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Polestar 3 First Ride: A Glimpse of This Brand's Potential

A bespoke EV architecture promises major changes for Polestar

2024 Polestar 3 top down view
  • Polestar recently held a major gathering where it gave us a glimpse into its future.
  • We also got the chance to ride along in the Polestar 3, the brand's first true SUV.
  • Here's everything we know about what's coming.

Polestar isn't as old as it might seem. Despite being Volvo's performance arm for the better part of the three decades, it's existence as a solo automaker (which was brought to life with Chinese automotive giant Geely's help) is relatively new. The brand has, to this point, only ever put two cars on sale, the aptly named Polestar 1 and Polestar 2. But at Polestar Day 2023 we got our first glimpse of what the future holds for the slick Swedish EV brand. Hint: There's plenty to come.

2024 Polestar 3 rear 3/4

Polestar 3 First Ride

The Polestar 3 is a big deal for Polestar. For one thing, it's the brand's first car that will appeal to more than early adopters. The 1 was a plug-in hybrid grand tourer, and as special as it was, it was well out of reach for most. The 2 is a high-riding sedan that, for all its efforts, hasn't been able to flummox the Tesla Model 3. The Polestar 3 is the brand's most conventional car. The formula is one you'll know well, a premium five-passenger two-row SUV.

We didn't have the chance to get behind the wheel, so we took the opportunity to check out the 3's back seats. Though the ride was short, we learned one very important thing: The Polestar 3 is its best-executed product to date. The 3's biggest advantage over any other Polestar to this point is the fact that it's built on the SPA2 platform, a vehicle architecture dedicated to EVs. In fact, it's the brand's first car to be built on an EV-only platform, and all of its advantages are apparent.

There is a ton of head- and legroom in the rear, making the rear passenger compartment a much more comfortable place to be. It's also quieter than the rear seat area in the 2, and the ride is significantly more comfortable (and well controlled) thanks to the 3's standard air suspension and adaptive dampers. Though we were told the tuning wasn't completely final, it felt very close to a finished product to us. The fit and finish was aces, too. Everything felt like it was made of a high quality, as it should be for a car we expect to cost nearly $70,000 when it goes on sale in the first part of 2024.

2024 Polestar 3 front 3/4

Luckily, some of that price will be offset by the federal EV tax credit, because the Polestar 3s that are sold in the U.S. will be built in South Carolina.

Polestar Day 2023: What we learned about Polestar's future

Polestar expects to be cashflow-breakeven in 2025 — a target that comes with the expectation that it will also deliver 150,000 cars that year (a seemingly achievable target when you consider its 2023 deliveries to date have topped 41,000). While the automaker didn't give a clearer picture of its financual situation, the messaging was clear: Polestar isn't going anywhere. To that end, the Polestar 4, the 3 SUV's more rakish sibling, will go on sale in China this week and then globally in 2024. The Polestar 5, a super high-performance sedan, will start production in early 2025, and the Polestar 6, the brand's stellar-looking roadster based on the Polestar O2 concept, will come to fruition in 2026.

Aside from the cars themselves, the brand has been working for years with Luminar, an American company that develops vision-based lidar systems, in a bid to make the oh-so-frequently promised autonomous future more of a reality. To bolster its portfolio of partners, Polestar recently signed partnerships with Google to bring HD mapping to its cars and Mobileye (a company that specializes in advanced driver assistance systems). The work from all four companies will result in the integration of Mobileye's Chauffeur, an eyes-off, point-to-point autonomous driving service, into Polestar's cars in the coming years.

Polestar Day 2023

As if that wasn't enough, Polestar isn't letting off gas (excuse the pun) when it comes to its sustainability efforts either. Polestar says it will use 100% recycled plastic yarn in the 4 and that it's continuing to work with Bcomp, PaperShell and other companies that make sustainable materials for its interior trimmings. It is also working to continually lower the emissions created by its production processes.

Edmunds says

Stay tuned for everything coming from Polestar in the near future — there's clearly a lot in store from the Swedish EV brand.