SUPPLY issues notwithstanding, the Polestar 2 four-door fastback has been available for more than a year and is priced from $63,900 plus on-roads costs for the single motor (SM) base variant driven.
It is a viable alternative to the likes of the Tesla Model 3 RWD at $63,900 and even the Hyundai Ioniq RWD single motor at $71,900 (both plus on-road costs).
Like the Tesla Model 3, being built in China has cost advantages that explain to some extent the value proposition provided by this entry-level Polestar 2, a car that comes with generous levels of luxury kit.
The sharpish price has induced global car rental firm Hertz to buy thousands of them for general rental duties.
As an additional conscience salve to buyers, in partnership with Circulor, the Polestar 2 includes blockchain traceability of mica, as well as cobalt, which is already traced in Polestar 2 batteries. The blockchain technology allows Polestar to trace risk minerals from material source to finished product.
And the aluminium tray that carries the battery casing for all versions will see a CO2 emissions reduction of 750kg per car produced, thanks to the decision to only purchase aluminium for this component from smelters that use renewable energy, says Polestar.
That said, Polestar 2 SM weighs in at a hefty 1994kg, representing an almost extreme use of materials including renewables, recyclables and the availability of vegan interior finishes.
The Polestar 2 SM features a generous amount of standard equipment including LED lights front and back, frameless door mirrors, 19-inch five-spoke wheels, a hands-free powered rear hatch and walk-in keyless entry and go.
Our test car’s upholstery was a form of “embossed textile” possibly some sort of natural product instead of a carbon derived (plastic) material and it even smelled different inside to other cars.
The front seats are heated and dual-zone climate control modulates passenger compartment temperatutes.
and then, there are the screens: a large 12.3-inch digital pod for the driver with virtual images and a cool-looking 11.3-inch tablet in the middle of the dash to control many in-car functions.
The eight-speaker audio system delivers adequate tones and functionality but is not as high-end as we would have expected from such a car.
It has four USB-C inputs, Bluetooth and DAB+ digital radio, while the infotainment operating system is advanced Android Automotive software that is coming into favour with car-makers generally offering among other features: Google Maps, Google Play app store and Google Assistant (Hey Google) voice control built in.
The system utilises a SIM with constant connectivity allowing software OTA updates.
Rounding out the tech offering is a beta digital key and a phone app with vehicle monitoring and various types of functionality such as charge monitoring, climate pre-setting and other features.
If that’s not enough, Polestar 2 single motor buyers have a choice of two option packs providing more kit; the safety-oriented $3400 Pilot Lite Pack and the luxury-oriented $6000 Plus Pack and yes, both can be selected for the one car.
Option up with two packs and your ‘entry level’ Polestar 2 single motor nudges up into the mid-$70K space… plus on roads.
The car achieves a five-star Euro NCAP rating in terms of primary and secondary safety kit, as well as the performance of advanced driver assist features.
Numbered among these are dual front, front-side, inner-side and curtain airbags, forward collision braking and mitigation aka AEB with steering support, run-off road mitigation, lane-keeping assist with steering and driver attention alert.
If you want blind-spot collision avoidance, cross-traffic alert with braking, adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous ‘pilot assist’ setting, a 360-degree camera, extra parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors and LED front fog lights you’ll have to cough up an extra $5k for the Pilot Lite Pack.
A Polestar 2 SM will tow 1500kg, though in doing so it would probably seriously dent available range.
The car is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty with free roadside assist and servicing for the duration.
On approach the Polestar 2 SM is a good looker, certainly easier on the eye than a duck-faced Tesla. In fact, when we tried to (unsuccessfully) recharge the Polestar at a Tesla Supercharger station, the Polestar attracted plenty of admiring glances.
It is a relatively compact design, smaller than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and quite snug inside with that.
The door apertures are small, making access for anyone over 180cm an issue, exacerbated by the loss of ceiling height with the optional glass roof.
Styling inside is as appealing as the exterior, breaking new ground in functionality, design and materials.
It’s a minimalist dash with many functions consigned to the centre touchscreen. The seats are a decent size and there’s room for five at a pinch with a small person in the centre rear pew.
The boot is shallow but wide and there’s an extra compartment under the floor. The frunk is a large bin atop the electric motor and electrical control systems.
As the Polestar 2 SM uses an ICE chassis it is an adaptation of an old design and hence has front-wheel drive with the electric motor in the front.
It works OK but all that power and torque – 170kW and 330Nm from a proprietary Valeo Siemens traction motor – easily overcomes the front wheels’ grip. Especially if you boot it off the mark.
There’s only a muted whirr from the motor at some speeds and a slight tyre thrum on coarse-chip bitumen roads.
Performance is a strong suit, especially on the move, with the Polestar delivering impressive roll-on acceleration coupled with one-pedal driving that will bring the car to a complete stop.
Polestar says it will clock a 0-100km/h sprint in 7.4 seconds, which seems reasonable if a touch under-called.
It uses a claimed 17.1kWh/100km with a claimed range of 445-478km from the standard 69kWh battery (a bigger unit promising 515-551km costs about $4500 extra).
In terms of ride and handling, the Polestar 2 SM acquits itself well, particularly in the braking department, while delivering a somewhat sporty yet comfortable ride from a conventional strut front and multi-link rear suspension.
There is some tendency to (push) understeer as a result of the front-wheel drive layout but the turning circle is surprisingly tight, the driving position adjustable and overall drive feel is on the sporty side of the ledger.