Polestar 2 review feature image

2023 Polestar 2 Review: Does it Live Up to the Hype?

The EV competition in Australia is really starting to heat up. And while the likes of Tesla, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Audi and Porsche have decided to keep their heritage namesake as they refine their lineup for an all-electric future, others like Volvo Geely and Cupra are going down the ‘new brand, new me, new EV’ route with the relaunch of heralded performance brands.

Polestar joins an already crowded Aussie car market under the Volvo Geely umbrella, so how does it stand out? It’s simple really, you fulfil criteria that few EV manufacturers have been able to crack. Driving.

Related: 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: A Glimpse of the Future

Polestar 2 on road

Image: Polestar

High Point Low Point Verdict
Driving dynamics are up there with the best cars in its price bracket. No longer an EV used exclusively for convenience, this is built for pleasure and enjoyment. Android Automotive is a big plus in our books, as are the overall looks that catch plenty of eyeballs. The range of the Dual Motor model is nowhere near its Tesla rival, combine that with the poor public charging network and a home charger is compulsory. The ride quality around town with the Performance Pack Ohlins Dampers can be a little harsh so option wisely. Probably our favourite EV to drive in the price range. Cargo space is limited, so not the most suitable choice for families. The Volvo XC40 Recharge exists for a reason.

Polestar has created what we think is one of the best driving, best looking, and best cars on the market at this price point, period. There are three models to choose from with prices sitting anywhere between $63,900-73,400 AUD before options but we have the Dual Motor Long Range on test here with the full fruit.

How does the Polestar stack up against the all-conquering Tesla Model 3? We’re breaking it all down in our review below.

Related: 2022 Audi RS 3 Review

Polestar 2 on road in city

Image: Polestar

What Powers the Polestar 2?

Polestar 2 Single Motor Polestar 2 Single Motor Long Range Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range
Motor configuration FWD FWD AWD
Transmission Single speed Single speed Single speed
Power 170 kW 170 kW 300 kW
Torque 330 Nm 330 Nm 660 Nm
Top speed 160 km/h 160 km/h 205 km/h
Acceleration 0-100km/h 7.4 seconds 7.4 seconds 4.7 seconds

We’ll be taking a closer look at the driving impressions of the Polestar 2 further down below, however, we found it interesting to compare the car to its biggest rivals in the Tesla Model 3 and Kia EV6. When these two came to market they were fierce competitors in price and features, however, as time went on they started to draw further apart as model lineups differed.

Our Polestar 2 press car in Long Range Dual Motor car starts at $73,400 AUD but when you factor in the Pilot Pack ($3400), Plus Pack ($6000) and the Performance Pack ($8000) that includes Ohlins dampers and massive Brembo brakes you’re looking into the $80k price range which pits it against the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (from $80,000 AUD).

Performance numbers are similar, with the Tesla’s 0-100km/h sprint taking just 4.4 seconds vs. the Polestar’s 4.7 seconds. In reality, they’ll be neck and neck.

Related: 2022 Porsche Taycan RWD Review: The Model to Buy?

Polestar 2 Battery, Range, and Charging

Just as important (if not more) are the range, battery, and charging figures of the Polestar 2 lineup and we’ve included all of that information down below.

Polestar 2 Single Motor Polestar 2 Single Motor Long Range Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range
Range (WLTP) 470 km 540 km 480 km
Energy consumption 16.7-17.9 kWh/ 100km 17.1-18.6 kWh/ 100km 19.4-20.2 kWh/ 100km
Capacity (Useable) 67 kWh 75 kWh 75 kWh
Charging capacity (AC) Up to 11kW (1 or 3 Phase), on-board charger Up to 11kW (1 or 3 Phase), on-board charger Up to 11kW (1 or 3 Phase), on-board charger
Charging capacity (DC) Up to 130kW Up to 155kW Up to 155kW
Charging time (AC) 7 hours (3-phase 16a) 8 hours (3-phase 16a) 8 hours (3-phase 16a)
Charging time (DC) 10-80% 35 min 35 min 35 min

The Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range offers up to 480km of range on a single charge, while the Tesla Model 3 Long Range has up to 602km and the Kia EV6 will manage between 400-450km depending on the model. If maximum range is what you’re looking for, Tesla is still the only viable option on the market to eclipse 600km at this price point, however, the Polestar 2 Single Motor Long Range will get you 540km range and the 600km capable Polestar 3 is on its way.

In terms of charging, the Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range and Single Motor Long Range offer 155kW fast charging which compares well on paper to a Tesla Supercharger that typically offers around 150kW.

Polestar 2 at charger for review

Image: Ben McKimm | Man of Many

In reality (and we’ve said this time and time again) public charging in anything other than a Tesla network is still a nightmare and charging at home will likely be your only option for ownership. Speaking for Sydney, there’s only a handful of chargers that offer more than 50kW of charging. Ampol is rolling out a host of 350kW Tritium branded chargers across Sydney with CCS2 and CHAdeMO capability so this problem won’t be around forever, but you’ll pay good money to fast charge at these.

How much does it cost to charge in Sydney you ask? At the time of writing, most 120kW+ chargers will cost you $0.60/kWh. This equates to around $40 if you were to charge the Polestar 2 (or any other EV for that matter) from 10-80% charge. In short, you’re paying around $40 for roughly 300km of range – it’s far from a cheap exercise. Charging at a 50kW station will typically cost $0.28/kWh.

Related: BMW’s M440i xDrive Gran Coupe Review: Impressive All-Rounder

Polestar 2 review

Image: Polestar

How Does the Polestar 2 Drive?

We were lucky enough to drive the Polestar 2 at its launch in Sydney late last year, however, it was great to get back behind the wheel of the 2 and cement a few of those memories. We’ll get this statement out of the way early, this is our favourite EV to drive for under $100,000 AUD and makes the competition feel appliance-like. We rarely find ourselves getting behind the wheel of any EVs looking for a ‘fun to drive’ sensation, but the Polestar 2 is one of the few at this pricepoint to offer such a feeling.

Our loan car was optioned to the moon and included the Performance Pack ($8000) that adds the following.

  • 20-inch forged alloy wheels, 4-Y spoke design, diamond cut
  • Continental SportContact 6 (245/40R20)
  • Brembo 4-piston brakes with ventilated and drilled front discs (375×35 mm)
  • Ohlins Dual Flow Valve (DFV) manually adjustable dampers
  • Golden brake callipers, valve caps, seat belts

As you can imagine, these performance options did wonders to the car, adding fun in droves.

Acceleration and Braking

The 0-100km/h sprint takes 4.7-seconds, which by today’s standards isn’t outrageous, but with the EV shove and 660Nm torque figure pushing your torso to the seat, it truly feels quicker than the numbers suggest. We loved the instant shove out of corners long after the Ohlins dampers did their job in keeping the 2 glued to the road.

Braking is taken care of by a massive pair of Brembo 4 piston brakes with vented and drilled front discs. We’re pleased to say there’s no strange regenerative braking feel through the pedal, a feeling that’s especially reassuring when you’re hammering deep into braking zones. We also love the styling with a combination of gold brake calipers and 20-inch forged alloy wheels with a 4-Y spoke design.

Polestar 2 driving dynamics

Image: Polestar

Handling

After jumping in and out of a few EVs over the last few months it was a great feeling to get behind the wheel of an EV with real character. In the same way the Porsche Taycan never lets you forget you’re driving a Porsche, the Polestar never lets you forget it has the backing of a heritage auto manufacturer in Volvo under the skin. This is a car first and foremost, not an appliance.

Call us an old sod but we enjoy taking our cars up to the local ‘driving road’ and enjoying a coffee and scones after embarrassing a few sports bike riders on crotch rockets (all within the rules of course).

There isn’t an EV for the money that behaves this well when given a spanking. In terms of comparison, you have to look at cars running on dinosaur juice. We recently drove the BMW M240i on the same road and felt similarities with the Polestar 2. The dynamics at pace are great, the steering is responsive, the suspension is firm but not stiff, and the pedals are well balanced. Of course, push any more than seven-tenths and the M240i would walk away from the Polestar but the dynamics are there and that’s what matters when you’re talking about ‘fun to drive’.

All the Polestar 2 is missing is electronically controlled dampers and some audible theatre. The inclusion of manually adjustable Ohlins sounds great on paper, but you’re never going to adjust them. And in terms of theatre, we hate to say it but the complete lack of sound is disconcerting when throwing the car at a few turns (no “fake noise” here). The average punter could send the thing into a corner 2 or 3 times faster than necessary and we’d at least like the option.

Related: 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR Review: A Swansong for the Supercharged V8

Polestar 2 dashboard

Image: Polestar

What’s the Interior Like on the Polestar 2?

Our Polestar 2 press car had all the options ticked, including the Plus Pack ($6000) that adds.

  • Heat pump (reduces the need to use valuable battery capacity to prepare and sustain the cabin climate).
  • Harman Kardon premium audio with 13 speakers (600W)
  • Heated windscreen washer nozzles
  • Heated rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • WeaveTech (vegan) upholstery with Black Ash deco
  • High-level interior illumination
  • Panoramic roof with reflected Polestar symbol
  • Fully-electric driver seat, with memory
  • Fully-electric passenger seat
  • Mechanical cushion extension, front seats
  • Inductive phone charger 15 W
  • Rear cargo floor “lid in lid” with bag holder
  • Tinted rear window

There’s a lot to unpack in that options list, but overall we loved the choice of materials throughout the cabin and found the WeaveTech material used on the dashboard to ooze a certain premium feeling. The quality wouldn’t be embarrassed by a car twice the price.

You won’t mistake the Volvo steering wheel but the buttons are intuitive to use, and unlike the Kia EV6, there are only 14 of them so you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to find them.

The driving position is one of our favourites in an EV. The seats and steering wheel are very adjustable and the high doorsills and centre console give a cocoon feeling that’s not unlike a sports coupe. We particularly love the angles on the door to hide the speakers, integration of the AC vents, and the overall layout of the interior that’s hard to fault. The Volvo sourced seats offer supreme comfort and just enough bolstering to keep you in the seat when tackling the twisties.

Polestar 2 infotainment screen

Image: Polestar

Infotainment System

Polestar 2 is the first car in the world to use a central infotainment system powered by Android Automotive. This was our first time experiencing the 11.15-inch system and we had absolutely no dramas using it.

We’re firm believers that Android Auto and Apple Carplay are the best things to happen to cars since sliced bread, but the standalone automotive system isn’t far off the mark. As of June 2022, an over-the-air software update means the Polestar 2 now supports Apple CarPlay, too

The system integrates Google Assistant for speech assistance, Google Maps for navigation, and the Google Play Store for apps (although no Waze on our car?). We downloaded Spotify, logged in with a QR code in about 2-seconds, and were amazed at how the screen optimised the app with icons and scrolling capabilities that are far greater than Apple Carplay or Android Auto we’ve tried.

While it’ll take the average punter some time to get their head around the system, the ability to have Google Maps open on the driver’s display and then Spotify open on the central infotainment screen simultaneously is something that’s hard to live without.

Related: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Track Review: The Purist’s Porsche

Rear end 1

Image: Polestar

Should You Buy the 2022 Polestar 2?

Here’s everything to consider when looking to purchase a Polestar 2.

How Much Does the Polestar 2 Cost?

Polestar 2 Single Motor Polestar 2 Single Motor Long Range Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range
Standard Vehicle $63,900 $68,400 $73,400
Pilot Pack $3400 $3400 $3400
Plus Pack $6000 $6000 $6000
Performance Pack $8000 $8000 $8000

As you can see from the table above, pricing for the Polestar 2 starts from $63,900 AUD. Our test vehicle was the top-spec Dual Motor Long Range that starts from $73,400. The car was then optioned to the moon with Pilot Pack, Plus Pack, and Performance Pack, maxing the price out to $83,909 AUD before on-road costs.

Compare this to its nearest competitor, the Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Long Range, and that car will cost you $88,325 AUD before on-road costs with a few options. Add “Full Self-Driving Capability” (try saying that with a straight face) and it’ll add $10,100 AUD to the final price. You know from reading this review which one we’re picking.

Warranty

The Polestar 2 comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty for parts, including faulty materials or manufacturing issues in which the brand will replace it free of charge at your nearest service point.

The battery warranty for the Polestar 2 is 8 years or 160,000km (whichever comes first). If the battery percentage drops below 70% in the first 8-years of ownership the brand will replace the battery free of charge.

A 12-year corrosion warranty is also included in the purchase of any new Polestar 2. More information on the Polestar warranty can be found via this link.

Servicing and Updating

The Polestar 2 has over-the-air updating capabilities that don’t restrict driving. Like a smartphone these can be scheduled at specific times, or as soon as they become available. OTA updates are also covered by the Polestar data plan included for the first three years of ownership.

All models come with free servicing and roadside assistance for five years, but items like the planetary gearsets are lubricated and cooled with a special lifetime lubricant that has no scheduled service interval.

Related: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Review: Long, Large, and Luxurious

Polestar 2 review 1

Image: Ben McKimm | Man of Many

Our Verdict on the Polestar 2

Through the first half of 2022, the Polestar 2 has been Australia’s third best-selling EV with 562 units sold from January to June. It’s on pace to eclipse sales of the Hyundai Kona Electric (570) but will likely sit in third place at year-end with the Tesla Model 3 and new Model Y likely to surpass it if stock arrives as expected.

Why mention sales? They’re a reflection of the quality Geely Volvo is producing but also a buyer who’s looking for more than an appliance in their EV purchase. It might be a learning curve for some who don’t recognise the Scandinavian design, infotainment screen, or EV charging network in general, but it’s reassuring to know the car is serviced at Volvo dealerships and is backed by firm warranties on parts.

Ultimately, the technology is there, the design is there, and most importantly, the driving is there. Looking down the list of EVs currently on sale and there’s only a handful of cars that drive better than the Polestar 2 – all of which are at least $20,000 AUD more expensive.

While it’s hard to justify any EV other than a Tesla if public charging is your only option, the Polestar 2 is our pick of the bunch for under $100,000 AUD. Just make sure you have a place to charge it at home.

Check it out

Polestar 2 Standard Specification in Australia

Infotainment

  • Infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS
  • Google built-in (Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Play Store)
  • Progressive 12,3-inch digital driver display
  • 11,15-inch centre display
  • 4 x USB-C connectors: 2 front, 2 rear
  • 8-speaker premium audio system, 250W
  • Bluetooth telephony (all phones compatible)

Connectivity

  • Integrated e-SIM with constant Internet connectivity
  • Google service connectivity included for 3 years Ownership
  • Over-the-air (OTA) updates for life
  • Polestar Connect
  • Polestar app with vehicle functionality (beta)
  • Polestar Digital Key (beta)

Charging

  • Charge cable 6m, IEC 3P 230V, 16A 11kW, Type 2, Mode 3
  • Charge cable 7m, IEC 1P 230V, 10A 2.3kW, Schuko, Type 2, Mode 2

Comfort and convenience

  • Rain sensor
  • Electric tailgate with soft closing
  • Keyless entry with handsfree tailgate opening (with extra-wide foot sensor)
  • Semi-electric front seats with driver’s seat memory
  • 4-way power adjustable lumbar support, front seats
  • 4 cup holders (2 front, 2 rear)
  • Rear seat 40/60 split
  • 12V power outlet in boot
  • Front storage compartment (35-41 litres)
  • Front and rear parking assist
  • Rearview camera

Driving characteristics

  • One pedal drive (regenerative braking), adjustable
  • Adjustable steering force
  • Climate
  • Electronic climate control, 2-zone
  • CleanZone with pre-ventilation, multifilter
  • Parking climate including scheduled preconditioning
  • Heated front seats

Safety

  • Safety assistance
    • Collision Avoidance and Mitigation with braking and steering support; vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian detection, day and night
    • Run-off Road Mitigation
    • Forward Collision Warning
    • Oncoming Lane Mitigation
    • Lane Keeping Aid with steering support
    • Post-Impact Braking
    • Road Sign Information
    • Driver Alert
    • Connected Safety
    • Cruise control and adjustable speed limiter with speed sign support
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Indirect Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • 8 airbags
    • Driver and front passenger
    • Dual side
    • Dual inner-side
    • Dual curtain
  • Whiplash protection, front seats
  • Alcolock preparation
  • ISOFIX rear seats
  • Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars

Security

  • Alarm with interior alarm motion sensor
  • Double-locking door locks
  • Alarm inclination sensor
  • One remote key fob and one waterproof activity key tag
  • Tyre repair kit
  • First aid kit
  • Warning triangle

Lighting, Mirrors and Wheels

  • LED headlights with Active High Beam
  • Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights
  • Full-LED rear light bar with persistent light signature, automatic dimming
  • Frameless side mirrors, electric and heated
  • Automatic dimming interior mirror
  • Mid-level interior illumination
  • 19″ 5-V spoke alloy wheels, diamond cut

Interior

  • Charcoal headlining
  • Embossed textile upholstery (vegan) with 3D Etched deco
  • Hexagonal-shaped gear selector with illuminated Polestar symbol
  • Textile floor mats

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JOURNALIST

Ben McKimm

Ben lives in Sydney, Australia. He has a Bachelor's Degree (Media, Technology and the Law) from Macquarie University (2020). Outside of his studies, he has spent the last decade heavily involved in the automotive, technology and fashion world. Turning his passion and expertise into a Journalist position at Man of Many where he continues to write about everything that interests the modern man. Conducting car reviews on both the road and track, hands-on reviews of cutting-edge technology and employing a vast knowledge in the space of fashion and sneakers to his work. One day he hopes to own his own brand.