IT used to be difficult to get excited about electric cars. They all looked kind of predictable, somewhat dull, and after that instant burst of torque, most just settle into a mode of transportation.
If they are more expensive, there are more bells and whistles, and refinements that add to the value proposition.
But there’s a lot being done to liven up electric vehicles (EVs). And there are some new players entering the game, which makes sense since it’s a new area of transportation and the rules are being rewritten regularly.
Still, it does take some doing to get a new car launched in an environment where so many established players with brand recognition are also playing in.
Polestar made its intentions clear with a design direction that reflects the Scandinavian scantiness of its Volvo heritage in terms of design: Clean lines and a presence that reflects the new way of motoring.
In astronomy, the Pole Star is also called the North Star or Polaris, a stable bright star used for navigation.
Polestar obviously has intentions to lead the EV charge with fresh ideas.
While the limited-edition launch model of the Polestar proved to be quite the head turner, the follow-up Polestar 2 carries some of that aura across into a larger form. With a blank canvas to work on and very little to no baggage to deal with, the fresh design of this China-made car sends out a lot of positive vibes.
It’s low and sporty for an SUV, with just the right flashes of flair to keep your interest levels up.
While the Volvo Thor hammer headlights are in evidence, the grille is more sculpted since it doesn’t require air flow to cool an engine. The clean sides sport sleek rimless wing mirrors and has a good balance between metal and glass. The glass roof angles down to the rear and a long, continuous tail lamp that creates a distinctive design.
The clean lines continue into the interior.
A large 11.15” display holds court in the centre of the dashboard, below which is a cool shifter. As you’d expect, everything is organised on the display, so you’ll tap your way through the features and functions of the car.
Purists may find one more thing to moan about regarding the lack of buttons and dials in new cars.
There isn’t a power button to start the car. As soon as you’re on the driver’s seat, it’s ready to roll.
In the top-of-the-line Long Range Dual Motor Polestar 2 tested here, rolling off is like a sweet Star Trek woosh. The 300kW all-wheel-drive SUV jumps into warp speed, clearing 100kmh in 4.7 seconds (the other two single motor variants — long range and standard range — get there in 7.4 seconds). With 660 Nm of torque to play with (330 Nm for the others) it is pretty zippy.
Taking it through the different terrain, the Polestar 2 tracks well and keeps engagement levels up. With five different types of steel in use, the build quality is of a high standard, and the almost even weight distribution offers a balanced ride.
The Long Range Dual Motor variant is the heaviest of the trio, and this may be the reason for a range of 480km, versus the 540km available on the Long Range Single Motor model. Still, that’s more than enough for a small island. When the Causeway opens up, you may have to worry about the kind of charging capability on a longer journey. But the Polestar app will likely guide you to the right charging points.
Silence Of The Amps
There’s not much by way of sound generated by the Polestar, but the sensations and handling can be adjusted so that you feel like you’re driving a petrol car. You can allow for the car to creep (but you don’t want that if you prefer to have auto hold at traffic lights), or you may want to engage in some single-pedal driving, allowing the car to decelerate automatically once you lift your foot off the accelerator.
The 600-watt Harman Kardon sound system with 13 speakers takes full advantage of the quietness of the cabin to deliver a balanced sound that handles most genres of music efficiently. Controls on the steering wheel at least allow for your music and your phone calls to be within easy reach.
The connectivity in the car is limited to Google at the moment, as a result of a joint initiative. Ask Google to navigate you to your destination or through the various features of the car, and it does the job efficiently enough.
If, like me, you are not a big fan of Google and its methods, there will be Apple CarPlay available soon. Updates will be over the air, which reinforces the blurring of lines between your car and your mobile phone. Most software and feature upgrades will be delivered in this fashion. Sounds nice, but it might be shocking when data charges come into play.
In keeping with the sustainable bent of the EV industry, the Polestar 2 takes things a notch more serious by offering vegan materials as standard, with black ash wood. For those who aren’t too fussed about that, the perforated Napa leather upholstery with reconstructed wood interiors makes for comfortable seating as you lean back and look out through the glass roof, where the Polestar logo is constantly lighting the way.
At $240K* it’s in a competitive cluster of European brands, and one wonders if the Polestar’s country of manufacture will play a part in the final purchasing decision. Based on its features and the way it handles, it shouldn’t.
POLESTAR 2 LONG RANGE DUAL MOTOR RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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