2022 Polestar 2

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2022 Polestar 2 Test Drive Review: The Great Contender

by Jake Lingeman

Previously the racing arm of Swedish automaker Volvo, Polestar has earned a reputation for tuning cars and as an EV-developer in its own right. Now boasting its own lineup in the USA, including the new Polestar 2, there's loads of value to be had from the liftback-styled sedan. While the Polestar 2 is rather restrained in appearance, buyers can have upwards of 400 horsepower to play with when opting for the dual-motor AWD setup. An entry-level single-motor model with 231 hp is also available for the first time at a much more reasonable price. Both are a delight to spend time in, and offer one-pedal driving, which the driver may enjoy more than the passengers - but we'll get to that shortly.

It competes with several new players in the premium compact EV segment including the Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6, and BMW i4. What the Polestar 2 loses in the looks department, it makes up for with impressive technology and neck-snapping acceleration in the case of the dual-motor model.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2022 Polestar 2 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2021 Polestar 2?

For the 2022 model year, the Polestar 2 is much more attainable than before. There's a new single-motor variant with front-wheel drive with pricing starting at $45,900. Also coming in at under $50,000 is the more powerful dual-motor model with all-wheel drive, making it around $10,000 cheaper than last year's Launch Edition. This dual-motor model is essentially a less luxurious version of the discontinued Launch Edition, doing away with fancy extras like the glass roof for a metal one. The new entry-level model has a 270-mile range and produces 231 horsepower.

Other smaller changes to the lineu include a new gloss black Polestar logo on the steering wheel, while the optional Plus Pack gets a mechanical heat pump that reduces battery drain to heat the cabin, thereby improving range. The dual-motor model's range has now increased from 233 miles last year to 249 miles this year, thanks to controller software improvements.

Pros and Cons

  • Much lower starting price
  • New single-motor model improves range
  • Clean, modern design
  • One of the safest cars on the road
  • Clever infotainment system
  • Base Tesla Model 3 is faster and cheaper
  • Model 3 Long Range has a much better range
  • Not the most comfortable ride
  • Single motor is a bit tardy off the mark

What's the Price of the 2022 Polestar 2?

Polestar 2 prices work out cheaper than the Tesla Model 3 once the federal tax credit is taken into account. The Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor model begins at an MSRP of $45,900. The Long Range Dual Motor variant begins at $49,900. These prices exclude a destination charge of $1,300, potential incentives, tax, licensing, and registration. The Polestar 2 qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, making it more affordable than the Tesla Model 3. New Teslas no longer qualify for this tax credit. By comparison, the Model 3 starts at $44,990 for the base RWD model and increases to $50,990 for the Long Range.

The cost of the Polestar 2 can increase to over $70,000 in the USA if you tick enough option boxes.

Best Deals on 2022 Polestar 2

2022 Polestar 2 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Single Motor
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Dual Motor
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Polestar 2 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Let's start with the one-pedal driving. The Polestar 2 has several modes for automatic braking regeneration, including 'off'. But we like the one-pedal driving feel, not just to save the brakes, which will get old before they wear out, but also to recapture as much energy as possible. Like many of these EVs, it's fun to make a game out of snapping off the throttle pedal an eighth of a mile from the stoplight to see if it can be timed perfectly. Our only complaint here is that it feels a little more jerky for passengers, with one of ours getting a little queasy with the hard acceleration and snappy regen.

The Polestar 2 keeps its batteries down low in the chassis, which means it handles way better than an equivalent gas-engine vehicle thanks to its super low center of gravity. Around interchanges and switchbacks, it will stick to the inside of the corner easily, leaving you to hold on tightly as the g-forces pull you sideways. Changes of direction are just as sickeningly quick.

The Polestar 2 has a MacPherson front suspension system and multi-link rear setup. That, combined with reasonably sized wheels and tires (get the taller ones), make for a comfortable ride even over broken pavement. The AWD model would be a blast in the winter, though we would suggest some dedicated snow tires because of all the power.

A Sport/ESC mode can be selected through the touchscreen, which turns all the power to maximum and adds a little more effort to the steering. We didn't use it much considering the Polestar 2 already feels high-strung without adding any extra code to turn up the wick.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Polestar 2 A Good car?

The Polestar 2 is an EV for the everyman - those who need a good amount of utility and economy, if not much style. The Kia EV6 is better looking, as is the BMW i4, in our opinion. The Tesla Model 3 could go either way (the Kia and Tesla are competitive on price, and the BMW is about 10 grand extra).

We'd also suggest you get your kids or grandkids to get all the tech set up. It took us a few hours, and we're used to trying out new systems. Someone moving to this from a legacy vehicle will certainly feel the teething pains of learning something new. However, like many of these modern vehicles, not just EVs, there's so much more useful capability that it would be a shame not to learn it well.

The fun-to-drive quotient is high, especially with the dual-motor setup and low center of gravity, despite the above-average ride height. The cars that can take this liftback sedan off the line are few and far between, which means it can move around traffic like it's standing still. Would we pick this over the EV6 or i4? Probably not, but we wouldn't condemn anyone who did, and it's a personal choice. Another member of the CarBuzz team might, and it shows how good the Polestar 2 is.

What Polestar 2 Model Should I Buy?

The main choice with the Polestar 2 is whether you want the dual-motor or single-motor powertrain. As much as we love the extra thrust, the 231-hp version is the one to get here. Range is better and it still feels quicker than most cars you've probably driven, thanks to instantaneous torque. And front-wheel drive is fine for the winter, though special tires help immensely.

With only a few option packs available, there isn't too much to change up in terms of customization. The Plus Pack adds the new heat pump, so we'd suggest that one to maximize range in colder climes. And the Pilot Pack has the driver awareness and assistance features such as a 360-degree camera, so we'd add that too. That brings the price up to around $54,400 including the destination charge, but it slips down to $46,900 after the federal tax credit is applied.

2022 Polestar 2 Comparisons

Tesla Model 3 Tesla
Tesla Model Y Tesla

2022 Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3

This is a much closer battle now that Polestar has expanded its lineup. At the bottom of the respective ranges, the single-motor FWD Polestar 2 takes on the RWD Model 3 Standard Range Plus. The Tesla starts at $44,990, and the Polestar at $45,900, but the Swedish car qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit. The base Tesla is much quicker but has a range that's shorter by three miles. Comparing the Model 3 Long Range sedan with the dual-motor Polestar 2's spec sheet, the Tesla is way ahead in terms of range. We think that Polestar has crafted a nicer cabin, and its rear luggage area is a bit bigger. It's also going to be a more unique sight on the road. However, the Model 3 is a little better to drive, especially the base RWD when measured against the heavier, FWD Polestar. This is a tantalizingly close battle, but for now, we think the Model 3 lineup still has the edge.

See Tesla Model 3 Review

2022 Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model Y

The Polestar 2 has another Tesla rival to contend with. However, there's no Standard Range version of the Model Y so it starts at a much pricier $58,990. For that outlay, you get a 318-mile range and a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds. If you can live with the Polestar 2 dual motor's shorter range, it's both cheaper and quicker. However, the Model Y is a proper crossover and boasts far more overall cargo space than the Polestar, so it's the easy choice if that matters to you. Polestar's infotainment system is a bit easier to use, and its cabin isn't as stark as the one in the Tesla. Tesla's build quality issues are hardly a secret at this point, which isn't an issue you're likely to encounter with the Polestar 2 since it's a Volvo product. It's another close call, but this time we'll take the Polestar for its nicer interior, uniqueness, and much more appealing price tag.

See Tesla Model Y Review
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