Headline-grabbing electric vehicles tend toward the unsubtle. New EVs from makers like Rivian and Lucid are undoubtedly impressive in all areas of performance and design, but any prospective owner will have to gird their loins for an onslaught of parking lot questions and looky-loos. Tesla ownership, meanwhile, brings some of the segment’s most impressive specs and tech, but is increasingly burdened by Muskian antics.
Luckily, for EV intenders looking for something more chill, Polestar exists. The company’s excellent Polestar 2 liftback sedan cuts a unique figure on the road but is far from shouty. Performance – from acceleration to range and charging figures – varies depending on how many motors one chooses, but any trim would seem suitable for the driving needs of a lot of people, a lot of the time. Maybe most importantly, pricing is damn near “accessible” for a new EV in 2022.
We drove a few different versions of the Polestar 2, in California, and Michigan, and found that a week with the PS2 was time well spent.
Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief
- Favorite Thing: The Vegan Interior
- Least Favorite Thing: Hiding The Tiny Frunk
I was a vegetarian for about a decade, starting when I was 15 or so, but these days I eat a regular diet. So while I do appreciate the larger morality and sustainability of Polestar’s vegan interior, I’m not calling it out here as a matter of conscience. Honestly, I just think it’s dope.
Cloth interiors are more interesting than ever these days, as sometime in the last five years or so, car designers seem to have gotten a massive upgrade to their swatch books. The Polestar 2 is right on trend here, especially with the neat woven fabric panels that accent the instrument panel, dash, and door cards.
The fact that this car is somewhat of a bargain in the EV space is great, but don’t think of the all-fabric interior as being kin to what you might have found in a rental Sentra or base-model domestic compact, back in the day. The upholstery seems incredibly durable and washable, sure, but it’s also quite stylish.
One of the downsides to this very practical package is the tiny and difficult-to-access front trunk (“frunk” in the parlance of our times). Some of this comes down to personal preference, I’ll admit, but I’m the kind of guy that makes use of frunk space whenever I have access to one.
The Polestar 2 doesn’t have much capacity upfront, of course. Unlike cars like the Tesla Model 3 – designed from “go” as an EV platform – the PS2 rides on architecture shared with ICE vehicles, and has a micro-frunk as a result. That said… there’s still more than enough room in there for a small grocery bag or two, or the bagged-up dinner I just picked up for the family. For stuff like that a frunk is actually better suited than the (here rather large) rear cargo space, as I don’t want it shifting around as I’m driving home.
Too bad the latch to unlock the front storage is where the hood latch resides in a conventional car: On the left side of the driver’s footwell. That’s a perfectly fine place for a latch you use once a month or less, but for cargo storage in 2022 I’d love to have a button on the keyfob. Instead, my groceries have to sit loose in the rear footwells, which frankly makes my OCD go into overdrive. Am I alone on this?
Gabe Vega, Content Manager At Dupont Registry
- Favorite Thing: Proper Handling Dynamics
- Least Favorite Thing: Stiff Daily Driver
Since I've spent most of my time in the Polestar 2's single-motor variant on twisty mountain roads, let's talk about driving dynamics. On paper, losing the second motor shrinks the power figures from a rowdy 408 horsepower and 487 pound-feet to a more pedestrian 231 hp and 243 lb-ft. It also slows down its run to 60 miles per hour from 4.5 seconds to 7.0 seconds.
The front-drive powertrain also loses the option to add the $5,000 Performance pack, and its adjustable Öhlins shocks, Brembo four-piston front calipers, and the Y-spoke 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer rubber. However, despite being down on power and all of the optional sporty gear, even the slowest Polestar 2 would give a Volkswagen GTI a run for its money. The PS2 feels much quicker to 60 mph than its official figures suggest.
It's not even the acceleration that's the most impressive bit. Around tight corners, the small Swedish sedan remains planted, offering excellent grip, even when equipped with its standard Michelin Primacy 4 tires. Add in excellent steering feel and strong brakes to match, and you get a proper driving experience regardless of pricing or trim.
Slow things down, and the Polestar 2 becomes a great commuter with a high-quality interior filled with clever tech. However, spending some time around town reveals that the Polestar 2's suspension is a bit of a double-edged sword. While the standard shocks are stiff enough to keep this high-riding sedan in check at speed, they're not compliant enough to deliver the best daily driving experience possible. Despite being softer than higher trimmed models fitted with the Öhlins shocks, the base PS2 struggles to smooth out imperfections on the road.
The singel-motor Polestar 2 then is a great first attempt and a proper rival to the Tesla Model 3. While its strong power delivery and excellent handling dynamics allow it to stand out against competitors, its stiff ride keeps it from being the stand-out choice. Still, for enthusiasts that enjoy a good drive on a nice road, the Polestar 2 delivers.
Clint Simone, Director of Video
- Favorite Thing: Complete Package
- Least Favorite Thing: Too Stiff
After first seeing the Polestar 2 way back in 2019, I was eager to get behind the wheel three years later. I spent my time driving a black-on-black dual-motor version throughout some of LA’s most choice canyon roads. Lucky me, right?
There’s just something about this car that oozes fun. It looks fantastic (especially in dark colors), the interior feels like it has materials from a Crate & Barrel showroom, and the tech is forward-thinking. Each of these three distinct wins makes this one of the best overall products in the EV space.
Polestar’s design language is full of fun, crisp angles complemented by futuristic lighting signatures. The 2 takes the more pedestrian Volvo DNA and delivers more excitement in all the right places. The compromise here is less space than a more traditional-looking crossover, but if you’re a small family I think the trade-off is worth it.
Even in my test car’s somewhat boring all-black interior, there are exceptional details to point out. The matte wood looks classy, the seats feel durable and not cheap, and the little metal accents tie everything together. Just make sure to option the cover for the glass roof because holy moly it can heat up quickly.
The Android-based tech is what ties everything together for me. Google Maps is quick and easy to use – much better than most native OEM navigation systems. The car also has Spotify integration and other apps to download right from the Google Play store. The only downside is the lack of Apple CarPlay, although Polestar has promised that will be coming soon via OTA update.
My biggest turn-off with the Polestar 2 is the super stiff ride, which doesn’t seem necessary. The car I drove didn’t have the Performance Pack, either, so it was supposed to be the more compliant ride. With the car’s low center of gravity and great Michelin tires, it would handle just as well without being so punishing over bumps in the road. Seems like a hard thing to fix over the air…
|2022 Polestar 2 Single Motor||2022 Polestar 2 Dual Motor|
|Motor:||Single Permanent Magnet||Twin Permanent Magnets|
|Output:||231 Horsepower / 243 Pound-Feet||408 Horsepower / 487 Pound-Feet|
|Transmission:||Single-Speed Automatic||Single-Speed Automatic|
|Drive Type:||Front-Wheel Drive||All-Wheel Drive|
|Battery:||78.0-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion||78.0-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion|
|0-60 MPH:||7.0 Seconds||4.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed:||100 MPH||127 MPH|
|Efficiency:||113 City / 100 Highway / 107 Combined MPGe||94 City / 84 Highway / 89 Combined|
|EV Range:||270 Miles||233 Miles|
|Charge Type:||240 Volt @ 11 Kilowatts/40 Amps / 155 Kilowatt DC||240 Volt @ 11 Kilowatts/40 Amps / 155 Kilowatt DC|
|Charge Time:||8.0 Hours (0-100 Percent) / 30 Minutes (10-80 Percent)||8.0 Hours (0-100 Percent) / 30 Minutes (10-80 Percent)|
|Weight:||4,396 Pounds||4,680 Pounds|
|Cargo Volume:||14.3 Cubic Feet||14.6 Cubic Feet|
|Base Price:||$45,900 + $1,300 Destination Charge||$51,900 + $1,300 Destination Charge|
|Trim Base Price:||$47,200||$53,200|
Photo Credit: Logan Zilmer