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Car reviews - Polestar - 2


We like
Improved driving dynamics and comfort, a lot more power and torque for all models, better driving range and efficiency, added standard safety technology
Room for improvement
Still a firm ride at times, adaptive cruise control remains an option, second-row space is tight for tall occupants, infotainment screen fiddly at times

Revised rear-wheel drive EV flips the script and sees notable important improvements

25 Aug 2023



TALK about a change of tack! The Polestar 2 has switched from a front-wheel drive, moderately powered and decent-driving-range electric car to a rear-motor, powered up, ultra-long-range EV for the 2024 upgrade.


The single-motor versions of the car have switched from front- to rear-wheel drive because of feedback from consumers who wanted a more “Polestar-style” experience – remember, this brand was a performance marque before it was reintroduced as a purely plug-in player.


Of course, there are price adjustments, with all versions seeing an increase in cost.


But all models also see additional driving range, faster charging capability, and some additional safety technology fitted as standard – now you don’t need to option blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert with braking, and nor is a surround-view camera part of an optional pack.


You will still need to tick the $3500 Pilot Pack box if you want adaptive cruise control, among other items…


The range now kicks off at $67,400 plus on-road costs for the Standard Range Single Motor, a rear-drive version with a 69kWh lithium-ion battery pack now sourced from LG Chem, and it has 58km more EV driving range (now 532km WLTP), and now has 200kW and 490Nm, up from 170kW/330Nm. It can recharge at 135kW on DC now, previously it topped out at 130kW, while 11kW AC charging is possible on all grades.


Above it is the Long Range Single Motor, which commands $4000 more ($71,400 +ORC) but adds 122km of EV driving range for a huge 654km (WLTP) thanks to a new 82kWh battery pack sourced from CATL. It also adds 20kW more power (220kW/490Nm). DC charging capacity is improved, now 205kW.


Up from there is the Long Range Dual Motor, which is $76,400 +ORC, and churns out a huge 310kW and 740Nm, and has 591km of driving range (WLTP).


The model is available with a Performance Pack, which pushes the cost up to $85,400 +ORC, with the power output leaping to 350kW/740Nm, and a 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds (0.3sec faster than the non-performance version). It also gains bigger 20-inch wheels, Ohlins adjustable suspension dampers and plenty more.


The interior hasn’t seen major changes, and as such retains its eco-friendly materials unless you option the Nappa leather trim pack, which is a $6000 add-on, but has been popular in Polestar 2 models to date (almost one-in-five sales in Australia).


It retains the same 11.5-inch portrait style media screen with Google Assistant and online connectivity, including Apple CarPlay, and you can also stream YouTube on the screen when parked, too. A good way to waste time while charging, eh?


Speaking of charging times, Polestar says the 10 – 80 per cent charge time for the Standard Range model is 34 minutes, while the Long Range versions can rapid-charge in 28 mins. The AC 11kW recharge time is stated at 8 hours for Standard Range models, and 7 hours for Long Range versions.


Polestar offers a five-year / unlimited kilometre warranty, with the battery covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty that stipulates at least 70 per cent usable capacity at the end of that period.


Unlike some other EVs, the battery can have single modules repaired or replaced. And there is a five-year free servicing plan, and five years of roadside assistance, too.


Driving impressions

The drive experience is vastly different between the previous single motor model and the new one. I can attest to that as I drove a 2023 Polestar 2 single-motor model to the event and back.


The most notable differences are, clearly, the shift to rear-wheel drive, and the extra power on offer. It is a big, big advancement for this model – so much so, that you would almost swear this was a whole new take on the theme. It drives very differently.


The rear-drive layout means you feel like you are being pushed out of corners when you accelerate, rather than pulled out, and there is considerably better traction and tractability to the acceleration when the surface is damp.


The steering also sees a delightful improvement because the front axle is just doing that job, no longer also trying to put the power down. That results in a more pure and natural driving experience, and honestly, with so much more power and speed on offer, you needn’t consider spending so much more on a high-spec version with all-wheel drive unless you’re a dead-set enthusiast who just must have the fastest one.


And while Polestar says there has not been significant suspension changes for the car, the ride difference between the old FWD version and the new RWD one is notable, because it feels so much more balanced. There is less of the nose-heaviness and lumpy ride quality, with a more supple – but still busy at times – ride, this time around.


The Performance Pack version has seen tweaks to the adjustable suspension settings to make the car drive a bit more… well… comfortably. It was unrelentingly firm in the previous model, but it has a better level of ride compliance and comfort, but still has a firm edge at lower speeds.


It is still a bit hard to see out the back of the Polestar 2 because of its sculpted rear end design, but thankfully those newly standard blind-spot and rear-cross traffic systems work a treat.


All in all, if you’ve driven the old version and thought it wasn’t quite what you’d expected, then go back and try the new one. It is a big improvement on what was already a decent thing.


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