The 2021 Polestar 2 is an electric luxury sedan designed to take on rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Model S, along with premium electric SUVs such as the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace. As Volvo’s new standalone performance electric vehicle brand, there’s a lot riding on both Polestar and this particular car. With more than 400 system horsepower and standard all-wheel drive, the Polestar 2 has the muscle to match its rivals. A sleek interior also comes with tech bragging rights afforded by being the first production car fitted with the Google Android Automotive operating system.
Being the first anything in the car world has its risks, but the system proved as intuitive to operate as the Polestar 2 was easy to drive. There were some pitfalls for the Polestar 2 during our time with the car, however. These included some dubious cabin trim, a high sticker price and driving range that trails a certain rival hailing from Silicon Valley.
Be sure to read our complete review of the Polestar 2 from Cars.com’s Aaron Bragman by following the related link above. But first (if you don’t mind spoilers), keep reading to learn the pros and cons that surfaced during our time with this silent-running electric sedan.
Here are seven things we like — and five things we’d like to improve — about the 2021 Polestar 2:
Things We Like
1. You’ll Never Need to Stop for Gas Again
OK, this is a given since we’re talking about an EV, but there’s still a novelty that comes with driving the Polestar 2 knowing that gas stations will remain forever in your rearview mirror (that is, unless you need a pit stop yourself, of course).
2. Strong Acceleration
The Polestar 2 is motivated by two electric motors, located at the front and rear of the car. Combined, they produce a total of 408 system horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque. This propels the Polestar 2 from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 in Standard Range Plus trim needs 5.3 seconds to finish the same sprint to 60.
3. Techie-Pleasing Interior
Since we mentioned the Model 3, now’s a good time to point out Polestar opted not to go the same minimalist route you encounter when stepping inside the Tesla. By and large, the Polestar 2 cabin is modern, intuitive and easy to get accustomed to. There are gauges in front of the driver and a large touchscreen on the dash. Unlike the Model 3, all gauges and controls are not relegated to one massive screen in an otherwise empty expanse of dashboard.
4. Distinctive Design
The Polestar 2 is no great beauty, but it stands out in a crowd thanks to its blocky shape. There’s something a little Lego-like in the design, and the ride height has a hint of SUV to it.
5. Great Handling, Smooth Ride
During our time with the Polestar 2, we enjoyed how much it felt like a premium sports sedan — one that also happens to be an EV. The handling is precise and works best when left in the middle of three available settings. The suspension is well controlled and taut, though the softest setting of the manually adjusted dampers is recommended if you live where roads are potholed and bumpy.
6. Confident Braking
A brake pedal with smooth and linear effort is never a sure thing in electric- and hybrid-powered cars. You can dial in the maximum amount of regenerative braking effort in the Polestar 2, which effectively makes touching the brake pedal redundant. With regen settings at their lowest, this electric sedan provided surefooted and confidence-inspiring braking.
7. Google Infotainment System
While car shoppers considering an EV are more likely to be tech-savvy than your average buyer, there remains a risk in being the first production vehicle with Google’s Android Automotive operating system. Luckily for Polestar 2 drivers, someone in Silicon Valley did their behind-the-wheel homework, as the system is simple to use and features clear menus and sharp graphics.
More From Cars.com:
- Shopping for a 2021 Polestar 2? Research One, Here
- Wanna Buy a Polestar? U.S. Showrooms, Home Delivery Coming Soon
- Polestar 2 Packed With New Safety Tech That’s Very Volvo
- 2021 Polestar 2 to Take on Tesla Model 3 With $61K Starting Price
- Polestar 2 Arrives to Challenge Tesla Model 3
Things We Don’t
1. Limited Driving Range
The Polestar 2 doesn’t yet have an official EPA-endorsed driving range, though it’s likely to fall somewhere between 200-250 miles on a full charge. That’s on par with rivals like the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace, but it trails the 300-plus-mile range promised by the Tesla Model 3 in Long Range trim.
2. Hefty Price Tag
The base price for a Polestar 2 is $61,200 (including a destination fee). In our review, we pointed out this is thousands of dollars more than a reasonably optioned Model 3, and our test vehicle carried an even higher sticker price of $67,550.
3. Snug Rear Seat
We found legroom and headroom in the second row to be skimpier than what the brawny exterior design suggests. If tall adults are back there, it could be a squeeze.
4. Sherlock Holmes-Approved Cabin Trim
If you’re a fan of whodunnit mysteries, you’ll love the fingerprint-friendly black-plastic trim used on much of the dashboard and center console. Pack some microfiber wipes, because it takes only a few minutes for the cabin to look like a sloppy crime scene — and identifying you will be … elementary.
5. Dull Colors
The Polestar 2 can be had in any hue … so long as its dreary. The pallet of exterior colors extends from white to black, with lots of gray in between. We’ve heard of the neverending nights at the polar ice caps, but Polestar seems intent on translating the Swedish parent company’s Nordic melancholy to its options sheet.
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