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Luxury hybrids offer impressive fuel economy, of course, but healthy power from their electric motors can also make them quicker than their gas-powered counterparts. Expect all the luxury trappings, along with better mileage and maybe even more oomph.
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Luxury PHEVs generally aren't focused on maximizing electric range and fuel economy like their mainstream counterparts, instead prioritizing refinement, comfort and, in some cases, lots of extra torque from their electric motors.
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Luxury PHEV SUVs offer improved fuel efficiency and limited all-electric range in refined packages. These premium vehicles don't sacrifice comfort or acceleration to earn their green cred.
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Video reviews2020 Polestar 1: Reviewing Price, Technology, Specs & More
2020 Polestar 1: Reviewing Price, Technology, Specs & More
[MUSIC PLAYING] KURT NIEBUHR: Auto manufacturers know where we are, and they know where we're headed. And the internal combustion engine, although it's had a really good run, and we're in a golden era of it, I think, right now-- it's time is limited. Most manufacturers do realize this, but there's no clear solution forward. There's no one choice. So a lot of them are hedging their bets. They have solutions across a multitude of platforms. Currently, the best option looks like electrification. Hybrids are now so ubiquitous that they've largely lost their fascination. This Polestar 1 aims to bring some of that fascination back. Now, it's a hybrid. It isn't a full EV. But if you look at it as a stepping to the brand and to the company itself, then the car starts to make a little bit more sense. Now, Polestar is moving into the full EV realm. The Polestar 2 is on its way out, and the company showed a Precept concept which is even further away from this hybrid Polestar 1. But this car aims to show that hybrids do not have to be dull or derivative. They can be incredibly stylish, and they can also be fun. So how much does the Polestar cost? Well, it starts at about $155,000, and it really doesn't have a lot of options. You basically have a choice of paint colors, and you have a choice as to whether or not you want the paint to be gloss or a matte finish. Choosing the matte finish sets you back about $5,000. You have three choices of wheels, all of which are zero-cost option, and you have two interior choices. You can get an all-charcoal interior, or like our test car, you can get it outfitted with zinc front seats, which are kind of like an off-white color with the rest of the interior being charcoal. Now, these are fairly exclusive. We've heard that there's a limited run of about 1,500 of these cars being built, and all of them for left-hand-drive markets only. The US has 150 versions a year that are earmarked for it, and we have heard that the first year is sold out. So if you're interested, you should probably contact Polestar right now. So the Polestar 1 is a hybrid. So let's talk about the components that make it a hybrid. Up front is an internal combustion engine, which is 2.0 liters. That is a twin-charged engine, which is really cool because it is supercharged and turbocharged. Now, that engine cranks out 326 horsepower and 384 foot-pounds of torque. That's a lot for a 2-liter engine. Mounted to that 2-liter engine is an integrated starter generator. That just kind of serves as a torque fill at lower RPM. In the back, there are two electric motors on the rear axle. Those combine to make 232 horsepower. The Polestar 1 makes 619 horsepower and 738 foot-pounds of torque-- 738. I love hybrids I love them. Something else that makes the Polestar 1 really unique is the way that it's built. Now, it sits on Volvo's SPA platform, which is a scalable project architecture. It shares that platform with the XC90, the S90, the V90. Those cars all sit on a steel floor pan. But that's where the similarities end because from the floor pan up, the Polestar 1 is CFRP. Everything is-- the bumpers, the hood, the roof, the A pillars, everything. That actually shaves 500 pounds off the weight of the car, compared to if the car had been made with say, aluminum. Using CFRP also increases the torsion rigidity of the structure by 45% over a similar steel structure. As a bonus, the designers really loved how the CFRP structure carried the lines and the creases along the length of the car. Judging by the way the car looks, you can't argue with their decision. So more about the Polestar 1's unique twin-charge setup-- it's in pretty good company. There haven't been a lot of cars that have utilized that setup. But the first one-- the first one-- is probably the best one. It is the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale. Now, that was the road-going version of the legendary Lancia Delta S4 Group B Rally Monster. That's good company to be in. Honorable mention goes to the Nissan March Super Turbo, which was an adorable 930 CCs but still managed to crank out 100 horsepower. Now, in order to be a hybrid, there has to be some electrical componentry involved, and with the Polestar 1, it's got batteries and two electric motors. One of those batteries sits in between the front seats, kind of in the center console area. The second one sits on top of the rear axle. Under that battery pack sit the two electric motors, each with their own planetary gear set. Now, what that means is real-time torque vectoring and across the rear axle. How does that work? I'd rather show you [MUSIC PLAYING] Torque vectoring helps a 5,100-pound car behave like a 3,100-pound car. Ooh, wow. Now, most ESE systems use brake activation to help get a car through a corner, which seems counterintuitive. It's using the brakes to help you go faster. With a torque vectoring system, each wheel on that axle is independently operated. So it can actually slow the inside rear wheel down while speeding up the outside rear wheel, adding speed to make you go faster. This thing just accumulates speed. You don't realize it until you look down, and you're like, oh, yeah, now we're going fast. This is fast. That's very fast. This car-- this car weighs more than an F-150. This is ridiculous. It should not handle this well. SPEAKER 2: Does that make you happy? KURT NIEBUHR: [LAUGHS] I love torque vectoring. Actually, that-- you know what? We need to make a bumper sticker that says, "I heart torque vectoring." It is the future. Another benefit to not using a brake to help you go faster system is that you don't overheat your brakes. Now, Polestar reached out to Akebono. And if you haven't heard of Akebono, they make the brakes from McLaren's Formula 1 car. And these brakes do not fade. These are-- oh, these are massive 6-piston front calipers on 15.7-inch rotors. The back-- 4-piston calipers on 15.4-inch rotors. And they are up to the task. I haven't had them fade at all. Have I mentioned this car's heavy? It's heavy, and these brakes have not faded. This is a good partnership. It's a good partnership. [MUSIC PLAYING] Of all the drive modes, the power mode is where it's at on a road like this. Now, the Polestar 1 doesn't sound very thrilling. It's not that evocative, especially when you consider that it has a supercharger and a turbocharger on it. That should sound really wild. Now, other cars in this class like the Mercedes S Class or BMW M8, for example-- they're packing V8s. Behind their acceleration, there's some real thunder. But this car just emits kind of a pleasing mechanical whirr. It's not bad. It's just not very thrilling, either. Now, speaking of partnerships, Polestar partnered with a Swedish suspension powerhouse. Now, I know how to say their name. It's pronounced "oo-leans." But I know that if I say "oo-leans" through the video, people are going to go, oh, it's spelled Ohlins. You pronounced it wrong. So I'm just going to pronounce it Ohlind. Polestar partnered with Ohlind. Now, that's pretty neat because Ohlind has provided manually adjustable shocks. They give you a wrench and a set of instructions and some graphics under the hood. Why? Well, it's cool. You get to adjust your own shocks. But adjustability can lead to the opportunity to really screw something up. Now, thankfully for everybody, this car comes from the factory with a great setting. Make no mistake about it. The ride is firm, but it still has a fair bit of compliance. And it rounds off bigger bumps and really sharp impacts. The ride feels expensive, and it feels better than a heavy car on air springs would feel. That tends to be a bit ponderous, and it can pound over the road. This car just feels light and on its toes. It is absolutely a performance-oriented GT car. If you think you've seen this interior before, you're right-- this is fairly standard Volvo stuff. It's certainly not going to set the world on fire, but it does an admirable job of fitting in at this price point. As with other Volvos, though, the interface does leave a little bit to be desired. It's a bit clunky and can be not terribly intuitive at times. But upcoming Polestars will use an Android-based system with a completely new interface. The interior is still good, even at this elevated price point. That said, road noise is elevated over what you will get in a competitor's car. Now, that's likely down to the carbon fiber structure and the generous and enormous glass roof. It's far from annoying. A crank of the Bowers & Wilkins audio system does the trick. As an added bonus, visibility here is superb forward, backward, and both sides. Like the interior, if you think you've seen this before, you're right. The Polestar 1 has its roots in the Volvo Coupe concept that debuted in Frankfurt. Now, it's supposed to show the future of Volvo design, but it also contains hints of the classic P1800, especially in the rear flanks. You can also see it in the grille just a bit as well.And with that cut-down greenhouse, I think it looks like the Bertone Coupe, which I really like. The Polestar 1 serves as the introduction to Polestar the manufacturer, not the touring car building, racing, high performance Volvo tuner of the past. But it doesn't define the limits of the brand. The Polestar 2, a full battery EV, is very near to market, and the company's Precept concept pushes that even further with a true commitment to sustainability, both in construction and materials. Think of it as a stepping stone, but an insanely stylish one that strives to make the most of what we have now. I know I'm probably missing the point, but I can't help but wonder what it would be like if it had a V8. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Edmunds expert Kurt Niebuhr reviews Volvo's 2020 Polestar 1. The Polestar 1 is the first vehicle from the Volvo sub-brand introduced for 2020. Kurt focuses on some of the unique elements of the Polestar 1. For one, it's Swedish and highly focused on style and design. Two, it has 619 horsepower. Kurt's review also touches on the Polestar 1's price, 0-60 mph performance, and the special Polestar technologies in addition to other test numbers.
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