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2023 Polestar 2 Upscale zero emissions motoring with a Scandinavian twist

Benjamin Yong Darpan, 26 Jan, 2024
  • 2023 Polestar 2 Upscale zero emissions motoring with a Scandinavian twist

Hitting the scene in 2020, the Polestar 2 (P2) produced by Volvo’s performance subsidiary Polestar is one of the more recent EV players on the market. Now three years in, the five-door — based on the same Compact Modular Architecture platform as the XC40 Recharge — continues to offer a viable alternative to competitors such as the Tesla Model 3.

While a familiar overall Swedish design aesthetic exists, the vehicle, which serves as a pure electric follow-up to the 619 horsepower Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid sports coupe, really stands out amongst other zero-emissions brethren. From the stealthy badging and Knight Rider-like animated LED taillight strip on the outside to the barely-there physical controls and hollow shifter on the inside, it’s definitely something unique. 

The fastback shape essentially combines the styling of a sedan, the practicality of a hatchback and the generous headroom of a crossover. Features including the standard aerodynamic 19-inch 5 V-spoke wheels, Volvo-inspired Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights and minimalistic body panels provides a premium touch.

Similarly, the interior possesses a clean appearance devoid of extraneous trim elements and buttons. Even a start button is missing, because simply sitting in the seat with the fob nearby and stepping on the brake pedal activates the car. The only downside to this is an accessory mode is effectively missing. In addition, the gear knob doesn’t have a selector button either and an accidental tap can put the position to neutral by accident while in operation.

A 12.3-inch floating Google-based infotainment display serves as the command centre, and the vegan upholstery throughout looks pleasant and feels nice. Ash wood and leather seats are optional. New for 2023 is Apple CarPlay support. 

Claims of the raw acceleration of battery-powered vehicles are not exaggerated, particularly here where there is a pair of high output electric motors generating a combined 487 lb-ft of instant-on torque. One is installed at both the front and rear axles creating all-wheel drive, meaning traction was never compromised as I blasted along a rain-soaked backcountry corridor after giving a quick jab of the throttle. A Performance Pack software upgrade is available for speed junkies upping the horsepower from 408 to 476 and torque to 502 lb-ft.

Range anxiety sufferers rejoice: a large 78 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery yields a travel distance of over 400 kilometres. Taking the car out for an afternoon, I barely made a dent in the power level largely due to the common EV one-pedal drive function. Turning it on results in automatic braking anytime your foot is lifted off the accelerator pedal, and the resulting created kinetic energy is captured and used to recharge the battery. 

Now you might be wondering, “How do I get one?” Polestar has just opened a permanent Vancouver brick-and-mortar location (2211 Burrard St.), alongside several more globally, where visitors can learn about the brand and test drive models in a pressure-free environment. Prices are set with no negotiating, and interested buyers can also choose home delivery and servicing.

Highlights (base):   

MSRP: $58,950

Motor: twin 150-kilowatt electric motors

Horsepower: 408 (net)   

Torque (lb-ft): 487 (net)   

Gearbox: single-speed automatic    

Layout: all-wheel drive   

Fuel economy:  2.3 Le/100 km (manufacturer estimate)

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