While Volvo expands their Recharge sub-brand with full battery electrics in the XC40 and C40, Polestar offers a more premium level of electrified models under its own brand.
You have heard of Polestar, right?
If you are familiar with the name’s past, then you probably know it as the performance sub-brand that Volvo controlled for both motorsports and uprated versions of their vehicles. The name is still desirable on certain Volvo models today, denoting an uptick on suspension and power. These include some of Volvo’s plug-in hybrid Recharge models.
However, the Polestar that we used to know is now its own premium brand above Volvo. Or, so it seems. While Volvo expands their Recharge sub-brand with full battery electrics in the XC40 and C40, Polestar offers a more premium level of electrified models under its own brand.
Currently, there are two models on sale worldwide. The Polestar 1 is a plug-in performance hybrid coupe that is being phased out as we speak. There are about a few dozen left in the USA – perhaps the world – to own. This sexy coupe is a rare sight where I live, which the hunt to find one is absolutely frustrating. It might be a collector’s item…who knows?
The model that is more readily available at the brand’s “Spaces” is the Polestar 2. It is a compact-ish full-battery-electric five-door hatchback.
Just recently, I had a short stint in the Polestar 2. And, frankly, I’m trying not to repeat myself here…but, it is better than you think!
The Polestar 2 starts with a single-motor model with 231 horsepower on tap. That vehicle has a range of 265 miles on a full battery charge. The version I drove was the dual motor model, with each motor driving an axle. This all-wheel drive set-up is good for 408 horsepower with a maximum 249-mile range. The dual motor model can also tow up to 2,000 pounds with the equipped hitch receiver, that doubles as a bike rack holder.
When you look at the Polestar 2 for the first, you would swear that it looks like a Volvo S60. You’re halfway right. While it shares the Compact Modular Architecture with the Volvo XC40, everything else is Polestar from the DNA up. You could pick up some Volvo components, but there are many touches that are distinctive to the brand inside and out.
The body has its own signature, although the Thor Hammer headlamps are a nod to its parental roots. The grille texture, three-box hatchback body, and distinctive taillight design are completely Polestar’s own input to this car. Even the big wheels are distinctive to Polestar.
Stepping inside offers a mix of Volvo’s own design concepts with a lot of Polestar signatures. The transmission actuator will remind you of the ones found on the XC40 and other Volvo models. However, I like this design better. The comfortable seats are from vegan cloth materials and the console, fully digital instrumentation cluster, and stand-alone tablet-like infotainment screen are standout features on the Polestar 2. Ergonomically and operational-wise, these actually work better than a typical current Volvo model.
The hatchback might not be large, compared to the rear cargo hold of a couple of the latest legacy EVs. The frunk (front trunk) is usable for storing your tire repair kit and charging cords. However, Polestar encourages you to contact their roadside assistance team for better assistance when your tire goes flat – among other services. However, you do have underfloor storage in the cargo hold and the rear seats do fold flat to the level of the main cargo floor.
The driving experience is something you probably been wanting from an electric vehicle. I’m not saying it the absolute best, but if you have driven some of the latest EVs from the legacy brands, you may just love driving the Polestar 2.
The big difference for me is the selectable One Pedal Driving mode. You can turn it off, but you can also select between two types of modes. The more robust setting that induces regenerative braking, while coming to a complete stop without the use of the brake pedal. This system felt normal – not scary as in other EVs I experienced over the past several years.
If want to emulate a normal driving situation at a stop, you can select the Creep mode to let the Polestar 2 move a bit more off the stop into position. That is, if you let off the accelerator too soon.
In all, it drives like a normal EV. OK, a normal car. Acceleration is quick and performance is sustained at any speed. The Polestar 2 has a solid ride that absorbs the roughest roads without any feedback into the cabin.
If there is one complaint about the Polestar 2 is rearward vision. The hatch’s glass angle and the third brake light housing limits vision from my rearview mirror. To compensate for this lack of vision, you do get a 360-degree camera view on the infotainment screen.
Pricing for the Polestar 2 with the single motor starts at $45,900 before any tax credits kick in. Dual motor models start at $49,900. However, you may wind up paying up to around $62,000 for a well-equipped dual motor model – again, that is before any tax credits.
With the Polestar 2, you have a few considerations to keep in mind of. One, it’s Volvo roots and Polestar brand name have a certain positive cache to them. Two, this is a clean design with a fresh outlook that resides in a space among legacy and start-up EV brands. Three, if you are in the market for an EV, you should give it a very good look.
There is a catch: You can’t simply get one from a Volvo dealer. You have to shop through a Polestar Space – a specific retail center dedicated to selling and supporting the brand. I;m sure you can arrange to have one sent to you from one of these Spaces, but keep that in mind tahtr are not a lot of locations around the world to get a Polestar 2 from.
If the Poletsar 2 is your solution for sustainable driving and eliminating fossil fuels forever, it is worth the pursuit of getting one.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle and event logistics provided by Polestar/Volvo Cars North America
All photos by Randy Stern