The electric revolution is in full swing. Tesla was at the forefront of this for a long time, gaining an edge over the rest. Subsequently, other major brands such as Audi, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Ford and Volvo exchanged the petrol engines for battery packs. The playing field is shaken up by this big change and that offers space for new players. We could already meet such a newcomer: the Polestar 2.
The average consumer will not often have heard the name Polestar. Maybe if they have ever had a Volvo. Polestar is a subsidiary of Volvo. If a regular Volvo was not fast enough, you could still visit Polestar for a bit more sportiness. This is best compared to Mercedes-AMG and BMW-Motorsport. Polestar is Volvo’s home tuner.
Home tuner becomes a car builder
That changed in 2017. Two years after the Chinese company Geely took over both Volvo and its tuner, it was decided that it was time for a private car under the Polestar name. This became an impressive and especially very expensive plug-in hybrid, called Polestar 1. This is also the only Polestar car that you can encounter at the pump, because it was soon decided that the brand’s future is fully electric.
And so we arrive in 2020. The year in which Polestar launches their second car. Judging by the name, you would think that the Polestar 2 is a successor to the Polestar 1, but that is absolutely not the case. The fact that this car is fully electric and not a plug-in hybrid is just one of many differences. This is not a coupé of one and a half tons, but a practical and affordable electric car with the sporty DNA from Polestar.
This is the Polestar 2
That sounds very interesting and above all very ambitious. Can a newcomer immediately join the established order on their first attempt (read Tesla)? Or even beat these? It is impossible to answer this question now, but after our test drive we have a feeling which way this is going. We were allowed to work on the Polestar 2 for an afternoon.
Our test drive did not start at a dealer, but in the Hallen in Amsterdam. In a minimalist hall, the Polestar 2 was waiting for us with a Swedish delicacy next to it. This setting fits perfectly with Polestar. The Swedish newcomer has a completely different approach in this area than the competition. At Polestar you will not find pushy sellers and you do not have to negotiate options.
New way of selling
You buy a Polestar 2 online. You can get to know the car in the so-called Polestar spaces. Showrooms designed with great attention in the center of major cities (in The Hague, Rotterdam and Eindhoven). Here you can experience for yourself what the Polestar 2 has to offer. You are not jumped in the neck by a pushy salesman. Instead, an expert is ready to introduce you to all the possibilities. In peace and without pressure.
A unique way of selling cars that suits the Polestar 2. This fits much better with the way people buy products nowadays. And this is only the beginning of the unique Polestar experience. The company’s starting position is completely different from what you are used to. The Polestar 2 is not a car that fits into a clear segment or is made for a demographic target group. It is intended for people who are attracted to the Polestar 2.
What is the Polestar 2?
That may sound like a hip sales pitch, but it isn’t. We had the opportunity to speak to CEO Thomas Ingenlath. His passion and drive were felt through the Zoom connection. He really wants to change the market and try something new. His premise is completely different. The Polestar 2 should be a success because it evokes a different feeling in people. Not because it is easy to define and can be placed in a corner.
That starts with the appearance. Very Swedish and minimalistic, but also special. Because the car has no extreme features, it is difficult to put your finger on what makes the Polestar 2 so different. It is even difficult to determine what the body type is. Is it a hatchback? Is it a crossover SUV. There is a lot to be said for many, but as said before: that is not the point with the Polestar 2.
Above all, it is an interesting car. You see similarities with different Volvos (such as Thor’s hammer in the headlights), but the Polestar 2 really has its own face. Robust and sturdy, but due to the clean lines and minimalist design, it is not clunky or busy. The alloy wheels also play an important role in this. These are standard 19 inches. That is larger than average and certainly contributes to the appearance.
Serious and sporty
What also appealed to us was the continuous taillight and the grille at the front. In many electric cars, every opening is closed to reduce air resistance. The same goes for air scoops. These are often missing or sealed. This creates a flat and somewhat fake appearance. Fortunately, the Polestar 2 does not have this. It has depth and that gives the car a tough and more mature look.
While it certainly has a sporty touch, the Polestar 2 doesn’t look like a racing monster. Appearances are deceiving. Polestar is a performance department and you will certainly notice that. Just like other electric cars, the Polestar 2 is also fast on the first meters, but it continues to pull through afterwards. The two electric motors (one at the front and one at the rear) provide 408 hp and 660 Nm of torque. Enough to reach 100 km / h in 4.7 seconds.
A gentle and approachable beast
The feeling is more important than numbers. The Polestar 2 just drives wonderfully. Motors on both axles ensure you always have the grip and power where you need it. He is a kind of wolf in sheep’s clothing that is always ready for a sporting action. Electric cars sometimes feel nervous due to the extremely fast acceleration. That is not the case with the Polestar 2. Everything feels solid, sporty and familiar.
Accelerating a few times and attacking a winding road is fun, but that’s not what you’re doing all day. Most of the time you just go with the flow. The one-pedal driving is particularly noticeable. When you release the gas, the car brakes on the engine. This drives very relaxed and ensures that the energy released is returned to the battery. So a win-win.
Driving with one-pedal driving in a Polestar 2 is surprisingly pleasant. We were already familiar with this system, but have never seen it so well. It feels very natural and predictable. After half an hour you know exactly how much the car brakes. We drove all afternoon and hardly used the brake. Combine this with the adaptive cruise control and all other assistance systems, and the car drives almost automatically.
Google in the Polestar 2
And because the Polestar 2 takes so much work off your hands, we had plenty of time to take a good look around. The interior is as you would expect from a Scandinavian brand: stylish, sleek and of high quality. The seating comfort is excellent and there are plenty of options to adjust the seating position. The upholstery feels premium, but different from what you may be used to. That’s because everything is environmentally friendly.
On the dashboard we find a large touchscreen. You can operate this as usual, but also by talking to it. This is possible with more cars, but we don’t see it that often with the Polestar 2. That’s because this is the first car with the Google operating system. This means that you can use the excellent speech recognition and useful apps. This is how you use Google Maps as navigation. Many brands try to develop these types of systems themselves, but Polestar proves that you should simply leave this to the experts.
The Polestar 2 that we tested was also equipped with the optional Performance package. For an additional cost of 6,000 euros you get gold-colored Brembo brakes (which look really sleek), gold-colored valve caps, gold-colored belts, high-gloss black roof segment, 20 ”alloy wheels and Öhlins dampers.
Clear options and versions
In terms of power, there is therefore no difference with the very extensive basic version. This costs 59,800 euros and is also equipped with all the bells and whistles. The only choices you have to make are mainly visual. You have to choose between six exterior colors and three interior styles. You also have the option to go for 20 ”wheels (1,000 euros) and an electric towbar (1,100 euros).
In short, the Polestar 2 is a car that drives great, is comfortable and filled with handy systems that work excellently and intuitively. A few hours was more than enough to convince us that for the best ‘affordable’ electric car you might have to be in Sweden. What we have been less able to test in those few hours is the range and loading.
With petrol and diesel cars, we always take a quick look at consumption and we go further. This is of course different for an electric car. This can be decisive in your judgment whether or not you should go for a particular car. Fortunately, the Polestar 2 does fine on this point, but unfortunately does not blow you from your environmentally friendly chair.
No one can be the best at everything
At 78 kWh, the Polestar 2 has a larger battery than most competitors. That is also necessary, because it is among the most powerful and heaviest electric cars in this price range. This means that the Polestar 2 is great on the road and drives very well, but also yields something when it comes to range. Nevertheless, you can just drive 470 kilometers on a full battery.
Are you rolling on the last bit of tension? Then you can recharge with 150 kW. That is above average compared to the average competition, but then you always have Tesla. The Model 3 Long Range and Performance can use the unbeatable charging network and have a charging capacity of 250 kW. At that point, no electric car can compete with Tesla.
Why compare with the Tesla Model 3?
So we make a small comparison with the Tesla Model 3. This is part of it, but do not compare too much. After all, President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” He is right about that. You do the Polestar 2 too short by just comparing with others. This is really something else.
The Polestar 2 is primarily a mature and solid car that drives fantastic and has a unique appearance. Everything is at a level that you would expect from the major German brands, but fully electric. If you are a fan of driving and looking into the electrified future with fear, the Polestar 2 is the car that will give you hope.