Polestar 2 (2020) Review

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Polestar 2 (2020) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
If you’re into EVs but weren’t too impressed with the Tesla Model 3, we reckon you’ll be quite taken with the Polestar 2. Not only does it look great, it’s sensational to drive and offers build quality that’s superior to its rival – even if it can’t quite match the Tesla’s pace.

+Looks great, drives great.

-Not as much range as a Tesla Model 3. No Apple CarPlay yet.

The Polestar 2 is the first all-electric vehicle from the recently-launched car maker. Owned by Chinese firm Geely, which also owns Volvo, the Polestar 2 goes head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3 in the rapidly emerging mid-range EV market. But is Polestar’s latest offering any good?

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Well, that depends on your point of view. Critics will argue that the Tesla Model 3 beats the Polestar 2 on paper. That’s because even in entry level spec, the Model 3 is faster than the Polestar 2 and is also almost a full second quicker in the 0-62mph dash. The Tesla also boasts better range.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. While the Tesla looks better on paper, the Polestar 2 is a much more complete package in the metal. Build quality is higher with better panel gaps, good standards of overall fit and finish. Drivers also don’t have rely on tablet glued to the centre of the dash for the speedo, either.

While a centre-mounted tablet seems to have become the hallmark of a ‘proper’ EV, the Polestar 2 also has a much more conventional digital dash that can display all the info you need – road speed, charge remaining in miles, even navigation directions.

And that leads us on nicely to look at the 2’s tech. You see, while Polestar is a new brand, the 2 is also the first car to use Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto). And that means the car’s infotainment operating system is light years ahead of its rivals. Using the command ‘hey Google!’ you can go on to control and adjust various things like the air con, heated seats, and demisters. There is a drawback though – connectivity for Apple CarPlay won’t arrive until 2021, which can make for a slightly clunky experience for those of the iPhone persuasion.

Still, you’ll have more than enough tech to keep the kids occupied – and more than enough space, too. While the sharply-styled coupe lines do mean you lose some head room, there’s enough leg and shoulder room for two adults in the back, and more than enough for two kids.

There’s plenty of storage, too, with 411 litres of space available via the rear hatch – although there is a slight lip on the boot to be aware of. Meanwhile, the front trunk gets 35 litres, which is just about enough to carry a backpack. There’s plenty of secure fastening points as well.

This is a bonus as once you’re in the driver’s seat it’s hard not to make the most of all that power. With just over 400PS driving all four wheels, the Polestar 2 is quick enough and still able to deliver a powerful ‘shove’ in the back when you press the throttle (although it’s not quite as hard hitting as a Tesla). Through the bends, there’s minimal lean and the car’s composure allows you to make the most of the road conditions, although the Performance Pack fitted to our car offered better dampers, bigger brakes and 20in wheels that made it feel overly firm at time.

Still, if you’re spending close to £50k on a car it’s nice to have the option to press on, even if doing so will hammer your range. Going from 0-80% at a quick charger takes just under 40 mins, while an overnight eight-hour charge from a domestic wallbox will fully charge the battery and give you about 270 real-world miles.

If you’re into EVs but weren’t too impressed with the Tesla Model 3, we reckon you’ll be quite taken with the Polestar 2. Not only does it look great, it’s sensational to drive and offers build quality that’s superior to its rival – even if it can’t quite match the Tesla’s pace.

Ask Honest John

How can the average driver afford a new electric car?
"I've just read the review of a Polestar 2. A look into the leasing deals on the internet mean that the cost for 36 months is £26K plus running costs. Working out the yearly rate for this vehicle is £8700+ a year. How can Mr Average afford these ridiculous sums of money especially when Boris Johnson has dealt the death blow to petrol and diesel vehicles. I know there are cheaper electric cars but they are still way overpriced."
The Polestar 2 is a premium product and the price reflects this. A Renault Zoe is available on PCP for £269 a month which is comparable to a Ford Fiesta. You'll save on fuel and servicing costs, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should my next car be electric or petrol?
"I will be without a car for 6 months as the police are kindly looking after my licence. I currently have a diesel Kia Sportage, which I will sell. I want a 4x4. What fuel type should I buy? From doing 20,000 miles per year, I think it will be well less than 10,000 as the pandemic has made a huge difference in the way people meet. I'd appreciate your advice."
It depends on your needs, really. If most of your journeys are relatively short and you can charge a car at home, an electric vehicle might suit. Electric 4x4s are quite expensive, though –so depending on budget, you could consider cars like the Polestar 2 or Jaguar I-Pace. As a compromise, consider hybrid vehicles like a Toyota RAV4.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can electric vehicles tow a trailer?
"Are electric cars able to tow caravans and trailers?"
There are a few electric cars that are able to tow. These include the Polestar 2 (towing capacity 1500kg), Audi e-tron (1800kg) and Tesla Model X (2250kg). EVs have a number of advantages when it comes to towing: they're usually quite heavy (a good thing when towing) and provide instant torque. They also have good brakes with regenerative braking helping to slow down, which will help keep a trailer or caravan under control.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I only charge my electric car to 80% to prevent battery degredation?
"I recently read that the best practice for good EV battery health is only to charge to 80%. I'd be grateful for a bit more advice on this, please. Is it best to limit a charge to 80% when rapid charging, or for any kind of charging? I always charge the car at home from a standard domestic 13A socket, and I always charge to 100%. Am I reducing the health/life of my Nissan Leaf's battery? Many thanks for any advice."
There is a bit of a myth around EV batteries that stems from advice on charging your mobile phone (i.e. that you should charge phone batteries between 20% and 80%, rather than from 0% to 100%). It does change and each manufacturer is different. I drove a Polestar 2 that recommended only charging to 90% at all times. As a footnote, the warnings about charging come from the manufacturers as a kind of 'insurance' - with the technology being so new, the evidence is limited as to how batteries perform so carmakers try to cover themselves. Nissan says: Recharge fully from 10% or less to 100%. They're not sure if you can set the charge level in the car. I drove one, and I thought you could but I might be wrong. They also say repeated fast charging shouldn't be too much of a problem unless the battery temp is very high. They've got reports from taxis that have clocked up 150k that have been rapid charged repeatedly without showing any sign of battery degradation.
Answered by Keith Moody

What does a Polestar 2 (2020) cost?