The Entry-Level Swedish Luxury EV
Even here in Southern California, where at some point every car sold in America can be seen, the 2022 Polestar 2 is rare and drew the obvious question–“What is that?” The answer, which I was able to get to elevator-pitch length, is that Polestar is the all-electric division of Volvo Cars, and the Polestar 2 is its first all-electric car here in the States. Good enough? Not nearly.
That, of course, didn’t stop the curiosity, but since I don’t sell cars and only review them, I told the inquisitors where the closest Polestar dealer is located and off I would go. Maybe Polestar needs to hire me to just drive around and answer random questions in parking lots, as it is pretty clear they can use increased name recognition and brand awareness.
So what is a Polestar 2? First impressions set the stage for how opinions are formed, good and bad, so when I slid in for the first time, it was all new to me. I had not done any research as I wanted to experience this all-electric sedan with eyes wide open. My initial feeling was it was going to be good week.
Range and Power
I headed out from Orange County to Santa Barbara, with this one-way trip of 160 miles well within the 270-mile driving range of the Polestar 2. Once at the Hotel Californian, the staff kindly plugged-in the 2 and had it fully charged when I left two days later. The 320-mile, all-freeway round trip used 26.2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles, or 2.6 kWh per mile. Freeway driving is not the most efficient for an EV, but this was perfectly acceptable considering my driving 70+ miles per hour and rarely slowing down or stopping. The better test were the non-freeway miles where the Polestar 2 got a very respectable 3.5 kWh per mile, taking advantage of the powerful motor regeneration that returned electricity to the battery when coasting or braking.
Battery and Charging
In addition to the regenerative charging while driving, the 75 kWh lithium-ion battery is charged through an 11.0 kW onboard charger with LED indicator status lights. For the batteries to go from fully discharged to a full charge, the times are estimated to be:
- 120V (Level 1) 22 hours
- 240V (Level 2) 8 hours
- 480V DC Fast Charging 65 minutes (10 to 90-percent) at 50 kW
- 480V DC Fast Charging 40 minutes at 150 kW
Out on the Road
A few hundred miles behind the wheel revealed all we needed to know about the Polestar 2. The seats are comfortable for long trips, the steering is agile while not being considered sporty, and the handling of the 4,460-pound sedan was steady and confident. The 0 to 60 time of 6.8 seconds was perfectly fine for merging onto Southern California freeways, and the 3.8 seconds from 50 to 70 mph, made passing Semi trucks and motorhomes a breeze. The Polestar 2 has smooth, even power, and is easy to drive with a 51/49-percent front/rear weight distribution, MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspensions, and both ends getting stabilizer bars.
The 231 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque drive the front wheels, which were shod with 245/45 Michelin Primacy all-season tires mounted on 19-inch V-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheels. These tires, which Clean Fleet Report comes across frequently on the cars we review, are designed for comfort and long wear, not necessarily for their handling prowess. We found them mated well for the front-wheel drive, but they let us know when cornering a bit too aggressively. If towing is your thing, the 2 has a a 2,000 pound rating. There is even an optional trick, semi-electric tow bar that, with the push of button, drops from under the rear bumper.
The Polestar 2 at first looks like a Volvo, but upon closer inspection has a style all its own. Polestar calls it an “avant-garde modern design in a five-door fastback style.” What we saw is a nicely designed sedan that is void of cladding and with minimal chrome accents. It may not turn heads as much as give a reassuring feeling of a tasteful, practical sedan that will become a favorite as a daily driver. The Polestar 2 has six exterior colors of Void (black), Midnight (black), Thunder (gray), Magnesium, Moon and Snow.
“The LED Active Bending head and fog lights turn up to 15 degrees at speeds of up to 25 mph, illuminating curves. The LED lighting design continues to include the turn indicators, tail and brake lights, which when the brakes are applied quickly and strongly will flash four times per second warning the trailing driver.
The cabin was quiet with the 0.278 coefficient of drag (Cd) keeping wind noise at a minimum, including the exterior mirrors offering no noise at freeway speeds.
Interior: Scandinavian Influenced
The standard 100-percent vegan interior has no animal-derived products in any of the materials or surfaces. The WeaveTech upholstery, which is completely recyclable, is lighter, more durable and easier to clean than leather. Ventilated Nappa leather is available for a luxury touch.
Access was good through the front and rear wide opening doors, with the tallest needing to duck in the back just a bit due to the fastback design. The rear seat comfortably accommodates two adults that sit a bit higher than the front occupants to accommodate the batteries placed under the seat.
Behind the rear 60/40 seat, the 14.2 cubic feet of cargo space increases to 38.7 cubic feet when the seats are folded-down. Without an engine up front there is a 1.3 cubic foot front trunk, or frunk, for stashing small items, such as the charging cable.
The wide floating center console intersects the low slung dash at the 11.2-inch color touchscreen. This screen is where the heart of the Polestar 2 lives: the Google Android Automotive operating system and apps. Please note this is not Android Auto. What it is allows the driver to operate many functions through voice commands, which is a good thing as except for the few controls on the steering wheel, there are no buttons or knobs on the dash. The clean Scandinavian design theme thrives in the cockpit.
The practice of calling out everything to the Google assistant takes some getting used to and feels a bit ahead of itself at times. What you can control is the excellent sound system that has Spotify downloaded and doesn’t require an account to use. What isn’t included is Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM or AM radio, all of which are scheduled to be downloaded by the end of 2022 via over the air updates (OTA).
The Polestar 2 is designed around apps and for OTA updates. When you get yours, expect there to be some that might affect driving range, horsepower and torque or infotainment system. Check with Polestar to see when Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM or AM radio are expected to be downloaded.
The 2022 Polestar 2 has not been safety rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS, but coming from Volvo, where safety built the company’s reputation, the 2 should be rated highly. The base model does come with multiple airbags, ABS braking and traction control. Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), including adaptive cruise control, are available as an option.
The single-motor, front-wheel drive 2022 Polestar 2 comes in one model, with a base MSRP of $47,200, which includes the mandatory $1,300 destination fee. Federal and state tax credits could reduce the price you pay. The all-wheel drive two-motor version adds $3,500 to the base price. To make your Polestar 2 all it can be, there are these two optional packages.
- Pilot Pack (ADAS) $3,200
- Plus Pack (Comfort Features) $4,000
Observations: 2022 Polestar 2 Single Motor
The Polestar 2 is the first EV of a full line-up of all-electric vehicles coming from the Swedish company. Next up will be the Polestar 3 SUV in late-2022, the Polestar 4 SUV in 2023, and the Polestar 5 luxury GT sedan in 2024, each with a projected 600-mile electric driving range. Polestar plans on being a major manufacturer of all-electric luxury vehicles, competing with the likes of Lucid, Porsche and Tesla.
So how does the Polestar 2 stack-up against its competition? If a sedan is on your shopping list, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t consider it when shopping EVs. If you qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, the price could be $39,700 for the base model with front-wheel drive and the single motor. Even less if your state also offers a tax credit.
Clean Fleet Report spent a week in the base model Polestar 2, which is the price-leader for Polestar. The company hit this price by making some vital safety systems optional, which were not on our test car. Then there are the promised OTA upgrades for Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM and AM radio.
Don’t be concerned that this decontented model is lacking anything to make it a very nice near-luxury car. It is efficient, comfortable, easy-to-drive and felt solid on the road. Plus it draws attention for being unique. If you can wait for some features to be added or add on some available safety features, the Polestar 2 needs to be at the top of your list.
Ed Note: Yes, for those who are counting, there is a Polestar 1 (John drove that luxury plug-in hybrid coupe late last year)
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Story and photos by John Faulkner.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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