Polestar 2 Review
The Polestar 2 may sound like a recently discovered planet from the Alpha Centauri system, but in fact it's a beautifully styled, fully electric, 5-seat car with very good battery range.
Polestar itself is a cross-cultural blend of well-known Swedish automotive group, Volvo, and its Chinese parent company, Geely. The '2' is its second electric car, but the first to be 100% battery powered.
Motoring journalists have been waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the Polestar 2. Now that it's here, was it worth the wait? Read on to find out...
Polestar 2 Review Sections
Select's rating score* - 4.1 / 5
The 2020 launch version of the Polestar 2 in the UK is very well specced in standard configuration. As you'll see in the Options section below, the main items you need to decide on are:
- Exterior colour
- Interior decor
- Performance pack
The following table shows what an impressive beast the 2 is right out of the gate. Lots of power, excellent range, rapid charging, and four wheel drive:
|Battery size (usable)||74 kWh|
|Official WLTP range||292 miles|
|0-60 mph||4.7 seconds|
|Top speed||127 mph|
|AC charging maximum||11 kW (AC)|
|DC charging maximum||150 kW (DC)|
As you read through our review, the tasty ingredients of the 2 will be revealed, but here are some canapés to keep you going:
Luxurious interior: The Polestar 2 definitely has that wow factor when you first get in. An opulent mix of materials and textures, combined with some uniquely crafted components, and razor-sharp information displays.
Google integration: Rather than reinvent the wheel, the 2's software is based on the tried and tested Android operating system from Google. This means things 'just work' and you even get voice commands thrown in for good measure.
Hatchback format: It has the silhouette of a saloon, but the practicality of a hatchback. Open the boot, flip the seats down, and at a stroke you turn the 2 into an effective house moving companion.
Polestar's 2 is a high performance car with plenty of battery range.
The battery in an EV has two main functions, namely to:
- Get you as far as possible before you need to recharge, and
- Provide instant power to the electric motors.
This latest Polestar electric car benefits from a large battery that can store 74 kWh, or units, of electricity (the official size is 78 kWh, but not all of that capacity is usable).
All those lithium-ion battery cells give it an official WLTP range on a single charge of 292 miles. That's a huge distance which you will probably rarely need to cover in one day. Real-world Polestar 2 range will vary though, depending on your driving style, speed, terrain, and especially on how hot or cold it is outside. Read our Range Guide for further details.
What about raw power? Well, it's impressive: 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 127 mph. All that comes courtesy of a 150 kW electric motor on each axel, delivering a combined 300 kW or 402 BHP.
It feels quick and responsive behind the wheel. When you put your foot down in a battery electric vehicle, there is no delay. That instant torque from the electric motors allows you to overtake with confidence. The 2 manages to give you access to all that power at any speed, whether from 0-30 mph, 30-50 mph, or 50 to 70 mph.
Polestar has obviously done a good job at sound damping, as at motorway speeds it's very quiet, with wind and road noise reduced to a minimum. Driving long distances is a breeze.
Being four-wheel-drive, the Polestar 2 is very assured on the road and the car's electronics adjust power to the wheels to keep you safe and sound, even in the wet. Cornering hard presents no difficulties for the 2, either. There are three steering settings (Light, Standard and Firm) and the effect varies considerably, making it versatile and likely to appeal to a wider audience.
Designed by Thomas Ingenlath, who used to head up Volvo's design division, naturally the 2 has front lights shaped like Thor's hammer. Polestar calls them 'Pixel LED' headlights which dynamically and selectively switch individual LEDs on and off to avoid dazzling on-coming traffic.
Another innovation are the frameless wing mirrors. Rather than a mirror moving within an enclosure, it's the enclosure itself that moves, with the mirror forming the whole of the front. This makes it smaller – better for aerodynamics – and aids visibility.
If you want to dial up the performance characteristics, there is an optional Performance Pack that provides:
- 20-inch, '4-Y' spoke, black polished, forged, alloy wheels
- An optimised braking system, including Brembo brakes for the front wheels
- Dual-flow valves dampers from Öhlins
- Gold valve caps, plus gold seat belts in the front and rear
- High gloss black roof
It certainly gives the car a more aggressive stance, but will set you back £5,000. The 20-inch wheels give you a very firm ride on UK roads, and the standard 19-inch '5-V' black alloys should certainly be considered for comfort.
The Volvo Polestar 2 has excellent charging capabilities.
It comes with a 'CCS Combo Type 2' charging port. You use a standard Type 2 plug for home/work AC charging, and a larger CCS/Type 2 plug at rapid DC chargers. Read our Charging Guide for an overview of how electric vehicle charging works in practice.
- Maximum charging rate: 7.4 kW
- Electricity supply type: AC
Every hour of charging on a dedicated home charging point adds approximately 29 miles of range. Here are charging times for two different battery scenarios:
|Battery state of charge||Time to charge|
|from 20% to 80%||6 hours 0 minutes|
|from 0% to 100%||10 hours 0 minutes|
- Maximum charging rate: 11 kW
- Electricity supply type: AC
If you have a 3-phase electricity supply at your work-place, and get the right spec of chargepoint installed, the Polestar 2 can be charged at 11 kW AC. This would give you about an extra 43 miles’ range in an hour.
Public rapid charging
- Maximum charging rate: 150 kW
- Electricity supply type: DC
You can add about 66 miles of range with 20 minutes of charging at a typical 50 kW charging station.
However, the Polestar 2 is capable of charging up to a very quick 150 kW and newer, faster DC charging points are gradually being installed all over the country. Here's a table showing 20-80% charging times on three different speed chargers:
|Rapid charger speed||Battery state of charge||Time to charge|
|50 kW||from 20% to 80%||53 minutes|
|150 kW||from 20% to 80%||18 minutes|
|350 kW||from 20% to 80%||18 minutes|
In reality when you rapid-charge any EV battery, the maximum charging rate is not sustained for very long. You generally hit the peak rate early on and then the charging speed gradually tails off. The 'times to charge' will therefore usually be longer than the tables above suggest.
Still hesitant about electric vehicles? Let massive savings convince you.
If you drive a non plug-in vehicle, you will be paying for petrol or diesel in the normal way at filling stations. As you will know, petrol and diesel are pretty expensive. By contrast, electricity is much cheaper. Every mile you drive in an all-electric car is about 5 times cheaper on average than in a petrol car.
Here's an example: Imagine you drive your Polestar 2 for 10,000 miles each year and charge the battery at home on a 5p off-peak rate. All those miles could cost you just £127* per year. Not bad at all.
* based on 10,000 miles with a battery efficiency of 3.95 miles per kWh (292 miles range divided by 74 kWh usable battery capacity) and an off-peak charging rate of 5p per kWh.
The Polestar 2 is a zero-emissions Battery Electric Vehicle, or BEV for short.
Unlike hybrid EVs, which have both a petrol/diesel engine and a battery, BEVs are battery only. This means they don't need an exhaust pipe and hence nothing nasty is emitted when you drive.
Does that mean driving a Polestar 2 makes you an environmental saint? It depends. To obtain the halo, you also need to charge the car with electricity that comes from a renewable source. That could be solar panels, wind turbines, hydro-electric power stations or tidal generators.
Fortunately, there are now a number of energy suppliers that provide electricity to your home or workplace certified as 100% renewable.
Inside this Polestar electric car you are enveloped in high tech and luxury.
It's quite a sensation when you first get into the driver's seat. You're cocooned in a tight-fitting cockpit, with a centre console that rises high up towards the dashboard. It's snug, almost racing car like.
The main elements are very stylish and just where you want them:
- Fully adjustable, heated, multifunction steering wheel
- Really crisp, 12.3-inch driver's information cluster behind the wheel
- Gorgeous 11.15-inch portrait touchscreen controlling most of the car's functions
- Sculpted gear selector by your left hand
- Comfortable, electric, heated seats, with lumbar support
We run through what the displays are capable of in the Technology section that follows.
Materials are premium grade, soft to the touch, and seductive. Storage is fine, with reasonable door bins, central cupholder space, and little side cubby holes in the centre console. Head and legroom all very good.
In the back, there is space for three passengers. The outer two seats enjoy excellent leg and feet room, although headroom is a little tight if you're very tall. Door bins do the job and there's a central armrest you can fold down with cupholders. The only real downside is for the middle passenger. There's a large 'transmission' hump on the floor which is in fact filled with batteries. It means your only option is to put your feet either side of the hump.
The Polestar 2 comes with a sumptuous, glass, panoramic sunroof. It's tinted to keep out harmful ultraviolet rays and restrict the amount of undesirable heat and light that enters the cabin.
Polestar hasn't held back when it comes to in-car tech.
Let's start with the pin-sharp, central touchscreen. The default setting is Home view which displays the last four apps you've used on separate tiles. At the bottom, there are climate control / heating settings for the vents and seats. The top navigation bar icons quickly get you into the following four areas:
- Cameras: The Polestar 2 has four cameras (front, right, rear, and left). You can either view individual cameras, or make use of the composite 360 degree view which is very handy when parking.
- Apps: Here you can find all of the car's apps that you've either downloaded or form part of the 2's essential functions, e.g. Google Maps, Spotify, Phone, Radio, and Bluetooth.
- User profiles: When you've got all of the car's settings exactly how you want them, you can then save them under your own name. Other drivers can do the same. It saves a lot of time and keeps the car tailored to your wishes.
- Car functions: This tab controls lots of areas. For example, how light or heavy the steering is; Sport mode on or off; Regenerative braking modes; Creep on or off; Activate or deactivate various driver support aids; Control charging settings including timer, cable unlock, and charger locations; Exterior and interior lighting, mirrors, seats, locking, etc.
What sets this touchscreen apart from the competition is Polestar's implementation of Google's Android operating system. Android is the software you normally find in smartphones and tablets. Here it's been adapted for the 2 and we think it's a clever move. Android is a rock-solid platform, bang up-to-date, and provides a thoroughly practical, tested and intuitive interface. You can sign in with your own Google account to make the experience really personal. The satellite navigation is obviously via Google Maps. You can even interact with the car with Google Assistant using your voice – just say "Hey Google." Voice control isn't perfect, but once you get used to the lingo that works, it helps keep your eyes on the road.
The other key screen is the driver display behind the steering wheel which is activated as soon as the door is opened. It's separated into three sections: left, middle, and right:
Left: Here you see car speed, odometer, cruise control and speed limiter info, the gear you are in, and any relevant indicator or warning symbols.
- Middle: Outside temperature at the top, messages, door and seatbelt information, and various driver support function data.
- Right: The remaining battery range in miles, a graphic showing whether the battery is charging or discharging energy, the battery's state of charge percentage, indicator and warning symbols, plus a menu showing apps (activated via the steering wheel).
There are three different display views: Calm, Car centric, and Navigation. The latter setting fills the display with the sat nav map and the quality is top notch.
A quick note on regenerative braking or 'regen'. This is a feature of all EVs which turns the kinetic energy of the vehicle into extra battery charge when slowing down. In 'Standard' regen mode, the 2 will slow down quickly as you lift off the accelerator and eventually come to a complete stop. In 'Low' regen, the braking effect is lessened. Finally, in 'Off' mode there is no braking at all when you take your foot off the accelerator and you need to use the normal brake to slow or stop.
The 2 has the looks of an executive car, but can moonlight as a family workhorse.
First of all, it's a hatchback. The powered boot opens to reveal 405 litres of space, plus an extra 31 litres under the boot floor. With the seats down (40/60 split), the cargo volume is a generous 1,095 litres. There's also a ski hatch for longer items.
As this is an EV, with no internal combustion engine, you also get some extra storage space under the bonnet – about 35 litres.
Inside, in addition to all the storage areas already mentioned, you have wireless smartphone charging in the front, and 2 x USB-C ports in the front and rear. On longer trips, kids can therefore use their devices for hours on end while refusing to acknowledge the existence of the outside world.
Being a Volvo sister brand, Polestar turns safety up to eleven.
The Polestar 2 keeps you safe and secure at all times. Some stand-out safety features include:
A front-facing radar, together with a windscreen-mounted camera and two rear radars, make the car very spatially aware. It will take preventative measures if a car or pedestrian is getting too close. The driver is warned via a brake pulse, audio warning signal, and visual warning signal in the driver display and then brakes are applied automatically, if required.
Reversing out of a parking space with your view completely blocked by cars parked on both sides? Radars in the rear bumper monitor for approaching vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists, and the driver is warned with an audible signal from the left- or right-hand side speaker, together with a graphic warning on the centre display. If these warnings are ignored, the Polestar 2 will brake automatically.
A blind spot system warns you if a vehicle is about to overtake with a flashing yellow light in the left or right door mirror. If a vehicle is approaching very fast, the driver is alerted with a constant, bright yellow light. If warnings are ignored, the Polestar 2 will steer the car back into its lane.
The car also senses the actual force generated in a frontal crash and determines if the belt pre-tensioners and airbags are required, deploying them automatically if they are. The driver’s airbag is located in the centre of the steering wheel, and the passenger’s airbag is in the dashboard.
Configuring the 2 is straightforward. Not too many permutations.
Exterior colours: Black 'Void' comes as standard. Then for £900 extra, you can choose from: white 'Snow', light grey 'Magnesium', dark grey 'Thunder', a warm 'Moon' colour, and dark blue 'Midnight'.
Interior decor: There are two interior decoration options that are available at no extra cost: (i) Slate WeaveTech with Black Ash and (ii) Charcoal WeaveTech with Black Ash. The slate finish is noticeably brighter than Charcoal. Both these trims use vegan leather. Alternatively, you can splash the cash and for £4,000 you get the Polestar 2 kitted out in Nappa leather and 'reconstructed' wood. This gives the interior a cream leather effect and the upgraded seats are ventilated, keeping you cool in summer.
Packages: There are two packages that come as standard: Pilot and Plus. These basically give you all the equipment and features we have already covered above, but also include for example Harman Kardon premium sound, headlight high pressure cleaning, heated wiper blades, and rear storage net. Then there's the Performance pack for £5,000 which we looked at in the Range, Batteries & Performance section earlier. Finally, for £1,000, you can opt for a semi-electric tow bar which allows 1,500 kg of towing capacity.
Wheels: The Polestar 2's standard wheels are 19-inch, '5-V' spoke, black, diamond cut alloys. For £900 more, you can opt for 20-inch, '4-V' spoke, black, diamond cut alloy wheels instead. For the top for the range 20-inch, '4-Y' spoke, black, polish forged alloys you will need to buy the Performance pack which includes them in its price.
Other than that, there are a bunch of other items to choose from, such as mats, extra charging cables, load carrier, child seat, and wheel 'socks' for driving in the snow.
There aren't that many all-electric, executive cars around the £45-50k mark, but...
...and it's a big but, the Polestar 2 competes directly with the superb Tesla Model 3, Long Range variant. The latter has an OTR after the government grant of £46,990 and the Polestar 2 comes in at an almost identical £46,900 for the base configuration.
Which one comes out on top? Here's a rapid-fire comparison:
Polestar 2: More luxurious interior, versatility of a hatchback, Google integration.
Tesla Model 3: Better range, bigger boot, faster rapid charging, exemplary Supercharger network, more space for rear passengers.
It might appear as if the Model 3 is edging it. In reality, like Trump v. Biden on 3 November 2020, it's too close to call. For many people, it's a gut reaction. You might get into the Model 3 and adore the simplicity, or find it too spartan. Some people love the way the Polestar 2 envelopes the driver, others prefer more breathing room. Which one looks better? Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. Whichever of the two cars you choose, you won't be disappointed.
The Polestar 2 is a delicious, high performance, all-electric, executive hatchback.
If you get out a sheet of A4, grab a pencil, and create two columns one named 'Pros' and the other 'Cons', there isn't much to write in the Cons column for the Polestar 2.
The Polestar-Volvo-Geely group has done an excellent job at producing an EV that can actually compete with the ground-breaking Tesla Model 3. No-one else has managed it to date. Hats off to Polestar.
Where to next?
- Polestar 2 car leasing available from just £529.19** per month.
- Looking for a great car lease deal? Check out our incredible range of Special Offers.
- Want to know more about leasing? Take a look at our comprehensive Leasing Guides.
- Interested in everything electric? Why not catch up on all the latest Electric News.
* Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top six leading independent car website reviews of the Polestar 2.
** Correct as of 09/11/2020. Standard Pilot Plus trim, based on 9 months initial payment, 8,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £4,762.69. Ts & Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.