2021 Polestar 2 first drive evaluation: Greater than a Swedish Tesla

“Polestar’s first electrical automobile looks like its 10th.”

Effectively-designed inside

Android working system

Effectively-tuned brakes

Good experience/dealing with stability

A automobile that may substitute an SUV

Second-place vary

Lifeless steering

If you wish to launch a brand new sort of automobile, it helps to launch a brand new model with it. That’s what Volvo believes, at the least.

The Swedish automaker goes all-in on electrical vehicles and hybrids, however didn’t assume its personal model title would convey that change. So in 2015, Volvo recycled the title of a tuning firm to create Polestar as a showcase for inexperienced tech. The model launched with the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid coupe, and is following that up with the Polestar 2 electrical automobile. As a high-end electrical car (EV), the Polestar 2 looks as if a Tesla Mannequin Three rival, however Polestar claims that’s not the case.

“We’re not out to chase Tesla,” Polestar USA. boss Gregor Hembrough informed Digital Traits. “We’re constructing an EV that’s another within the market.”

Polestar could have hassle convincing prospects of that. In dimension and function, the Polestar 2 intently resembles the Mannequin Three. Polestar will initially promote its automobile solely in a totally loaded, dual-motor all-wheel drive Launch Version configuration with a $61,200 base value — about $5,000 greater than the highest Mannequin Three Efficiency. Nevertheless, not like new Tesla purchases, Polestar autos nonetheless qualify for the complete $7,500 EV tax credit score (in addition to some state and native incentives). Much less-expensive variants are additionally on the best way, Polestar has stated.

Design and inside

The Polestar 2 inherits design cues from mother or father Volvo, and it rides on the Compact Modular Structure (CMA) platform utilized by the Volvo XC40. The outside is a carbon copy of the Volvo Idea 40.2 idea automobile of 2016. Meaning the Polestar 2 seems to be like a sedan, however has a rear hatch as a substitute of a trunk. It additionally has a extra SUV-like experience top, though it doesn’t really feel that means from the within.

From behind the wheel, the Polestar 2 feels extra like a automobile than an SUV, largely due to the best way Polestar designed its battery pack. Whereas many electrical vehicles have a protracted, flat battery pack mounted underneath the ground, Polestar opted to stack the person modules, placing some underneath the ground, others underneath the rear seat, and nonetheless extra modules down the centerline of the automobile. This offers the Polestar 2 a decrease flooring than the Mannequin Three, making it really feel extra such as you’re sitting within the automobile slightly than on it. The automobile additionally has a pronounced central tunnel dividing the cabin, much like the transmission tunnels in gasoline vehicles.

Like Tesla, Polestar went for a minimalist inside design, however with some extra conventional parts. As a substitute of simply dropping a touchscreen in the course of the dashboard and calling it a day, Polestar saved the gauge cluster and shifter, giving the inside a extra typical structure.

The Polestar 2 additionally comes commonplace with a vegan inside, together with carpets constructed from recycled plastic, recycled wooden trim, and fabric constructed from a cloth referred to as WeaveTex. A Nappa leather-based inside is non-obligatory, however the vegan model was properly executed, and matches higher with this electrical automobile’s mission of sustainability. It’s simply too unhealthy that Polestar threw in cheap-looking gloss black plastic on surfaces that may possible be touched continuously — resulting in smudges and scratches.

Like Tesla, Polestar went for a minimalist inside design, however with some extra conventional parts.

The Polestar 2 is about 5 inches wider and a pair of inches taller than a Mannequin Three, however the Tesla is Three.5 inches longer. The Mannequin Three additionally has an extended wheelbase than the Polestar 2, which interprets into extra legroom. Nevertheless, the Polestar’s taller roof creates extra headroom, and its hatchback configuration provides it a bonus in cargo area. With the rear seats in place, the Polestar 2 has a manufacturer-estimated 15.5 cubic toes of cargo room, in comparison with 15.zero for the Mannequin Three. With the rear seats folded, the Polestar 2 can maintain 38.7 cubic toes of stuff.

Tech, infotainment, and driver help

The Polestar 2 is the primary manufacturing automobile to get Google’s Android Automotive OS, which bakes Google apps into the infotainment system. As a substitute of generic voice controls and navigation, you get Google Assistant and Google Maps. The infotainment system may sync together with your private Google account for added customization.

The Polestar 2 additionally will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, together with fundamental Bluetooth connectivity, as commonplace gear. Non-Android customers can nonetheless get the identical performance they’d with projection apps on different infotainment programs, together with the power to make calls and ship textual content messages. Polestar solely anticipates connectivity for “choose” Apple apps, nonetheless, and CarPlay received’t be obtainable at launch. Polestar plans so as to add it through an over-the-air replace in 2021.

In case your private preferences lean towards Android, this can be a nice setup. Graphics displayed on the 11.1-inch central touchscreen and 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster had been wonderful, significantly for maps. The touchscreen was additionally very responsive. If Google apps aren’t your favourite, nonetheless, there isn’t as a lot of a profit to this technique.

In case your private preferences lean towards Android, this can be a nice setup.

Polestar mother or father Volvo is synonymous with security, so it’s no shock that the Polestar 2 will get loads of driver aids. Normal options embrace blind spot monitoring, ahead collision warning, lane preserve help, visitors signal recognition, autonomous emergency braking, and Volvo’s Pilot Help, which mixes adaptive cruise management with restricted steering inputs for lane centering. Polestar stated its model of Pilot Help will use cloud connectivity to detect street obstacles in actual time, and can have the ability to enhance by over-the-air updates. Nevertheless, Pilot Help can’t execute automated lane modifications, like Tesla Autopilot.

The Polestar 2 will even get a Digital Key that lets drivers use smartphones to unlock and drive the automobile, in addition to grant entry to different customers. Tesla is the one different automaker to supply this performance on an electrical automobile up to now, though Hyundai and Lincoln have related options for gasoline autos. Digital Key received’t be obtainable at launch; it will likely be added later through an over-the-air replace.

Driving expertise

At launch, the Polestar 2 might be bought solely with a dual-motor all-wheel drive system. Mixed output from the 2 motors is 408 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque, which can get the automobile from zero to 60 mph in four.four seconds, in accordance with Polestar. That’s the identical as a Tesla Mannequin Three Lengthy Vary, however the Mannequin Three Efficiency does zero to 60 mph in simply Three.2 seconds, in accordance with Tesla.

Our check automobile additionally had the non-obligatory Efficiency Pack, which provides 20-inch solid alloy wheels, Brembo brakes (with calipers designed particularly for Polestar to cut back aerodynamic drag), and adjustable Öhlins dampers. These upgrades made a giant distinction on the street, offering the proper complement to the electrical powertrain’s punchy acceleration.

The adjustable dampers saved the driving force’s backbone intact whereas traversing damaged New York Metropolis pavement.

Even on a reasonably agency setting (certainly one of 22 that have to be manually modified), the adjustable dampers saved the driving force’s backbone intact whereas traversing damaged New York Metropolis pavement. As soon as freed from metropolis visitors, they gave the Polestar 2 a good, confidence-inspiring really feel in corners. Regenerative braking permits for one-pedal driving on its most aggressive setting, however the left pedal nonetheless has a predictable, linear response ought to you must use it. The weak level was the steering, which didn’t really feel as dialed in as the opposite parts. The Polestar 2 is likely to be a really nimble automobile, but it surely’s not possible to inform from the imprecise response of the wheel.

The U.S.-spec Polestar 2 can also be rated to tow as much as 2,000 kilos. That’s decrease than the three,300 kilos Polestar beforehand quoted within the European market, however nonetheless higher than the Mannequin Three. The Tesla doesn’t have an official tow score within the U.S., though in Europe it’s rated to tow as much as 2,000 kilos.

Electrical vary, charging, and security

The Polestar 2 will get a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack, however solely 75 kWh is usable. Official vary figures aren’t obtainable but, however Polestar expects greater than 200 miles based mostly on Environmental Safety Company (EPA) testing. In a third-party check commissioned by Polestar, the automobile achieved 205 miles of vary on a closed course in scorching climate. Meaning the EPA-rated vary will possible be larger, however possible not sufficient to match the Tesla Mannequin Three Lengthy Vary’s 322-mile most.

Charging takes 11 hours from an 11-kilowatt dwelling wall field charging station or, when you’re actually determined, 22 hours from a regular 120-volt family outlet. DC quick charging at as much as 150 kilowatts can present an 80% cost in 40 minutes.

Security rankings from the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS) and Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) aren’t obtainable but, however Polestar expects its first EV to carry out effectively in crash exams. The automobile sports activities particular crash buildings designed to guard the battery pack within the occasion of a crash and to account for the shortage of an engine in occupant crash safety.

Polestar affords a four-year, 50,000-mile car guarantee and eight-year, 100,000-mile battery guarantee. Tesla affords the identical car guarantee time period, and the identical battery guarantee time period on lower-level variations of the Mannequin Three. The Mannequin Three Lengthy Vary and Efficiency fashions get an eight-year, 120,000-mile battery guarantee.

How DT would configure this automobile

Configuring a Polestar 2 is easy, as a result of the one choices are the Efficiency Pack ($5,000), Nappa leather-based upholstery ($four,000), 20-inch wheels ($1,200), and particular paint colours ($1,200). The Efficiency Pack’s Brembo brakes and Öhlins dampers are value the additional cash, however the leather-based upholstery appears pointless. The usual inside is already fairly good, and provides the automobile much more inexperienced credibility.

Our take

Upon nearer inspection, the Polestar 2 actually isn’t just like the Tesla Mannequin Three. It may well’t match the Tesla on vary or efficiency and, regardless of its repute for security innovation, Polestar mother or father Volvo nonetheless doesn’t have a solution to Tesla Autopilot. The specs don’t inform the entire story, nonetheless.

From its frowning face to its touchscreen-centric inside, the Mannequin Three asks patrons to throw away every thing they learn about driving. It’s a futuristic automobile that by no means permits you to neglect that truth. As a substitute of anticipating the driving force’s wants, the Mannequin Three expects the driving force to observe its lead. The Polestar 2 does issues in another way.

Polestar’s first electrical automobile looks like its t10th. From the inside structure to the suspension tuning, each element feels well-thought-out, and born of the expertise of a longtime automaker, slightly than a newcomer. The market’s demand for one thing new could have led to the creation of Polestar, but it surely’s Volvo’s expertise that makes this automobile so good.

The Polestar 2 takes every thing that’s good about electrical vehicles and presents it in a well-recognized package deal. It’s an method that might most likely win quite a lot of converts as electrical vehicles go from being a curiosity to a commodity. It’s too unhealthy Polestar doesn’t plan to chase Tesla’s gross sales volumes, at the least not instantly. For now, the model is focusing on annual numbers within the “tens of hundreds,” slightly than the tons of of hundreds of vehicles Tesla presently builds yearly, U.S. boss Gregor Hembrough informed Digital Traits.

Must you get one?

Sure. Between the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2, Volvo’s new model is off to a terrific begin.

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