Polestar, the performance electric car brand from Volvo, introduced the second generation Polestar 2 in 2022. This new iteration brings major improvements in range, performance, and tech over the original model launched in 2020. I recently had the chance to test drive the new Long Range Single Motor version for a week, and let me tell you – it’s an absolute blast to drive!
exterior Styling – Evolutionary not Revolutionary
At first glance, you may be hard pressed to tell the difference between the new Polestar 2 and the original. The exterior styling changes are subtle but meaningful. The most obvious change is to the front grille. Gone is the body colored grille with the grid-like indentations. It’s been replaced by a sleek glossy black grille which Polestar calls the “SmartZone”. This houses sensors and radar equipment for the advanced driver assistance systems.
The other changes are minor – new wheel designs, some tweaks to the headlights and taillights, and new exterior color options. Polestar didn’t want to mess too much with the original clean and minimalist Scandinavian design. Overall the look remains modern and athletic. If you’re a fan of the original exterior, you’ll like the new one too.
An Interior Exuding Premium Quality
Step inside the new Polestar 2 and you’re treated to the same high quality materials and craftsmanship as the original. Open pore wood, metal accents, and sustainably sourced interior fabrics create a warm and inviting interior environment. It feels special but not over the top. The new model also comes with added standard features like ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, and a full glass panoramic roof.
Rear seat room remains tight for taller passengers. The swooping roofline and large center console tunnel limit leg room. This is one area where dedicated EV platforms have an advantage over Polestar’s shared platform with gas-powered Volvos. But overall, the Polestar 2 interior continues to deliver a special premium experience.
Major Tech Improvements – New Infotainment and Battery Tech
While the exterior and interior remain largely unchanged, major improvements happen under the sheet metal. Polestar upgraded both the infotainment system and the battery technology in the new model.
The new infotainment system runs on Android Automotive OS. This allows for more seamless integration with Android phones. The system feels quicker and more responsive than the previous Linux-based system. It now includes built-in Google apps like Maps and Assistant. You can also download apps directly to the car via the Google Play store. This keeps the system feeling fresh and modern over time.
But the big news is the upgraded battery tech. Both battery capacity and charging speed have increased dramatically. The Long Range Single Motor model now boasts a 69 kWh battery enabling an WLTP range of 420 miles. For comparison, the original 2020 Dual Motor model had a 78 kWh battery but a range of just 233 miles.
Charging speed increases from 150 kW to 205 kW. This allows an 80% charge in under 30 minutes. So road trippers rejoice – you can now cover long distances with fewer and shorter charging stops.
Driving Dynamics – More Fun as a Single Motor Rear Wheel Drive
With a single motor mounted on the rear axle, the new Polestar 2 provides a more engaging driving experience than the Dual Motor version. You feel the rear bias as soon as you hit the throttle. Power slides become an enticing possibility should you disable the stability control.
But don’t worry – you’re not giving up performance with the single motor configuration. The Long Range model produces 299 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. It hits 60 mph in a brisk 6.2 seconds. This feels plenty quick in normal driving. Only the most serious driving enthusiasts will miss the blistering 4.5 second 0-60 time of the Dual Motor.
The Polestar 2 chassis provides a nice balance of handling agility and ride comfort. Steering feel is precise and linear. Magnetorheological dampers do an admirable job smoothing out bumps and road imperfections. Wind and road noise are very well suppressed. At highway speeds the cabin remains serene.
Cutting Edge Driver Assistance Systems
The Polestar 2 offers some of the most advanced driver assistance capabilities available today. The optional Pilot Assist Pack equips the car with state-of-the-art ADAS features:
- Pixel LED adaptive headlights: Automatically adjust beam pattern to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers
- Adaptive cruise control: Automatically maintains set speed and distance to car ahead
- Pilot Assist: Provides semi-autonomous driving by centering the car in its lane
- 360 degree surround view camera: Gives you a bird’s eye view of the car for tight parking maneuvers
While true self-driving remains elusive, these features provide an added level of comfort and safety on highways and congested urban streets. But don’t get too comfortable – always stay alert and keep your hands on the wheel!
Charging and Range – Delivering on its Efficiency Promises
Polestar promised up to 420 miles of range on a full charge for the new Long Range Single Motor model. Does it deliver in real world driving conditions? Based on my testing, the answer is a resounding yes!
Over 500 km of mixed driving, I averaged an outstanding 17.5 kWh/100km energy consumption. For you Americans, that translates to 105 MPGe. With a 75 kWh usable battery capacity, that’s 430 miles of range or over 690 km.
For comparison, I typically see energy consumption of around 20-22 kWh/100km in my Dual Motor Polestar 2. That works out to about 250-300 miles of real world range.
So Polestar delivered on its promise of substantially improved driving range for the new model. On long road trips, I could easily drive 450-500 km between charges. For daily commuting, I only needed to charge once during the week. This takes EV convenience to a whole new level.
Value and Availability
The Polestar 2 lineup includes four variants priced as follows:
- Long range single motor: $48,900 starting MSRP
- Long range dual motor: $54,300 starting MSRP
- Long range dual motor with performance pack: $63,400 starting MSRP
Keep in mind the $7,500 US federal tax credit which reduces effective cost. Leasing is also available and helps make the Polestar 2 accessible to more buyers.
The Polestar 2 stands out from its Tesla and German rivals by including more standard equipment. Features like the panoramic glass roof, vegan interior materials, and advanced safety tech all come standard. This simplifies the buying experience.
Polestar operates its own retail spaces rather than relying on third party dealers. This allows them to control the customer experience from start to finish. Test drives and sales are available in major metro areas across the United States and Europe.
Verdict – A True Electrifying Thrill Ride
The new 2023 Polestar 2 builds on the strengths of the original while improving key areas like range, charging speed, and drive dynamics. It retains its Scandinavian design ethos emphasizing sustainable, high quality materials inside and out.
If you’re looking for a premium electric car that stands out from the crowd, the Polestar 2 deserves strong consideration. Tesla may still rule the EV technology game, but Polestar proves that electrification and driving enjoyment can beautifully coexist. The Polestar 2 remains one of the most well-rounded and appealing EVs on the market today.