If you thought the Pole Star was a celestial body zipping around the earth’s rotational axis, you’d be right. For you astronomer-types, you’d know it as Polaris. Or maybe the North Star.
But for us automotive aficionados, there’s Polestar, the new disrupter electric car brand that’s fast-becoming something of a shining star in the car world.
It’s part of the Chinese Geely automotive giant that owns Volvo and has been building the Polestar 2 since 2021 as a head-to-head rival to Tesla’s Model 3.
Two Polestar 2 models are currently on offer. There’s the Single motor, front-drive version starting at $48,400, and the Dual motor that kicks off at $51,900, or around $60,000 very nicely loaded.
As I’d never driven a Polestar, I wrangled the keys to one the latest 2023 Polestar Dual motor models from Polestar’s brand new “Space”—that’s Polestar-speak for dealership—in Tampa. It joins existing Polestar spaces in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Naples.
See it in the metal and this is one cool-looking ride. It’s a sort of cross between a four-door sedan, sporty hatchback, and compact SUV. Size wise, it’s around three inches shorter than a Tesla Model 3.
It’s loosely based on the body structure and electrics of Volvo’s XC40 Recharge SUV and C40 Recharge sedan models, but the design is all Polestar.
I love the high waist, swoopy roofline, long hood, and angular front end with some very cool lighting. Love, too, those diamond-cut 20-inch alloys with gold-painted Brembo brakes.
As the name suggests, the Dual motor Polestar 2 has beefy electric motors on both axles to deliver all-wheel drive. Juiced by a 75kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the floor, there’s an impressive 402 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque on tap.
Step on the “gas” and, typical of today’s electric cars, the Polestar 2 punches away from standstill like a rock out of a catapult. Click the stopwatch and you’ll see 0-to-60mph acceleration in an impressive 4.5 seconds. That’s fast.
Want more giddy-up? You can get a performance software update that will up the combined power to 476-hp with 502 lb-ft of torque, taking 0-to-60 sprinting down to 4.2 seconds.
The Single motor version will give you a slightly longer range—270 miles compared to just under 250. But it’s way less fun to drive, packing just 231-hp versus 408. But it does cost $3,500 less. Your choice.
Climb aboard and both Polestars come crammed with some really cool features. Like the keyless entry where you walk up to the car, the doors unlock without touching the key, and it’s ready to drive the second you sit in the seat. No key to insert, no “start” button to press.
And the entire cabin is all minimalist, Scandinavian chic. The seats are covered in what looks and feels like spongy wetsuit neoprene, there’s cool woven cloth on the doors and lovely gray, open-pore wood on the dash. Leather is on the options list, but somehow it doesn’t fit the Polestar 2’s eco-friendly vibe.
Inside, there’s space for five adults, though rear seat knee room is a little tight, as is headroom with that sexy, low roofline. But pop open that high-lifting tailgate and there’s acres of luggage space, even with the back seat in place.
In addition to that slingshot performance, the Polestar cruises serenely and silently, handles like a sports coupe, and is generally just a blast to drive. The only criticism is the rather firm, fidgety ride.
While I was at the Polestar store, I got to slip on a pair of Augmented Reality goggles to take a virtual tour of the upcoming Polestar 3, the brand’s first SUV. It’s arriving in October, priced from $83,900 and will have up to 500-hp and a 300-mile range.
Now that’s really going to be electrifying.