Less Expensive, Still Great
Volvo launched their new Polestar brand for 2001 with the dynamic Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid performance coupe, and quickly followed it up with the all-electric Polestar 2 5-door fastback. So logically, there’s a Polestar 3 SUV to follow, but before we get there, Polestar isn’t done with the Polestar 2 just yet. Let’s find out what they’ve been up to with their “green deuce”.
The all-electric Polestar 2 has been on the market for just over a year; and after launching with Dual Motor all-wheel-drive and a range of 233-miles, 2022 brings a best of both worlds situation when it comes to electric vehicles: a lower price with more range.
As you can imagine, this is managed by eliminating one of the motors; ironically enough it’s the rear one that goes away. So front-wheel-drive only but boosting range to 270-miles. But, Polestar also increased the output of that front motor, as well as revised the gearing, so you get well over half of the Dual Motor’s 408-horsepower. So its rated at 231-horsepower and 243 lb-ft. of torque. And, it’s not only the 2-wheel-drive version getting additional range, as the Dual Motor gets another 16-miles added for a total of 249-miles. A result of an update to the battery management software.
And as we’re starting to see, a big advantage of EVs is that buyers can easily get these kinds of updates over the air without a trip to the dealer. So, all buyers of 2021 Polestar 2s will get the same update for their cars. Unfortunately, the Performance Pack remains exclusive to the Dual Motor, so no Ohlins dampers here; but even with front-wheel-drive and the standard suspension, the Polestar 2 is an entertaining car to drive.
With the 78-kWh battery charged up full, and regen braking dialed up to the max for one-pedal driving; we had no problems getting the full 270-miles and then some, as we were actually on pace to get 277 before plugging in. This Single Motor has a slightly better efficiency rating too, a still good 31 kWh/100 miles. We expected a bit less of a thrilling experience at our Mason Dixon test track, and in straight-line runs that was indeed the case.
While the Dual Motor springs to 60 in 4.5-seconds, this Single Motor felt very weak off the line. There was no explosion of power that we’ve grown to expect from an EV, just a gentle take-off and stroll to 60 in a still acceptable 7.0-seconds. Power delivery did, however, stay super consistent for the whole ¼-mile, with no drop-offs or hiccups; just smooth, steady, and time-after-time runs of 15.0-seconds at 89 miles-per-hour. If our track was a little longer, and we had the patience to get there, we would have also discovered that top speed of the Single Motor is limited to 100 miles-per-hour, compared to the Dual Motor’s 127.
Things took an unexpected turn for the better though, once we started doing some turns through our handling course. Despite the front-wheel-drive and lack of Performance Pack, this Polestar 2 was absolutely glued to the track. There was virtually no body roll at all; along with very firm steering feel that prompted tight turn-ins and had us pushing harder and harder. Still, we could only find a tiny amount of understeer. Our test drivers were quite impressed; one proclaiming it felt like a 6-figure sports car.
Even if it doesn’t exactly look like one. The understated design is far more Scandinavian sensible than sports car flashy. But it is handsome and eminently practical, as the high roof allows for great rear seat passenger space, and blends smoothly into the rear hatch for a unique hatchback/sedan hybrid shape.
In addition to being all-electric, Polestar is committed to reducing as many environmental aspects of vehicle design as possible; thus, interiors are fully vegan, and made from recycled materials wherever possible. And as we’ve learned, that doesn’t mean they are any less luxurious. Indeed, the seats are plenty comfortable, the Google and Android-based infotainment works well, and there’s a good 14.3 cubic-ft. of cargo space in back; expanding to 38.7 with the seatbacks folded.
We’re still not exactly sure where Polestar fits into Volvo’s overall plan. Are they a premium brand, entry-level, or just another option? As they are certainly not priced higher than most of Volvo’s all-electric offerings. The Single Motor Polestar 2 starts at $49,800 before tax incentives; the Dual Motor version goes for $3,500 more, starting at $53,300. You can order both online now.
Once all of the hype, excitement, and headlines have subsided, the success of EVs ultimately lies in making them more attainable. Polestar has done just that with the 2022 Polestar 2 Single Motor; a base level model that is less expensive yes; but overall doesn’t feel, look, or behave like you’re getting less than the best.
Motor Setup: Single Rear-Mounted
Torque: 243 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.0 seconds at 89 mph
MW Range: ~ 277 miles
EPA Range: 270 miles
EPA Efficiency: 31 kWh/100 miles