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A More Reachable Star: The 2024 Polestar 2 Single Motor

2024 Polestar 2 Single Motor front 3/4 view

The world wasn't quite sure what to make of the Polestar 1, a sexily-shaped plug-in hybrid coupe with a base price north of $150,000. Always intended to be a limited-production vehicle, it was here in 2020 and gone after 2021, as the company, which began as a performance tuner for Volvo, was purchased outright and then spun off into its own company (with a still-evolving ownership mix).

2024 Polestar 2 rear 3/4 view

There are plans on the boards for more Polestar models (the Polestar 3 arrives later this year)---all clearly with Volvo DNA, but going, according to Polestar, where it doesn't make sense for Volvo itself to go. That seems at odds with what your brain tells you when you first see the Polestar 2. "Electrified S60 Sedan", your synapses tell you--"Why wouldn't this be a Volvo?"---but no.

The S60 is a full seven inches longer, two inches wider and one inch lower to the ground than the Polestar 2. If there were still a Volvo S40 (it went away after the 2011 model), this would probably be its twin, but when it existed, it was considerably smaller than the Polestar 2. And while the Volvo EVs like the C40 and XC40 are built in Europe, the Polestar 2 is assembled in China, home to parent company Geely.

The Polestar 2 is five inches shorter, but the same width and within an inch of the height of the Tesla Model 3, which is not only Tesla's most popular model, but one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S.

While there are a lot of electric SUVs, some electric sedans and a couple of electric pickup trucks, there are only two EV sedans that are dimensionally close to the Model 3---the Hyundai IONIQ 6 and the Polestar 2---five inches longer and five inches shorter than the Tesla, respectively. If the Polestar 2 can get a piece of the Tesla Model 3's action, it could be a big success for a car company most people haven't heard of yet.

2024 Polestar 2 hood up

2024 Polestar 2 frunk

As is the case with a lot of EVs, a look under the hood won't tell you much---Polestar uses that space for a "frunk"---a front trunk. So it's off to the spec sheet.

There (and on a decal on the lower driver's door) we learn that this is the base Polestar 2, the Single Motor. An 82 kWh motor and a 220 kW battery. Translation: 299 horsepower, 361 lb-ft of torque, range up to 320 miles and a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds. That's a bit more oomph than the base Tesla Model 3's 271 horsepower and a healthy improvement over the Model 3's 272 miles of range per charge. Zero to 60 sprints are essentially a dead heat, with the Tesla knocking them back in 5.8 seconds.

2024 Polestar 2 charging

Charging should be quick---Polestar quoting a 40-minute 10% to 80% charge on a 150kw-capable DC fast charger.

But as I've been noting in my most recent EV reviews, finding a working charger is a challenge---and finding a working one that delivers anywhere near capacity, which used to be common a couple of years ago, has now become vanishingly rare.

2024 Polestar 2 charging

The one working charger at this station, which should have four (three 350kw chargers and one 150), was an Electrify America Hyper-FAST. That's their branding, not my assessment and not anything remotely resembling its performance. Here's it's peak charging rate when I charged the Polestar 2:

Not Polestar's fault, but I'm including charging experiences, good and bad, in all EV reviews until we finally get to a point where there isn't news to be had. Tragically, at the moment, a working public charger delivering near its capability is news. There are a lot of reasons for this, most of them stupid and predictable, and the L.A. Times' Russ Mitchell does a great job of explaining them.

2024 Polestar 2 rear hatch open

2024 Polestar 2 rear cargo area

The Polestar 2 suffers by comparison in rear cargo capacity---14.4 cubic feet to the Model 3's 24. Folding the rear seatbacks boosts available space to 38.7 cubic feet.

Again, it's five inches shorter---and the smaller size shows up here.

2024 Polestar 2 rear seat

Rear seat legroom is decent, at 34 inches, but again, the Model 3's extra length comes into play here, too---its backseat passengers get 35.2 inches.

2024 Polestar 2 panoramic roof

There's a panoramic glass roof without a sunshade, and while it's supposedly formulated to filter out UV rays, well---check my review back in August of the same kind of roof in the Volvo C40 Recharge.

2024 Polestar 2 front seats

2024 Polestar 2 front seat detail

2024 Polestar 2 instrument panel

The base price of the 2024 Polestar 2 Single Motor Plus (our tester) is $53,500. In addition to what we've already mentioned, that brings 19-inch alloy wheels, an Android-powered infotainment system with integrated Google Maps navigation and Google Assitant, as well as Apple CarPlay compatibility. There's 15-watt inductive charging for smartphonex, an 11.2-inch center touchscreen, four USB connectors, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, two-zone electronic climate control, power seats (heated in front), a 360-degree surround view camera, LED headlights, an adaptive rear light blade with sequential turn signals and a comprehensive suite of active safety features.

The "Plus" in the model name denotes the "Plus Pack", which includes an energy-saving heat pump, the aforementioned panoramic roof, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, upgraded WeaveTech seats with Black Ash trim, mechanical seat cushion extensions, a rear storage net, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated wiper nozzles, interior high level illumination and a grocery bag holder.

2024 Polestar 2 steering wheel and information display

2024 Polestar 2 center screen

As with contemporary Volvos, too many functions are buried in the touchscreen. This one, at least, is wider and has a design interface allowing quicker access.

There were only two extra-cost options on our test vehicle---that white paint is called "Snow", and it's metallic. Metallic paint is $1,250. Fun fact: the five other color choices are also metallic. Tesla plays this game too. Getting a Model 3 in any color either than "Stealth Gray" will cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

The other item on the option list is "Pilot". That's Polestar's Level 2 automated driving system. It's $2,000. I had limited opportunities to use it, but it functioned well in those situations.

The bottom line on the window sticker reads $56,750.

2024 Polestar 2 front view

2024 Polestar 2 rear view

That price tag puts the Polestar 2 at a disadvantage to a comparably-equipped Tesla Model 3, thanks to some aggressive price cutting Elon and company have done lately.

Still, there's a growing list of reasons someone might not want to buy a Tesla (assorted controversies and recalls), and in this field of three small EV sedans, the Polestar 2 makes a convincing case for itself.

Meantime, Elon is making the argument that without trade barriers, Chinese EV firms will "demolish" their rivals. He's no doubt far more concerned about larger manufacturers with potentially less-expensive EVs, like BYD, but any such barriers or tarriffs would apply to Polestar, as well.


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