First serious replica to the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 2 will land here in a few weeks. A car that seems to have everything in hand to please Quebec customers, who are increasingly adopting the electric car.
For the record, let’s first remember that Polestar is a division of Volvo, two brands that are now under the bosom of the Chinese Geely. Polestar, hitherto known for its contribution in terms of performance on certain Volvo products, is therefore continuing its journey, but this time as a separate brand, offering only electrified vehicles. An SUV called Polestar 3 will soon be added to the range, as well as a large sedan derived from the Precept concept, which would likely target the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan.
For the moment, Polestar is putting a lot of emphasis on the 2, a car that is considerably shorter than the Tesla Model 3, and than all the compact sedans on the market (Civic, Corolla, Jetta, etc.). On the other hand, its raised dress and its SUV-style fender surrounds are somewhat akin to Subaru’s approach with the Crosstrek, while the three-quarter rear design is reminiscent of the late Scion tC.
Its design, to say the least, is also underlined by the presence of a rear hatch, although the dress suggests the appearances of a sedan. 19- or 20-inch rims and a choice of just six colors sum up the elements that make it possible to personalize the car, in addition to those Brembo brakes with yellow painted calipers, offered with the purchase of the performance package.
On board, the presentation is sober, but very well made. This is also an element that distinguishes it from the Tesla Model 3, with which the quality of finish and manufacture leaves much to be desired. Here, everything is meticulously assembled, and often with materials that are very pleasant to the eye and to the touch. Also note that many of these materials are vegan, the carpet being especially designed from recycled plastic bottles.
Of course, we benefit here from Volvo’s expertise in comfort, the seats being exceptionally well sculpted. However, there are certain ergonomic shortcomings. Consider the lack of legroom due to a very wide console, an elbow-level cup holder, and an armrest that, while sliding, is a bit too recessed.
Google to the rescue
The first car in the world to be equipped with a computer operating system developed by Google, the Polestar 2 will clearly appeal to any user of an Android-type mobile device.
The central screen in portrait position integrates various well-known functions, which can be combined with your various Google accounts. Emails, calendars and more could therefore be found there without much constraint. And of course, we also take advantage of the Google Maps application, which brilliantly records your travel habits, showing you the remaining range at your destination and the charging stations adjacent to the route. The Apple CarPlay application is still waiting, which will soon be integrated via an update carried out automatically. An advantage for the buyer who does not want to change his habits, since the operating system implemented is frankly convincing, and very user-friendly.
Interestingly, the central instrumentation, which also involves a digital screen, can also illustrate this navigation map offered by Google Maps. You can thus, and without losing any of the traditional information, have access to navigation, keeping the central screen for music or other functions.
2x 204 = 408
Technically, the Polestar 2 uses the CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform that Geely also uses for several Lynx and Volvo products. Two 204 horsepower electric motors, placed on each axle, are responsible for delivering power to the wheels, powered by a 78 kWh battery. In total, 408 horsepower is available, giving rise to accelerations that border on the exotic. As proof, a time for the exercise of 0-100 km / h announced at 4.4 seconds, equivalent to that of a Tesla Model 3 with long range.
Autonomy. Here is an element for which the Polestar is behind. Because if Tesla announces it at 518 kilometers for its Model 3, Polestar must be satisfied with a meager 375 kilometers (estimated). And again, by performing the calculation based on an energy consumption announced at 22.8 kWh by Polestar, the real range considering the size of the battery would only be 342 kilometers. What’s more, in this test, an average energy consumption recorded at 24.1 kWh would only allow the computer to travel about 310 kilometers on a single charge. A serious handicap compared to Tesla, which nevertheless operates a battery of only 75 kWh.
Now, there is reason to wonder about the importance of such autonomy, in the context of daily use. Because if for some, this is a real irritant, most buyers would see no problem with it.
Good news, the impression of a robust and meticulously assembled car is palpable from the first turns of the wheel. Even on the most dilapidated roads, where multiple creaks would be heard aboard a Tesla, the car gives us a unique experience, conveying a typically Scandinavian feeling. A sensory experience that can be explained by the textures, the arrangement of the various elements, by the seats, but also by a very balanced behavior, coupled with excellent soundproofing. So no, no multiple driving modes or incisive Porsche 911-style steering. Here, a happy blend of liveliness and comfort allow for pleasant and non-stressful driving, even if the available power sometimes makes you want to splurge!
For a sportier ride, the performance package option allows you to get, in addition to Brembo brakes and 20-inch rims, a set of manually adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers. A particular technology since you will probably need the help of a Polestar technician to adjust your parameters. Does this radically change the behavior of the car? Difficult to say for the moment, since we could hardly obtain the reference of a version without being deprived. One thing is certain, the 19-inch wheels offered as standard may be more suitable for the roads of Quebec than the 20 inches, on which the sidewalls of the tires are rather thin.
As with many electric vehicles, the possibility of driving with a pedal is offered. Select the function in this direction to knit tighter in everyday traffic, and then return to regular mode for a highway layout, in order to avoid this small resistance felt in the pedal. A situation which on the motorway could also have a slight impact on the range, just like the 20-inch tires which clearly display greater resistance to the ground.
At Carrefour Laval?
Seduced by this Polestar? Want to know more? The manufacturer then invites you to visit its website or even its boutique which, for the time being, is located at Carrefour Laval. A temporary measure until the official store has a storefront on Boulevard René-Lévesque, in the heart of downtown Montreal.
A curious sales strategy, especially considering that even Tesla is quietly changing its mind with an increase in its facilities. It remains to be seen what the response of customers will be to this car, which, let us underline it, costs $ 5,000 more than a Model 3 with long range. A surprising car, certainly better built and more noble, but which has everything to prove.