Motoring Polestar

Developed by Volvo and its Chinese masters, Geely, it is built in China with Swedish know-how. The first model was a plug-in hybrid – the Polestar 1 – at £140,000, but that was really just to prove they could do it and grab some headlines. The ‘2’ is for general sale, and l must say they have made a very decent fist of it.

Range anxiety is the key to all EVs, and Polestar has increased the 2’s range from 341 to 406 miles, and even though you really can’t believe the figures of any of them, this is a very good start point.

The entry level Standard Range Single Motor (catchy!) has a 69kWh battery running on a 200kW single motor, capable of up to 339 miles, with 268bhp. The Long Range Single Motor upgrades to a 82kWh battery on a 220kW single motor achieving up to 406 miles with 295bhp. The top of the range Long Range Dual Motor which also features an 82kWh battery, with 310kWh dual electric motors on both front and rear axles, is capable of 368 miles and 416 bhp. The Long Range Dual Motor offers fewer miles but can go faster. And please, please Polestar – come up with some shorter, snappier names for your models!!

It is a very good looking car with crisp lines and really good road presence. The interior has the typical Scandi feel with the standard Tesla-esque large screen front and centre that controls everything (but is better than most), a good size boot – huge when the back seats are down – and four good size adult seats.

One issue is that it supports Android and not Apple, so there’s a real challenge but it does at least support CarPlay. In front of the driver, there’s a further display that can be configured with a widescreen map, as well as your speed and range data. Although be warned: the range readout drops in ten-mile increments which can be disconcerting. Only the steering wheel switchgear and the volume/play knob seem to have come from a contemporary Volvo, and they work just as well as they do in an S60. The quality is exemplary, and truly wouldn’t embarrass a car at twice the price. The standard kit list is fairly healthy too.

There is no starter button, just get in tap the brake and it’s ready to go. At journeys end, pop it into park and get out - that’s it. There’s a big reserve of grip in either the four- or rear-wheel drive versions, and though you sense there’s a lot of weight being asked to change direction, you don’t get seasick from body roll – because there’s barely any. The ‘2’ tracks flat and steady all the way through a corner.

Outside, it is clean without all the dummy air vents and bulging bits that adorn so many in an attempt to make them look sporty; fake air vents really are daft on an EV as air is not required to cool anything, of course. It has been designed to work faultlessly, and not to be flashy – and that’s a relief. If you look at all the EVs on the market, most are designed to look funky and space age, but just end up looking like the cars you drew when you were eight years old.

The ride is a tad too firm for me, and can get annoying around town as it bumps and jars over the potholes. This is made worse if you order the 20” wheels, so stick with the standard 19” wheels, and keep your teeth in place. There’s no discernible motor whine
at speed, only a little wind flutter around the door mirrors.

Actually, they’re worth a mention – the mirror is ‘frameless’, because the whole mirror housing moves to adjust the view, instead of just the pane.

It’s another simple slice of clever thinking, and one we prefer in comparison to look-at-me door cameras. It’s a good thing the mirrors are useful, given rear visibility is hemmed in by the thick pillars and cramped back window. Inheriting surround-view cameras from Volvo helps when it’s time to park.

Its direct rivals are the Tesla 3, the Hyundai Ionic 6 and the BMW i4, and they all have a fight on their hands with the Polestar.

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