OUR collective heads are all over the place at the moment so why not launch a new brand?
Not only do we have myriad marques, model types and specifications to consider but the added complication of whether we choose the familiar diesels and petrols or be brave and sensible and have a long hard look at electrics.
There has been a massive shift towards clean battery-powered electric vehicles (now called BEVs) in recent times helped by the soaring price of crude oil, more affordable car prices and longer ranges.
Scandinavia has always been ahead of the ecology game so it’s no surprise that the new name should come from Sweden and have the support of Volvo.
Welcome Polestar2, a fully electric volume model with more than a hint of Volvo about it. It is a clean cut, high quality, five door fastback and a very appealing alternative to mainstream brands.
The Polestar 2 model range now includes three variants – the long range dual motors with 300 kW, 408hp/660Nm, the long range single motor with 170kW, 231 hp/330Nm and the standard range single motor offering 165kW, 224 hp/330Nm. There are also three option packages – Pilot, Plus and Performance – to keep the choices simple.
Which did I have? Haven’t a clue as I forgot to ask. If I had to guess I’d say the single motor variant and if that’s correct it was more than enough car for me.
With BEVs, range is everything if you are to avoid the anxiety associated with the switch from fossil fuels to electric. Even the entry level model has more than enough performance, power that is so instant and controllable that it makes all internal combustion engines feel sluggish and unrefined. That said, in electrics your speed will seldom exceed 60mph on a long journey as after that point on the speedo it chomps through the battery reserve at an alarming rate.
Drive local and you are care-free enjoying the blistering performance this BEV offers. If you have to travel 75 miles in one direction then you need to pace yourself to ensure you have enough charge to get back. You always do, generally with 30 per cent left in the tank, or should that be cells, it’s just a confidence thing but one that grows quickly the more journeys you make.
Make no bones about it, this is a driver’s car, it’s lovely. Then there’s the optional Performance Pack allowing more enthusiastic drivers to enjoy a heightened experience thanks to manually adjustable Öhlins dual flow valve dampers, four-piston Brembo brakes, forged alloy wheels and Polestar’s signature gold detailing inside and out.
The driving experience is extremely enjoyable, with great performance and excellent dynamics, including brilliant handling, ride and grip, so what you tend to do is avoid the battery-sapping motorways and stay on the twisty stuff. The constant on/off throttle nature of minor roads not only boosts the fun but also recharges the battery, and overall driver is reminded of the real fun motoring can bring, especially with its ‘one pedal’ (hardly any need to brake) nature – and all this in a car that starts at less than 40K.
So, Polestar2 looks smart, modern, classy and from the rear is striking thanks to lights that stretch the full width of the car. It is also fabulous to drive with an attractive price tag.
Inside, things get better and better. Ergonomics fit my frame perfectly and Polstar2 proves to be very comfortable no matter how long I’m behind the wheel. The fascia is dominated by a large touchscreen that is responsible for multiple functions. But it is easy to navigate, even for the most ardent technophobe. The stubby little lever for drive and reverse forms an optical illusion somehow looking like crystal when it is in fact a hole. You also look out the side windows at unusual frameless wing mirrors that are lovely and up through a panoramic glass roof, which is also fab.
Apparently, Polestar 2 is the first car in the world to feature an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android Automotive OS, with Google built-in. Developed in collaboration with Google, with an infotainment system that can be integrated with Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store, owners benefit from the best voice and navigation systems in the world – quite an achievement.
OMG, it even has a vegan interior as standard that will delight a world fast turning against plastic – ooh, that feels sustainable, as does the fact that the company is transparent about life cycle and the true carbon footprint of electric vehicles.
So as we struggle to get our collective heads around the future of automation the Polestar2 makes an awful lot of sense.