- New single-motor variant debuts
- Dual-motor version has more range than last year
- New option packages
- Part of the first Polestar 2 generation introduced for the 2021 model year
The Polestar 2 was the second vehicle to debut under Volvo's Polestar brand — a division that prioritizes electrified performance. Last year's debut 2021 model joined the Polestar 1 — an exotic plug-in hybrid sport coupe — as a more mainstream sedan-like hatchback solely powered by batteries. For 2022, Volvo is adding a more wallet-friendly single-motor version and a reconfigured trim structure for the dual-motor model that allows for a greater level of customization.
The new entry-level Polestar 2 uses a single electric motor. It sends 231 horsepower through the front wheels and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 7.1 seconds. The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus is considerably quicker — it zipped to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds in our testing — but 7.1 seconds is comparable to what you might expect to get from a sporty gas-powered hatchback such as a Volkswagen GTI. The returning dual-motor setup continues to send 408 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, which yields a 0-60 sprint time of 4.3 seconds, according to Edmunds' performance testing.
Estimated range for the single-motor version is 265 miles, while the dual-motor variant's range is 249 miles on a full charge — an increase of 16 miles compared to last year's model. There are also a number of packages and stand-alone options to outfit the Polestar 2 with even more features.
Thanks to the instant torque delivery, the single-motor Polestar 2 feels quicker than its numbers suggest. This compact hatchback is peppy at lower speeds, allowing it to keep up with traffic with ease. You don't get the same pinned-to-the-back-of-your-seat experience as with the dual-motor model, but the single-motor is fast enough for typical daily driving.
We previously evaluated the Polestar 2 with the optional Performance package, which includes manually adjustable suspension dampers with 22 different settings. The dampers allow you to customize the balance between a comfortable ride and a sporty setup that allows you to gracefully carve corners with minimal body roll.
Now that we've been able to sample a Polestar 2 without the trick dampers, we can report that the standard suspension is on the firm side. This might not come as a surprise for those with experience with the current crop of Volvos (Polestar's parent company) since those vehicles also generally have a busy ride. But buyers looking for a cushy experience that you'd typically find in a luxury car might not have their needs met by the Polestar 2. That said, the ride is composed and far from punishing, and does have a sharp handling payoff.
A mix of nicely textured plastics, seat upholstery and trim pieces adorn the interior of the new base trim. The textile seat coverings are quite fetching to look at and feel comfortable once you're fully planted. The only usability concern is that these standard seats have a manual tilt adjustment wheel, which is awkwardly located at the base of the seatback. It's a wheel-type adjuster, and you might have to rotate it several times before you dial in the right position. A household with several drivers might want to select the Plus package to solve this. In addition to imitation leather upholstery, wood trim and a slew of other upgrades, the Plus package includes power-operated front seats.
The Polestar 2's infotainment system is the first on the market to utilize the Android Automotive interface. Developed by Google, the system is more intuitive and snappier than the older interface found in most modern Volvos. There's no integration with Apple CarPlay yet, but wireless compatibility is in the works and should be deployed by year's end.
No new EV would be complete without a set of driving aids. Unfortunately, many of the advanced safety systems that came on last year's fully loaded Polestar 2 are optional for the new base version. Every model comes with forward collision with automatic braking and lane keeping assist. If you want blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control or rear automatic braking, you'll have to pony up for the $3,200 Pilot package. It's unfortunate that you have to pay extra for these increasingly commonplace features.
The Polestar 2 was already one of our favorite luxury EVs, and a new, more attractive price point means that a wider selection of people will get to experience it too.