, style, great on-board tech and reassuring levels of safety kit, with the updated model getting more power and an official range of over 400 miles that few electric cars can even come close to matching – including some that cost twice as much.
For those seeking something different to a Tesla Model 3 in the compact, premium EV space, the Polestar 2 has most bases covered, and it’s competitively priced, too. Its key downside is that the ride is too firm for most UK roads, and this holds the stylish and very likeable EV back from taking the class crown - although it does run the Tesla very close.
About the Polestar 2
It wasn’t that long ago that Polestar held the banner for Volvo’s motorsport activity (mainly in Swedish touring cars), before becoming the performance sub-brand for the Swedish marque’s quicker models. Now, under joint ownership of Volvo and Chinese giant Geely, Polestar has become one of the hottest car brands around, and has a range of highly anticipated electric cars in the works, including the flagship Polestar 5 GT car and the Polestar 6 two-seat roadster.
But Polestar’s first foray into full vehicle production was in 2017 with the aptly named Polestar 1 – a low-volume, plug-in hybrid coupe. The fastback-styled Polestar 2 was the follow-up; an altogether more accessible car that the fledgling brand hoped would steal sales away from Tesla by offering a more stylish alternative to the hugely popular Model 3 saloon. In the main, it has worked. But since the 2 launched in 2020, more players have entered the game, namely the excellent-to-drive BMW i4 and retro-futuristic Hyundai Ioniq 6, while the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.7 will be the next competitor to enter the ring.
Car group tests
- Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3 twin test review: EV titans go head-to-head
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The Polestar 2 sits on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which is also used by the Volvo XC40 SUV and C40 coupe-SUV. The Polestar 2 has a saloon-look to its body, but is actually a five-door hatchback with a slightly elevated ride height. This gives it a unique shape that’s not quite a crossover, but still offers decent family practicality.
The Polestar 2 received a raft of significant updates in early 2023, including the addition of the ‘SmartZone’ grille panel first seen on the Polestar 3 large SUV. Other changes include switching Single Motor versions from front to rear-wheel drive, new electric motors that are more powerful and efficient, and larger batteries for Long Range models.
There are three versions of the Polestar 2 to choose from, starting with the entry-level Standard Range Single Motor. This model is priced at just under £45,000, features a 69kWh battery and is good for a range of up to 339 miles. Long Range Single Motor cars get slightly more power, a bigger 82kWh battery and a maximum range of 406 miles – pretty impressive considering it costs less than £50,000. Long Range Dual Motor versions add an extra motor on the front axle for all-wheel drive, which bumps the power output to 416bhp and 740Nm of torque, but cuts the range to 368 miles.
There are no trim levels for the Polestar 2, just three additional packs that build on the already generous standard equipment list that includes a 11.2-inch touchscreen running Google-powered infotainment software, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad, over-the-air (OTA) update capability, a 360-degree parking camera and a extensive suite of safety systems.
The Pilot pack includes extra autonomous safety kit and Pixel LED headlights, while the Plus pack includes items such as a heat pump, Harman Kardon audio system, heated steering wheel and fixed panoramic sunroof, among other luxuries. You can also upgrade from the standard vegan-friendly upholstery to Zinc Nappa leather.
Only Dual Motor cars can be ordered with the Performance Pack that boosts power to 469bhp and adds Brembo brakes, adjustable Ohlins dampers and 20-inch forged alloy wheels, along with gold-coloured seat belts to match the colour of the brake calipers.
Polestar launched two tuned, limited edition versions of the 2 called the BST Edition 270 and BST Edition 230 based on the pre-facelift model. Just a handful of both are coming to the UK, each costing more than £70k. So far, we’ve driven the BST Edition 270 in the UK, with the Edition 230 due to arrive in late 2023.
For an alternative review of the Polestar 2, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe stylish, all-electric Polestar 2 oozes quality and is a decent alternative to a Tesla, but it’s held back by an overly firm ride
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceThe Polestar 2 is quick and precise, but it’s too firm for most UK roads
- 3Range, charging and running costsThe Polestar 2 now offers one of the longest ranges of any EV, white running costs remain low
- 4Interior, design and technologyPolestar has engineered plenty of quality, style and great tech into the 2
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA comfortable cabin and a practical hatchback body style are plus points for the Swedish fastback
- 6Reliability and safetyPolestar includes a great level of safety kit for the 2, and has delivered impressive results in the latest Driver Power customer satisfaction survey