Like it or not, electric vehicles are part of our world today. While I shall never tire of the sweet sounds and scents of internal combustion, a number of forces are converging to make it entirely possible that we shall see the end of the traditional gasoline engine as we know it within our foreseeable lifetimes. We may grasp onto our fuel pumps with our cold, dead hands, but for those who appreciate buying and driving new cars somewhat regularly, we need to get on board with the alternatives.
And maybe sock away something with an engine in a place, far outside the wire, that used to be a farm. You know, something to keep as new, from a better, vanished time.
Anyhow, it’s rather interesting that while most of the auto industry has been veering toward crossovers and SUVs for the past two decades, the most popular electric vehicles by far are, functionally, sedans. While this 2024 Polestar 2 is technically a hatchback, most visual indicators would put this in the sedan category. The Performance Plus package fitted here even makes this a sports sedan, or even a hot hatch. Does this get a charge out of you?
Yes, the Polestar 2 is a Chinese-manufactured vehicle. Looking through lenses both geopolitical and labor-specific, this could be problematic. I know that there are a great many readers who will never consider this or any Chinese-built car for those reasons. But at least for now, it seems as if a great deal of the raw materials going into electric cars are coming from China – so there may be a minor carbon footprint win in assembling the entire car where the batteries are made. That may be a stretch, I’m sure, but there may be an argument to be made in that realm.
Now, if you look at this Polestar 2 through another lens – namely, my Japanese-made Nikon lens used in these photos, there may be another conclusion. It’s very hard to call this an aesthetically-appealing vehicle. The slightly-raised ride height, paired with the high belt line, low roof, and stubby tail are unusual design choices, though Polestar’s sister company Volvo was not often known for (P1800 aside) stunningly beautiful exterior styling. I don’t love the look of the Polestar 2. But after a few days of driving it, the design becomes familiar enough, and while it’s not sexy, it’s serviceable and quickly becomes anonymous.
The interior, too, unsurprisingly reminds of modern Volvos. This is less of a bad thing than the exterior, as the minimalist interior here looks elegant and feels quite good. My tester had the $4000 optional Nappa ventilated leather seats, as soft and as plush as you’d hope for from a nearly seventy thousand dollar car. Not that the price is all that extravagant considering the average price of a new car, really, and if you want a more affordable Polestar 2 you can get into a more basic single-motor rear-drive model for a bit over $50k delivered.
The rear hatch area seems–on paper– a bit cramped at just over 14 cubic feet, but it’s a very usable space, made even better by rear seats that fold. I kinda dig the sturdy folding cargo divider, seen here deployed, which kept a load of lasagna I was delivering to two score hungry high schoolers from sliding about.
The infotainment is all Google based as in most Volvos, but it seems to have improved since the last time I’ve used it. Controls are a bit snappier than I’ve experienced in the past. I still hate that I must use the central touchscreen for basically any HVAC control, however. Tell 12-year-old Chris that one of his biggest gripes about new cars when he’s middle-aged is the lack of buttons, and he’d look at the dashboard of dad’s GM10 Pontiac and laugh you right back into your time machine.
About that price – yeah, sixty-nine grand is a big stack of cash for a compact-to-midsized sedan. Remember, however, that this is the dual-motor variant that gives you extra horsepower over the single-motor (272 to 299 horsepower, depending on battery selected). The dual motor can either be 421hp or 476hp like in my Performance Pack tester. But adding motors and power saps the range, as expected. A single motor variant can handle 320 miles on a single charge, where the standard dual motor is rated for 276 miles. This performance trim steps down even further to 247 miles. But it’s quick and handles incredibly well for what it is. Polestar quotes 40 minutes to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent at 150kW, which seems in line with how the car charged for me at a nearby DC fast charging station.
The adjustable Ohlins dampers on the Performance Pack do a remarkable job of keeping everything planted, though the ride quality does seem to get a bit jiggly when the roads become especially Ohio-like. Oh, and you get yellow seatbelts when you spend the extra cash for the Performance Pack, too.
If I’m buying a 2024 Polestar 2, I’m not choosing the Performance Pack. I don’t even need a dual motor variant, as I don’t need the ability to street-race out of a commuter. A single-motor, long-range Polestar 2 gives me 320 miles of range for about $55,000 once you add the $2000 Pilot Pack which gives you adaptive cruise control and pilot assist (basically, lane centering). That’s an attractive price compared to the established competition. It isn’t sexy. But it does the family commuter thing quite well.
[Images © 2024 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.