Review: Polestar 2

From £44,950

A quick recap before we begin. The Polestar brand is the sister company to Volvo and it’s also based in Sweden. Owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, its remit is to produce performance electric vehicles and Polestar 2 was the first mainstream model when it launched in the UK in 2020. Up against rivals headed by the Tesla Model 3, this award-winning five-door fastback has been a big success and is now a familiar sight on our roads.

For 2024, it’s been treated to a facelift (or refresh) and much more. The range, efficiency, performance and driving enjoyment of Polestar 2 have all been improved.

We took to the roads and motorways of Oxfordshire during mid-winter to test drive both versions (rear-wheel and all-wheel drive) of the car. So, is the Polestar 2 still one of the best EVs in its class?

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Polestar 2 – Exterior

The 2024 Polestar 2 is easily distinguishable from its predecessor thanks to its new flush front, which replaces the traditional grille. Polestar calls it the SmartZone – a flat surface that houses the front-facing camera and radar used for safety and self-driving features.

The new nose also reflects the design language of its two siblings, which are both due to launch in 2024 – Polestar 3 (the brand’s first electric SUV) and Polestar 4 (a rakish large SUV-coupe).

Other than that (and new 20-inch forged alloy wheels), the Polestar 2 looks much the same, which is no bad thing because that distinctive, yet chunky styling, muscular stance and unique rear light signature, results in a car like no other on the road.

> Polestar 3 completes extreme UAE testing cycle

In all, there are four versions of the Polestar 2. However, there are no trim levels as such. Instead, you choose your battery/powertrain, then configure it with colours, upgrade packs, wheels, accessories etc.

The Polestar 2 is covered by a standard warranty (first three years after delivery, or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first). Additionally, the battery pack is protected for eight years/100,000 miles.

Finally, the Polestar 2 is about as safe as a car can get these days, scoring a maximum of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Polestar 2 – Interior

The Polestar 2 is equally impressive inside where there’s a minimalist feel and it oozes Scandi chic. The centre console is dominated by a big touchscreen and there’s a digital driver’s display. The standard interior is vegan-friendly too. For instance, the upholstery is made from WeaveTech – a 100% vegan material which is durable, with a sporty look and feel inspired by wetsuits.

As you’d expect with a premium offering, there’s a long list of infotainment, driver assistance and safety tech available, including Pilot Assist as standard, which means it can accelerate, brake and steer itself on a motorway, all with minimal input from the driver. And if you try to pull out in front of a car in your blind spot, it will steer you back into your lane.

> Futuristic, rapid, and packed with tech: Read our review of Tesla Model 3

Polestar 2 was also the first car to get the impressive Android Automotive software, which means that it runs the excellent Google Assistant voice-activation system. Just say “Hey Google” and you can ask it questions and give it commands – everything from phoning a friend to navigating to a destination. And because it works with Spotify (also available), you can work your way through the playlist in your head.

Additionally, the door unlocks with your smartphone and you don’t need a key to start the car.

Our only gripe with the technology is that far too many of the car’s key functionality is accessed via the touchscreen, which inevitably ends up taking your eyes away from the road.

Ultimately, the cabin has a classy ambience and it’s well put together, so more than a match for its prestige German rivals – the BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQE.

> Beautifully built, luxurious and with long-range: Read our review of Mercedes-Benz EQE

From a practical point of view, the Polestar scores well again but isn’t perfect. There’s room for four average-sized adults, but if you’re like me and lower the driver’s seat, there’s next no space for the passenger behind you to tuck their feet in underneath. Also, a fifth passenger has to straddle the “transmission tunnel” (actually a battery storage area) along the middle of the rear seat floor

That aside, there’s a decent 405 litres of luggage space (including the “frunk” under the bonnet, which is useful for storing charging cables), expanding to 1,097 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Polestar 2 – Performance and economy

The four versions of the Polestar 2 are – Standard range Single motor (69kWh battery), Long range Single motor, Long range Dual motor and Long range Dual motor with Performance pack (all with an 82kWh battery).

All variants get next-generation electric motors and inverters, boosting both efficiency and performance.

The new Standard range Single motor has a power output increase of 268bhp and a higher torque of 361 lb-ft, reducing the 0-62mph sprint time by a second to just 6.4 seconds.

The Long-range Single motor gets 295bhp (0-62mph in 6.2s), while the Long range Dual motor packs 416bhp (4.5s) and the Long-range Dual motor with Performance pack puts out 469bhp and sprints to 602ph in only 4.2 seconds.

The claimed range varies from 321 miles for the Standard range Single motor up to 406 miles for the Long-range Single motor. Based on our driving experience, as a rough calculation, we’d estimate a real-world driving range of up to 20% less than the official figures. Even so, those are very respectable figures, while city driving will result in better efficiency.

If you have a wall box at home, you can charge your Polestar 2 overnight. Find an ultra-rapid DC connection nearer 205kW and a 10-80% boost will take as little as 28 minutes. Naturally, you can also use the regenerative braking feature to recharge the battery using energy otherwise lost during braking, while the one-pedal option will bring the car to a halt when you release the accelerator.

Polestar 2 – Handling

The new-look Polestar 2 differs from its predecessor in other ways too, which positively affect the way the car handles. That’s not to say that it wasn’t an engaging car to drive before. It’s just even better.

Single-motor variants are no longer front-wheel drive and are now rear-wheel driven, while the dual-motor versions have a rear-drive bias.

These changes might not sound particularly significant, but the Single motor driving experience especially is improved. It’s not a revelation, but there is a slight sensation of being pushed rather than pulled.

It also means that you can use that power boost more easily. The FWD Polestar 2 used to suffer from a bit of torque steer (when the steering wheel tugs and pulls in your hands under heavy acceleration). The revised car is much less dramatic, though it’s best to be cautious in the wet or on a slippery surface because the rear can get playful if you’re too heavy with your right foot.

The Single motor Polestar 2 is more than fast enough for everyday driving, but if you require neck-wrenching performance and planted handling, then go for the AWD Dual motor.

Whichever Polestar 2 you choose, you can expect a firm ride which can unsettle the car on rougher surfaces. It’s not a deal-breaker, but well worth checking out on a test drive.

You can also engage Sport mode for a little more fun. Other than that, only the steering sensitivity can be adjusted.

Overall, it disguises its two-tonne weight well and delivers a sporty driving experience with controlled body lean, putting it right up there in the top league of best handling EVs.

Polestar 2 – Verdict

The Polestar 2 has always been one of the coolest EVs. Now it’s even better. More range, power and driving enjoyment, combined with good looks, eco-friendly materials and top build quality make it one of the best electric cars on the market.

Tech Specs

Price: £44,950 – £57,950
On sale: Now
Engine: 69kWh and 82kWh battery
Power: 268/469bhp
Transmission: Single-speed
Performance: 0-62mph in 6.4/4.2s, top speed 127mph
Weight: 2,015kg
Dimensions: L/W/H 4,606/1,985/1,479

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The Polestar 2 has always been one of the coolest EVs. Now it’s even better. More range, power and driving enjoyment, combined with good looks, eco-friendly materials and top build quality make it one of the best electric cars on the market.
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Fast Facts

Price

£44,950
-57,950

Battery Capacity

69-
82 kWh

WLTP Range

321-
406 miles

Maximum Power

268-
469 bhp

Torque

361-
546 lb-ft

0-60

4.2-
6.4 secs

Top Speed

127 mph

Boot Capacity

405-
1097 litres

Pros and Cons

Engaging drive
Kerb appeal
Top build quality
Superb Android Automotive/Google infotainment system
Some may find the ride too firm
Rear seating area could be more spacious
Not enough drive modes
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