From £39,900
Our Scandi-cool EV is already turning heads. Will we be shaking ours before we part?

Why we’re running it: To see if an electric car fits into a high-mileage life

Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Polestar 2: Month 1

Welcoming the Polestar 2 to the fleet - 12 January 2022

There’s a tendency among car makers, especially makers of posh cars, to complicate things. To throw at them technology and features – some of which you will never use – to wow you. This, the Polestar 2, from a company part-owned by Volvo, is refreshingly simpler than that.

The 2, Polestar’s second car after the wild plug-in hybrid Polestar 1, is a pure EV. This one is with us as my daily wheels until the middle of the year. It’s 4.6m long and 1.8m wide across the body, with a five-seat interior and a 78kWh (usable) battery pack beneath it. There’s four-wheel drive, from two powerful permanent-magnet synchronous motors, each making the same output. There’s one at either axle, so it makes a total of 402bhp and 487lb ft.

At that size and pace, I suppose you would call it a sporting family hatch or a quick compact executive car, with a 4.7sec 0-62mph time. The top speed is ‘only’ 127mph, but I don’t suppose I will ever trouble that.

The 2’s base price is £49,900, but this one has a couple of options: metallic paint, which doesn’t look overly metallised but which I do rather like, at £900; and the £5000 Performance Pack. That adds 20in rather than 19in wheels, larger front brake discs with four-piston calipers, Öhlins manually adjustable dampers and gold-painted brake calipers and valve caps.

This being the 2020s, though, the options don’t end when the car gets to you. Polestar recently announced a £1000 over-the-air update that can bring an additional 67bhp, raise the torque to 502lb ft and drop the 0-60mph time to 4.2sec. Polestar has agreed to send it over, so as I write I’m waiting for the car to ping me a message to say it’s ready to download.

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I think the 2 is a rather handsome thing, too. Polestar’s gaffer is Thomas Ingenlath, a designer, so he probably gets to choose who wins all of the ‘engineer versus designer’ arguments we’re told happen in car companies.

The 2 has a high beltline with a narrow window area, thick pillars and a small back window. I think it looks great from the outside. But, yes, that makes it harder to see out of. It’s a compromise that I’m prepared to accept, right up until I lose sight of another car behind the A-pillar.

Inside is where you find more of the simplicity I opened with. The driving position is straight and easy, with a round wheel with normal buttons on it. There’s a big, upright touchscreen using an Android Automotive and Google system, rather than a car maker’s own bespoke software. And while I would rather the heater controls stayed on physical buttons, every icon is large and clear and it’s very intuitive, plus not over-burdened with features that I couldn’t use while driving anyway.

The (Google) map is quick and comprehensive and, for once, this is a car whose voice control actually understands me. It will sync with an iPhone but won’t use CarPlay, which brings some limitations (it will receive audio but not allow app controls via the car’s screen), but it’s generally as good and straightforward as car systems get.

The 2’s 78kWh battery gives an official WLTP range of 292 miles, but I’m not getting near that. At full charge, the car usually estimates range at 250 miles, but a secondary ‘range assistant’ is more accurate, pessimistic and, at this time of year, tends to predict 200 miles fully juiced. My fag-packet calculations suggest a return of 2.6 miles per kWh on a typical journey, which puts 200 miles at the edge of its limit.

The car suggests you don’t charge to more than 90% to preserve battery life; and it’s a brave soul who goes deep into single-figure percentages if they’re holding out for a public charger. So the usable range is even less than that, and while the battery can apparently charge at rates of up to 150kW, it tends not to. In short, it’s not really good enough.

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During my first few weeks with the car, I couldn’t charge it at home, which made life a bit tiresome, but I always have something to write so didn’t feel like I had wasted much time charging. More on all of that in another report, though, once I’ve accrued more time/consumption records. Meanwhile, I’m £930 lighter but now have an AC charger screwed to a wall of my house, which means the 2 is fully juiced every morning and I’m only occasionally topping it up on the road.

I’m enjoying the 2 to drive. It has an easy one-pedal mode if you want, but its retardation and low-speed creep level can be adjusted. The steering has a few weightings, but the handling is always sure-footed and confident, if a bit firm around town.

To adjust those optional Öhlins dampers, though, requires sticking the car on a ramp. Bonkers. I can’t imagine many owners doing it, but it’s a project for some downtime I’ve got coming up. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s the kind of complexity I’m on board with.

Second Opinion

I tested the Long Range Single Motor version of the 2 recently without the Performance Pack, and it made me wonder how much more an owner could really need from the car. I will be interested to find out if Matt’s long-termer can offer a meaningful reason to spend more.

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Matt Saunders

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Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor specification

Specs: Price New £49,900 Price as tested £55,800 Options Metallic paint £900, Performance Pack £5000

Test Data: Motor Dual AC synchronous Power 402bhp Torque 487lb ft Battery 78kWh Kerb weight 2048kg Top speed 127mph 0-62mph 4.7sec Energy efficiency 3.21mpkWh CO2 0g/km Range 292 miles (claimed) Faults None Expenses None

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Comments
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ianp55 15 January 2022

Almost £56k for this? wish that the Media would stop descibing it as a Scandinavian car.Polestar like Volvo is owned by the Chinese conglomerate Geely and all the cars are built in the plant at Luqiiao,Zhejiang Province,China. I wonder if the upmarket customers who have bought Polestar's would have thought twice about it,had they known where their cars come from

lambo58 15 January 2022

Nice. a lovely racist remark about the little yellow people that cannot possibly make products that are as good as those made by the white man and can therefore not be upmarket. Get used to it, Whitey couldnt make a success of it which is why they had to sell it to the Chinese who are making a spectacular job reinventing the brand and making them reliably: a bit like what they are doing with MG and that other rubbish car maker Lotus. The self same reason the Brits do not own any car industry anymore- go figure...

Cobnapint 15 January 2022
I'm sure he's referring to the prestige and political aspects of buying Chinese. Not skin colour FFS.
abkq 16 January 2022

Bringing nationality and nationalism into it makes no sense.

A car brand may be owned by a company registered in country A, designed in a department with staff from countries B C D, engineered by a team from countires E F G ...

Cobnapint 16 January 2022
Well it 'does' make sense. I'd much rather we had a fantastic, reliable, high quality car manufacturer in the form of JLR so I could buy one with confidence and support jobs over here, but in my opinion, we don't.
lambo58 16 January 2022

Spot on, the other two comentators are just plain deluded..

TempleOrion 16 January 2022

Nope, 'Nationalism' makes absolutely no sense, it never did.  Look at the list of credits in any 'Hollywood' movie: All sorts of people from all over the world helped make the film and it's the same with electronics, cars and a multitude of other stuff that we consume. 

What you *really* want is something hand-made by people all of whom look exactly like you, have the same opinions as you and were born within a few miles of where you were born.  Only then would you feel comfy and safe from 'foreign interference'. 

That's far more important to you then actually discussing the merits of the product itself.

You people are delusional.  And sad.

Cobnapint 17 January 2022
I'd gladly buy a new Kia.

What does that do to your theory...?

Nonstop 16 January 2022
Not quite sure whether your comment refers to the fact that you'd rather buy a JLR car than a Volvo/Polestar/Geely or the fact that JLR is an Indian car company that builds it's electric cars in Austria, leaving you without a "quality" UK option. If you're interested in EVs, that leaves you Nissan Leaf or Mini electric. With a bit of luck, the French/American/Italian owners of Vauxhall will be building EVs in Liverpool soon.
Cobnapint 16 January 2022
Good point but I wasn't thinking about EVs