Review: Polestar 2 electric car

Polestar 2

The Polestar 2: the future is with us - Credit: Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 is the first mainstream model from Volvo’s all-electric spin-off brand and it’s going head-to-head with some of the biggest names in the business.

Polestar 2 front on driving on a road

No longer a novelty, the all-electric Polestar 2 - Credit: Polestar

Not so long ago, electric cars were a novelty. A source of bragging rights for tech-savvy early adopters and committed environmentalists. But as Britain marches swiftly towards the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales, electric vehicles are staking their claim to the mainstream. It’s no longer enough to offer a greener alternative; they also have to compete on equal terms when it comes to cost, dynamics and desirability.

That’s something the Polestar 2 does rather well. It ticks all the zeitgeisty boxes, with a 100 per cent vegan interior, extensive use of recycled materials and an iPad-sized touchscreen that runs on a super-slick Google-based operating system. But it gets the basics right too.

PLUGGING IN

Starting at £39,900 for the single-motor model (£49,900 for the dual-motor four-wheel drive version tested here) it’s priced within striking distance of conventional sports saloons such as the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class.

plugged in electric pump

Fully charged in as little as 40 minutes - Credit: Polestar 2

With the 78 kilowatt hour battery fitted to this example, the spectre of ‘range anxiety’ largely disappears. After a 110-mile motorway journey we found that the battery was still nearly half full, while local trips like the school run only took a handful of percent each time.

Granted, some of the Polestar’s rivals will go even further than its official 292-mile range, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of journeys can be completed without stopping to recharge.

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GET SET, GO

The Polestar is blissfully simple to drive, with the Scandinavian minimalism of its interior reflected in the controls. There’s no ‘on’ button, and not even a manual release for the handbrake – you simply select forwards and go.

iPad style car data

A glimpse of the future? - Credit: davidlfsmith

Squeeze the accelerator gently and the response is as laid back as a Swede in a sauna, but flatten your foot to the boards and the Polestar 2 is monumentally rapid. Its official 0-to-62mph time of 4.7 seconds only tells half the story; even the fastest combustion engined cars take time to build momentum, but here it’s delivered in a single sledge-hammer blow. In that moment, this four-door saloon feels supercar quick.

Even by electric car standards, the Polestar is impressively quiet. It’s a comfortable place to sit too, although the sporty suspension setup does result in a slightly jiggly ride. The payback comes in the handling, which is surefooted and precise. Push hard and the 2.1-tonne Polestar isn’t quite as eager to change direction as the best combustion-engined alternatives, but it’s a credible contender in this immensely talented class.

Interior of Polestar 2 with leather seats in cream and black

Simple but high-end styling - Credit: davidlfsmith

FINAL SAY

The Polestar 2 feels like a glimpse of the future, with its clever technology, sustainable philosophy and effortlessly cool Scandinavian style. But it’s also competitively-priced, easy to live with, and refreshingly free from gimmicks. It’s proof that the electric car has finally come of age.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Polestar 2 AWD 78kWh £50,800 as tested (range from £39,900)

Powertrain: Dual motor AWD, 300kW (408hp), 78kWh battery

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds; top speed 127 mph

Energy usage (weighted): 19.3 kWh/100km

Range (WLTP): 292 miles