From £44,950
Sensing déjà vu? Yes, the 2 is back on our fleet, but now a much different prospect

Why we’re running it: A switch from FWD to RWD brings better range, efficiency and drivability – but what about everyday appeal?

Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Polestar 2: Month 1

Welcoming the Polestar 2 to the fleet - 29 May 2024

Sometimes in this job, we go on drives in cars that we don't end up writing about because we've told you everything you need to know about it already.

I had one such drive late last year in a Polestar 2 - a car then recently facelifted and a few weeks earlier subjected to a full Autocar road test. I had some time in it before a flight home following the inaugural Polestar Day in Los Angeles, where the Swedish electric car maker unveiled its future model plans and strategy.

What I had thought would be a chance to fill my knowledge bank and to catch up with my road test colleagues turned into one of the most memorable drives that I had all year - and not just for the rather lovely Californian autumn sun and scenery.

The 2 was as little as I remembered. Pre-facelift, this 4.6m-long fastback was likeable but not an automatic choice in a market ever expanding with choice. While a creditable first effort, it wasn't outstanding and felt alternative in its positioning and execution.

Its mid-life facelift brought with it most of the customary changes, like some updated visuals and extra kit, along with the 'usual' for EVs of more range and improved battery and motor technology.


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Major technical change in mid-life gives Polestar’s breakthrough EV longer range and better performance

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Yet it also brought with it a switch from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive - something practically unheard of but which we might yet see more of in the future, as such changes are now very much technically feasible in the electric era.

The 2 felt much more substantial as a result, with better rolling refinement, driver engagement and acceleration.

The switch to rear-wheel drive had obvious dynamic benefits but was mainly done to boost efficiency at a steady cruise (more mass is over the back axle now, so more torque is being used for forward motion), and the pre-facelift 2's real-world range of 200 or so miles became closer to 270 miles when we road tested it.

A 2 is now back with us for an extended stay, and after my memorable first experience, I'm excited and delighted to be running it. We've had a 2 on our fleet before: Matt Prior ran a range-topping Long Range Dual Motor with the Performance Pack, complete with the fancy Öhlins dampers that you need a spanner to adjust.

This time, we've got a Long Range Single Motor, which feels like the sweet spot in the range. There's just one model below it, the Standard Range Single Motor, with a 69kWh battery instead of an 82kWh one and a 268bhp motor instead of a 295bhp one.

The Dual Motor version remains in the line-up as well, featuring the 82kWh battery. It has 416bhp as standard or 469bhp if you add the Performance Pack, which retains those Ohlins dampers.

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I am keen to see how that top-rung model has evolved at some point over the next few months and will make sure I pop over to Prior's to borrow his spanner and see what he thinks of the progress made.

As is typical with new cars these days, options are grouped into packages. Two are offered - Pilot and Plus - and my test car has both. The former features all the assisted driving technology and costs £2000 on top of the base car's £48,950.

The latter costs £4000 and includes quite a few bits, from what's fast proving to be essential on EVs, such as a heat pump, to the added theatre of a panoramic roof and a Harman Kardon premium sound system, to clever features like the lid-in-lid' pop-up bag holder in the boot, which stops things sliding around.

The colour of our 2 is as nice as I've seen in the metal on any car for a long time. It's called Jupiter and costs £900. The interior trim looks great and feels good too, and for the record is called Slate Weavetech with Black Ash deco by Polestar.

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One question that has remained pre- and post-facelift concerns the 2's ride, which is firm. This again was shown in our road test on 20in wheels, but this car has 195, and so far the ride is better than I remember it being. That back-to-back comparison with the range-topper will be revealing for more than one reason, then.

One big part of the appeal of the 2 is its range, or more precisely its efficiency. The official range is a remarkable 406 miles, which as ever should be taken with a pinch of salt, yet in early testing I'm routinely passing the magic 300-mile barrier and pushing 330 miles on occasion.

This is a car with huge visual appeal inside and out and, my early experiences suggest, increased levels of driver appeal and even better efficiency.

I was apprehensive the day the 2 arrived for fear of it not being as good or as memorable in a soggy British spring as it was in a glorious Californian autumn, but it has already put those worries to bed.

Second Opinion

I thought the updated 2 was great when I first drove it: fast, frugal and pretty cool looking. Then I sat in the back of it and thought it was less great. I’m really interested to see if Mark’s rear-seat passengers find sitting virtually on the rear axle as grating and as nausea-inducing as I did, or if I was just being a typically fussy road tester.

Murray Scullion

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Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor specification

Specs: Price New £48,950 Price as tested £55,850 Options Plus Package £4000, Pilot Package £2000, Jupiter paint £900

Test Data: Engine Single front-mounted electric motor Power 268bhpbhp Torque 316lb ft Kerb weight 2490kg Top speed 99mph 0-62mph 7.4sec Fuel economy 4.2mpkWh (WLTP) CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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LP in Brighton 24 June 2024

The explanation (more torque for forward motion?) about why the rear drive layout is more efficient than fwd doesn't make any sense to me, maybe there are other factors involved. I can see some advantages in ride and handling and steering to be gained by rear drive against which it's probably a disadvantage in terms of energy recovery due to the effect of braking applied to the rear wheels threatening stability. 

Either way, manufacturers seem evenly split on front v rear drive when it comes to mid size EVs. 

xxxx 24 June 2024

Should have had a Volvo badge, end of.