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Scandinavian luxury EV brand uses design appeal and understated dynamism to sell its entry-level model

It’s taken surprisingly little time for the emergent Polestar to transform itself from something of an automotive curio into a contender to be the provider of your next thoroughly mature, zero-emissions, premium-branded family car: and having got there, it’s not hanging around.

The company is now in only its fifth year as an entity in it own right, and didn’t make its first car until 2019. The subject of this road test, the Polestar 2 all-electric crossover hatchback, is really its first volume-selling car, following to market the much rarer-groove Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid performance GT (which was always intended as a low-volume brand-builder).

The Polestar 2 is closely related to Volvo’s own first EV, the XC40 Recharge T8 – except the Polestar is cheaper, lighter and goes further on a charge.

As these words were written the company had fewer than fifty showrooms worldwide in only eighteen countries - and no presence at all in several important European markets. In spite of many of those facts, it produced and sold more than 10,000 cars in 2020; it will hit almost 30,000 units in 2021; and it’s on course to be a near-300,000-annual-volume by 2025. That’s the kind of rapid pace of expansion to make even Tesla blush.

New models will fuel that expansion, of course, and pretty soon – in addition to the Polestar 2 – you’ll be able to buy a mid-sized SUV from the firm in the shape of the Polestar 3, or an all-electric four-door luxury GT called the Polestar 5. If all goes according to plan, the company will be making cars on two continents, and will have doubled its retail footprint and market reach, by 2023 – its rise being built squarely on the planet’s burgeoning desire for luxury electric cars designed, equipped and built in sustainable fashion, with alternative Scandinavian design appeal and at least a modicum of driver appeal at their core.

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For a while, it seems, the 2 hatchback will be the feeder model for all of that, and entry point into the world of Polestar. Having been launched in 2020 in its more headline-making, twin-engined, four-wheel drive form, the car can now be snapped up for a whisker under £40,000, but it’s the middle-sitting option in the model range, the Long Range Single Motor version, going under the microscope here.