The Polestar 2 certainly delivers in terms of its styling, but beyond chiselled good looks, does this new electric car brand have what it takes to stand proud in a fast-growing market?





What we love
  • Quiet and refined driving experience
  • Beautiful styling inside and out
  • Google operating system feels familiar, although…

What we don’t
  • … no Apple CarPlay yet
  • Some advanced safety tech should be standard
  • Second row comfort could be better

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Introduction

Polaris, also known as the Pole Star, is approximately 433 light years from Earth, about the same distance as the Polestar of today is from the brand it was at its inception in 1996.

Then, Polestar was the privately-owned racing division of Swedish car maker Volvo, fielding entries in touring car racing around the world, including, between 2014-16, our own petrol-guzzlin’ V8 Supercar series.

Today, Polestar, now wholly owned by Volvo which in turn is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, is a manufacturer exclusively of electric cars. Light years.



Quick life hack for current and future Polestar owners when asked at parties, ‘Polestar? What’s that?’. Answer: ‘An electric Volvo’. Knowing nods follow.

The 2022 Polestar 2 is the second car then, from the Sino-Swedish brand, and the first all-electric, following on from the Polestar 1, a gorgeous, limited production, plug-in hybrid grand touring coupe that did not make it to Australia.

No such fate for the Polestar 2, which has arrived in Australia as part of the brand’s global electric vehicle onslaught. It will be followed by the Polestar 3, a large SUV, in early 2023 while Polestar 4 and Polestar 5 (are you sensing a pattern) are still to be confirmed for Australia.



For now, it’s the Polestar 2, a medium sedan that joins the onslaught of electric vehicles from mainstream manufacturers. Australians are buying electric cars in every larger numbers and with an increasing array of choices available to them, the fight is on to stand out from the crowd and make an impact.

The Polestar 2 certainly does that in terms of its styling, which is at once modern and sleek. Pleasingly, it’s classified as a medium sedan, despite the presence of cladding around the wheel arches, flourishes often deemed enough to ensure a car is deemed an SUV.

The Polestar 2 range encompasses three variants. The range starts with the $59,900 and clumsily named Standard Range Single Motor, moves into the $64,900 Long Range Single Motor and tops out with the $69,900 Long Range Dual Motor. It should be noted those prices are for 2022 models, with the price set to rise for the 2023 model year. You can read more about that here.



The car we have here sits in the middle of the ladder – the Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor. It’s powered by a, as the name suggests, single 170kW/330Nm electric motor sending drive to the front wheels. Feeding the motor is a 78kWh (75kWh usable) battery pack that offers a claimed driving range of 540km. For context, the Standard Range offers a claimed 470km of range.

Standard equipment highlights include a 11.15-inch infotainment touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument display, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry, a hands-free powered tailgate, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and a smattering of advanced safety features like autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

Our test car came fitted with some options bumping the price up to $81,900 plus on-road costs.

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The $6000 Plus Pack adds a host of comfort items like fully-electric front seats with memory function, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel, vegan interior trims, a panoramic glass roof, wireless smartphone charging, 13-speaker premium Harman Kardon sound system, and a heat pump which uses ambient/battery heat to power the climate control system, reducing the load on the Polestar’s battery thereby maximising driving range.

Our test car also wore the $5000 Pilot Pack that adds features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera, and as fitted to our test car, pixel LED headlights with bending function. However, that last feature is no longer available due to the global semi-conductor shortage. That means Polestar has dropped the price for the Pilot Pack to $3400 and renamed it Pilot Lite.

Inside, Polestar equipped our test car with $6000 nappa leather seats that also add ventilation (cooling) to the already in place heating function.

Logical rivals for the Polestar include the standard bearer of electric cars, the Tesla Model 3 ($60,900-$84,900), as well as the Korean twins, Hyundai Ioniq 5 ($71,900-$75,900) and Kia EV6 ($67,990-$82,990).

So, how does the oh-so-chic Swede stack up against the competition? Let’s find out.

Key details 2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor
Price (MSRP) $64,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Void (solid black)
Options Ventilated nappa leather – $6000
Plus pack – $6000
Electric front seats with memory, extendable cushions, and heating
Heated rear seats and steering wheel
Heated windscreen washer nozzles
WeaveTech (vegan) upholstery
Panoramic glass roof
Wireless smartphone charging
13-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio
Heat pump – and more
Pilot pack – $5000
Pilot Assist (semi-autonomous driving at up to 130km/h)
Adaptive cruise control
Blind-spot monitoring (with steering/braking support)
Rear cross-traffic alert (with braking)
Rear autonomous emergency braking
360-degree camera
Pixel LED headlights with active bending
LED front fog lights with cornering (bending) function
Price as tested $81,900 plus on-road costs
Rivals Tesla Model 3 | Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Kia EV6

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The first thing that strikes you when you sit inside the Polestar 2 is just how chic the cabin is, like leafing through the pages of a Scandinavian magazine focused on interior design.



There’s a surfeit of quality materials – from the satin-finish timber accents to the textured fabric claimed to be vegan, and the sumptuous nappa leather seats, everything looks and feels like a minimalist million bucks.

There’s none of the overwrought busy-ness so many modern cabins aspire to. Instead, everything looks clean and uncluttered with only the presence of a smattering of piano black accents – a material that attracts fingerprint and dust as fast as children can leave them – a minor gripe.

Everything is within easy reach – including the tablet-sized portrait-oriented touchscreen – making for an easy and intuitive time in the cabin.

The steering wheel looks like it’s come from the Volvo side of the factory, no bad thing as we’ve long admired Volvo’s tillers for their hefty feel and clean design.

Storage incudes a central bin with padded lid, a pair of cupholders up front and bottle holders in the doors, although these aren’t huge and will likely only comfortably hold smaller bottles.

The second row is decent enough and certainly behind my 173cm driving position offered good space in all key areas. I know my taller colleague Trent Nikolic struggled a little for comfort back there but behind my own driving position, that wasn’t an issue.



The glass roof (optional) does eat into available head space, but it also lifts cabin ambience, making for a light and airy environment.

Amenities back there include air vents and a fold down arm rest with cupholders while the door pockets also feature bottle holders. Back seat riders also score a pair of USB-C plugs to help keep their phones juiced up.

The back seats themselves are comfortable and in our test car, heated, as part of the $6000 Plus Pack. They fold away too, almost flat, to free up cargo space. With the second row in play, there’s 405 litres available. That expands to 1095 litres with the second folded away. There’s also a front storage compartment that can swallow 41 litres of stuff. Don’t look for a spare tyre and wheel, the Polestar 2 equipped only with a puncture repair kit.

2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor
Seats Five
Boot volume 405L seats up / 1095L seats folded
Length 4606mm
Width 1891mm
Height 1477mm
Wheelbase 2735mm

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Infotainment and Connectivity

Central to the Polestar 2’s cabin is the 11.15-inch portrait-style touchscreen. It’s about the size of a tablet with crisp resolution and an easy functionality.

It runs Google’s Android Automotive operating system and that means the Polestar is not equipped with Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, for now. A software update is expected later this year to add CarPlay. Android Auto is, naturally, available.

The satellite navigation is straight out of Google Maps’ playbook and that’s no bad thing, with an easy-to-use interface that feels familiar to most.



The touchscreen also acts as the car’s nerve centre, allowing for a raft of configurability and settings – everything from steering feel to regenerative braking, can be setup via the screen. So too the car’s climate control and while usually we decry the lack of physical buttons and dials for temperature settings, they are permanently visible at the bottom of the screen and within easy reach while driving.

On the entertainment side of the equation there’s the usual array of radio bandwidths including DAB+ while thanks to Google’s app-based interface, Spotify comes preloaded. It even features a carefully curated Polestar playlist which, I have to admit, was pretty good. There’s even a retro-style arcade game to while away the time while the Polestar is charging or you’re waiting for a mate, a novelty act yes, but it’s cute none-the-less.

The digital driver display similarly is customisable to suit tastes and provides a wealth of information – from a simple digital speedometer and charge meter to a more information rich screen with navigation, battery levels, driving data and of course, a digital speed read out.

Keeping things fresh is the Polestar 2’s inbuilt sim card which provides regular over-the-air updates to the software while also allowing those who are so inclined, to setup their smartphone to allow for remote control of some of the car’s functions. Neat.

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Safety & Technology

Australia’s safety body, ANCAP, awarded the Polestar 2 range a five-star safety rating in 2021. It scored impressively across all four major criteria – adult occupant protection (92 per cent), child occupant (87 per cent), vulnerable road user (80 per cent and safety assist (82 per cent).

Standard safety equipment across the Polestar 2 range includes eight airbags, autonomous emergency braking with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, run-off-road mitigation, driver attention monitoring, rear collision warning, tyre pressure monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.



But, missing in action, and available only as part of the optional $5000 Pilot pack are commonplace technologies like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. It’s technology that should be standard, even more so from a brand that can trace its lineage to Volvo, the brand that built its reputation on safety.

2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2021)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

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Value for Money

On price alone, the Polestar 2 competes nicely with its main rivals. Buyers who have around $60k to $80k to spend on an electric car are increasingly well-served, with a growing palette of vehicles entering the market. The Polestar’s pricing and equipment list sees it remain in competitive in that company.

Adding some sweetness to the mix, Polestar offers five years’ of complimentary servicing along with roadside assistance for the same period. And there’s the surety of the manufacturer’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for the car while the battery enjoys an eight-year/160,000km warranty.

Polestar claims energy consumption of 17.1 to 18.6kWh per 100km from the Long Range’s 78kWh battery pack. That translates to a driving range of up to 540km, according to Polestar and based on the WLTP test cycle.

From the outset, that number seems a touch ambitious, although WLTP testing criteria and real world usage don’t always align. In the real world, we saw around 460km of range, spread over urban commuting and higher speed motorway running. Freeways of course, aren’t an electric cares best friend, the higher speeds consuming more energy with less opportunity for regeneration through coasting and braking. And running ancillaries like climate control can also affect range, as can the ambient temperature.

The good news is, we matched Polestar’s energy consumption claim, our week in the Long Range Single Motor returning an indicated 17.6kWh/100km.



Polestar says using a DC fast charger should replenish the Polestar’s batteries from 10-80 per cent in just 35 minutes while an AC 11kW wallbox, such as those found in shopping centres or available to install at home, will fully recharge the battery from 0 to 100 per cent in around eight hours.

At a glance 2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor
Warranty Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months
Servicing costs Complimentary (5 years / 100,000km)
Fuel cons. (claimed) 17.1-18.6kWh/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 17.6kWh/100km
Battery pack 78kWh (540km WLTP range)

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Dispel any notions of the Polestar 2 being a headline grabbing drag racer, certainly in this Long Range Single Motor spec. This is no 0-100km/h record breaker, and nor does it need it be. Leave that party trick to others. Instead, what it is, is a refined and comfortable car with excellent driving characteristics. And it just happens to be electric.

Power comes from a single motor at the front wheels. It makes 170kW and 330Nm which is more than enough oomph for a premium sedan. Polestar claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.4 seconds and while that’s not particularly fast on paper, the nature of electric vehicles means it feels a lot quicker.

Power delivery is instant and that means moving away from standstill is as rapid as it is smooth. And noiseless. Yes, there is an electric hum from the motor but it’s light background noise. And yes, you’re more aware of tyre and road noise, but thanks to some excellent sound deadening, intrusion into the cabin is minimal.

Around town, the Polestar glides near silently through traffic, and with ease. Traffic too, is the Polestar 2’s friend, thanks to the regenerative braking feature which harvest energy that is then fed back into the battery. You can opt out, of course (via the touchscreen… where else?) but our tip is to leave it on and let the act of braking work for you.

Out on the highway, the Polestar 2’s acceleration comes to the fore. With no lag between pressing the accelerator and power delivery, the Polestar surges ahead more quickly than any conventionally-powered car could dream of. That makes overtaking and getting out of tight situations a bit of an electrified doddle.



The ride too, despite erring on the side of firm, and having to hold up nearly two tonnes of car (those batteries aren’t light) was a pleasant surprise. Our test car sat on 19-inch alloys and yet, despite the presence of slimline rubber, the Polestar 2 felt comfortable and refined, dignified even.

The steering felt light and twirly, although it can be adjusted to offer more ‘feel’, if that’s your thing. It’s no sportscar, but then it doesn’t pretend to be either.

Rather, think of the Polestar 2 as a comfortable and refined premium driving experience, and you won’t be disappointed. From the serenity of that quiet cabin, to the ample acceleration on offer, even if the stopwatch looks mundane, the Polestar 2 feels like the prestige electric car that it is.

Key details 2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor
Engine Single permanent-magnet synchronous motor
Power 170kW
Torque 330Nm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed automatic
Power to weight ratio 85kW/t
Weight (tare) 2008kg
Tow rating 1500kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.5m

Conclusion

The march towards electrification continues unabated and while Tesla grabs all the headlines and imagination, it’s the offerings of mainstream brands like Polestar that will, eventually, rule our roads.

Yes, the price of entry is still a barrier to some buyers, but what Polestar has done with the 2 is start the road to electric democratisation with a car that is not merely a good electric car, but a good car.

We’d suggest, however, that the more affordable Standard Range Single Motor with its $59,900 sticker price and 470km of claimed range (realistically, closer to 400km) is more than enough electric car for most people.



Gripes around optional safety equipment continue to swirl, and the second row could offer a smidge more comfort.

But, those in the market for an electric vehicle today, should add the Polestar 2 to their shopping list.

It’s stylish exterior, oh-so-chic-interior mated to a driving experience that is refined, premium and serene, make a compelling case. And while Polaris might be light years from Earth, the Polestar 2 is much closer to home: an accessible, reasonably affordable car that just happens to be electric.

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Ratings Breakdown

2022 Polestar 2 Long range Single motor Fastback

8.2/ 10

Performance

Handling & Dynamics

Driver Technology

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Fuel Efficiency

Value for Money

Fit for Purpose

Budget Direct

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Estimate details

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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