2021 Polestar 2

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2021 Polestar 2 Test Drive Review: Simple Sophistication

Billed by Polestar as "a driver's car in any weather," Volvo's in-house tuning department-turned-EV-manufacturer has brought an all-new, all-electric five-door fastback to market in the form of the Polestar 2. The second vehicle from the now-standalone marque, the Polestar 2 boasts an uncluttered design inside and out and a big dose of performance from a 408-horsepower two-motor all-wheel drivetrain with a range of up to 233 miles and a 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds. It's a bold attempt to push the idea of how a car should suit the driver by stripping away nonessentials like a start/stop button and using smartphone connections to prepare things like seat positions and customized infotainment home screens for the approaching driver. The Polestar 2 is also the first car to hit the market with Google Automotive Services built-in, meaning Google is already waiting for you with voice recognition and apps like Google Maps and Music. On paper, it's the perfect practical enthusiasts' car for the 21st century, and we spent a week with it to see if it lives up to expectations. Can Sweden's answer to the Tesla Model 3 deliver?

Read in this review:

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2021 Polestar 2 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Polestar 2?

Polestar's second vehicle is also its first battery EV. The Polestar 2 battery-electric follows in the footsteps of the high-end and much more expensive Polestar 1 hybrid. Built on the same Volvo CMA architecture as the Volvo XC40, this fastback sedan is Polestar's crack at the Tesla Model 3, bringing clean Swedish design, innovative engineering, and practicality to the table as well. The dual-motor Polestar 2 produces 408 horsepower and can reach 60 mph in under five seconds, but it's restricted somewhat by its 233-mile EPA-rated range.

Pros and Cons

  • Rapid acceleration
  • Smart use of sustainable cabin materials
  • User-friendly infotainment interface
  • Unfussy design
  • Excellent crash ratings
  • Does it look special enough?
  • Stiff ride
  • Poor range compared to Model 3
  • Expensive

What's the Price of the Polestar 2?

For now, the pricey Launch Edition is the only model on offer, so Polestar 2 prices begin at an MSRP of $59,900. Pricing excludes tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $1,300. However, the Polestar 2 potentially qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, effectively dropping its price to below that of the Tesla Model 3 Performance. The Polestar 2 will cost even more with the optional Performance package which goes for $5,000.

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2021 Polestar 2 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Launch Edition
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Polestar 2 Trims and Specs

2021 Polestar 2 Exterior

2021 Polestar 2 Front View CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2021 Polestar 2 Exterior Photos


  • Length 181.3 in
  • Wheelbase 107.7 in
  • Height 58.2 in
  • Max Width 73.2 in
  • Front Width 63.1 in
  • Rear Width 63.0 in

Exterior Colors

  • Snow +$1,200
  • Midnight +$1,200
  • Moon +$1,200
  • Thunder +$1,200
  • Magnesium +$1,200
  • Void

2021 Polestar 2 Performance

2021 Polestar 2 Front-End View CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
  • Transmission
    Single Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

It doesn't take long at all to get used to just walking up to the Polestar 2, opening the door, climbing in, touching the brake pedal, putting it in drive, and pulling away without having to hit a start button. It also doesn't take long to get used to the regenerative braking system and perfectly tuned single-pedal driving. It just takes a little practice to become smooth enough for passengers not to realize you're not using the brakes. Throttle responses are sharp but smoothed out perfectly for daily driving, and smooth is a word you'll also be using a lot after driving the Polestar 2.

Mash the throttle pedal into the carpet, though, and the Polestar 2 reminds you of its maker's performance origins. It's searingly, although not violently, quick off the line. Overtaking dawdling traffic is never a problem, as the acceleration is relentless and always on tap, right up to the 127 mph limiter.

Polestar's electric car isn't just a straight line sleeper, though, and despite its weight, it has a wealth of grip to offer through corners and a balance to its handling that makes it more entertaining on a back road than its size and weight suggests. Sport mode eases up the traction control parameters and stiffens the steering, as that's all it needs to do to make the Polestar 2 even more entertaining. The center of gravity is low courtesy of cleverly packaged batteries, and there's little to no body roll; then, once it's ready to exit a corner, the all-wheel-drive Polestar 2 simply hooks up with little drama to hurl itself out the other side. The steering feel is a little synthetic but quickly forgotten about due to its accuracy and the car's balance.

As advertised, Polestar has delivered a driver's car and one that is as confident and purposeful in everyday traffic as it is hustling a back road. However, its core joy is in its simplicity for everyday driving. This is made obvious by the fact that the Performance Pack doesn't vastly improve performance with more power, but rather adds Ohlins Dual Flow Valvedampers and uprated Brembo front brakes, maximizing real-world performance rather than inflating acceleration numbers for the sake of a flex around the BBQ with your friends.

Just as we mentioned the fact that there's no 'ignition' button to get things going, once the driving is over, just selecting Park and leaving the vehicle puts it to sleep. After a week with this level of simplicity, we now have a hint of the joy that early motorists experienced with the invention of the starter motor and button to replace the hand crank.

2021 Polestar 2 Interior

2021 Polestar 2 Front Seats CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Infotainment System CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.2 in
  • Front Head Room 41.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.0 in

2021 Polestar 2 Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Polestar 2 Armrest CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Back Seats CarBuzz
2021 Polestar 2 Trunk Space CarBuzz

2021 Polestar 2 Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Polestar 2 A Good car?

The Polestar 2 is a refreshingly simple car to get into and drive. That doesn't mean it's not a sophisticated car, though. It has a lot of different blends throughout that make it something that will suit those with taste. The build quality is excellent, and the interior is distinctly Scandinavian as a testament to its Volvo roots. Its speed and handling for a heavy car are testaments to Polestar's tuning ability. However, it's not a sports car. What it is is a driver's car that can comfortably accommodate passengers. Above all, the approach taken to reducing unnecessary interaction in day-to-day use is what puts the Polestar 2 over the top as an excellent car. From charging to the infotainment system to just getting in the car and driving away, almost everything has been designed to make it an easy part of daily life. And, it works.

The only drawback we see is the Polestar 2's range when comparing with other models, particularly Tesla's offerings. However, it's worth bearing in mind the reality of how many miles you actually drive. For the average American, the Polestar 2's 233-mile range will mean charging once every five to seven days. The range only becomes an issue for long days out and road trips where some planning is needed. However, like the rest of the car, Polestar has worked hard to make sure there is as little friction as possible there.

What Polestar 2 Model Should I Buy?

With only one model and trim currently available, the choice is a simple one, and we are more than happy with the car without additional options. The standard vegan interior is excellent, but we know the Nappa leather seats with ventilation will be a popular option. We're not sure we could resist the diamond cut black alloy wheels, though, and add $1,200 to the base price.

While the performance package is something we expect from Polestar, it is pure overkill on this model. The Polestar 2 certainly does not need it, and we're more than happy with the balance of performance and comfort out of the box and don't see its demographic as people that will want to adjust their dampers manually. It seems a bit silly for this model, but we hope it's a sign of things to come in Polestar's future.

2021 Polestar 2 Comparisons

Tesla Model 3 Tesla
Tesla Model Y
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Polestar 2231 hp113/100 mpg$48,400
Tesla Model 3 271 hp138/126 mpg$39,990
Tesla Model Y 425 hp127/117 mpg$47,240

2021 Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3

There's no way for the Polestar 2 to escape from the Tesla comparisons, and that battle begins with the strong-selling Model 3 sedan. The Tesla is off to a strong start as the base Standard Range Plus starts at under $40,000, has a range of 263 miles, and can reach 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. That isn't as quick as the Polestar 2, but if it's power you're after, the Model 3 Performance can't be matched; it takes a mere 3.1 seconds to hit 60 and has a much better 315-mile range at a cheaper price. The Polestar does feel like a slightly better handler, though. Both cars have a similar amount of cabin space and a minimalist interior design, but the Polestar 2 feels like it's better screwed together. However, as things stand now, the Model 3 offers more performance and a longer range for less money. It's hard to argue with that.

See Tesla Model 3 Review

2021 Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model Y

As if the Model 3 wasn't enough of a hurdle to overcome, the Polestar 2 also has the Model Y crossover to deal with. The base Model Y Long Range is $10,000 cheaper than the Polestar and nearly as quick to 60 mph, but will travel almost 100 miles further on a full charge. Overall, there's more cargo room in the Model Y and it offers a seven-seat option, but those rearmost seats are cramped even for smaller adults and children. Both vehicles make commutes easy with their instantly available performance, and each offers superb safety standards and a long list of driver aids. They look quite different, so a choice between the two could come down to which one panders more to your personal taste. However, as with the Model 3, the Model Y's far superior range makes life difficult for the pricier Polestar.

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