TEST: Polestar 2 – so good is Volvo’s Tesla challenger

Tested product: Polestar 2
Award: From SEK 659,000.

For a period, Polestar passed Tesla in terms of sales in Sweden, but we do not make such big changes as the pandemic has affected production and delivery times. But there is no doubt that the new Polestar 2, which we pick up in Stockholm on a rainy October day, is one of the hottest snacks right now in the car world.

Rating 4 out of 5

Opinion

Polestar 2 is a really cool and competent electric car that will give Tesla real competition. However, it does not have quite as good a range as we would like, the mobile app is not ready yet and we think the mmi could be made easier.

Positively

  • The design, both inside and out.
  • Lovely engine.
  • Google Assistant and integrated Spotity

Negative

  • Range (compared to Tesla Model 3).
  • A little too bumpy.
  • Not the most user-friendly mmi.

The range of pure electric cars in the slightly more exclusive segment, with a proper range, is so far quite limited. And this car is at least on paper a fairly direct competitor to Tesla Model 3 that we tested last year.

Test Polestar 2
Polestar 2 with the Performance package is a really cool car.

Stylish and modern

Volvo’s subsidiary Polestar released the predecessor to this car, Polestar 1, exactly three years ago. Then it was a hybrid – the new Polestar 2 is a pure electric car with dual engines and a specified range of 470 km. On the outside, we think the new car is really nice, and even when we step into it, we are struck by the clean and sober interior. And the beautiful panoramic glass roof.

We sit comfortably in the front seats, even if the ceiling height is a little low, which is good to know if you are tall. The rear seat is okay, but overall this car is not the ultimate choice for you who plan to travel a lot with more than two adults.

The test car is equipped with the Performance package, which in addition to better shock absorbers and brakes also includes fatter rims and – not least – gold-colored seat belts. To signal “discreet, yet confident attitude”, as Polestar himself puts it.

The car runs fairly quietly, albeit a little too bumpy. The engines work discreetly while we always know that the power is here when we need it. We do not get quite the same insane clips as with a Tesla, but this car does 0-100 km / h in under 5 seconds so you never have any problems with overtaking. On the real screen in the center console, we can set if and in that case how aggressively the brakes should affect the charge, under the driving tab in the system.

Test Polestar 2
The Android-based mmi is nice, and we like the integrated apps from Google, but some things are unnecessarily cumbersome and some settings are hard to find, we think.

Android system

The MMI in this car is built around Android, with support for Google Assistant. A standalone Spotify app, which for some reason is still relatively rare in the car world, is of course a big plus. Just log in to your Spotify account and it works even if you happen to forget your smartphone at home. And if you have driven a new Volvo in recent years, you will recognize yourself. We are not entirely fond of what in our eyes is a bit too stripped-down interface, with buttons that lack those standardized symbols for, for example, handset and volume. But here, on the other hand, there are more buttons than in a Tesla. The first thing that happened when we picked up the test car, however, was that the car needed to be rebooted …

Once we have learned which buttons on the steering wheel do what, it is no major problem to control the system, but some steps are simply unnecessarily cumbersome. Like activating the chair heating, or controlling the climate system at all (which only has one zone).

However, the voice control works gallantly, as long as the car has contact with the internet. We experienced several times that we could not do things because the built-in connection had a “bad internet connection”. Strange, 2-3 miles outside Stockholm’s inner city. Once the connection worked, however, it was really smooth with Google Assistant in the car, and the combination with a good navigator and really sharp and nice digital instrumentation impresses. The only thing we miss here is really heads up display.

The range does not reach the specs

When we pick up the test car, it says 440 km on the rangefinder, but this does not correspond to reality at all. After about 140 km, the meter is down to 50 percent, despite the fact that it is not minus degrees outside and despite the fact that we drove quite carefully.

Our feeling with the car’s range, after a week, is that it can handle a maximum of 300 km on a 100% charge. In addition, you should preferably not charge over 80 percent for optimal battery life, and then you can quite easily calculate that this has its limitations.

The Tesla Model 3 in long range design costs about as much as the Polestar 2, and when we tested it we came about 400 km on a single charge. If range and performance are top priorities, well then Tesla is still on the throne. And we like that the estimated actual range in Tesla cars usually matches quite well with reality, while in this car we constantly have to recalculate the range figure on the screen to what we ourselves estimate.

There are plenty of driver aids in Polestar 2, such as a really good adaptive cruise control and good lane assist. Here we experience that Polestar and Tesla are roughly equivalent, but with slightly different approaches. We experience polestar as a little softer and more discreet while we remember Tesla’s system as slightly sharper in difficult situations. Tesla’s system is also based on a constantly updating platform. We do not really know what this will look like in Polestar’s case.

Mobile app is delayed

Polestar 2 does not yet have a working mobile phone app to, for example, start pre-air conditioning of the passenger compartment or to locate the car, lock / unlock and more. This is on the way but it feels a little strange, we think this is not in place when a car starts to be sold. Something Polestar, however, is not alone in. In other respects, the In-car apps work well, for example, there is a built-in Spotify client and 3 years of free internet connection is included when you buy Polestar 2.

After a week with this car, we find that in many ways it is a fantastic electric car that we think many Volvo fans will get started on. Sure, it has its limitations both in terms of space and range, but above all the design we think will attract many buyers who are looking for something newer and fresher than a Tesla model 3.

But SEK 659,000 (basic price) for a car that can barely handle a trip from Stockholm to Karlstad on a single charge, and where it becomes crowded with space for more than two adults, it clearly limits the target group.

Test Polestar 2

Specifications Polestar 2

Manufacturer: Polestar.
Engines: Dual electric motors with a total of 408 hp.
Battery: 78 kWh 400 V lithium ion.
Specified range: 470 km.
Performance: 0-100 km / h in 4.7 sec.
Top speed: 205 km / h.
Driving: Four-wheel drive.
Luggage volume: 405 liters (1,095 liters with lowered rear seat).
Award: From SEK 659,000.