Volvo’s all-electric sister brand has made a massive impact on the electric car scene since its first mainstream model, Polestar 2, was launched in 2020.
An eye-catching 100% electric five-door fastback, it squares up against the Tesla Model 3 and is about the same size as a BMW 3 Series.
Designed and engineered in Gothenburg, it’s built in China, because like Volvo and Lotus, Polestar is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely.
There’s no mistaking Polestar 2’s Volvo DNA (which is no bad thing), but somehow the designers and engineers have managed to give it a strong personality of its own.
With its chunky styling and athletic stance, it’s instantly recognisable and turns heads – for all the right reasons.
Inside it’s just as impressive, rocking a minimalist, sophisticated feel, yet oozing Scandi chic.
The centre console is dominated by a big 11.15-inch vertical touchscreen and there’s a 12.3-inch digital display ahead of the driver, while the upholstery is vegan-friendly as standard. Made from WeaveTech – the durable 100% vegan material has a look and feel inspired by wetsuits.
There’s sustainability elsewhere with natural and recycled materials used extensively to reduce plastic content. For instance, the car’s carpets are woven from reclaimed fishing nets.
There are three versions to choose from and they differ in price, range and performance.
The entry-level ‘Standard range Single motor’ has a 69kWh battery and a claimed range of up to 297 miles. Next up is the ‘Long range Single motor’ which has a larger 78kWh battery and can travel up to 341 miles. Both have 228bhp on tap and are capable of 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds.
I road tested the top-of-the-range all-wheel drive ‘Long range Dual motor’ version, which has 402bhp and a range of up to 301 miles. Its 78kWh battery pack is paired with two electric motors – and it’s blisteringly quick (0-60mph in 4.5 seconds).
The Polestar experience is futuristic to say the least. The door unlocks with your smartphone and you don’t need a key to start it. There’s not even a start-stop button. Instead, you just flick the dinky gear selector into D and you’re off.
As with all EVs, it’s near-silent and there’s instant torque (maximum 487 lb-ft or 660 Nm). If you tow, it also has a useful capacity of 1,500kg.
On the road the Polestar 2 feels fast and totally planted on the road, even when you’re pushing it, while the four-wheel drive traction is superb.
My only criticism is that the drive modes we know and love (Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport) are absent, though there are three steering settings (Light, Standard and Firm).
That said, it’s agile with impressive body control and hides its 2.5-tonne weight well. In fact, it’s one of the most engaging EVs on the market.
Overall, it’s a comfortable, refined driving experience, if slightly firm for some.
There’s plenty of room for four adults, but if you’re like me and prefer a low driver’s seat, there’s next to no room below for the rear passengers to tuck their feet in.
That aside, there’s a decent 405 litres of luggage capacity (1,095 litres with the rear seats down), plus a small 35-litre ‘trunk’ or ‘froot’ (under-bonnet front trunk or boot), which is useful for storing your charging cables.
While we’re on the subject, you can charge overnight if you have a wallpoint at home, while a rapid 0-18% charge can take as little as 25 minutes using a rapid 150kW charge point.
Usefully, if you’re using Google Maps for navigation, it will not only work out your route, but also tell you if you have enough range to get there, and suggest places to recharge en route if you need a top-up.
There’s a huge list of infotainment, driver assistance and safety tech available and it has everything you’d expect from a premium car, including Pilot Assist as standard, which means it can accelerate, brake and steer itself on a motorway, all with minimal input from the driver.
What’s more, if you try to pull out in front of a car in your blind spot, it will steer you back into your lane.
Let’s just say the Polestar 2 is one of the safest new cars on the road, scoring a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Polestar 2 also uses the impressive Android Automotive software which includes the Google Assistant voice-activation system.
Just say “Hey Google” and you can ask it questions and give it commands – everything from calling a friend to navigating to a destination. And because it works with Spotify (also on the infotainment system), you can work your way through the playlist in your head.
Roof bars and a semi-electric towbar are among the official accessories available via the website, which is the only way you can order a Polestar 2 because the buying experience is online and there are no dealerships.
However, you can experience the cars in the metal at a Polestar ‘Space’. There are currently three in the UK (London, Manchester and Birmingham).
As for servicing, the good folk at Polestar will collect your pride and joy, then deliver it back.
Rivals include the Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5.