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Polestar 2 Test Drive

Hi, I thought I would share some information on the Polestar 2 as I did a test drive of one this past weekend. I live in Houston but was in Austin, Tx for the weekend and decided to schedule a Polestar 2 test drive since Houston doesn’t have a Polestar space yet. I was curious about the Polestar line and wanted to see how it compared to my Tesla.

1600px-Polestar_2_005.jpg

(Jengtingchen, CC BY-SA 4.0 <Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International — CC BY-SA 4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The overall test drive experience was good. The Polestar space is part of the local Volvo dealer at this time but I was told they are constructing a stand alone building now. I was immediately greeted and hooked up with the person that would conduct the test drive. The person conducting the test drive was not the main sales person but was reasonably knowledgeable. He didn’t know where the car was built but did answer most other questions with ease. We drove a dual motor with all available packages but the leather interior. It was the Midnight blue with the black cloth interior with Pilot, Plus and Performance packages. The drive wasn’t extensive but we did drive some city streets and highway. Overall the car was impressive. I have a 2020 MY Dual Motor, so performance was very similar. It did single pedal driving without issue. The ride was good but very firm since it had the performance package which has a more sporty suspension. It felt good to drive and I didn’t see much difference there between it and my MY. The interior was comfortable and everything was easy to adjust. Fit and finish was very good and there were no issues I could see. The doors open easily with the conventional door handles and close with a solid thunk. The frunk was manual (opened with a lever by the drivers foot well) and the trunk was powered. I would definitely say the Polestar 2 is more akin to the M3 than the MY. From the outside it looks (to me) larger than a M3 and maybe close to the MY. After sitting in it however, that isn’t true. The interior felt a bit cramped in comparison and there is less storage space all around. I have to say I did like having the conventional display behind the steering wheel. I didn’t like the fact there was only a single cup holder available in the console that was easy to access. Putting the second cup holder in the bin under the armrest seems a silly afterthought to me. The frunk and rear storage areas are smaller than the MY. Again, the 2 is much more like the M3 when it comes to front and rear storage space. The back seat was good as there was still plenty of room with the driver seat in my driving position (I’m 5’10”). I wouldn’t try to put three people back there. Also there is a center transmission hump in the middle that doesn’t make sense. The upgraded stereo was good. It was a quiet car, and seems to be a bit quieter than the MY. AC was good and we put it to the test since it was about 98 degrees when we did the drive. The interior controls are a hybrid of conventional buttons and touch screen. The touch screen response was good, no lags. I really didn’t like the side mirrors, as they seemed a bit too small for my liking. Rear visibility in the cabin was very limited but only a bit smaller than in my MY. Controls and other switch gear were good and very Volvo-esque. It can use your phone as a key and has a very Volvo like key fob. The traffic we drove through didn’t allow me to test any of the driver assist features unfortunately. I did like that it had a more conventional blind spot warning. All around there were only a few things I didn’t like about the car.



I had initially considered the Polestar 2 when I was looking to go electric but due to the fact there was no Polestar location in Houston, I ruled it out. I didn’t want to depend on a service center that was 160 miles away! I got my MY in June of 2020. At the time Polestar only had tan leather as an option with the ventilated seats. I really don’t like tan interiors. Ventilated seats and an all-around camera system are two of the main features I wish my MY had but the Polestar 2 still is not quite the equivalent of the MY so I’m not going to be changing anytime soon. My main issue with the MY is the ride, and to be honest, the Polestar 2 with the performance package was basically no different. Houston has horrible, HORRIBLE streets and at times my MY will beat you to death going down them. After driving the Polestar, I’m thinking that since the current BEVs are all very similar in design, large heavy battery pack located low and between the axles, they will all ride about the same on bad roads. In the 2 you could feel every bump, seam, etc. on the road, just like in my MY. I think the vehicles with adjustable suspensions handle this better (MX, MS) but the ones without don’t. I understand that a sportier suspension will not give a smooth luxurious ride and I have to say the Tesla is the best handling car I’ve owned but at times I just wish it was quite so stiff. Even with the 19 inch Gemini wheels, the ride can be rough.



I’ll probably take a look at the Polestar 3 when it comes out just to see what is is like. I think it would be a closer fit to a MY but if it drives and rides like the Polestar 2, it probably doesn’t stand a chance as a replacement. Hopefully by then there will be a Polestar space in Houston so I don’t have to go to Austin. My test drive host said they are going to have one open by next year. So, right now, the Polestar 2 is not what I would consider to replace my MY. With things like the better overall range, Supercharger network, local service and what I would consider the leading edge in self driving capability, Tesla still has the edge. If you are a stickler for fit and finish and like a more conventional car, then I would say you need to look at a Polestar 2. In my opinion it is a more conventional-style full electric car. There are some other cars I would like to test once I can get access to them but for now I think Tesla is still the leader in my book.
 
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Good review. Agree, it that many place to get it serviced right now in the USA. BTW - there is a company how sells a ventilated seat kit for the model 3 and Y - new perforated seat covers and the module for the fan and all connectors. Looks interesting, but pricey. Do a quick good search and you’ll find them. Too pricey for me, plus cool enough with every piece of glass ceramic tinted and a white color car.
 
The build quality or fit & finish is superior to say the very least on the Polestars, absolutely stunning. The interior is gorgeous but cramped. The driving characteristics are totally different than the Model 3. I didn't care for the portrait center display, prefer landscape much better. Its also Android based which I'm not a fan of.

What the Polestar does have that the Model 3 does not have is the drivers display, a sunroof, a hatchback, and flawless quality.

What I'm unsure of is charging network availability and speeds, what I mean is, how readily available is the EV charging network for non Teslas ? And I believe the Polestar does not charger nearly as quick at the Tesla, I could be wrong.
 
For charging speed, look at this : This Fast Charging Test Proves Polestar 2 Is No Match For Tesla Model 3 . You are correct, the Polestar 2 isn't as fast as a Tesla. For some it might be good enough.
As far as charging infrastructure, the answer will depend on where you live. With a max of something like 130kW you won't need 350kW chargers so there are more "optimal" options.
 
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Thanks for the review. I know Polestar has had some issues with their powertrain, do you know if those have been resolved?

I just looked on the polestar Website and for something comparably equipped it would be $60-65k, so pretty much the same price as a M3 right now. The performance isn’t quite as good but it’s hard to complain about a 4.5 sec 0-60 time.

One of the things I really like about my MY is how open and roomy the cabin is. I had a M3 as a loaner and it was almost identical to driving my MY but sat lower and wasn’t quite as open, like you commented.
 
Thanks for the review. I know Polestar has had some issues with their powertrain, do you know if those have been resolved?

I just looked on the polestar Website and for something comparably equipped it would be $60-65k, so pretty much the same price as a M3 right now. The performance isn’t quite as good but it’s hard to complain about a 4.5 sec 0-60 time.

One of the things I really like about my MY is how open and roomy the cabin is. I had a M3 as a loaner and it was almost identical to driving my MY but sat lower and wasn’t quite as open, like you commented.
3P for the same money a no brainer
 
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I bought the most basic version a month or so ago, Single Motor, with no options as a holdover till I get my MY LR.

After rebates/tax credit I am just over $35K. The car is not as fast as my girlfriend's M3 but the car is fast enough. It rides very well and I love the native Google Auto experience. I will say the Phone as Key is very buggy and my Samsung Fold has a very hard time staying connected. The car lacks any kind of high-end assisted cruise control but does have accident avoidance and lane centering which works well. The second dash display is very nice and easy to see and use. At the end of the day with the tax credit and the rebate, I will actually make money owning this car for 4-6 months. I love this car as an "around the town" commuter and I get some great compliments on the styling.... a very cool car for sure. I have yet to take it on any kind of a trip but I am a Realtor here in Boston and the range has not been an issue when I am out for 100 miles days showing homes.
 

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tm1v2

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@sleepydoc Polestar 2 powertrain is solid from what I've read and experienced (test drives). Are you thinking of the Mach-E maybe?

@SparkyTX The center tunnel is where the P2's battery modules are. That has some real upsides in a sedan, namely the back seat is much higher off the floor (because lower floor) and therefore a lot more comfortable for adults than a Model 3 back seat. Model Y avoids this issue by being a tall CUV of course, so there's enough vertical room for skateboard battery + good passenger comfort, but the Y's height comes at a real cost of driving dynamics vs 3 or P2.

Btw I'm surprised you felt the P2's side mirrors were small. My wife and I both felt they were much larger and nicer than the 3/Y side mirrors. The lack of bezel was a nice touch.

Agreed the P2 is not at all a Y replacement or direct competitor. It's actually shorter than a Model 3 and feels it, nowhere close to Y size. I think the P2's visual style + liftgate make it seem bigger than it actually is.

Driving wise I found the P2 competitive with the Model 3 but very different. P2 dual motor power delivery and handling bias errs towards strong understeer, feels like a typical 50/50 AWD Audi or Subaru, whereas a Model 3 dual motor is very obviously rear biased and likes to rotate much easier especially on power, but the Teslas have far inferior body/suspension control when the going gets fast, rough, and tough. Also while a 3 or Y has much quicker steering rack, a Polestar 2 Performance has much quicker steering responses, despite the slower non-sporty ratio. (I never tested the regular P2 suspension.)

Basically if you just drive casually a Model 3 feels lot sportier (M3P or M3LR), but driven really hard the P2 Performance took everything I could throw at it without breaking a sweat, always in perfect control, whereas a stock M3P or Y completely falls apart with the suspension loosing all control of the car. The difference was really extreme and stark, so much I ended up ordering Öhlins DFV for my M3P - same kind of suspension the P2 Performance has - before we even picked up the car!

I mostly liked the P2's cockpit feeling interior but I've had a Tesla for a long time so some contrast from the openness is nice (and we were shopping for a 2nd car, still keeping our old S). I do get why many prefer a more open Tesla interior and I'm happy with that too.

Builtin Android with builtin Google Maps is awesome, definitely jealous of that. The center screen is a little small but makes better use of space than the 3/Y where a third of our display is permanently wasted on Autopilot/FSD visualizations. Plus the P2 has a real driver's display and does normal useful things. (If Tesla utilized the 3/Y center display better then I wouldn't miss having a driver's display at all.)

Polestar seems to have mostly working OTA updates, and releases a new update every month. My impression is their update process isn't quite as smooth or reliable as Tesla's yet, but it's way way better than any of the established automakers' attempts OTA updates and mostly just works now. (This despite Polestar being an offshoot of Volvo and Geely.)

I thought the P2's (optional) HK stereo was passable at best. The sound felt...small somehow. I didn't mind how it sounded but I think the 3's (standard/only) stereo is better. Some car's premium stereo options are better still.


I thought the P2 is a very good EV and good car in general. Very different feeling from a Tesla, but that's part of the appeal. With its liftgate and official fold-away hitch option the P2 is also overall more practical than a 3. (Nowhere near Y level hauling capability but the Y can't compete with the P2 or TM3 on driving dynamics.)

Range and charging networks are a real issue for it though. Its range is competitive with our 2013 Model S...not great for 2021 (when we were shopping), we wanted more range, and got it with our M3P. And there's no CCS DCFC in an area we do a lot of miles in regularly, that has a supercharger.
 
@sleepydoc Polestar 2 powertrain is solid from what I've read and experienced (test drives). Are you thinking of the Mach-E maybe?
 
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tm1v2

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@sleepydoc Hmm, haven't come across much of that in my browsing of their forums, which I did for a while and I still glance at things there. Whatever happened there doesn't seem to be a widespread issue.

The only significant issues they had that seemed widespread were PAAK unreliability, and some cellular connectivity issues requiring a reboot to fix (not all cars affected but more than a few), which did sound annoying but also seem to have improved with recent OTA updates. Other stuff here and there of course like any car but no signs of widespread powertrain issues.
 
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Thanks everyone for the comments and further input. Also thanks to whoever put in the nice Polestar 2 pic in my post. I do agree that the 2 is not a Tesla but it can have appeal to some buyers. All in all I do hope they do well as I think they will provide some competition to the market and will hopefully push Tesla and other EV makers to better outcomes. I'm still in the market for whatever my next vehicle will be as I would like something with a bit more hauling capacity in a few years as I'll be retiring and building a new home. So, the Polestar3, Fisker Ocean and Rivian R1S are all on my list to look at as possible future vehicles. I'm just happy that I have a car that works for me currently and is one of the best in the class.
 
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tm1v2

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@Electric700 Yes Model X has air suspension standard. I think it always did, and for sure it does now. Did you mean to ask that in a different thread though? I can't really imagine cross-shopping a Polestar 2 and a Model X, they're such different cars, not to mention the vast price difference.

Model S and P2 are more similar though still vastly different in size and price. S base suspension was coil springs originally, with air suspension an option from the beginning. Air suspension has been standard on the S too for a number of years now.
 
@Electric700 Yes Model X has air suspension standard. I think it always did, and for sure it does now. Did you mean to ask that in a different thread though? I can't really imagine cross-shopping a Polestar 2 and a Model X, they're such different cars, not to mention the vast price difference.

Model S and P2 are more similar though still vastly different in size and price. S base suspension was coil springs originally, with air suspension an option from the beginning. Air suspension has been standard on the S too for a number of years now.
Thank you, good to know. It wasn't clear to me from Tesla's Model X page about that.
 
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tm1v2

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Not when you walk into the stealership like a kid into the toystore, with the salesman working you over with county fair confidence trickster tactics.
@Kandiru That wasn't my experience with Polestar sales at all. The Polestar sales pressure level was identical or even a bit lower than Tesla sales - which is to say, very little to none.

Our experiences may vary of course, especially with different sales locations and staff, but do you actually have any personal experience with Polestar sales or are you just making assumptions and spreading FUD because they're not Tesla?
 
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