2024 Polestar 2 EV
“The updated Polestar 2 is a good EV, but not good enough to justify its premium price.”
well tuned chassis
Now you get a range of up to 320 miles
Polestar, Volvo’s all-electric spinoff brand, is in a holding pattern. When it launched for the 2021 model year, the Polestar 2 combined Volvo’s engineering prowess with added sportiness and exclusivity, creating an attractive package. Polestar has since promised additional EVs separate from its parent brand, but in the meantime the 2 has continued as its sole product while the market becomes more crowded. But that doesn’t mean it’s not evolving.
The 2024 Polestar 2 represents a major overhaul, including powertrain changes aimed at increasing both efficiency and driving enjoyment, a larger battery pack for some models that offers more than 300 miles of range, and some styling and Equipment changes are included.
However, since the Polestar 2 was launched, Volvo has added two EVs of its own – the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge – using the same core materials. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 has also reached showrooms, giving buyers another stylish non-SUV model to consider, and at the time of publication, the Tesla Model 3 was much cheaper than the Polestar, which starts at $51,300. Is. Our Long Range Single Motor Plus test car used for this review – which isn’t even the most expensive model – had a list price of $56,750.
Design and Interior
The Polestar 2 gets some minor styling changes for 2024. Most notable is a blanked-off grille that emphasizes that this is an EV, while also showing off the embedded radar that’s part of the car’s driver-assistance sensor suite. The Polestar retained the best part of the design, the square rear with its distinctive rectangular light element.
It’s still a car that looks unique, but it also feels like it came from another brand. This is because the design originated under Volvo, and still retains some of that brand’s styling elements such as its signature headlights. Plus, the Polestar 2 comes across as an EV that isn’t an SUV, with its raised surfaces a stark contrast to the pebble-sized Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Tesla Model 3. A raised ride height and prominent fender flares also add a hint of stiffness, not dissimilar to Volvo’s Cross Country models.
Beneath this unusual collection of styling elements is Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), a vehicle platform designed for both EVs and internal-combustion models. It is shared with the Volvo C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge (the latter is also available with a gasoline engine), but they both have an SUV body.
The high seating position and low roofline don’t make for the most spacious feeling.
Polestar doesn’t publish full interior measurements, but it’s worth noting that the 2’s combination of a high seating position and low roofline doesn’t make for the most spacious feeling. Nor is the high center console, which moves some controls closer to the driver but makes front seat occupants feel a bit enclosed.
The interior has at least an upscale presence, thanks to excellent fit and finish and some Volvo-derived touches like the portrait-oriented touchscreen and beveled dashboard edges. Cloth seats are the default because they’re vegan, Polestar notes, and they’re nice and comfortable. Nappa leather upholstery is available as an option, but the overall material choices won’t make you feel good about the Polestar’s purchase price.
While its closest rivals are sedans with trunks, the Polestar 2 is a hatchback with fairly good cargo space for its size – 14.4 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 38.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The 2 also has a frunk, but at only 1.2 cubic feet, it’s only useful as storage space for charging cables.
Tech, Infotainment, and Driver Assistance
One area that doesn’t see any change is the infotainment system. The Polestar 2 comes standard with an 11.2-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as the Android-based operating system that debuted in this car but has since spread to various Volvo models. Apple CarPlay is included, but the system has native Google apps like Google Maps, so it feels like you’re using Android Auto even when the phone isn’t connected.
Apple or Android preferences aside, this is fundamentally a good infotainment system. The graphic design is loosely based on the brand, incorporating Polestar’s typeface and orange color scheme for a distinctive look. Images, such as the rendering of a car that pops up when you switch between drive modes, look sharp without being gimmicky. And the detailed map view for the instrument cluster is one of the better executions we’ve seen.
The Polestar offers a fundamentally good infotainment system.
The setup looks good, but it’s one of many examples of a touchscreen-centric setup in the auto industry that’s more about form than function. Options for drive mode, regenerative braking and steering weight are tucked away from the home screen, which isn’t ideal for use while driving. The climate controls are easy to reach, but still more awkward to use than physical buttons. And the one physical control it does include – a volume knob – is very sensitive.
Polestar shares driver-assistance technology with parent brand Volvo. This means the Polestar 2 is available with the Pilot Assist driver-assist system, which essentially combines adaptive cruise control and steering assistance for lane centering during highway driving. But this is only standard on dual-motor models. However, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, park assist, and a 360-degree camera system are now standard for 2024.
Polestar made some notable mechanical changes for 2024. The base single-motor powertrain now comes with a larger 82-kilowatt-hour battery pack and switches from the previous front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive. Output has also increased to 299 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous 231 hp and 243 lb-ft. The manufacturer-estimated zero to 60 mph time has also been reduced from 7.0 seconds to 5.9 seconds, and top speed has been increased from 100 mph to 127 mph.
The dual-motor all-wheel drive model has the same 78-kilowatt pack as before, but output increases to 421 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque – up 13 hp and 59 lb-ft from before. Polestar continues to offer the Performance Pack for the dual-motor models, which includes upgraded brakes and manually adjustable dampers. This option boosts output to 455 hp, but that’s less than what’s offered for 2023. Torque is up from the 2023 Performance Pack model, but identical to the non-Performance Pack 2024 model. Acceleration time is reduced by 0.1 second to 4.3 seconds for the standard dual-motor powertrain and to 4.1 seconds for the Performance Pack version, while the top speed remains unchanged at 127 mph.
The Polestar 2 offers a good balance between ride quality and handling.
These revised numbers mean that the rear-wheel drive Polestar 2 is still slower than the rear-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 by 0.1 second to 60 mph. The standard all-wheel drive version is 0.1 seconds slower than the all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 Long. Range, and the Performance pack still leaves the Polestar 2 a second behind the Model 3 Performance. However, it is doubtful that most drivers will notice these differences in the real world.
What drivers will notice is the excellent chassis tuning. The Polestar 2 isn’t as fast as the best internal-combustion sports sedans, but it offers a good balance between ride quality and handling. It’s comfortable to drive on the highway out in the country and, even with our single-motor test car’s base suspension setup, it’s entertaining on back roads when you get there. The switch to rear-wheel drive is obvious, giving the 2 a more agile feel. Polestar also offers selectable regenerative braking, ranging from zero regeneration to true one-pedal driving. With one-pedal mode turned on, we were able to cover long stretches of road without touching the brake pedal.
Range, charging and safety
Thanks to its larger battery pack, the single-motor Polestar 2 now claims a maximum range of 320 miles, up from the previous maximum of 270-miles. However, it comes with base 19-inch wheels; Choosing the 20-inch wheels drops range to 307 miles. Dual-motor models, which have the same size battery pack as before, reach 276 miles (compared to 260 miles for the 2023 model) with 19-inch wheels.
Single-motor models can support DC fast-charging at 205 kW, which can charge the battery from 10% to 80% in an estimated 28 minutes. The dual-motor model has a lower maximum power rate of 155 kW, which increases the estimated time from 10% to 80% charge to 34 minutes. All models come with an 11-kilowatt AC charger for home charging, which can recharge the battery pack in eight hours using a 240-volt Level 2 source.
Polestar’s warranty coverage, which includes a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty for the car and an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty for the battery pack, is on par with other EVs. The battery warranty also applies if the pack drops below 70% of its original usable capacity before eight years or 100,000 miles.
It seems parent brand Volvo’s emphasis on safety has rubbed off on the Polestar. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2024 Polestar 2 a five-star overall safety rating, as well as five stars in every crash-test category. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had not run the Polestar 2 through its more intensive tests at the time of publication.
How would DT configure this car
Past experience has shown that the optional Performance Pack for dual-motor all-wheel drive models makes a big difference in handling. This, along with the added thrust of the dual-motor powertrain, makes it a choice for driving enthusiasts. However, for everyone else, the long range single motor is the best choice.
The Long Range Single Motor is the only Polestar 2 configuration that tops 300 miles of range. It can charge more quickly than Long Range Dual Motor, while also costing less. Even adding the $2,000 Pilot Pack to get all the available driver-assistance tech doesn’t reduce the price difference between the two powertrains.
There’s a lot to like about the Polestar 2, including its stylish design, sporty handling, and its 320-mile range. This is also specific. Polestar cares more about exclusivity than volume, so you’re unlikely to see another 2 on the road. The Polestar also looks nicer than the related Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, and offers slightly more range at around the same price. However, the two Volvo models have more interior space.
However, that advanced status also means that the Polestar 2 no longer makes much sense in the context of the larger EV market. The Tesla Model 3 only offers 272 miles of range in base form, but it’s about $10,000 cheaper than the Polestar at the moment. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE is available in RWD Long Range form with a range of 361 miles for $46,615. With its own stylish design, impressive tech and fast charging, the Hyundai is definitely a more sensible alternative to the Polestar.
In a relatively short time, the Polestar 2 has gone from a much-needed addition to an EV market lacking options to a quirky sideshow. It’s a mainstream EV with premium pricing, highlighting the gap between Polestar’s aspirations and where the brand actually is today.