Polestar 2 Electric Car Review: A Relaxing Ride from the Future

I loved the Polestar 2 not because it was high-end or because it was a racing machine. Instead, it had a quality that most cars don’t: It was incredibly relaxing.

Polestar 2. Polestar

I’ve driven a lot of electric cars over the last couple of years. Most of them are what we call “compliance cars,” which legacy manufacturers are making because the law—and market pressure from Tesla—is forcing their hands. The result is a lot of competent but uninspired vehicles that car companies, at least in the U.S., are hiding; almost like they’re ashamed of them. 

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And then there’s Polestar. This is an electric badge of Volvo, which itself is mostly owned these days by Geely, a Chinese manufacturer. Polestar is not merely complying; it is actively challenging Tesla for dominance in the electric car field, and making a major push in the U.S. market, with several dozen retail locations nationwide and U.S. production set to begin in South Carolina later this year. 

A couple of weeks ago, I got into the Polestar 2, the company’s flagship all-electric sedan. It was my first time in the Polestar, and it was a revelation. 

Polestar 2. Polestar 2

Most electric vehicles feel like an uninspired rear-guard gambit, playing catchup with the market. The best ones feel like driving a car in the present. But the Polestar gave me a rare glimpse into what it might feel like to drive in the future. It was a feeling only three other cars have ever given me: The Tesla Model S, the BMW i3 and, to some extent, the Ford F150 Lightning. The Polestar 2, to my mind, belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the early days of electric cars alongside those other three. It is a quiet—very quiet—revolution on American shores. 

I recently renewed my driver’s license, which now boasts an expiration date of 2032. That feels like an impossible year from a sci-fi future, but the Polestar 2 felt exactly like 2032; a Black Mirror car without a dark twist. It wasn’t exactly luxurious; the press materials boast an “all vegan interior,” which I suppose is a nice aspiration, with something called “WeaveTech” fabric and recycled wood. But it was comfortable enough. 

It also wasn’t insanely fast. The two electric motors produce 408 horsepower, and go zero to 60 in 4.45 seconds. Twenty years ago, that would have been a sports car. Now, it feels standard. The drive dynamics also weren’t the main draw for me. It rode smoothly enough. 

At the driver’s seat. Stefan Isaksson

I loved the Polestar 2 not because it was high-end or because it was a racing machine. Instead, it had a quality that most cars don’t: It was incredibly relaxing. In an era of absolutely enormous cars, it’s modestly sized, like a human-scaled metal glider on wheels. Everything about the Polestar seems designed to take the guesswork out of a stressful driving experience. 

Its most notable quality, one that I hope I never take for granted, is that it has no on-off button. And I didn’t even realize that at the beginning. When I first sat down in the car, I put it in gear and backed out of my driveway. It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have to start the car. When I arrived at the poker club (I only drive to three places: the poker club, the movie theater and the grocery store), I spent five minutes looking all around the dashboard to find the on-off button. Finally, I had to do a Google search, during which I discovered that there is no on-off button. You just put the car in park. Without the fob, it will not drive away. 

In between, I just cruised, with Sirius XM’s “Chill” station playing on the radio. So many cars are loud, hyperbolic, wasteful and annoying. But the Polestar 2 was pure chill; a float among the pothole-strewn roads of my neighborhood. It’s the first vehicle that approximates what Tesla has been getting at all along. If you want to know what the mid-21st century will look like, get into one, and it might knock your mood of apocalyptic despair down a notch. 

Polestar 2. Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 starts at $59,900. Once you figure in electric tax credits, that’s less than your average Lincoln or Acura. Even if you take on all the upgrades, opting for leather instead of vegan and a “performance pack,” you’re still looking at about $70,000 out the door. If I had the money—and even if I didn’t—I would think hard about getting a Polestar of my very own. Suddenly, when I think about the future, I feel very relaxed. 

Polestar 2 Electric Car Review: A Relaxing Ride from the Future