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Car reviews - Polestar - 2 - LR DM


Prospective Polestar buyer takes the keys to updated ‘2’, marking a move from turbo-petrol Audi

2 Apr 2024

KNOWING when to make the move to electric is a difficult decision for most.


Understanding how the car will fit within a well-formed lifestyle is a challenge for many, as is finding a model that offers not only the expected creature comforts and range, but also performance and handling traits comparable with their trade-in.


That last point is one that is an interesting sticking point for real-world prospective Polestar buyer (and brother-in-law) Adam Thomas.


Having owned a Subaru WRX and Audi S3 before deciding to ‘switch’, he admits that it’s not only the straight-line performance of electric vehicles that needs to impress, but also their dynamic capabilities – especially in matching the strengths of his former vehicles.


“The WRX and the S3 are agile, predictable, and relatively lightweight compared with most dual-motor electric cars. I didn’t want to lose those traits when making the move to electric,” he admitted.


“But I really like the idea of electric cars. Being able to be independent of the petrol station, using renewable energy to recharge the batteries, that sort of thing makes sense to me.”


In seeing if the Polestar 2 – which since its launch last year has been praised for its vastly improved dynamism – would prove itself against such expectations, Polestar Australia and GoAuto arranged for an extended test drive of the Polestar 2 at the hands of this highly motivated buyer.


“My partner and I have been considering making the switch to an electric vehicle for a little while now, but it has been very difficult to settle on a model that ticks all the boxes. Most of the cars we’ve test driven are either too small and gimmicky, or too big and heavy,” he added.


And while the Polestar 2 isn’t exactly a feather weight of the automotive arena, tipping the scale at 2113kg (kerb) – or 663kg more than Mr Thomas’ Audi S3 – it is a vastly improved prospect when it comes to offering agility and predictability of handling.


It is also a quite efficient vehicle when driven responsibly with an improved range of 22 per cent against its predecessor. It uses nine per cent less energy and charges 34 per cent quicker, thanks to upgrades including a larger battery pack and improved motors.


As tested, the ‘rear-biased’ all-wheel drive Long Range Dual Motor variant provides a system output of 310kW (+10kW) and 740Nm (+80Nm).


It can hustle from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds and, importantly for Mr Thomas, offers what Polestar says is “vastly improved traction, greater overall efficiency, and higher performance”.


Range is quoted at 591km (+104km) and charging rates at 205kW on a DC fast charger. All Polestar 2 versions feature upgraded lithium-ion batteries with Long Range versions featuring 82kWh / 27-module batteries from CATL.


“The Polestar 2 was my first real-world experience of an electric car, and it’s the strong, masculine exterior design that really drew me towards wanting to test drive one,” he said.


“I found the driving position quite snug – which I liked – it feels like you’re a part of the car. I loved being able to adapt the steering weight to different scenarios and found the firmer setting best for providing a familiar on-road feel.


“There is a sense of connection with the road I don’t think I was expecting. I also wasn’t expecting to like technology touches like the lack of a starter button or the one-pedal driving mode, but it takes no time to get used to these, really.


“It was also interesting to experiment with the amount of braking regeneration you can achieve and how this benefits the driving experience – and the range of the Polestar 2. I’ve also got to say how much I enjoyed the acceleration and the instantaneous torque available.


“It’s a great car to drive. Very different to my Audi S3, but in many ways, better. I really didn’t think I’d find it as enjoyable and playful as it is.”


The MY24 Polestar 2 line-up further benefits from additional standard equipment and convenience features, including an upgraded front-facing camera and mid-range radar system, blind-spot information system with steering support, cross-traffic alert with brake support, and rear collision warning and mitigation, along with the 360-degree surround view camera and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.


In experiencing many of those technologies for the first time, Mr Thomas said he was impressed by the cooperative manner the systems functioned, finding issue only with the position of some of the Polestar 2’s hard buttons.


“The adaptive cruise control works very well. It’s easy to set and is honestly a great benefit when you consider how easy it is to find yourself over the speed limit,” he added.


“The quietness of the car means there isn’t really any cues to tell you that you’ve reached a certain speed (as in the S3) – you need to keep an eye on the speedo, for sure.


“I found that I adapted to most of the controls very well. They’re really very easy to use, and the touchscreen is well laid-out.


“But I wasn’t a fan of the radio control knob – its location directly in front of the gear selector required me to reach over the gear selector in a way I didn’t find entirely natural. I also think it could lead to accidentally touching the gear shift lever when trying to adjust the radio or even use the demister.”


From a packaging standpoint, and coming directly from an Audi S3, Mr Thomas said the Polestar 2 offered the kind of space he was looking for, with both the comfort and design credentials essential for his 54km Melbourne-based daily commute.


Ensuring the vehicle was connected enough to make business calls and to “remain connected without picking up the phone” was also of key importance – attributes the Polestar 2 delivered on with “surprising ease”.


“Overall, it is a very easy car to use in that respect. I’m not sure why, but I thought it would be more complicated,” he explained.


“Even charging the car is relatively simple. I only charged at home with a 240-volt plug, leaving the car overnight to top-up between commutes. This always provided more than enough charge for my daily use, and probably even more.


“The charging rate was displayed clearly on the driver’s screen, so I knew I’d have plenty of charge each morning for my commute. In fact, I reckon I’d only charge it every second or third day once I was more used to it.”


So, now that he’s experienced the Polestar 2 in familiar settings, the only question that remained was, will he buy one?


“Overall, I really love driving the Polestar 2. I can easily see myself replacing my S3 with this as an everyday car. It suits our needs far better than anything else we’ve looked at,” he admitted.


“But we would need to give more consideration and understanding to charging locations and the highway range of the Polestar 2 for those weekend trips to the country.


“There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the car – except perhaps that I could hear the whine of the motors, even up to speeds of 70km/h and over the radio. I thought it would be quieter and wonder if other EV owners experience the same thing.


“Perhaps it’s only jarring because the rest of the car is so quiet.”


As to whether Mr Thomas makes the move to a Polestar 2 is something we’ll need to wait and see…


But with many considering the move to EV, the experience was one we found quite valuable. It showed that the expectations of EV ownership are far less intimidating than the perception.


Coming from a high-performance luxury hatch into what is essentially another high-performance luxury hatch is a move that shouldn’t ‘jar’ against one’s expectations, the only factor outside of cost coming from the need to adapt to a new way of powering a vehicle that otherwise feels familiar – and fun – to live with as you always have.

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