2020 Polestar 1
- Debut model for the new Volvo-based Polestar brand
- High-performance plug-in hybrid
- Kicks off the first Polestar 1 generation for 2020
Pros & Cons
- Stable and nimble handling
- Comfortable seats and ride quality
- Plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency
- Limited production ensures rarity
- Plain interior design considering the car's price
- Small trunk and rear seats
2020 Polestar 1 Review
The Polestar 1 is a two-door plug-in hybrid coupe. It can run on electric batteries hidden between the front seats and in the trunk, or it can run on a supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood. Or it can run on both. All told, the system cranks out 619 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque and nets an estimated 60 miles of all-electric range too. Polestar will make only 1,500 cars globally over three years. Each vehicle is built and hand-assembled at the company's production facility in Chengdu, China.
The 1 is Polestar's first production vehicle built from the ground up. For years, the brand served as a tuning house, pumping up Volvos such as the S60 and the V90 in the same vein as AMG for Mercedes-Benz or M for BMW. Now an independent manufacturer, Polestar will focus on luxurious, high-performance vehicles with advanced electric powertrains. The Polestar 1 will soon be followed by an electric sedan and crossover.
The Polestar 1 has a total battery capacity of 34 kWh and uses Type 1 and Type 2 charging connectors. Under AC power, there is up to 11 kW of onboard charging available. Polestar says it requires about nine hours to fully charge the battery from empty on a standard 110-volt home outlet, or roughly four hours with a 220-to-240-volt wall unit. There is also DC fast charging, which increases capability to 50 kW and charges the Polestar 1 up to 80% capacity in under an hour.
On top of all that technology is a full carbon-fiber body that increases stiffness and reduces weight. All the weight savings serve to offset the massive heft of the battery packs, allowing the Polestar 1 to unleash its considerable power and carve canyons as well as lighter sports cars.
Overall, we're fond of the 2020 Polestar 1. It's a thoroughly enjoyable and impressive halo car with an unmatched ability to switch between eco-friendly and aggressive thrust for a plug-in hybrid.
Our verdict8.0 / 10
How does it drive?8.5
Handling and daily drivability are commendable. Tight, twisty roads are dispatched with the help of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Even without the electronic aids, the manually adjustable Ohlins suspension delivers exceptional body control and smooths out the road beneath. The steering could stand to be a bit more communicative on the highway.
How comfortable is it?8.5
The climate controls are accessed entirely through the touchscreen menu, which means there's a lag before the system becomes active after starting the car. There is an option to precondition the cabin; once set, it maintains target temps well. There's no vibrations to speak of, but there is a fair amount of road noise on rough textured surfaces. When the roads are a bit smoother, this hybrid is about as quiet as they come.
How’s the interior?8.0
The form-follows-function narrative changes slightly when it comes to the user interface. The Sensus infotainment system plucked from the Volvo parts bin has the aesthetic benefit of a clean, minimalistic design, but it comes with the downside of having to access everything digitally. This means lots of swiping between screens when you're on the move, which can be distracting.
How’s the tech?7.5
Smartphones pair easily via Bluetooth, which allows clear playback for podcasts, phone calls and music using the native system interface. Or you can plug into one of two USB ports to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, which is also standard. The vertical orientation of the touchscreen, though, downsizes the display of those systems a bit.
How’s the storage?6.5
Front-facing car seats or booster seats can be used in back, with car seat anchors relatively easy to access through zippered slits. A rear-facing seat will fit behind the passenger seat if it's adjusted to its front-most position, but it's not really practical. If you're not transporting small humans with you, the rear seats can act as overflow storage, be it for groceries or outerwear.
How economical is it?8.5
The Polestar 1 has a 34-kWh battery that provides an estimated 60 miles of electric range, and based on our observations this range seems realistic. Charging at its maximum 11 kW of AC power will give you a full battery in about 3.5 hours. It is also equipped with DC fast-charging capability that'll get you to an 80% charge in less than an hour.
Is it a good value?8.0
The interior of the Polestar, while luxurious and soundly assembled, looks far less exotic than you'd expect at this price. In fact, it looks like it's from a regular Volvo. That said, this will be a rare car with just 1,500 units produced, and compared to its closest hybrid competition, it's a much better value for the features, performance and practicality.
Basic warranty coverage is pretty standard at four years/50,000 miles, but Polestar covers hybrid and battery components for eight years/100,000 miles (10 years/150,000 miles for California residents).
The Polestar 1 may not blow you away as much as other exotic vehicles with its straight-line speed, partially because it develops power so smoothly, but it changes direction amazingly well. The hybrid system with its torque vectoring, along with the excellent Ohlins suspension, works to make spirited driving effortless yet enjoyable.
Which 1 does Edmunds recommend?
Polestar 1 models
Each Polestar 1 comes standard with a huge range of premium features, from luxury to safety, and there are no packages to tack on. Features include a full-leather interior, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED lighting, keyless entry and ignition, and a Bowers & Wilkins audio system paired with an infotainment system that uses a 12.3-inch touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is also included.
Since this is in no small part a Volvo product, the generous list of safety features should come as no surprise. They include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera and Volvo's Pilot Assist, a suite of features that bundles adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and collision mitigation.
The sole paid option is matte paint, which runs $5,000.
Sponsored cars related to the 1
2020 Polestar 1 video2020 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.
Our experts’ favorite 1 safety features:
- Pilot Assist w/ Adaptive Cruise Control
- Automatically adjusts the car's speed to speed up or slow down to match traffic and keeps the car centered in the lane.
- Blind-Spot Information System
- Illuminates a light in the sideview mirrors if a vehicle is in the Polestar 1's blind spot.
- Collision Mitigation Support
- Can help steer the car to avoid or lessen the chance of a front or rear collision.
Polestar 1 vs. the competition
Polestar 1 vs. Volvo S90
It's no surprise that these two cars look alike since Volvo is Polestar's parent company and they share a lot of parts. In a way, the Polestar 1 is an S90 coupe, though the Polestar is both shorter and wider than the S90. It packs significantly more punch than even the 400-horsepower S90 T8 plug-in hybrid, but it also costs significantly more. Outside of the design, the two cars also share many features and much of the same technology.
Polestar 1 vs. Porsche 911
The 2020 911 is the culmination of decades of tuning and refinement. It doesn't break any new ground, but that doesn't make the car or the driving experience any less special. Both cars are similar in size and offer comparable standard and optional features, so the choice could come down to your desire to be an early adopter or get the best version yet of an iconic sports car.
Polestar 1 vs. Lexus LC 500h
Like the Polestar 1, the LC 500h uses a hybrid powertrain. But the Lexus isn't a plug-in and lacks any significant range for all-electric driving. It's also quite a bit less powerful. The Lexus also lacks all-wheel drive. It's arguably as striking as the Polestar, though it's distinctly Japanese in execution. Both offer a similar array of tech, though the Lexus' infotainment system is notoriously frustrating to use.
Is the Polestar 1 a good car?
What's new in the 2020 Polestar 1?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Polestar 1:
- Debut model for the new Volvo-based Polestar brand
- High-performance plug-in hybrid
- Kicks off the first Polestar 1 generation for 2020
Is the Polestar 1 reliable?
Is the 2020 Polestar 1 a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 Polestar 1?
The least-expensive 2020 Polestar 1 is the 2020 Polestar 1 2dr Coupe AWD (2.0L 4cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $155,000.
Other versions include:
- 2dr Coupe AWD (2.0L 4cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 8A) which starts at $155,000
What are the different models of Polestar 1?
More about the 2020 Polestar 1
2020 Polestar 1 Overview
The 2020 Polestar 1 is offered in the following submodels: 1 Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe AWD (2.0L 4cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 8A).
What do people think of the 2020 Polestar 1?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 Polestar 1 and all its trim types. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2020 1.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 Polestar 1 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 1 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2020 Polestar 1?
Which 2020 Polestar 1s are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2020 Polestar 1 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2020 Polestar 1.
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Why trust Edmunds?
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Should I lease or buy a 2020 Polestar 1?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
Check out Polestar lease specials