Polestar 2 – a stellar EV experience (review)


Like it or not, electric vehicles are the future. While petrol cars will long have a place in our hearts, there’s actually quite a lot to look forward to with EVs. We had a chance to live with a Polestar 2’s 300kW range topper for a couple of weeks to see what it was like on a day to day basis, and, if it could get our hearts racing.

For those unfamiliar, Polestar is a Swedish “electric performance” car company, and is a sub-brand of Volvo. Polestar, as well as Volvo, are owned by Chinese automotive giant, Geely.

The second model released, Polestar 2 is the company’s first fully electric vehicle, similar to that of a Tesla. As such, it relies solely on electricity to run and isn’t a hybrid model like the Polestar 1.

There are three variants to choose from, with the top of the range sporting a 300kW (408hp) dual-motor setup and 78 kWh battery pack. Then there are two front-mounted single motor options, both with 170kW and a choice of long range (78 kWH) or standard (69 kWH) batteries.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the top of the range model, and it was kitted out with a few different option packs including the Plus pack, Pilot pack and driver-focused Performance pack.

Standout inclusions for the Plus pack are the full-length panoramic glass sunroof and Harman Kardon 13 speaker sound system. The Pilot pack gives you safety and driver assistance features such as Pixel LED headlights, Adaptive Cruise with Pilot Assist, 360 degree surround view camera and a host of auto-braking and proximity alerts.

On the go-fast front, the Performance pack gives you adjustable Öhlins Dual Flow Valve dampers, four-piston Brembo front brake callipers, 20-inch forged aluminium wheels and bespoke Continental SportContact(TM)6 tyres.

How it looks

While looks are subjective, we wouldn’t say that the Polestar 2’s fastback design is overly sporty, despite our model being the performance variant. This is likely because the Polestar 2 is intended to deliver a crossover-like experience but with a sedan shape, so it sits a bit higher than you might expect. Still, the eye-catching gold Brembo callipers belay its performance ambitions, and the 20-inch alloy wheels are eye-catching. Overall, we’d say that the Polestar 2 has an attractive, grown-up shape, and not overly aggressive or menacing looking.

Ours came painted in Snow (white), and you can choose from 5 other colours including Magnesium, Thunder, Midnight, Space and Jupiter.


True to its Scandinavian roots, the interior is minimalistic and well-considered. It’s a nice car to spend time in, and there’s just the right combination of technology, texture and style. We quite liked the gold seatbelts that were optioned in our review car, and these matched the 4-piston Brembo brakes. 

Unless you specifically choose leather, the Polestar 2 is entirely vegan. Included in the Plus pack is the WeaveTech upholstery, which is made from recycled plastics and reminiscent of a neoprene wetsuit. It weighs quite a bit less than leather and is both pliable and comfortable, albeit a bit of a different sensory experience.

The premium metallic accents on the vents, door handles and steering wheel are nice to touch, as are the attractive geometric textures in the dash fabric and etched onto panels. There are also nice little Polestar logos on the sunroof, centre console and steering wheel. Our interior featured Black Ash on the dash panels, and this has a lovely grain and lends to the Polestar 2’s environmentally responsible aims. 

Tech and infotainment

Being an EV, we expected to see the latest tech in the Polestar 2 and we weren’t disappointed. The 11.5 inch centre mounted floating touch-screen removes the need for many physical buttons or switches, and is quite responsive and easy to use. There are still a few centre console physical controls, such as a rotating knob, along with play/pause, front and rear window defrost and hazard buttons. While you’ll mainly tap on screen for most things, the control wheel and play/pause buttons were useful for selecting music stations and playing and pausing playback. There’s also a full complement of steering wheel buttons to make selections, play music, answer calls and set the cruise control.

The Polestar 2 is the first car in the world to use the Android Automotive OS, made by Google. This is like Google’s Android smartphone interface that many will already be familiar with, only this version is purpose built for cars and isn’t a ‘mirror’ of your phone. 

The system includes Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play store, and connects to your Google account. Don’t like Google? Thankfully there’s Apple CarPlay too, which takes over the main screen with the tap of a button, however, you’ll need to connect your iPhone via a USB-C cable as Wireless CarPlay isn’t supported. As a quick aside, you can wirelessly charge your phone from shelf just under the floating display.

We really loved using Google Maps, which filled up the screen and even shows your expected charge rate at your designation. Another advantage is that the Google Assistant is one of the best ‘natural language’ interfaces around, so using voice commands to request navigation to destinations, looking up a restaurant or asking for general information is actually helpful.

With Google’s Play Store you can also download other apps and add them to the system, and while limited right now, we expect more apps to be added over time. The car we reviewed had Google Maps, Spotify, Pocket Casts (Podcasts) installed, along with a few different 3rd party charge station planners including PlugShare, APRB (A Better Route Planner) and Range Assistant.

You can customise the home screen too, which is divided into 4 panels where you can place app collections for quick access. Also, around the main screen are icons for accessing the 360 degree parking view, car settings, climate controls, seat and steering wheel heating.

Tapping on the car icon, for example, takes you to a new set of menus where you can adjust driving settings, such as regenerative braking levels, driver assist functions, charge settings, and more.

All up, the system is quite intuitive and you don’t have to navigate through many sub-menus to find what you want.

As part of the Plus pack, our car came with a Harman Kardon premium audio system. This is engineered to produce “…audiophile-quality tone and clarity” with a 600 watt output and 13 speakers, including an air-powered subwoofer. The audio quality was impressive, with great isolation from road and ambient noise, a wide and dynamic range from higher frequencies down to a deep and rumbling bass response. You can use the equaliser to tailor the the audio experience to suit your tastes, tune it for the number of people in the car and their positions.

Second Screen

A second display is included behind the driver’s steering wheel, which can mirror the map overlay from the main screen during navigation. It uses clear and easy to read indicators for your speed, power and range, driver assist mode, warnings and more. You can customise this slightly with two modes – one that’s minimalist and the other for navigation, however, it would be nice to see a few other dash configurations like Mercedes, BMW and Audi’s systems.

Over the air updates

As with other electric cars, the Polestar 2 features ‘OTA’ or Over the Air updates. This means that software updates are downloaded to the car wirelessly whenever they become available, so you don’t need to wait for a service to get the latest software. OTA updates can potentially add new features, improve performance and fix issues, and are included in Polestar’s data plan for the first 3 years of ownership.


As a first time EV driver, I wasn’t all that clear about how to manage the battery during day to day use. Fortunately, it really wasn’t that hard at all. First, the Polestar 2’s charge level is easy to see via the dash mounted display. This both shows your expected range as well as a battery charge percentage. You can also adjust the total limit that the battery can be recharged to – we set ours to 90% as advised by Polestar to keep the battery healthy. You can top it up to 100% if you plan on going on a long trip to maximise your range, however, this should be done sparingly.

Otherwise, if you set a destination with Google Maps, it will let you know what your expected charge level will be when you get there. You can also find other charging stations in your vicinity or along the route. A quick option is to just say: “OK Google, show me charging stations nearby”. The map then displays the location of a number of charging points, including what type of connections they include, available payment options and in some cases whether they are free or not. For even more detailed charge planning, jump on to the PlugShare or ‘A Better Route Planner’ apps, where you can see the number and type of chargers at a location (fast, very fast, etc), drive time to them, and real-time reports if any are in use or out of service. We stuck with the charging details in Google Maps, which was enough for city driving as well as a 3 hour trip from Sydney to Currarong and back.

The Polestar 2 comes with two charging cables suitable for use with home and 3-phase Type 2 charging infrastructure. As our apartment complex doesn’t have any specialised 3-phase charging stations, we simply plugged the Polestar 2 into a standard 1-phase wall socket with the included cable, and charged it overnight. A full charge will take about a night and half the following day, however, plugging it in each night was enough to provide about 300Km of range per day.

When we drove down the coast to Currarong, we were left with 36% charge after a 192Km trip. We simply plugged it in overnight and had plenty of charge to take us back to Sydney the next day. The only tricky bit was making sure there was an outlet near where the Polestar 2 was parked. While it has a 480Km rating on the WLTP scale, the Polestar 2’s real-world max range looked to be about 370Km at a 90% battery, however, this will vary based on a number of factors including how you drive, temperature, terrain, number of passengers and more. 

Charging times for the Polestar 2 Long Range model

Charger typeCharging (kW)Charging time
Standard outlet, 1-phase AC 16AUp to 11Up to 24 hours for 0-100% charge
Wallbox, 3-phase AC 16A Type 2Up to 11Up to 8 hours for 0-100% charge
Public fast charger, DC CCSUp to 155As little as 35 minutes for 10-80% charge

Driving experience

We drove the Polestar 2 for about two weeks. Overall, our experience with an EV was eye-opening, in a very positive way. Driving it was certainly a plus, especially with our performance-focused dual-motor 300kW config. Right from the start, putting the pedal down resulted in near-instant acceleration that pushed my head back into the seat rest. My daily driver is no slouch either – a Porsche Macan Turbo with 324kW and about 150kg less weight – however, the Polestar 2 just felt quicker. Perhaps it’s how the power is delivered given it has 660Nm of torque vs my Macan’s 550Nm. (The dual motor Polestar 2 accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds with a maximum speed of 205km/h.) Power is on tap any time, including at speeds over 100km/hr, with the same instant response. I never felt like the Polestar 2 was running out of puff, either in the city or on the motorway. The Brembo brakes also did an admirable job of putting down the anchors, washing off speed very rapidly.

I was expecting to feel the Polestar’s 2,113kg curb weight, however, I can’t really say that I did. The car felt nimble in corners, without any noticeable understeer, however, I didn’t push the limits by any means. A quick slalom test felt tight as well, with the car remaining quite flat during weight transfers from left to right.

Without a petrol engine singing at high revs, I half expected the driving to be boring but I didn’t really miss the drama. Inside the cabin is quiet, save for some tyre noise on the motorway, but otherwise, the Polestar’s dynamics and in-car tech kept me engaged.

There are some driving adjustments available too. You can disable the ESP, although I wasn’t on a track and game to try it, and the steering feel can be light, standard or firm. It would be nice to have a bit more adjustability with the chassis settings, such as a sport mode or suspension firmness, however the car is well tuned as is.

It should be said that with the optional performance pack, the Polestar 2’s chassis engineers, in true Scandinavian minimalist fashion, intentionally chose mechanical Öhlins DFV dampers. While optimally set up by the engineers, these can be adjusted, through “…22 different combinations of compression and rebound damping”, so you can tune them if you prefer.

Top Polestar 2 chassis features include:

  • MacPherson strut front suspension
  • Multilink rear suspension
  • Electric Power Steering (EPS) with adjustable resistance
  • Aluminium front subframe
  • Compliance bushings
  • 19-inch aluminium alloy wheels with 245/45R19 Michelin Primacy 4 tyres
  • Optional 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels with 245/40R20 Continental PremiumContact(TM) 6 tyres
  • Optional Performance Pack with adjustable Öhlins dampers, Brembo front brakes, cross-drilled brake discs and forged 20-inch wheels with 245/40R20 Continental SportContact(TM) 6 tyres 
  • Front and rear stabiliser bars
  • 51/49% front/rear weight distribution (dual motor); 55/45% for single motor versions

Other Polestar 2 EV features

We really liked the ‘one pedal driving’ feature, which is found on most electric vehicles, where braking is automatically applied when you take your foot off the accelerator. By ‘braking’ we really mean regenerative braking, so the car is converting kinetic energy back to battery charge while slowing down the car. I could drive around the city most of the time without touching the brake but when I did, braking felt seamless and natural. It doesn’t take long to get used to one-pedal braking, and it’s quite a nice way to drive. You can also adjust the car to creep forward like a petrol car when you take your foot off the brake, or just stand still. We kept the creep switched off so the car moves forward only when you press the pedal.

Another thing that you get used to with an EV is the lack of fuss to get moving. Just approach the car, it unlocks automatically, put it in drive and off you go. No start button, no engine vibrations or warming up. And the same goes for parking. Just press the Park button, step out of the car and you’re done. No switching off required.

On our drive down the coast we tried out the Adaptive Cruise and Lane Keeping Assist systems. Using both together feels a bit like autonomous driving, but in reality, it’s no where near something like Tesla’s Self Driving Beta software. While the Polestar 2 will maintain speed based on the car in front, and follow the curves of the roads, there are plenty of bends that are too sharp or not well-defined meaning you’ll need to intervene. Still, using both help reduce the strain of a long drive and are good to have.


The crossover-like design made for a useful vehicle too. The lift-back is better than a conventional trunk, with a larger opening for storing objects and a total of 1,095 litres of capacity with the seats down or 405 with them up. There’s a fold up brace that separates the luggage space so you don’t have items rolling around, and a smaller 41 litre shelf beneath the main storage area for placing charging cables. Since there’s no petrol engine, the front trunk or ‘frunk’ has an additional 41 litre storage space for your cables, a few grocery bags or even a few pairs of muddy boots.

The split fold down seats have a pass through for longer objects, such as skis, and the rear passenger compartment is comfortable and there’s enough room for two 6 foot occupants and even a third for shorter distances.

Top Polestar 2 safety features include:

  • Inner-side airbags, for a total of 8 airbags
  • High-strength steel safety cage
  • Battery protection
  • SPOC Block
  • Front Lower Load Path (FLLP)

Pricing and warranty

EVs are a new technology and so they don’t come cheap, however, the Polestar 2 is priced in line with many premium European cars. The Long Range model we tested starts at $69,900, and you can pick up a standard range entry model from $59,900, which is also eligible for a $3,000 EV rebate in NSW and Victoria. With added options, including the Plus, Pilot and Performance Packs, ours was $90,800 before on-road costs.

For your peace of mind, it’s good to see that the Polestar 2 has a 5-year manufacturer-backed Australian warranty with 5 years of complimentary roadside assistance and a 5-year/ 100,000 Km complimentary service plan. For the battery, there’s an 8 years/160,000 Km, or 70% state of health (SOH) warranty. Polestar says it expects the useful life of the battery to be the lifetime of the vehicle, depending on how the vehicle is used.

GadgetGuy’s take

Driving the Polestar 2 was enough to convince me that my next car should be an EV. It shows that EVs can be fun to dive, look and feel great and be easy to live with. Polestar is an exciting brand that’s full of innovation, conservation, and Scandinavian simplicity. For those that tend to spend most of their time in cities, with the occasional country trip, there’s really nothing to fear in terms of running out of battery charge, provided that you plug it in most nights. And with the high cost of petrol these days, it’s even more satisfying known that you’ll be saving money each time you recharge and helping pave the way to a cleaner world.

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Polestar 2 Long Range
The Polestar 2 Long Range is a fun to drive and easy to live with cross-over like car with lots of great tech and plenty of range to enjoy.
Value for money
Ease of use
Around 370Km of range is plenty for most city and occasional out of town use
The Google Android Automotive OS offers great navigation and voice controls, plus there's Apple CarPlay
Eye-watering acceleration, great brakes and driving dynamics
Scandinavian minimalist design, inside and out
Close to $100K with all the options, bells and whistles
Some driver settings could be little more adjustable
Performance model could look a little more sporty