If you've never heard of Polestar, you're not alone. The company was started in 2009 as Volvo's semi-independent sub-brand for performance cars, and it became its own brand in 2017. Polestar-modified versions of standard Volvo models are highly prized among Volvo fans, and now Polestar is stepping out as its own brand with the hybrid Polestar 1 and the all-electric Polestar 2.
The Polestar 2 is a compact battery-electric coupe based on the same chassis platform as Volvo's XC40 Recharge, and it has much in common with the forthcoming Volvo C40 Recharge.
The Polestar 2 comes with two electric motors mounted at the front and rear axles, giving the EV all-wheel-drive. Together, the two motors produce 408 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque, giving the Polestar 2 tremendous acceleration when demanded. From a standing start, the Polestar will hit 60 MPH in just 4.5 seconds, and it will run a quarter-mile drag race in 12.76 seconds.
Powering the Polestar is a 78 kWh battery pack that yields an estimated 233 miles of driving range. The car supports 240-volt Level 2 home chargers, but you can also use DC fast chargers, increasingly available around Portland, to get an 80% charge in just 40 minutes. That assumes an absolutely exhausted battery, so if you've still got a partial charge, it will charge up more quickly than that. If you have a home charging unit, the Polestar can take a full charge in 8 hours. So you can charge it while you sleep.
From the outside, the Polestar 2 is a handsome four-door car with a fastback roofline that doubles as a hatch. The car looks fast and sporty, but that hatch and folding rear seats make it functional as well.
Inside, the Polestar is comfortable and sport-oriented. Visibility is good through the side windows and large rear window, and the seats offer excellent lumbar and side supports. The Polestar is a driver's car, and does its best work on winding mountain roads. However, it's also very easy to drive it around town, unlike many sports cars. With its long range, the Polestar would make an excellent commuter and daily vehicle for almost anyone.
One of the big deals with the Polestar 2 is the technology package. Polestar essentially put a large touchscreen tablet in the middle of the dash, and the Polestar 2 is the first vehicle to run on the Android Automotive operating system. You can use Google Maps, Google Play, and Google Voice, with data flowing through your Apple or Android phone.
The other thing to notice is that there's no on-off button anywhere in the car. When you walk up with the key in your hand or pocket, the Polestar turns itself on. You just get in and put it in gear to go. When you depart the car, it turns itself off again.
One final new and different thing is that you won't find the Polestar 2 at any local dealership. You can book a test drive or arrange to buy the car online at www.polestar.com.
The starting price for the Launch Edition of the Polestar is $59,900. Available options include the Performance Pack ($5,000) Nappa leather interior ($4,000), 20-Inch alloy wheels ($1,200) and metallic paint colors ($1,200).
The Polestar 2 qualifies for the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit in the U.S., along with additional tax rebates from the state of Oregon. Visit goelectric.oregon.gov/incentives-rebates for more information.
2021 Polestar 2
Base price: $59,900
Price as tested: $64,900
Type: Compact hatchback
Engine: Dual electric motors (408 hp, 487 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Direct drive
EPA estimated mileage: N/A
Overall length: 181.4 inches
Curb weight: 4,680 pounds
Final assembly: Gothenburg, Sweden
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