I Bought a Polestar: First Thoughts
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I Bought a Polestar: First Thoughts

Polestar 2 parked on brick driveway

When it was time for me to look for a new car to replace my Renault Zoe, I knew exactly where I would start my search. It was time to drive a Polestar. The brand has always stood out to me as one making cars that don’t look like quite everything else out there. 

I’m not interested in a standard SUV and as much as I like the Hyundai Kona EV, the Skoda Enyaq, and the IONIQ 5, they just didn’t suit my style. At the other end of the spectrum, I can’t afford a Porsche Taycan or an Audi etron GT, so it was easy to narrow my choices down to the Polestar 2.


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While Polestar doesn’t have any locations near me, I was able to bag a test drive at the Norwich Gridserve Electric Forecourt. During the test drive, my initial thoughts were how bumpy the ride was. The Polestar 2 has a surprisingly stiff suspension, especially compared to the billowy Zoe. 

This made me question my choices because I’m always torn when it comes to a solid suspension setup. I want a car that handles well but, realistically, how often would I put this thing through its paces? Surely comfort should be the priority?

Of course, the girl racer in me won out and I placed my order for a 2023 Polestar 2.

Skipping past the absolute nightmare of getting a car sorted and delivered just before Christmas, I’ve now been living with the Polestar 2 for about three weeks. Here are my thoughts.


The Spec

2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Plus model.

I have the 2023 Long Range Plus model with 21-inch wheels. While the standard model has plenty of tech and comfort features, the Plus has the upgraded Harmon Kardon sound system, which was a non-negotiable for me.

On top of this, the Plus model has a panoramic sunroof — which I didn’t expect to love as much as I do — heated rear seats, a heat pump, an air quality system, a kick-activated tailgate, and more. 

The long-range model has a 78 kWh battery with a WLTP-estimated range of around 300 miles on a full charge. While I haven’t had the chance to do a long highway drive yet, it looks like the range estimates are more accurate in the Zoe. 


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Driving

Image care of Polestar

While I would’ve loved the performance model of the Polestar 2, the driving experience of the regular model is still wonderful. It has just shy of 300 hp, and while it feels heavy, you’ve got tons of grip.

The ride might be a little stiff for some, though, and there’s no adaptive suspension to even out those bumps when you’re driving around town. There are lots of other adjustments you can make, however. You can adjust the steering feel between light, standard, and heavy, plus you can change the one-pedal driving settings too.

I love one-pedal driving but have mine set on ‘low’ most of the time, which acts like normal regenerative braking on any other EV. But you also have the choice to turn one-pedal driving to full, which means you can accelerate and stop without needing to use the brake. This is great for city driving or when you’re in slow-moving traffic.

There haven’t been many chances to go for a proper spirited drive in the Polestar yet but the few moments of brisk acceleration have been great — I will never tire of instant torque. I can’t wait to have some fun with it once the roads dry out a little.


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Comfort

Adding the Plus pack — albeit only for the sound system — was a great choice. I had a rare moment of having to sit in the back seat last week and it was lovely not to miss out on the heated seat, plus there was plenty of legroom. 

The front seats are power-adjustable and recline really far back in case you want a charging nap. In a similar vein, there’s plenty of space in the back with the seats down so the Polestar 2 might just be able to rival Tesla when it comes to car camping. Watch this space.


Utility

Cargo capacity has plenty of space.

This is the biggest car I’ve ever owned so, to me, the cargo capacity is downright cavernous. You don’t get a great deal of height in the trunk thanks to that swooping roofline but you do get plenty of space for the usual things like luggage, shopping bags, and so on. This isn’t a huge family SUV or a wagon, but it was plenty large enough to help a friend move house at the weekend — and I didn’t even get a chance to use the frunk!


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Polestar Style

The aesthetics of a vehicle are incredibly subjective and what one person adores might turn someone else off entirely. I like cars that either look lairy (I’m weak for a hot hatch) or have understated muscle. For me, the Polestar 2 falls into the latter category. It looks like an executive sedan but the elevated ride height and big wheels give it a slightly aggressive stance.

I originally wanted one of the darker colors, but when trying to find an in-stock vehicle, I realized I was quite limited in choice. It was more important to get the specs right so I settled on the first car that came available and it happened to be in Magnesium. I didn’t think a white-grey would be particularly inspiring, but you must see this color in person to truly appreciate it. 

Yes, it’s off-white in most lights, but on a bright day it’s blue-grey, and at night it glitters. Am I disappointed I no longer have a purple car? Of course! But this color just exudes class and I’m okay with that.


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Technology

Now, I’m quite a technologically literate person but there are elements of the Polestar 2 that have taken me weeks to get used to. We got a great handover, which meant I was all set up with my own profile on the car but the nuances of the digital key and physical keys still elude me.

I had to Google how to lock the car…* 

*You just have to press the door handle as you walk away, or you can lock it on the app.

There’s still a lot I don’t know and will figure out in the coming weeks but I have the important stuff down. One thing that’s worth mentioning, though, is that everything is controlled through the touchscreen. You have some steering wheel buttons for audio, driver display, and cruise control, as well as a central dial for music and buttons for windscreen heating. Everything else uses the screen.


Everything is controlled through the touchscreen.

Normally, I’d hate this. I love the tactile feel of buttons and they’re so much safer than blithely stabbing at a screen while trying to keep your eyes on the road. But the Polestar 2 runs Android and that means you’ve got Google Assistant at your service for anything you might need.

It can control infotainment, as you’d expect, but you can also ask it to control the AC, seat heaters, one-pedal driving settings, and much more. While I would still prefer buttons, the fact that it works so well means I’m not forced to use the touchscreen as I drive.


Final Polestar Thoughts

There are a lot of Polestar journeys ahead of me. It’s almost embarrassing how long it’s taking me to get used to the ins and outs of this car — especially when you consider that I test drive a lot of vehicles as a motoring journalist.

What matters, though, is that the Polestar 2 is incredibly engaging to drive and I’m itching to get out on the road for a long stint where I can crank up the sound system and have hours of uninterrupted car karaoke (caraoke?) time.

Watch this space for more thoughts as I clock up the miles and perhaps even try my hand at car camping.


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AUTHOR: 

JESS SHANAHAN

2 Responses

  1. As to the ride, 19 inch tires help.

    One feature what stands out is the driver display that includes active maps. This takes your eyes away from the bigger center screen so you can better focus on the road, making the Polestar 2 safer to drive than others.

  2. Well here’s a few tricks. Press and hold the line at the bottom of the screen to lock it so you can clean it. Next when tapping the temperature there’s a little oval with a line on each side. Tap that and you can switch between single control or dual zone.
    Then the most important one. Pressing the front defrost button for 18 seconds, your sos light will flash red. This resets the T-cam which I had to do this morning as my car had not connection. At this point your GPS, Google maps or anything that needs a wireless connection doesn’t work.

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