The Polestar 2 makes the switch to electric easy
The Tesla 3 rival has some really good arguments on its side.
Polestar. Here's an enigmatic brand. What started off as a Swedish racing team in the late '90s is now producing electric vehicles in Chengdu, China. And his is the much-anticipated Polestar 2, a car that wants to make it easy for you to switch to electric, and the proposition is interesting indeed. Good looks, smart features, long-range, and an attractive price. But is it enough to dethrone the mighty Tesla?
No, I won't compare the Polestar 2 to the Tesla Model 3. First, because I've never driven the Tesla. Also, they might be rivals but isn't everybody fed up to see electric cars getting constantly compared to Teslas? Yes, the American manufacturer is still the leading company (so far) with its charging stations and cars that can go the farthest, but they are also the company that has been developing electric cars for the longest time. This is not an acknowledgment that the Tesla is the better car. On the contrary, I think the Polestar 2 has some pretty good tricks up its sleeve.
Before talking about the "2" we need to understand who is a Polestar? As mentioned above, the brand used to be a racing team that competed with Volvos in the Swedish Touring Car Championship in the '90s. Being quite successful, Polestar started developing production performance-oriented cars in partnership with Volvo just like AMG for Mercedes-Benz. Later in 2015, Volvo officially acquired Polestar making it its official in-house performance department. However, the story took a new turn only two years later when Volvo and its Chinese holding company Geely announced that Polestar would become a standalone brand focusing exclusively on electrified cars. What a rollercoaster. I'm not going to talk too much about the brand's first-ever car the Polestar 1 because I am going to give it a full review in a couple of weeks, but all I can tell you is that it's pretty special. Therefore, let's talk about their second model, the descriptively-named Polestar 2.
The first thing that you notice when you see the car is that it kind of looks like a Volvo. Not very standalone-brand'ish if you ask me, and that is because it is based on the same design as the Volvo 40.2 concept that was shown to the public in 2016. It is a bizarre-looking car and nobody really knows what it is. I really like this fastback/coupe/sedan/SUV cross-worlds and I truly think it is one of the coolest looking EVs on the market today. Still, Polestar promises to break more and more apart from Volvo's design language in the future, and that was seen with the Precept concept that Polestar showcased last year. You jump inside the cabin and apart from some elements like the steering wheel, you realize that it does not share much with Volvo. The style and ergonomics are still pretty much more Scandinavian than Chinese, but everything seems new. It's minimalistic but not too much, and also you get the sense of high-end because of the wood details and leather that go along so well. It's a beautiful and airy place to sit in, and I'll go as far as saying that it was one of the nicest cabins I've ever been in. Yet, the most important detail of the interior must be the infotainment system.
And it may be the best infotainment there is ever been in a car, and that's because it has been entirely developed by Google. To be more precise, the infotainment runs on Android and it makes Android Auto completely irrelevant. For years carmakers have been trying to develop user-friendly systems that resemble the ones found in smartphones. Eventually, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto stole the show once they were up and running. Google knows a thing or two about good interfaces and now they have developed Android specifically for cars, and the Polestar 2 is the first one to be equipped with that technology. Even though I have an iPhone, I found the infotainment to be extremely easy to use, and having Google Maps and Spotify already installed means I don't even need Apple CarPlay. You also get the rather reliable Google Assistant that allows you to control some features in your car with your voice. And it works very well.
I am not a huge electric car follower, and that's because the infrastructure, at least in Switzerland, is still not abundant enough. Unless you have a power wall at home, it can be quite a struggle to charge your car. Anyhow, if I were to buy an electric car today, it would be the Polestar 2. What the manufacturer has managed to do is truly amazing. Even though the 408 PS of the "2" are capable of achieving 470 km and reaching 100 km/h from a standstill in 4.7 seconds, it slightly underperforms compared to an equivalent Tesla Model 3. But it has an interior and exterior design that surpasses the one from the American. I feel that if you aren't used to electric cars, it is going to be an easier option to live with the Polestar.
I had the car for two weeks and it was an absolute pleasure to discover it. It's good to drive, even though the ride may be a little harsh sometimes, but I also found it to be quite fun on twisty roads. The steering is precise and you don't feel a lot of body roll despite the 1.9 tons weight. The car comes with all-wheel drive as standard and it performs beautifully in the snow, as you can see from the pictures. Moreover, the experience at the wheel is fantastic thanks to the great ergonomics, a bright environment, and an infotainment system that has set new standards. If I had my own house with a power wall, I would really consider the Polestar because it offers so much, but especially also because the price attractively starts at CHF 56'900 (£ 44'150). The brand may still be rather unknown to the general public however, the "2" is a true tour de force plus the future looks bright with an expected Polestar 3 SUV that should come hopefully next year. Bravo Polestar, you've managed to make an electric car that I really want.
I would like to thank Polestar Switzerland for providing us with the new Polestar 2 for two weeks. Without them, this article would have never been possible. Also, a huge thank you goes to the team in Geneva who perfectly coordinated the test drive, and provided us with all the information we could ever wish for.
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