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24 hours with the Polestar 2

Generator

Member
Oct 10, 2019
253
442
London
I almost stopped reading because of this strange initial confusion between Volvo and Saab. I have owned both Swedish Volvos and even a DAF, so I do have a trifle of history, albeit nothing remotely comparable to Colin Powell, but not many people are as Volvophilic as is he. Otherwise I found your review very interesting and relevant.

It was surprising to see you not mention Geely especially because they build the Polestar and have quite a few BEVs, mostly in China but also own the iconic London taxi which now has not only the TX taxi and Shuttle but a van too. That is not to mention the Smart and so on, plus that they are non-government owned.
't want to belabor those points but do want to assert that Geely is quite determined to innovate, so I fully expect to see rapid improvements to Polestar products. Sooner or later they'll probably have some Polestar products built in Sweden and might even label them as Volvo. In the meantime they'll have OTA updates and improvements in packaging too. We will soon see one that is not a derivation of ICE, but that may take an eternity in Geely-time, like three years or so.

No question I don't want a Polestar 2. That could easily change when the next ones comes along.

Oh, there’s no confusion. Saab were well known for their involvement in aerospace, but Volvo’s involvement in aerospace pre-dates Saab’s efforts by quite a few years. In fact it was Volvo that supplied the jet power to Saab for their very first jet aircraft, the 21R. In later years they were the major engine provider to the Swedish Air Force, and provided the major combustion components components for the engines on ESA’s Ariane rockets.

As for Geely? Well I was trying to keep the review brief and restrict it to the car itself, but there’s no doubt that after fords starvation rations the money and freedom that Geely brought to the party has resulted in some exceptional cars. If their bankroll holds out long enough they might even do the same for Lotus.
 
Last edited:

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,161
24,287
Oh, there’s no confusion. Saab were well known for their involvement in aerospace, but Volvo’s involvement in aerospace pre-dates Saab’s efforts by quite a few years. In fact it was Volvo that supplied the jet power to Saab for their very first jet aircraft, the 21R. In later years they were the major engine provider to the Swedish Air Force, and provided the major combustion components components for the engines on ESA’s Ariane rockets.

As for Geely? Well I was trying to keep the review brief and restrict it to the car itself, but there’s no doubt that after fords starvation rations the money and freedom that Geely brought to the party has resulted in some exceptional cars. If their bankroll holds out long enough they might even do the same for Lotus.
Now this becomes off-topic. However, if we want to pedantic about it we are both correct and incorrect since the history of Swedish aerospace included both of those following GKN and so on:
"Nohab Flygmotorfabriker AB was founded in Trollhättan, Sweden, in 1930 to produce aircraft engines for the Swedish Board of Aviation. As reflected in the name of the company, it was a subsidiary of the Swedish manufacturing and railway locomotive specialist NOHAB.[4] In 1937, the firm became a part of the newly-founded SAAB; however, during 1941, Volvo acquired a majority of the stock. Accordingly, the company's name was changed to Svenska Flygmotor AB (SFA), and later on Volvo Flygmotor.[5]..." from the wiki, since direct sources become exceeding convoluted and sometimes badly translated. FWIW, I ended out far too involved in this history while dealing with a bid to sell this to some of my compatriots:
Gripen | The Smart Fighter | Saab
Regardless I suspect we both share high hopes for the next generation succeeding Polestar 2.
 
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Generator

Member
Oct 10, 2019
253
442
London
Now this becomes off-topic. However, if we want to pedantic about it we are both correct and incorrect since the history of Swedish aerospace included both of those following GKN and so on:
"Nohab Flygmotorfabriker AB was founded in Trollhättan, Sweden, in 1930 to produce aircraft engines for the Swedish Board of Aviation. As reflected in the name of the company, it was a subsidiary of the Swedish manufacturing and railway locomotive specialist NOHAB.[4] In 1937, the firm became a part of the newly-founded SAAB; however, during 1941, Volvo acquired a majority of the stock. Accordingly, the company's name was changed to Svenska Flygmotor AB (SFA), and later on Volvo Flygmotor.[5]..." from the wiki, since direct sources become exceeding convoluted and sometimes badly translated. FWIW, I ended out far too involved in this history while dealing with a bid to sell this to some of my compatriots:
Gripen | The Smart Fighter | Saab
Regardless I suspect we both share high hopes for the next generation succeeding Polestar 2.

You sir, have earned my respect. Consider it a salute from a mere part-time nerd to a master of his craft. That truly is off-topic pedantry taken to unprecedented new heights. ;)

Anyway, this Polestar 2 you speak of... any good?
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,161
24,287
You sir, have earned my respect. Consider it a salute from a mere part-time nerd to a master of his craft. That truly is off-topic pedantry taken to unprecedented new heights. ;)

Anyway, this Polestar 2 you speak of... any good?
Ah :cool::rolleyes:. Having not driven any Polestar I defer to your thoughtful report.
 

DelPhonic1

Member
Mar 20, 2020
130
126
Burbank
The Polestar doesn’t announce the engagement with a stupidly loud and annoying ‘BING BONG!!!’.
The Polestar waits until you are somewhere near centre of lane before taking over steering. What it doesn’t do is what my Tesla does, which is suddenly lurch towards the middle of the lane, alarming me, the occupants of the car, every other car around me, and soiling the leathers of any following motorcyclists.
this
 
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wasloan

Member
Feb 18, 2020
73
39
New Orleans
For the lane changes, my AP (mostly) disengages with signal? Still still get all the bings and bongs, but the TACC keeps going and I just re-engage full AP in the new lane. I actually don't know off hand how to disengage AP but not TACC without just wrestling the wheel for control... That volvo implementation sounds lovely.

I'm pretty sure pressing up only to the first detent on the stalk disengages autosteer while leaving TACC on.

Apart from that, I completely agree with the reviewer, that the bing bongs and disengaging autosteer just for a manual lane change is super annying.
 

jaybee60

Member
Dec 3, 2019
8
4
Switzerland
Nice review. I tried Volvo's Pilot Assist on a V70 rental (a nice little upgrade surprise) before ever setting foot in a Tesla. I wasn't hugely impressed. In Lane Keeping mode, it slalomed from one side of the lane to the other constantly but in full Pilot Assist it was much better although I was constantly finding myself having to disengage for roadworks and overtaking. But the real kicker was that it couldn't handle any turn radius tighter than you'd get on a three-lane highway. Even slip-roads with tight bends (quite common here in Switzerland) were beyond it. So you can imagine my joy when I finally got behind the wheel of a Tesla (first my girlfriend's and now my own) with FSD. Yes, it might not be as smooth and refined as the Volvo but then it doesn't crawl into a corner and start whimpering when the going gets properly tough. Then the EU went and emasculated the crap out of it. But that's another rant...
 
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RCMorgan

Member
Mar 11, 2020
17
15
OC California
A welcome offer came out of the blue from a friend who thought I might be interested resulted in the opportunity to test my model 3 back to back with the Polestar 2. He was right of course, I am interested...

I’ve had a few hours of seat time on varied roads and duties, and have a few thoughts. Please bear in mind that this wasn’t an exhaustive test and I’’m not an automotive journalist, but an engineer. I will acknowledge the many faults on my Tesla and not cloud my opinions with a load of ‘yeah but can Polestar land a rocket on a barge’ Tesla fanboy cult rubbish because it’s irrelevant toss and because Volvo was knocking out frontline fighter jet engines and building rocket engines before Elon was wearing long trousers to school. If you feel the need to respond in that manner to what are ultimately just my opinions, offered for you to take or leave as you wish then please don’t expect me to respond. Criticism after all improves the breed...

Also bear in mind that you need to truly live with a car to get to know it’s foibles and come to a really informed conclusion. But since this is the new kid on the block, from a well heeled and well resourced OEM who has historically been very good at taking the alternative route and making a USP of it, I was keen to have a go and see if it might be the potential car to replace my TM3 in a couple of years.

My expectation then was that this would be a case of the old hand Volvo (Sorry, ‘Polestar”) coming out and showing the upstart youngsters at Tesla how to ‘really’ make an electric car for the masses, so I was waiting to be impressed...

So, starting with the obvious, the looks. Mostly, I like it. I cant really put my finger on why, but it has a solidarity to the design that really appeals. Whether you like it or not is up to you, for me it’s a bit tall, a bit chunky in the wrong places, and has some awkwardness about the bonnet and grill, especially where the back of the bonnet meets the doors. That bit is a bloody mess. Even so, I’d argue that it’s probably a better looking car than my Model 3, or indeed anything that’s ever come out of Holtzhausen’s paint pot, and externally it’s definitely better screwed together. For a start, the doors fit, which is more than could be said of my car.

The interior is certainly worthy of note. It’s futuristic in some areas, but rooted in the past in others. This is probably to ensure there is some connection for existing Volvo drivers and drivers of more conventional vehicles. As great as the model 3 interior is, I imagine it’s quite a shock to some less technologically adept drivers. The entire interior of polestar2 is textile lined which is unusual, and leaves me with the impression that there’s a high likelihood that the first spring day, combined with a ‘hands full‘ busy roundabout and a hay fever based sneezing fit will result in immovable stains appearing on the dash. Big snotters that will remain with the car right up to its discovery in forty years as part of some Barn find collection, only to be preserved as part of its ‘patina’... I’m probably wrong and the interior will prove to be as hard wearing as other Volvo products, but leather and hardy wipe clean plastics have featured in cars for years for this reason, and I think we’re beyond the point in EV development where we’re still aiming to sell to eco-conscious lentil eating environmental campaigners. They need to appeal to the mass market, and judging by the shelves groaning under weight of chopped up bovines in my local supermarket, the mass market still enjoys a steak from time to time. Whatever your thoughts on Vegan friendly interior design though, there are pluses and minuses when compared to Model 3. On the plus side, I have a strong fondness for a proper volume knob, and this car has one. Touchscreen volume controls are, for want of a better word, bollocks. I hate the farting about on the Tesla screen at the extreme left side, so that’s a definite one up for the Polestar.

The volume knob is mounted just in front of the gear lever on to top of the transmission tunnel, which is a one up for the Tesla. Why? This is an electric car, and the very different architecture of electric cars means you can be bold and do away with such things as transmission tunnels and the need to locate a lever in the middle of the car just because that’s where it’s always been. Relevant on a 1979 Volvo 240, but an absolute own goal here since that tunnel, and especially the swoopy grey upper part of it that goes on to bracket the central screen, absolutely eats legroom. I’m 6’3” so I’m fairly tall, but I’m by no means a mutant. Even so at all times my left knee was pressed up against the centre console. In this respect my left knee had a similar amount of room as in my MX5, a diminutive, cramped but fun vehicle that does actually house its transmission in a tunnel. The tunnel, console and dash design also conspire to make the driving position much less open plan than the Tesla. Despite the extra height, the tunnel underneath everything means centre console storage is greatly reduced.

The reason of course, is that under these new clothes is an XC40 platform. A cost saving measure that offers reduced costs through platform sharing, but huge compromises since the chassis is ultimately designed to have an engine in the front. The tunnel is put to use as a battery compartment, but if they’d started with a clean sheet of paper and designed it from scratch, I’m sure it would have been very different.

The seats feel slightly narrower than the model 3, with much more pronounced bolsters on the seat back. I liked this. The slightly more enclosed seating position and more supportive backs lending the driving position a bit of sportiness. This feeling extends to the view ahead, with a high dashboard and wide but narrow windscreen reminding you a little of a low slung sports car. The seats adjust electrically in every direction and feature an extending seat base. You do feel rather more supported than in the softer wider seats of the model 3. However, even with the seat base extended to its roomiest, and with my backside pushed right back into the seat in driving test fashion, there was still a full hands width under my legs between the front of the seat and the back of my knees. Another thing that I hope was just a quirk of this particular car, was the seat base was excruciatingly uncomfortable to sit on. Again with my backside pushed firmly back into the seat, I found that some part of the seats structure was pushing up under my upper thighs, leaving me with the feeling of sitting on a park bench with a slat or two missing. The padding in this part of the seat was very thin, and the structure (possibly an anti-submarine ramp) underneath very very solid and immovable. After 30 minutes my backside was numb, after and hour I was absolutely ready to get out and walk off the pain. As I say, hopefully it was a quirk of this one car, but it was bloody uncomfortable.

As is usual on EV’s now, there’s two boots. I won’t be using the term frunk or froot because I can’t stand them, so let’s just call the front one the ‘crumple zone’. That’s about all it’s good for, since the space left up front for luggage is suitable for little more than storing your charging cables. Surprising since the bonnet line is much higher than the model 3, which even in four wheel drive form has far more capacity up front. The boot at the rear is a hatch, with a parcel shelf. Good for practicality, but bad for that signature drumming noise you get in a hatchback when the windows are down. It’s power operated, with either a button on the key fob or waving your foot under a proximity sensor under the bumper. The key fob is the same as current Volvo cars so the buttons are fiddly and not very intuitive, meaning that I had to look at them each and every time I used them. That leaves the foot sensor, which left we swearing under my breath whilst doing an impression of a bad tightrope walker as I waved one foot around trying to find the right spot. You can’t use a handle, lever or concealed hand switch to open the hatch, because as far as I can tell there isn’t one, which is a bloody enormous oversight. On the plus side the boot didn’t appear to leak, or have the built in capacity to dump a bucket of rainwater into the boot when you open it. Here the experience of Volvo over Tesla is very clear. The boot itself is pretty big, and has a useful sized well under the false floor. There’s also anchor points and a useful divider that separates the boot into two areas and stops stuff rolling around so much.

Charging is by CCS under the manually operated petrol flap on the near side rear. I didn’t put a dc charge into it, so can’t comment on the dc charge speeds. However it did accept (with a fair bit of farting about at the dashboard locking and unlocking the charge port to get it to initiate a charge) a charge from my 7kW single phase TWC at home, and from one of my 11kW 3 phase TWC’s at work.

Driving. Obviously it’s not as fast as my Tesla, and I didn’t expect it to be. What is surprising is that despite it being about 200kg heavier than the Tesla and significantly less powerful, it still moved on with considerable verve when you gave it a bootful. It was quick enough through country lanes and had plenty of go at speed, buy one and you should have no complaints in the performance department. What I struggled to get to grips with was the throttle action. The first half of the throttle does very little, so you find yourself adding incrementally more pedal to get a decent amount of shove. I guess this an effort to increase efficiency for the end user and perhaps make it feel more like a ‘normal’ car, but it’s frustrating to use, especially when compared to other end of the scale where controlling deceleration on regen is like walking a knife edge. As a result regen and one pedal driving is not as relaxing as the Tesla. You have to give the pedal an oversized shove to get going, and then to slow down it seems a hairs width of travel is the difference between too much and too little retardation. It’s probably only a software update away from being much better, but that’s by no means a certainty if polestar aren’t offering the depth and frequency of over the air updates common to Tesla.

Straight line performance is good, I clocked it at 4.2 seconds to 60 so it’s bloody quick, but on hard standing starts it always felt like there was a slight delay between you getting the oomph you requested and it actually arriving. This only happened from standstill. The Tesla will respond to your foot with an immediate kick up the arse as it launches itself away from the lights, the Volvo pulls away and feels like it waits a few feet before giving it the full beans. It feels, and probably is, a software based restriction no doubt put in place by worried reliability engineers fearing the costs of replacing truckloads of twisted CV joints. If you’re new to EV’s, you may not even notice, if you’re used to Tesla’s more maverick approach to driveline integrity, you may find it annoying.

Pushing on through bends it feels very front wheel drive in its responses. The steering is inevitably pretty lifeless, as it seems to be almost every modern car. Brakes are decent enough too, although those very pretty bronze calipers run extraordinarily close to the inside face of the wheel. One tiny stone in there would really mar the finish, and possibly even damage the wheel.

Ride quality in this particular car was abysmal. There’s no other way of describing it. It was unforgiving in town and jiggly on the motorways. The car has the optional adjustable Ohlins shocks that are part of a £5k option package, and apparently these were turned up to be very stiff and so feel very sporting. The Tesla even on its performance suspension rides much better. This can perhaps be adjusted out to make them more compliant and forgiving, but it means getting dirty since the valves are all manually adjusted.

Visibility to the front is not as good as the Tesla, the screen is narrow top to bottom, and the bonnet line much much higher. The visibility to the rear though is much better.

What else. The interface on the centre screen and dashboard screen with the driver is a challenge to get used to. It’s phone like in operation, but I found it’s use of unfamiliar hieroglyphs and multitude of steering wheel buttons a bit messy And to be honest, hard to get in with. The basic controls are easy enough though, so it doesn’t take long to get up and running. Could it be better than the Tesla? Maybe, but I doubt it. The binnacle screen in front of the driver does display a very nice moving map, a power meter, and a numerical digital speedo. It strikes me as odd that they’d install this lovely screen and not have the option to display analog gauges. It also brought home the unacknowledged advantage of the central speedo in the model 3. It means you can place the steering wheel where it suits your driving position, and not where it offers you the best view of your speed...

There’s a Spotify app pre-loaded, and an App Store for more stuff. There’s no inbuilt dashcams, and only USB C ports

Noise. The Polestar 2 is, marginally, quieter than my model 3. Less wind noise, less tyre noise. Perhaps the tyres (conti’s on the Polestar, Michelin’s on the model 3) are quieter, but there’s no doubt the framed doors run quieter, and there’s probably more insulation. Neither car is loud though. Interestingly, the noise from the motors and inverters that is probably most prominent in the model 3 under hard acceleration is missing in the Polestar. I rather missed it, since it’s about the only dynamic noise you get in an EV..

Automation.

The Polestar has some automation features and calibrations that, in my opinion, are way ahead of Tesla. (Cue the Tesla fanboy rage)...
The active cruise control calibration is much better. My Tesla tends to be quite jerky, the Polestar was silky smooth when following traffic.

In terms of lane keeping, then the Tesla Autopilot has the Polestar Pilot assist beaten hands down. The Tesla tracks arrow straight, wind or rain, and never feels out of its depth unless there’s a lane merge or divergence. The Polestar is, again, silky smooth, but wanders quite a bit. It also has the unnerving tendency to drift towards vehicles it is overtaking. It’s liveable, but it’s not great. Perhaps some of this can be cured with software tweaks, but the Polestar lacks the Tesla’s more comprehensive sensor suite, so perhaps it’s a shortcoming in the design.

What I do like though, is the mode of operation on the Polestar;

Set the speed on the cruise control, then click the right arrow on the left wheel spoke. This engages pilot assist. You need to keep your hands on the wheel as per Tesla, and if it doesn’t sense you it gives a quiet unobtrusive warning.

Similar to the Tesla, except for a few key and important improvements;

The Polestar doesn’t announce the engagement with a stupidly loud and annoying ‘BING BONG!!!’.
The Polestar waits until you are somewhere near centre of lane before taking over steering. What it doesn’t do is what my Tesla does, which is suddenly lurch towards the middle of the lane, alarming me, the occupants of the car, every other car around me, and soiling the leathers of any following motorcyclists.

There are other differences of note;

If you want to adjust your line slightly, say to give a little more space to a lorry, just turn the wheel, it moves freely, feeling a little like your working against a light spring. As soon as you adopt a more central line, pilot assist takes back full control. What it doesn’t do is feel like the steering is locked solid, then suddenly release control with a loud ‘BING BING!!!’ and lurch three feet across the lane as you apply more force.

if you want to change lanes, in the Tesla you have three options;

1/ turn off autopilot (BONG BING!!!) indicate and charge lanes, Turn on autopilot (BING BONG!!!)
2/ indicate, turn the wheel, then wrestle with the wheel until Autopilot gives up control (BONG BING!!!) change lanes, turn autopilot back on (BING BONG!!!)
3/ Pay £6700 for FSD.

In the Polestar, you indicate, which pilot assist takes as you requiring control. You change lanes. You cancel the indicator and pilot assist very smoothly takes over control again. It’s seamless, it’s comfortable, and it doesn’t go BING bloody BONG all the time.

In terms of efficiency, it’s up there with the model 3. Not as good, but reported efficiencies weren’t a million miles from what I get in my car.

Would I buy one? Probably not. Not for any particularly glaring fault (except maybe the seat), but because ultimately the Tesla is just that bit better at being an electric car. The Polestar hasn’t moved the game on as I thought it would. It’s improved in detail areas like build quality, but the use of odd software calibrations, and especially the use an existing platform to support a 2 Tonne EV has hampered what could have been a fantastic product. The ride quality in something with this sort of mass is unforgivable, as is the seat and the centre consoles knee knocking “design ahead of practicality” approach.

Be in no doubt though that this car will steal customers away from Tesla, and Tesla will have to buck up their ideas regarding build quality because with the Polestar 2 a real competitor has come their way. Had Volvo committed to a clean sheet design instead of recycling their smallest SUV chassis, they could have blown Tesla’s socks off.
 

RCMorgan

Member
Mar 11, 2020
17
15
OC California
A welcome offer came out of the blue from a friend who thought I might be interested resulted in the opportunity to test my model 3 back to back with the Polestar 2. He was right of course, I am interested...

I’ve had a few hours of seat time on varied roads and duties, and have a few thoughts. Please bear in mind that this wasn’t an exhaustive test and I’’m not an automotive journalist, but an engineer. I will acknowledge the many faults on my Tesla and not cloud my opinions with a load of ‘yeah but can Polestar land a rocket on a barge’ Tesla fanboy cult rubbish because it’s irrelevant toss and because Volvo was knocking out frontline fighter jet engines and building rocket engines before Elon was wearing long trousers to school. If you feel the need to respond in that manner to what are ultimately just my opinions, offered for you to take or leave as you wish then please don’t expect me to respond. Criticism after all improves the breed...

Also bear in mind that you need to truly live with a car to get to know it’s foibles and come to a really informed conclusion. But since this is the new kid on the block, from a well heeled and well resourced OEM who has historically been very good at taking the alternative route and making a USP of it, I was keen to have a go and see if it might be the potential car to replace my TM3 in a couple of years.

My expectation then was that this would be a case of the old hand Volvo (Sorry, ‘Polestar”) coming out and showing the upstart youngsters at Tesla how to ‘really’ make an electric car for the masses, so I was waiting to be impressed...

So, starting with the obvious, the looks. Mostly, I like it. I cant really put my finger on why, but it has a solidarity to the design that really appeals. Whether you like it or not is up to you, for me it’s a bit tall, a bit chunky in the wrong places, and has some awkwardness about the bonnet and grill, especially where the back of the bonnet meets the doors. That bit is a bloody mess. Even so, I’d argue that it’s probably a better looking car than my Model 3, or indeed anything that’s ever come out of Holtzhausen’s paint pot, and externally it’s definitely better screwed together. For a start, the doors fit, which is more than could be said of my car.

The interior is certainly worthy of note. It’s futuristic in some areas, but rooted in the past in others. This is probably to ensure there is some connection for existing Volvo drivers and drivers of more conventional vehicles. As great as the model 3 interior is, I imagine it’s quite a shock to some less technologically adept drivers. The entire interior of polestar2 is textile lined which is unusual, and leaves me with the impression that there’s a high likelihood that the first spring day, combined with a ‘hands full‘ busy roundabout and a hay fever based sneezing fit will result in immovable stains appearing on the dash. Big snotters that will remain with the car right up to its discovery in forty years as part of some Barn find collection, only to be preserved as part of its ‘patina’... I’m probably wrong and the interior will prove to be as hard wearing as other Volvo products, but leather and hardy wipe clean plastics have featured in cars for years for this reason, and I think we’re beyond the point in EV development where we’re still aiming to sell to eco-conscious lentil eating environmental campaigners. They need to appeal to the mass market, and judging by the shelves groaning under weight of chopped up bovines in my local supermarket, the mass market still enjoys a steak from time to time. Whatever your thoughts on Vegan friendly interior design though, there are pluses and minuses when compared to Model 3. On the plus side, I have a strong fondness for a proper volume knob, and this car has one. Touchscreen volume controls are, for want of a better word, bollocks. I hate the farting about on the Tesla screen at the extreme left side, so that’s a definite one up for the Polestar.

The volume knob is mounted just in front of the gear lever on to top of the transmission tunnel, which is a one up for the Tesla. Why? This is an electric car, and the very different architecture of electric cars means you can be bold and do away with such things as transmission tunnels and the need to locate a lever in the middle of the car just because that’s where it’s always been. Relevant on a 1979 Volvo 240, but an absolute own goal here since that tunnel, and especially the swoopy grey upper part of it that goes on to bracket the central screen, absolutely eats legroom. I’m 6’3” so I’m fairly tall, but I’m by no means a mutant. Even so at all times my left knee was pressed up against the centre console. In this respect my left knee had a similar amount of room as in my MX5, a diminutive, cramped but fun vehicle that does actually house its transmission in a tunnel. The tunnel, console and dash design also conspire to make the driving position much less open plan than the Tesla. Despite the extra height, the tunnel underneath everything means centre console storage is greatly reduced.

The reason of course, is that under these new clothes is an XC40 platform. A cost saving measure that offers reduced costs through platform sharing, but huge compromises since the chassis is ultimately designed to have an engine in the front. The tunnel is put to use as a battery compartment, but if they’d started with a clean sheet of paper and designed it from scratch, I’m sure it would have been very different.

The seats feel slightly narrower than the model 3, with much more pronounced bolsters on the seat back. I liked this. The slightly more enclosed seating position and more supportive backs lending the driving position a bit of sportiness. This feeling extends to the view ahead, with a high dashboard and wide but narrow windscreen reminding you a little of a low slung sports car. The seats adjust electrically in every direction and feature an extending seat base. You do feel rather more supported than in the softer wider seats of the model 3. However, even with the seat base extended to its roomiest, and with my backside pushed right back into the seat in driving test fashion, there was still a full hands width under my legs between the front of the seat and the back of my knees. Another thing that I hope was just a quirk of this particular car, was the seat base was excruciatingly uncomfortable to sit on. Again with my backside pushed firmly back into the seat, I found that some part of the seats structure was pushing up under my upper thighs, leaving me with the feeling of sitting on a park bench with a slat or two missing. The padding in this part of the seat was very thin, and the structure (possibly an anti-submarine ramp) underneath very very solid and immovable. After 30 minutes my backside was numb, after and hour I was absolutely ready to get out and walk off the pain. As I say, hopefully it was a quirk of this one car, but it was bloody uncomfortable.

As is usual on EV’s now, there’s two boots. I won’t be using the term frunk or froot because I can’t stand them, so let’s just call the front one the ‘crumple zone’. That’s about all it’s good for, since the space left up front for luggage is suitable for little more than storing your charging cables. Surprising since the bonnet line is much higher than the model 3, which even in four wheel drive form has far more capacity up front. The boot at the rear is a hatch, with a parcel shelf. Good for practicality, but bad for that signature drumming noise you get in a hatchback when the windows are down. It’s power operated, with either a button on the key fob or waving your foot under a proximity sensor under the bumper. The key fob is the same as current Volvo cars so the buttons are fiddly and not very intuitive, meaning that I had to look at them each and every time I used them. That leaves the foot sensor, which left we swearing under my breath whilst doing an impression of a bad tightrope walker as I waved one foot around trying to find the right spot. You can’t use a handle, lever or concealed hand switch to open the hatch, because as far as I can tell there isn’t one, which is a bloody enormous oversight. On the plus side the boot didn’t appear to leak, or have the built in capacity to dump a bucket of rainwater into the boot when you open it. Here the experience of Volvo over Tesla is very clear. The boot itself is pretty big, and has a useful sized well under the false floor. There’s also anchor points and a useful divider that separates the boot into two areas and stops stuff rolling around so much.

Charging is by CCS under the manually operated petrol flap on the near side rear. I didn’t put a dc charge into it, so can’t comment on the dc charge speeds. However it did accept (with a fair bit of farting about at the dashboard locking and unlocking the charge port to get it to initiate a charge) a charge from my 7kW single phase TWC at home, and from one of my 11kW 3 phase TWC’s at work.

Driving. Obviously it’s not as fast as my Tesla, and I didn’t expect it to be. What is surprising is that despite it being about 200kg heavier than the Tesla and significantly less powerful, it still moved on with considerable verve when you gave it a bootful. It was quick enough through country lanes and had plenty of go at speed, buy one and you should have no complaints in the performance department. What I struggled to get to grips with was the throttle action. The first half of the throttle does very little, so you find yourself adding incrementally more pedal to get a decent amount of shove. I guess this an effort to increase efficiency for the end user and perhaps make it feel more like a ‘normal’ car, but it’s frustrating to use, especially when compared to other end of the scale where controlling deceleration on regen is like walking a knife edge. As a result regen and one pedal driving is not as relaxing as the Tesla. You have to give the pedal an oversized shove to get going, and then to slow down it seems a hairs width of travel is the difference between too much and too little retardation. It’s probably only a software update away from being much better, but that’s by no means a certainty if polestar aren’t offering the depth and frequency of over the air updates common to Tesla.

Straight line performance is good, I clocked it at 4.2 seconds to 60 so it’s bloody quick, but on hard standing starts it always felt like there was a slight delay between you getting the oomph you requested and it actually arriving. This only happened from standstill. The Tesla will respond to your foot with an immediate kick up the arse as it launches itself away from the lights, the Volvo pulls away and feels like it waits a few feet before giving it the full beans. It feels, and probably is, a software based restriction no doubt put in place by worried reliability engineers fearing the costs of replacing truckloads of twisted CV joints. If you’re new to EV’s, you may not even notice, if you’re used to Tesla’s more maverick approach to driveline integrity, you may find it annoying.

Pushing on through bends it feels very front wheel drive in its responses. The steering is inevitably pretty lifeless, as it seems to be almost every modern car. Brakes are decent enough too, although those very pretty bronze calipers run extraordinarily close to the inside face of the wheel. One tiny stone in there would really mar the finish, and possibly even damage the wheel.

Ride quality in this particular car was abysmal. There’s no other way of describing it. It was unforgiving in town and jiggly on the motorways. The car has the optional adjustable Ohlins shocks that are part of a £5k option package, and apparently these were turned up to be very stiff and so feel very sporting. The Tesla even on its performance suspension rides much better. This can perhaps be adjusted out to make them more compliant and forgiving, but it means getting dirty since the valves are all manually adjusted.

Visibility to the front is not as good as the Tesla, the screen is narrow top to bottom, and the bonnet line much much higher. The visibility to the rear though is much better.

What else. The interface on the centre screen and dashboard screen with the driver is a challenge to get used to. It’s phone like in operation, but I found it’s use of unfamiliar hieroglyphs and multitude of steering wheel buttons a bit messy And to be honest, hard to get in with. The basic controls are easy enough though, so it doesn’t take long to get up and running. Could it be better than the Tesla? Maybe, but I doubt it. The binnacle screen in front of the driver does display a very nice moving map, a power meter, and a numerical digital speedo. It strikes me as odd that they’d install this lovely screen and not have the option to display analog gauges. It also brought home the unacknowledged advantage of the central speedo in the model 3. It means you can place the steering wheel where it suits your driving position, and not where it offers you the best view of your speed...

There’s a Spotify app pre-loaded, and an App Store for more stuff. There’s no inbuilt dashcams, and only USB C ports

Noise. The Polestar 2 is, marginally, quieter than my model 3. Less wind noise, less tyre noise. Perhaps the tyres (conti’s on the Polestar, Michelin’s on the model 3) are quieter, but there’s no doubt the framed doors run quieter, and there’s probably more insulation. Neither car is loud though. Interestingly, the noise from the motors and inverters that is probably most prominent in the model 3 under hard acceleration is missing in the Polestar. I rather missed it, since it’s about the only dynamic noise you get in an EV..

Automation.

The Polestar has some automation features and calibrations that, in my opinion, are way ahead of Tesla. (Cue the Tesla fanboy rage)...
The active cruise control calibration is much better. My Tesla tends to be quite jerky, the Polestar was silky smooth when following traffic.

In terms of lane keeping, then the Tesla Autopilot has the Polestar Pilot assist beaten hands down. The Tesla tracks arrow straight, wind or rain, and never feels out of its depth unless there’s a lane merge or divergence. The Polestar is, again, silky smooth, but wanders quite a bit. It also has the unnerving tendency to drift towards vehicles it is overtaking. It’s liveable, but it’s not great. Perhaps some of this can be cured with software tweaks, but the Polestar lacks the Tesla’s more comprehensive sensor suite, so perhaps it’s a shortcoming in the design.

What I do like though, is the mode of operation on the Polestar;

Set the speed on the cruise control, then click the right arrow on the left wheel spoke. This engages pilot assist. You need to keep your hands on the wheel as per Tesla, and if it doesn’t sense you it gives a quiet unobtrusive warning.

Similar to the Tesla, except for a few key and important improvements;

The Polestar doesn’t announce the engagement with a stupidly loud and annoying ‘BING BONG!!!’.
The Polestar waits until you are somewhere near centre of lane before taking over steering. What it doesn’t do is what my Tesla does, which is suddenly lurch towards the middle of the lane, alarming me, the occupants of the car, every other car around me, and soiling the leathers of any following motorcyclists.

There are other differences of note;

If you want to adjust your line slightly, say to give a little more space to a lorry, just turn the wheel, it moves freely, feeling a little like your working against a light spring. As soon as you adopt a more central line, pilot assist takes back full control. What it doesn’t do is feel like the steering is locked solid, then suddenly release control with a loud ‘BING BING!!!’ and lurch three feet across the lane as you apply more force.

if you want to change lanes, in the Tesla you have three options;

1/ turn off autopilot (BONG BING!!!) indicate and charge lanes, Turn on autopilot (BING BONG!!!)
2/ indicate, turn the wheel, then wrestle with the wheel until Autopilot gives up control (BONG BING!!!) change lanes, turn autopilot back on (BING BONG!!!)
3/ Pay £6700 for FSD.

In the Polestar, you indicate, which pilot assist takes as you requiring control. You change lanes. You cancel the indicator and pilot assist very smoothly takes over control again. It’s seamless, it’s comfortable, and it doesn’t go BING bloody BONG all the time.

In terms of efficiency, it’s up there with the model 3. Not as good, but reported efficiencies weren’t a million miles from what I get in my car.

Would I buy one? Probably not. Not for any particularly glaring fault (except maybe the seat), but because ultimately the Tesla is just that bit better at being an electric car. The Polestar hasn’t moved the game on as I thought it would. It’s improved in detail areas like build quality, but the use of odd software calibrations, and especially the use an existing platform to support a 2 Tonne EV has hampered what could have been a fantastic product. The ride quality in something with this sort of mass is unforgivable, as is the seat and the centre consoles knee knocking “design ahead of practicality” approach.

Be in no doubt though that this car will steal customers away from Tesla, and Tesla will have to buck up their ideas regarding build quality because with the Polestar 2 a real competitor has come their way. Had Volvo committed to a clean sheet design instead of recycling their smallest SUV chassis, they could have blown Tesla’s socks off.
 

RCMorgan

Member
Mar 11, 2020
17
15
OC California
Well, some fanboy needs to respond here. I am a fan of automotive design and engineering with an ME degree and now only two years past being able to call myself a sexagenarian.
Nice comment detail there and then wham a “socks off” conclusion! Some cosmic dissonance ensued.
My 2020 M3 LR-4WD has produced quite the different reaction in me as has your M3 in you so my comparison starts from a much different point of reference. I would call the overall M3 package competitive with the performance versions of the Audi 4, Mercedes C, BMW 3 series and Lexus ES with the five yesr total cost of ownership comparable to a $30k Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
Styling is an art and I understand nudgements to be subjective The current Volvo design language is pleasant to me and able to be more unique in character than most of the market. Likewise with the Tesla design language. As time passes I expect the Tesla language to have more influence in the industry than Volvo, however. Some examples that seem to demonstrate: Mercedes’ new design language dropping creases as the stated major direction and the side windows of the new Toyota Venza going large and sweepy.
Now the Polestar is a prototype, the Tesla pickup is at that same level of development, and the Tesla seems to me to be a more refined object. The Tesla MY is the fourth iteration of Tesla product design while the Polestar is the first for Volvo. Elon explained that three iterations would be needed to refine the design enough to produce a mass market vehicle which became the M3. The Polestar, not being a clean-sheet design is maybe more comparable to iteration zero for Tesla, the roadster.
Finally, Elon Musk’s projects demonstrate a huge ability to learn the challenges, define the key problems to solve, and develop solutions in a very fast paced manner. Catch-up for Geely-Volvo will take some doing.
 

Avendit

Member
Apr 18, 2019
765
495
EDI
Well, some fanboy needs to respond here. I am a fan of automotive design and engineering with an ME degree and now only two years past being able to call myself a sexagenarian.
Nice comment detail there and then wham a “socks off” conclusion! Some cosmic dissonance ensued.
My 2020 M3 LR-4WD has produced quite the different reaction in me as has your M3 in you so my comparison starts from a much different point of reference. I would call the overall M3 package competitive with the performance versions of the Audi 4, Mercedes C, BMW 3 series and Lexus ES with the five yesr total cost of ownership comparable to a $30k Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
Styling is an art and I understand nudgements to be subjective The current Volvo design language is pleasant to me and able to be more unique in character than most of the market. Likewise with the Tesla design language. As time passes I expect the Tesla language to have more influence in the industry than Volvo, however. Some examples that seem to demonstrate: Mercedes’ new design language dropping creases as the stated major direction and the side windows of the new Toyota Venza going large and sweepy.
Now the Polestar is a prototype, the Tesla pickup is at that same level of development, and the Tesla seems to me to be a more refined object. The Tesla MY is the fourth iteration of Tesla product design while the Polestar is the first for Volvo. Elon explained that three iterations would be needed to refine the design enough to produce a mass market vehicle which became the M3. The Polestar, not being a clean-sheet design is maybe more comparable to iteration zero for Tesla, the roadster.
Finally, Elon Musk’s projects demonstrate a huge ability to learn the challenges, define the key problems to solve, and develop solutions in a very fast paced manner. Catch-up for Geely-Volvo will take some doing.
Really interesting analysis of the design side, loving it thanks. However, a couple of things that could influence your analysis:
  1. polestars are being delivered (in Sweeden) and are due, at least in the UK, in Nov/Dec. So they aren't really at the same stage of design as the cyber truck
  2. I would count the design as not being clean sheet - they are on iteration 1.5 or so on average. Yes, the drive train might be new, and the google auto stuff might be new, but the whole 'building a car' and getting the touch points right etc is all borrowed from a working platform. So they know how to put a car together, but putting an EV together is a bit new to them. The reviews seem to think that they have done a no-bad job.
If I was looking right now, I'd say the polestar is worth a drive. Nothing it does immediately writes itself off as a non starter for a main family car. And that is what the industry needs. Options. Until now there have been precious few that could seriously replace an A4, 3 series or Merc C class. Now we have the 3, (the US has the Y) and the polestar.

Its all to the good :).
 
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navguy12

Member
Apr 5, 2016
556
459
Eastern Ontario
A welcome offer came out of the blue from a friend who thought I might be interested resulted in the opportunity to test my model 3 back to back with the Polestar 2. He was right of course, I am interested...

I’ve had a few hours of seat time on varied roads and duties, and have a few thoughts. Please bear in mind that this wasn’t an exhaustive test and I’’m not an automotive journalist, but an engineer. I will acknowledge the many faults on my Tesla and not cloud my opinions with a load of ‘yeah but can Polestar land a rocket on a barge’ Tesla fanboy cult rubbish because it’s irrelevant toss and because Volvo was knocking out frontline fighter jet engines and building rocket engines before Elon was wearing long trousers to school. If you feel the need to respond in that manner to what are ultimately just my opinions, offered for you to take or leave as you wish then please don’t expect me to respond. Criticism after all improves the breed...

Also bear in mind that you need to truly live with a car to get to know it’s foibles and come to a really informed conclusion. But since this is the new kid on the block, from a well heeled and well resourced OEM who has historically been very good at taking the alternative route and making a USP of it, I was keen to have a go and see if it might be the potential car to replace my TM3 in a couple of years.

My expectation then was that this would be a case of the old hand Volvo (Sorry, ‘Polestar”) coming out and showing the upstart youngsters at Tesla how to ‘really’ make an electric car for the masses, so I was waiting to be impressed...

So, starting with the obvious, the looks. Mostly, I like it. I cant really put my finger on why, but it has a solidarity to the design that really appeals. Whether you like it or not is up to you, for me it’s a bit tall, a bit chunky in the wrong places, and has some awkwardness about the bonnet and grill, especially where the back of the bonnet meets the doors. That bit is a bloody mess. Even so, I’d argue that it’s probably a better looking car than my Model 3, or indeed anything that’s ever come out of Holtzhausen’s paint pot, and externally it’s definitely better screwed together. For a start, the doors fit, which is more than could be said of my car.

The interior is certainly worthy of note. It’s futuristic in some areas, but rooted in the past in others. This is probably to ensure there is some connection for existing Volvo drivers and drivers of more conventional vehicles. As great as the model 3 interior is, I imagine it’s quite a shock to some less technologically adept drivers. The entire interior of polestar2 is textile lined which is unusual, and leaves me with the impression that there’s a high likelihood that the first spring day, combined with a ‘hands full‘ busy roundabout and a hay fever based sneezing fit will result in immovable stains appearing on the dash. Big snotters that will remain with the car right up to its discovery in forty years as part of some Barn find collection, only to be preserved as part of its ‘patina’... I’m probably wrong and the interior will prove to be as hard wearing as other Volvo products, but leather and hardy wipe clean plastics have featured in cars for years for this reason, and I think we’re beyond the point in EV development where we’re still aiming to sell to eco-conscious lentil eating environmental campaigners. They need to appeal to the mass market, and judging by the shelves groaning under weight of chopped up bovines in my local supermarket, the mass market still enjoys a steak from time to time. Whatever your thoughts on Vegan friendly interior design though, there are pluses and minuses when compared to Model 3. On the plus side, I have a strong fondness for a proper volume knob, and this car has one. Touchscreen volume controls are, for want of a better word, bollocks. I hate the farting about on the Tesla screen at the extreme left side, so that’s a definite one up for the Polestar.

The volume knob is mounted just in front of the gear lever on to top of the transmission tunnel, which is a one up for the Tesla. Why? This is an electric car, and the very different architecture of electric cars means you can be bold and do away with such things as transmission tunnels and the need to locate a lever in the middle of the car just because that’s where it’s always been. Relevant on a 1979 Volvo 240, but an absolute own goal here since that tunnel, and especially the swoopy grey upper part of it that goes on to bracket the central screen, absolutely eats legroom. I’m 6’3” so I’m fairly tall, but I’m by no means a mutant. Even so at all times my left knee was pressed up against the centre console. In this respect my left knee had a similar amount of room as in my MX5, a diminutive, cramped but fun vehicle that does actually house its transmission in a tunnel. The tunnel, console and dash design also conspire to make the driving position much less open plan than the Tesla. Despite the extra height, the tunnel underneath everything means centre console storage is greatly reduced.

The reason of course, is that under these new clothes is an XC40 platform. A cost saving measure that offers reduced costs through platform sharing, but huge compromises since the chassis is ultimately designed to have an engine in the front. The tunnel is put to use as a battery compartment, but if they’d started with a clean sheet of paper and designed it from scratch, I’m sure it would have been very different.

The seats feel slightly narrower than the model 3, with much more pronounced bolsters on the seat back. I liked this. The slightly more enclosed seating position and more supportive backs lending the driving position a bit of sportiness. This feeling extends to the view ahead, with a high dashboard and wide but narrow windscreen reminding you a little of a low slung sports car. The seats adjust electrically in every direction and feature an extending seat base. You do feel rather more supported than in the softer wider seats of the model 3. However, even with the seat base extended to its roomiest, and with my backside pushed right back into the seat in driving test fashion, there was still a full hands width under my legs between the front of the seat and the back of my knees. Another thing that I hope was just a quirk of this particular car, was the seat base was excruciatingly uncomfortable to sit on. Again with my backside pushed firmly back into the seat, I found that some part of the seats structure was pushing up under my upper thighs, leaving me with the feeling of sitting on a park bench with a slat or two missing. The padding in this part of the seat was very thin, and the structure (possibly an anti-submarine ramp) underneath very very solid and immovable. After 30 minutes my backside was numb, after and hour I was absolutely ready to get out and walk off the pain. As I say, hopefully it was a quirk of this one car, but it was bloody uncomfortable.

As is usual on EV’s now, there’s two boots. I won’t be using the term frunk or froot because I can’t stand them, so let’s just call the front one the ‘crumple zone’. That’s about all it’s good for, since the space left up front for luggage is suitable for little more than storing your charging cables. Surprising since the bonnet line is much higher than the model 3, which even in four wheel drive form has far more capacity up front. The boot at the rear is a hatch, with a parcel shelf. Good for practicality, but bad for that signature drumming noise you get in a hatchback when the windows are down. It’s power operated, with either a button on the key fob or waving your foot under a proximity sensor under the bumper. The key fob is the same as current Volvo cars so the buttons are fiddly and not very intuitive, meaning that I had to look at them each and every time I used them. That leaves the foot sensor, which left we swearing under my breath whilst doing an impression of a bad tightrope walker as I waved one foot around trying to find the right spot. You can’t use a handle, lever or concealed hand switch to open the hatch, because as far as I can tell there isn’t one, which is a bloody enormous oversight. On the plus side the boot didn’t appear to leak, or have the built in capacity to dump a bucket of rainwater into the boot when you open it. Here the experience of Volvo over Tesla is very clear. The boot itself is pretty big, and has a useful sized well under the false floor. There’s also anchor points and a useful divider that separates the boot into two areas and stops stuff rolling around so much.

Charging is by CCS under the manually operated petrol flap on the near side rear. I didn’t put a dc charge into it, so can’t comment on the dc charge speeds. However it did accept (with a fair bit of farting about at the dashboard locking and unlocking the charge port to get it to initiate a charge) a charge from my 7kW single phase TWC at home, and from one of my 11kW 3 phase TWC’s at work.

Driving. Obviously it’s not as fast as my Tesla, and I didn’t expect it to be. What is surprising is that despite it being about 200kg heavier than the Tesla and significantly less powerful, it still moved on with considerable verve when you gave it a bootful. It was quick enough through country lanes and had plenty of go at speed, buy one and you should have no complaints in the performance department. What I struggled to get to grips with was the throttle action. The first half of the throttle does very little, so you find yourself adding incrementally more pedal to get a decent amount of shove. I guess this an effort to increase efficiency for the end user and perhaps make it feel more like a ‘normal’ car, but it’s frustrating to use, especially when compared to other end of the scale where controlling deceleration on regen is like walking a knife edge. As a result regen and one pedal driving is not as relaxing as the Tesla. You have to give the pedal an oversized shove to get going, and then to slow down it seems a hairs width of travel is the difference between too much and too little retardation. It’s probably only a software update away from being much better, but that’s by no means a certainty if polestar aren’t offering the depth and frequency of over the air updates common to Tesla.

Straight line performance is good, I clocked it at 4.2 seconds to 60 so it’s bloody quick, but on hard standing starts it always felt like there was a slight delay between you getting the oomph you requested and it actually arriving. This only happened from standstill. The Tesla will respond to your foot with an immediate kick up the arse as it launches itself away from the lights, the Volvo pulls away and feels like it waits a few feet before giving it the full beans. It feels, and probably is, a software based restriction no doubt put in place by worried reliability engineers fearing the costs of replacing truckloads of twisted CV joints. If you’re new to EV’s, you may not even notice, if you’re used to Tesla’s more maverick approach to driveline integrity, you may find it annoying.

Pushing on through bends it feels very front wheel drive in its responses. The steering is inevitably pretty lifeless, as it seems to be almost every modern car. Brakes are decent enough too, although those very pretty bronze calipers run extraordinarily close to the inside face of the wheel. One tiny stone in there would really mar the finish, and possibly even damage the wheel.

Ride quality in this particular car was abysmal. There’s no other way of describing it. It was unforgiving in town and jiggly on the motorways. The car has the optional adjustable Ohlins shocks that are part of a £5k option package, and apparently these were turned up to be very stiff and so feel very sporting. The Tesla even on its performance suspension rides much better. This can perhaps be adjusted out to make them more compliant and forgiving, but it means getting dirty since the valves are all manually adjusted.

Visibility to the front is not as good as the Tesla, the screen is narrow top to bottom, and the bonnet line much much higher. The visibility to the rear though is much better.

What else. The interface on the centre screen and dashboard screen with the driver is a challenge to get used to. It’s phone like in operation, but I found it’s use of unfamiliar hieroglyphs and multitude of steering wheel buttons a bit messy And to be honest, hard to get in with. The basic controls are easy enough though, so it doesn’t take long to get up and running. Could it be better than the Tesla? Maybe, but I doubt it. The binnacle screen in front of the driver does display a very nice moving map, a power meter, and a numerical digital speedo. It strikes me as odd that they’d install this lovely screen and not have the option to display analog gauges. It also brought home the unacknowledged advantage of the central speedo in the model 3. It means you can place the steering wheel where it suits your driving position, and not where it offers you the best view of your speed...

There’s a Spotify app pre-loaded, and an App Store for more stuff. There’s no inbuilt dashcams, and only USB C ports

Noise. The Polestar 2 is, marginally, quieter than my model 3. Less wind noise, less tyre noise. Perhaps the tyres (conti’s on the Polestar, Michelin’s on the model 3) are quieter, but there’s no doubt the framed doors run quieter, and there’s probably more insulation. Neither car is loud though. Interestingly, the noise from the motors and inverters that is probably most prominent in the model 3 under hard acceleration is missing in the Polestar. I rather missed it, since it’s about the only dynamic noise you get in an EV..

Automation.

The Polestar has some automation features and calibrations that, in my opinion, are way ahead of Tesla. (Cue the Tesla fanboy rage)...
The active cruise control calibration is much better. My Tesla tends to be quite jerky, the Polestar was silky smooth when following traffic.

In terms of lane keeping, then the Tesla Autopilot has the Polestar Pilot assist beaten hands down. The Tesla tracks arrow straight, wind or rain, and never feels out of its depth unless there’s a lane merge or divergence. The Polestar is, again, silky smooth, but wanders quite a bit. It also has the unnerving tendency to drift towards vehicles it is overtaking. It’s liveable, but it’s not great. Perhaps some of this can be cured with software tweaks, but the Polestar lacks the Tesla’s more comprehensive sensor suite, so perhaps it’s a shortcoming in the design.

What I do like though, is the mode of operation on the Polestar;

Set the speed on the cruise control, then click the right arrow on the left wheel spoke. This engages pilot assist. You need to keep your hands on the wheel as per Tesla, and if it doesn’t sense you it gives a quiet unobtrusive warning.

Similar to the Tesla, except for a few key and important improvements;

The Polestar doesn’t announce the engagement with a stupidly loud and annoying ‘BING BONG!!!’.
The Polestar waits until you are somewhere near centre of lane before taking over steering. What it doesn’t do is what my Tesla does, which is suddenly lurch towards the middle of the lane, alarming me, the occupants of the car, every other car around me, and soiling the leathers of any following motorcyclists.

There are other differences of note;

If you want to adjust your line slightly, say to give a little more space to a lorry, just turn the wheel, it moves freely, feeling a little like your working against a light spring. As soon as you adopt a more central line, pilot assist takes back full control. What it doesn’t do is feel like the steering is locked solid, then suddenly release control with a loud ‘BING BING!!!’ and lurch three feet across the lane as you apply more force.

if you want to change lanes, in the Tesla you have three options;

1/ turn off autopilot (BONG BING!!!) indicate and charge lanes, Turn on autopilot (BING BONG!!!)
2/ indicate, turn the wheel, then wrestle with the wheel until Autopilot gives up control (BONG BING!!!) change lanes, turn autopilot back on (BING BONG!!!)
3/ Pay £6700 for FSD.

In the Polestar, you indicate, which pilot assist takes as you requiring control. You change lanes. You cancel the indicator and pilot assist very smoothly takes over control again. It’s seamless, it’s comfortable, and it doesn’t go BING bloody BONG all the time.

In terms of efficiency, it’s up there with the model 3. Not as good, but reported efficiencies weren’t a million miles from what I get in my car.

Would I buy one? Probably not. Not for any particularly glaring fault (except maybe the seat), but because ultimately the Tesla is just that bit better at being an electric car. The Polestar hasn’t moved the game on as I thought it would. It’s improved in detail areas like build quality, but the use of odd software calibrations, and especially the use an existing platform to support a 2 Tonne EV has hampered what could have been a fantastic product. The ride quality in something with this sort of mass is unforgivable, as is the seat and the centre consoles knee knocking “design ahead of practicality” approach.

Be in no doubt though that this car will steal customers away from Tesla, and Tesla will have to buck up their ideas regarding build quality because with the Polestar 2 a real competitor has come their way. Had Volvo committed to a clean sheet design instead of recycling their smallest SUV chassis, they could have blown Tesla’s socks off.
You correctly touch on the one issue that disappoints me with the current iteration of autopilot: the cars insistence of racing for and sitting in the very center of the lane lines under all circumstances.

Oncoming wide load approaching the car while on a two lane highway? Stay glued to the lane center.

Widening lane between the edge lines because of an off ramp/construction zone/whatever? Drift all over the place seeking the absolute center between the lane markings.

Hate it.
 

Generator

Member
Oct 10, 2019
253
442
London
Well, some fanboy needs to respond here. I am a fan of automotive design and engineering with an ME degree and now only two years past being able to call myself a sexagenarian.
Nice comment detail there and then wham a “socks off” conclusion! Some cosmic dissonance ensued.
My 2020 M3 LR-4WD has produced quite the different reaction in me as has your M3 in you so my comparison starts from a much different point of reference. I would call the overall M3 package competitive with the performance versions of the Audi 4, Mercedes C, BMW 3 series and Lexus ES with the five yesr total cost of ownership comparable to a $30k Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
Styling is an art and I understand nudgements to be subjective The current Volvo design language is pleasant to me and able to be more unique in character than most of the market. Likewise with the Tesla design language. As time passes I expect the Tesla language to have more influence in the industry than Volvo, however. Some examples that seem to demonstrate: Mercedes’ new design language dropping creases as the stated major direction and the side windows of the new Toyota Venza going large and sweepy.
Now the Polestar is a prototype, the Tesla pickup is at that same level of development, and the Tesla seems to me to be a more refined object. The Tesla MY is the fourth iteration of Tesla product design while the Polestar is the first for Volvo. Elon explained that three iterations would be needed to refine the design enough to produce a mass market vehicle which became the M3. The Polestar, not being a clean-sheet design is maybe more comparable to iteration zero for Tesla, the roadster.
Finally, Elon Musk’s projects demonstrate a huge ability to learn the challenges, define the key problems to solve, and develop solutions in a very fast paced manner. Catch-up for Geely-Volvo will take some doing.

I thought I’d made it pretty clear at the beginning of the post. This is my opinion, offered for you to take and leave as you wish, no need for cosmic dissonance.

But, it would be a mistake to consider Polestar 2 a prototype, or to think that Polestar is constrained to following the same development road that Tesla followed. It’s a production reality that you can order now. And that’s ‘order now, with a definite delivery date and knowing exactly what you’ll get, not ‘order now’ without any real idea of whether the finished product will be anything like the prototype shown on stage, or even when it might reach you.

The car I drove is not some beaten old test mule, it’s the finished car, and it’s not the first of the line. The 600hp Polestar 1 coupe grabbed the headlines and attention, the Polestar 2 is the mass market product.

And, as I said, it’s a pretty good car with a lot to like. Yes it’s been compromised by the use of the XC40 platform, but even so it’s good enough that it can be considered by buyers of new EV’a alongside the Model 3 and Model Y. In many respects it exceeds the benchmark set by the Model 3, whilst in other areas it does lag behind. Will the average buyer be able to detect such differences in any meaningful way in a half hour test drive? Not likely.

Whether you like it or not, Geely/Volvo/Polestar have come out of the gate with a very desirable hybrid GT car, and then very quickly followed it up with a very desirable and well made mass market car. They’ve used existing parts from their own stable to make it cheaper to develop and produce and as an added bonus made the all electric Volvo XC40 (available to order now) possible. They’ve effectively ended up with a 3 model multi discipline lineup in less time than it took Tesla to put the steering wheel on the right side of the Model 3 for us.

Given what they’ve achieved by raiding the parts bin, I don’t think it unreasonable to say that had they developed a ground up electric platform in the same manner as Tesla they would now have a superior product
 

LongRanger

Active Member
Jan 11, 2020
1,314
1,198
Wales
be very interesting to see the new i4 from BMW and just how much it feels like every other 3/4 series BMW in real world use.

we're perhaps seeing how established manufacturers just can't quite tip themselves off the edge of "traditional" mass motoring, they are still playing quite safe and conservative, tweaking round the edges - whereas Tesla started from a blank sheet and are now building out on a proven EV-only architecture.

It's fascinating as at some point the ability to translate ICE into EV runs out of puff, leaving Volvo, BMW, VW, Mercedes I don't know where exactly. They all are talking about amazing now modular platforms etc but all appear to be constrained to pre-EV thinking to a certain degree.

I like both the XC40 and Polestar 2 - they have something about them that attracts for some reason. currently trying to get the wife into a hybrid XC40 to start the process there, it's only cost that is putting her off but am hoping we can get her into something that at least has very local miles covered on battery use.
 

browellm

Member
Oct 4, 2019
403
356
Notts
Without wishing to be the ultimate centrist dad, I think the takeaway from this is that if I was making the "ultimate" EV from what's out there in the market today, I (and I suspect many here) would like to cherry pick elements from both vehicles and the associated infrastructures.

Both are great cars and both cars are compromised, but both of them are totally viable ICE replacements for 90% of car buyers in this segment.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,355
2,530
Scotland
Which makes the buying decision between the two, that so much harder. Would be nice if there was a clear winner.

Any alternative to Tesla has a to be better than close. To outweigh the Supercharger advantage needs a strong lead in several other aspects ... and even then is going to struggle to be the choice for the person doing regular long motorway trips. I don't see that changing significantly for at least a couple of years and will need some well coordinated, and rapidly implemented, charging infrastructure developments.
 
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Andy_T_73

Member
Jul 22, 2019
167
112
Prestwick
Thinking ahead when my M3 goes back to the leasing company in Nov '22, I would never normally get the same car twice however the Tesla Supercharger network is a big plus - a bigger plus than the car? Maybe. I wouldn't say I'm eager for another 3 or Y and I don't see Tesla launching anything else or making many changes to the existing 3/Y.

I've supercharged three times and only actually needed to do so once, the others were just to try it out. However, I do hope we see some expansion of other high performance charger networks (150kw+), as I don't want to be tied to one make of car because the fuelling is easy. Otherwise I'll end up back in an ICE car and that's not where I'd like to go.
 

MrABRanch

Member
Apr 23, 2019
61
45
PA
Well A great article very honestly written. Comments got a bit childish particularly about the volume control on the M3.

The point surely is that Elon , God Bless his soul, overdid the lack of 101 controls.
My M3 is a lot more user friendly since I bought a remote.
It would be even more friendly if it had buttons for the glove box,radio volume, and climate controls. A heads up display showing vital like speed would be a great addition. Buttons to open Boot and frunk from inside the car and auto opening would also be great.
A sensible door opening handle both inside and out would be helpful. I am tired of warning new passengers when opening doors.
Dont get me wrong I love my M3P but not for any of the above. Only 2 overriding advantages
1. SUPERCHARGER network
2. Acceleration
If others had a supercharger network I would certainly change to a Jaguar or a Volvo proper when they get their act together.
should add in efficiency, Tesla's especially M3 is very efficient, I have AWD and often get below 200Wh/m
 

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