What you’re looking at is the most affordable Polestar to date: the single-motor, front-wheel-drive 2022 Polestar 2. Its base price may still cause a doubletake, however, as this “low priced” Polestar 2 starts at $47,200.
To be fair, that’s before federal and state incentives, which can subtract more than $10k from the price, depending on where you live. And that’s because this is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a 78kwh battery and an estimated 270 miles of range.
Still, that’s a lot of money for a hatchback, right? Yes. Definitely yes. But the 2022 Polestar 2 provides genuinely unique styling, plenty of interesting tech, and even a little extra smug for those interesting in filling their I’m-more-of-an-environmentalist-than-you coffers. But first, to see how we got here, let’s take a quick look at the Polestar line-up.
For 2020, Polestar jumped into the automotive market with a splash — a 619 hp, 738 lb.-ft of torque, $156,500, plug-in hybrid, GT-car splash called the Polestar 1. It basically looked like a racy Swedish coupe, which is logical enough as Volvo is the parent company. The Polestar 1 was interesting. And very rare. Even if you had that kind of disposable income, Polestar only sold 150 to the U.S. market every year. And after three years, the Polestar 1 was done.
Last year, the brand expanded, adding a five-door, fastback, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive BEV producing a total of 408 hp and 487 lb.-ft. of torque called the Polestar 2. It also looks very Volvo. You could argue that this is the first real car from the fledgling brand. The 2 lobbed a cool $100k off the price of the 1 but still required at least $51,200 to leave your pocket before government incentives kicked in.
2022 Polestar 2 Review
Now, further expansion comes from retraction. This new 2022 Polestar 2 variant loses the rear axle-mounted electric motor. And, as a result, loses 262 lbs. of curb weight but gains a more palatable starting price and more than 20 miles to the estimated range for a total of 270 miles. That’s a number that really subdues range anxiety as even a full discharge is easily replenished after 8 hours on a 240-volt charger. What’s more, the Polestar 2 can swing from 10% to 80% charge in just over 30 minutes on a fast charger.
The battery pack provides energy to a permanent magnet AC motor that produces a peak 231 hp and 243 lb.-ft. of torque. Put that against the 4,396 lb. curb weight, and you get a weight-to-power ratio of 19.0:1. But because that’s available-most-anytime electric torque, Polestar claims it takes just 7.0 seconds to reach 60 mph from rest.
More importantly, you rarely feel like you are wanting for power. Response from the accelerator is both instant and consistent, which makes passing on a two-lane road or slipping through slow-moving interstate traffic all-day easy. The only time it’s a touch underwhelming is when you bury your right foot off the line with hopes to get shoved into the seatback. You won’t. Yup, I’m here to officially announce that this is not a drag car.
But it is a very customizable car. With very little effort, you can change the amount of power steering assistance, automatic brake regen (one-pedal-drive), and whether or not the Polestar 2 will creep along like it’s got an automatic transmission. When regen is set to normal, you can decelerate up to 0.3G with your foot fully off the accelerator, which is a rate sufficient for the vast majority of daily driving.
And the car will come to a complete stop. That makes the actual brakes on this car an effective emergency brake because there’s no need to touch them unless things don’t go to plan. If you prefer, you can instead set one pedal drive to low, or turn it off altogether, and have a more traditional driving feel. The Polestar 2 will still use the motor as a generator to help you stop, but only when you press the brake pedal.
Easy-to-Use Tech Courtesy of Google
In addition to those adjustments, you can easily turn on or off driver nannies like lane-keeping aid and road sign information. It’s less about having the control to do these things (many cars do) and more of just how easy Polestar makes it.
And that’s because Polestar uses what’s called Android Automotive OS. In other words, above and beyond a center console touchscreen that connects to your Apple or Android smartphone, the whole system is Google. Google is good at making easy-to-use and intuitive interfaces. And this Polestar system is no exception.
You get Google maps, natively, of course, but also the company’s voice-controlled virtual assistant and Google Play which gives you access to media apps. Moreover, you can connect your Google account to the car, which automatically gives you access to all of your personal stuff. Of course, you can still connect via your phone.
Android Automotive OS is standard equipment, as is the vertically mounted 11.2-inch center console touchscreen, a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, and a slew of USB ports sprinkled throughout the cabin. You also get two-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and plenty of safety systems like collision avoidance, driver alert, and nine airbags.
Polestar Plus Pack Perks
My test car, however, had the Plus Pack, which costs an additional $4,000, and adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, panoramic glass roof, and a heat pump among other things.
That heat pump is important for folks in more northern climates, as it transfers excess heat from the battery pack system into the cabin, reducing the energy needed to keep things warm inside. Think of it as a cold-weather range extender. Or perhaps a cold-weather range anxiety mitigator.
2022 Polestar 2: Good Fun But Not For Everyone
Hot or cold, you also get a machine that’s good fun to drive. The 1,100 lb. battery pack certainly makes the 2022 Polestar 2 heavy, but also keeps the center of gravity quite low. Despite providing an entirely comfortable ride, the strut front and multilink rear independent suspension maintain good body control, even when you heave it into a corner with a bit of gusto.
If you find yourself on a set of curvy roads, you can definitely play around in this car. This is where having adjustable steering effort helps tremendously. Unfortunately, heavier steering doesn’t improve the lack of steering feel. In this Polestar, you have noticeably less than, say, a Volkswagen GTI. But it’s still easy enough to feel the car’s limits in general and hear the occasional squealing tire.
Okay, we’ve covered cool tech and unique styling, what about the free smug? That comes courtesy of a vegan interior. Standard on the Polestar 2 is an interior free of animal products. Furthermore, Polestar claims that much of the interior is made from recycled materials. And, even beyond that, Polestar claims that by using “modular assembly techniques,” the car is more recyclable at the end of its useful life. Take that, you “be part of the solution” Prius owners!
Is the 2022 Polestar 2 for everyone? Not at all. But it is a clever alternative to what other manufacturers build. And, at least with this lower price variant, it may be for more people than ever before.
To learn more, you can check Polestar’s website.