Road Test: Polestar 2
Stylish with impressive range, the Polestar 2 has the ‘want’ factor, according to Martyn Collins.
SECTOR Compact Executive PRICE £49,990-£51,900 RANGE 292 miles
When is a Volvo not a Volvo? When it’s a Polestar; originally Volvo’s performance arm and now its sister electric car manufacturer.
The Polestar 1 hybrid coupé may have come first, but the Swedes have now turned their attention to taking on Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 with the Polestar 2.
Outside, the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights suggest Volvo, but other more angular design features – such as the chrome-edged grille, the smoothed door handles and the light signature at the back – infer that the Polestar is something different. More interestingly, the Polestar 2 is actually a hatchback, although this is well-hidden by the design.
Inside, again the Polestar feels like a Volvo with a twist. The steering wheel and switchgear are borrowed from the Swedish range. But the simpler design feel, trim and that large 11.5-inch iPad-sized infotainment is new. Powered by Android Automotive OS with in-built Google apps and services, it’s slicker to operate than Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. The only downside is that only Android Auto is supported, although Spotify is included so music can be streamed.
There’s plenty of space in the front of the Polestar 2 and the driving position is excellent, with super comfy seats. Rear legroom is also impressive, although the glass roof eats into headroom for tall people. The boot too is a decent size at 405 litres, which can be extended to 1,095 litres with the rear seat folded.
The Polestar 2 is powered by a 78kWh battery, which powers two electric motors on both axles, giving four-wheel drive, an enviable 408hp and 660Nm of torque and all at 0% BiK for the current tax year. 0-62mph acceleration is demolished in just 4.7 seconds, yet the 2 still has a range of 292 miles. Both AC and DC charging work with this Polestar, with two cables included: a 7-metre Mode 2 cable that can be plugged into any domestic socket, plus a 4.5-metre Mode 3 faster charging cable. When it is time for charging, it takes almost seven and a quarter hours to get to 90% charge from an 11kW wall box. Use one of the latest 150kW fast chargers, and this drops to 40 minutes for an 80% charge. Having lived with the Polestar, we’d avoid trying to charge the 2 using a domestic plug, it takes too long and gives too little charge.
It’s very simple to drive, like the Volkswagen ID.3; all you need to do to get going is select a gear and off you go. Smooth, refined and quick best describe how the Polestar 2 goes, although this car’s standard 19-inch alloys kick up quite a bit of road noise. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but because there’s no engine noise it’s more noticeable. Still, it can be easily drowned out by the excellent standard stereo.
There are two versions of the Polestar 2, one with the Performance Package, with more driver-focused Ohlins adjustable suspension and Brembo brakes. Our entry-level car does without these but is still well-equipped and is expected to account for the majority of fleet sales. On the road, the Polestar feels like a sportier Volvo – which is a good thing. The steering is accurate, the handling agile – although its 2.2-tonne weight goes against the sporty feel in our opinion, and the ride is comfortable.
Where the Polestar 2 succeeds is that it provides an attractive mix of design, style and technology, leading to an electric car with real character and the want factor.
An electric car with the ‘want’ factor. The Polestar isn’t just a pretty face, with impressive technology and a long range among the other highlights.
Key Fleet Model: Polestar 2
Strengths: Style, technology, range
Weaknesses: Weight, compromised rear headroom
Fleet World Star Rating