For those who don’t want to see themselves coming and going.
I took the Polestar 2 out for a spin and stopped by the Domain, our local outdoor mall, to make a quick return. And as I came back to the car, a guy hanging outside a nearby shop wanted to know, “What car is THAT?”
If he’d walked around the back and looked at the tailgate, he’d still have been stumped. Taken a look at beside panels? No clue. A deeper look at the front grille? Nope. That’s because the actual name of the Polestar 2 is only visible inside the headlight housing, and even then you might mistake this as the name of the headlight technology, not the car.
All this is 👌; this is the ⏱ of graphic-driven 🗣. 😉
That’s just the start of what is unique about the Polestar 2, priced from $60,000, the newest electric vehicle making waves as our world moves to EVs from gas engine cars. The performance luxury electric brand from Volvo, Polestar has a lot of Volvo DNA and adheres to the brand’s design DNA, doing everything it does to the hight of luxury. Including how you actually buy a Polestar 2, which may be the best part of this car. Goodbye, time stuck in a dealership being pressured to buy whatever they have on the lot. Hello, amicable Polestar expert in my driveway handing me the keys, even if it’s just for a test drive.
My test drive was just a few hours, but that was more than enough time to learn all the fun and thrilling things about this car. This is what I discovered.
1. The Stats: 230 Miles, 408 Horsepower, 40-Minute Charge Time
This car has about a 230 mile range battery, but you can likely drive much further if you use the EV optimization tools, like one-pedal driving and heated seats rather than turning on the heat.
It’ll take about 40 minutes to charge 80% of the battery at a DC fast charger, but you’ll have to seek one out. Or you can charge at home on a 240 V dryer-outlet style charger, which will take about 8 hours to fully charge the battery, or about 30 miles per hour. If you’re able to rely on public chargers and only use household charging to top off the battery, it will take gain about 6 miles of charge per hour, so if you drove 70 miles in a day, a 110V outlet will replenish those miles overnight.
Then, it has 408 horsepower, delivered by two motors – one for the front one for the rear. You’ll start to hear the term ‘dual motor’ more frequently because this is typical of EVs.
2. The Drive: Pure Thrill
As in truly pure. But this is the joy of electric motors. We’re used to high performance gas engines that take a fraction of a second to get up the power to hit those high speeds. Think: slight merge hesitation, or the scrolling sound you hear before the engine kicks in. All that is gone in an EV, and in the Polestar 2, even better. In mere seconds I was going 80, with a starting speed of about 30. You feel the machine fly under you, pushing you back in your seat a bit. Think of that moment the roller coaster ratchets up the hill and then lets go, sending you flying in near silence. That is the feeling of accelerating in an EV.
3. The Name Plate, or Lack Thereof
While yes, the Polestar 2 name isn’t clearly obvious, the Polestar icon, two inverted chevrons that seem to float toward each other, are everywhere. On the front hood. On the trunk. On the leather seating. Etched into the panoramic sun roof. On the key. And of course on the steering wheel. It’s subtle, but it’s more than enough to let you know who’s behind this gorgeous machine.
4. Pure Swedish Luxury Design
If you’re a Volvo fan, it’ll look and feel familiar. The exterior will remind you of some of Volvo’s iconic sedans (though this is a hatchback, which gets my stamp of approval). The interior has that same feeling of Swedish Zen: calm, elegant, thoughtful, intuitive. Not more than you want, just thoughtfully what you need. Including the large infotainment tablet, which has been a part of the Volvo interior design since the brand was reinvented in the 2010s after it was acquired by Geely (and became even more Swedish and luxe focused).
A few design details that I love include the gear selector, a hollow ring that is like holding a piece of sculpture in your hand. It’s so elegant. And the wireless charge pad and USB ports that are hidden under rubber tabs, creating a streamlined, monochromatic space under the infotainment screen. And the fabric and open-pore wood-trimmed dash and door panels. The fabric panels lend a soft elegance to the cabin, while the wood trim simply says “Yacht.”
4. The luxury. Oh my, the luxury.
My Polestar test model came equipped with vented leather seats in a Polestar logo pattern (a $4,000 addition), a panoramic sun roof, a motion activated lift gate, and a premium Harman/Kardon sound system. But the luxury is not just an add on (other than the premium seats). It’s luxury with deep Volvo integrity. The seats are real leather, not vegan leather. The materials are premium, not high design but low cost. The cabin feels solid and high-qualify, and this feeling is embedded in everything in this car: the large center screen, the design of the dash and door panels, the gear selector (I just loved this detail), the thoughtful inclusion of rear seat USB ports and heated rear seats that fold flat. It all comes together for a very elegant, sublime feel.
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5. “Hey, Google.”
Volvo’s XC40 Recharge all-electric SUV and the Polestar 2 are the Swedish company’s first vehicles to carry Google’s infotainment operating system. It’s all Google, top to bottom, so much that you can use Android Auto but not Apple CarPlay — yet. Not only will you see a very familiar Google-ish look to the system, but you can easily say “Hey Google” and the voice assistant will take care of your needs and even answer questions for you, as Google does.
6. Goodbye starter button.
This is a truly luxe feature. We are used to the smart key — key in pocket or purse, the door unlocks as you approach or when you pull the door handle. But in the Polestar 2, you just get in, buckle up and put it in gear. There is no start button. The car senses you in the driver’s seat, lights up the infotainment systems, and the motor comes alive, ready to go when you are. This is nice.
7. An SUV-like hatchback.
Polestar calls it a fastback, but either way, I love a sedan with a hatchback, so I’m glad that Polestar included this in the design. The lift gate is motion activated, so swipe your foot under the bumper and voilà, the gate opens. Then, there is a storage compartment under the cargo floor, plenty of storage in the cargo area, and if you want more, simply remove the cargo cover and fold the seats flat. Yes, flat. They are operated by old school tabs and levers, but that’s 👌 it works flawlessly. And then, you can take home that table from Last Call that you just can’t live without.
8. EV Modes that let you drive how you like.
One of them is called “Creep Mode” and no, it doesn’t let you be a creep (thankfully), it lets the car ‘creep’ forward. This is great in traffic or in a bumper to bumper crawl on the highway. And then, when you get out in the countryside and want to have a bit more fun, put it in sport mode for even more power (though really, you probably may never use it; the standard engine is pretty thrilling on its own).
When you’re driving in normal conditions, you can optimize your battery by turning off creep and turning on one-pedal driving.
One-pedal driving? Yes, as in rarely, if ever, use the brake. Essentially, the system re-channels the power by routing it back to the battery when not turning the wheels. This immediately reduces the car’s speed, letting it slow or come to a stop using its own weight.
You can turn this off, but honestly, when you learn how to use it, you’ll never look back. You’re more in charge than ever, and it feels good.
9. The sales process.
Yes, this is a detail worth talking about. Because I didn’t go to a Polestar dealership for my test drive; the car was brought to me. There isn’t a Polestar showroom where I live (though there will be this summer). Retail showrooms are already in a handful of cities and there will be 25 by year’s end. Until then, Polestar has a fleet of local sales people who drive a test model out to you, let you spend as much time with it as you like, and answer all your questions. If you want to buy, the process is 100% online, as is the test drive sign up. James, the nice gentleman who brought my test model to me, was also the guy I’d talk to if I were buying one. He gave me a nice walk through of the car’s features, the lowdown on how to best charge it, and where, and tips on configuring it. It was the most low-key sales pitch every, and if you hate going to a dealership or the traditional sales process, you might consider the Polestar 2 just for this reason.
10. The price tag: $60,000 (plus a few more luxe options)
But keep in mind, this is a luxury vehicle. For that price, you get everything on my test model except the Napa leather seats, which are an additional $4,000 (the only way to get the light tan seats, so in my book, worth it). You can add the sport package with Polestar gold brake calipers, gold seatbelts and an optimized brake system for $5,000, and the destination charge is $1,300. Don’t forget that buyers typically qualify for up to $10,000 in tax incentives and the reduced cost of charging an EV.
Plus, you won’t see yourself at every turn or lose your car in the parking lot. There are a lot of bonuses for being an early adopter of the Polestar 2.