Sweden's Polestar 2 squares up to Silicon Valley

By Rory FH Smith | 01 Mar 2021 | Design, Speed

This state-of-the-art 100% electric car is making waves in the automotive industry

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Until now, Elon Musk has had it easy. When the electric car baron launched the Model S in 2013, Musk enjoyed a good five years occupying the luxury electric car market without even a sniff of competition. Although the Model S was a watershed moment for EVs when it first arrived on the scene, competitors have caught up and now the tech boss finds himself fighting off challengers, hungry for a slice of his market share. Enter the latest contender, the Polestar 2. 

Never heard of it? We don't blame you. The four-year-old Swedish startup is an offshoot of its sister company Volvo and, at a glance, you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference between the Scandinavian sisters, save for the badge. But all that might be about to change. With Governments piling pressure on carmakers in a bid to reduce the number of combustion-engined cars being created, brands like Polestar are fast becoming the darlings of the electric vehicle era, providing a stylish solution to modern-day mobility. 

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Polestar's refreshingly simple approach to naming makes clear that the Polestar 2 is not the first car from the Swedish startup. Back in 2017, the marque burst onto the scene with the - yep, you guessed it - the Polestar 1. The sleek plug-in hybrid two-door sports tourer harked back to the Scandi-chic aesthetic of the Volvo P1800, made famous after it's starring role in the 1960s series The Saint alongside Bond smoothie Roger Moore. But, while the £140,000 Polestar 1 was designed to make headlines, the Polestar 2 is a more serious proposition. Designed for the mass market, it's the first fully-electric car from Polestar and is family-sized with four doors, five seats and a front and back boot thanks to its electric underpinnings. 

With it's raised ride height and Tonka toy aesthetic, you could be forgiven for thinking the Polestar 2 was designed to join the legions of SUVs being produced but former Volvo design boss and Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath argues otherwise. "It's not an SUV for sure, especially as there are so many around," he insists. "It has all the goodies of an SUV - you sit higher, you have a good overview and then the combination of the body that sits on top, which is this fastback, dynamic and powerful machine...this combination makes it a very intriguing package." 

"We are really making a big effort here to save the world from the SUV - there are so many around, why would you do another one?" says Ingenlath with a smile. Despite the marque's plans for the Polestar 3 to be its first SUV, Ingenlath and his team are resisting the urge to make all of their cars resemble off-roaders. 

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Priced from £46,000, the Polestar 2 sits neatly in the sights of Musk's popular mass-market Model 3, which hit the road back in 2017. Like other EVs, the Polestar 2 comes with two motors - one on each axel - and a 78kWh battery pack, which is enough to give it 292 miles or range. An extra £5,000 will get you the Performance Pack, which adds adjustable Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, 20-inch rims and gold trim on the seatbelts and brake calipers, just so people know you went the extra mile, so to speak. Regardless of the Performance Pack, the car's acceleration is unchanged, with the 2 sprinting from 0-60mph in a very respectable 4.7sec, and on to a top speed of 127mph. As a family car, the Polestar 2 has all the performance you're going to need. While it lacks the sheer lunacy of Tesla's acceleration, the 2 is more than capable of creeping around the city in near silence or picking up the pace on a cross-country dash. Just be sure to keep an eye on the battery level, of course.

While the Polestar 2 rides close on Tesla's coattails in terms of performance and price, it's the design of it that makes the Scandi candidate stand proud of the competition. With one of the most beautifully crafted interiors in its class, the Polestar 2 is as handsome and well thought through on the inside as it is on the out. For a sub-£50,000 electric saloon, there's not much that comes close and it's a very promising start for a company that's only been making production cars since 2017. With more cars on the way from the Swedish marque, Polestar's future looks very bright indeed. Watch out Silicon Valley, the Scandis sure can pack a punch.