– Denver, Colorado
Since its launch in 2020 more than 150,000 units of the Polestar 2 have been delivered globally, no small feat for the Geely-run startup brand that began its life as a Volvo racing partner. When the 2 first debuted its performance and features were certainly compelling, and yearly updates have kept it fresh against increasingly strong competition. For 2024 the Polestar 2 is getting its first real refresh – the brand refrains from calling it a facelift – with the compact EV receiving upgraded powertrains, styling tweaks, and more tech.
The biggest visual change is the new SmartZone panel in place of the blocky grille. First seen on the Polestar 3 SUV, the updated Polestar 2 has a body-colored piece that houses the front camera, mid-range radar and other sensors, with a label calling out the radar similar to the stickers on the 2’s doors. Other than the SmartZone nose and a redesigned 20-inch wheel option, the Polestar 2 looks exactly the same as last year. Fine by me, as the 2’s design is still handsome and sharp.
|Quick Specs||2024 Polestar 2 Dual Motor w/Performance Pack|
|Motor||Two Permanent Magnet Synchronous|
|Output||455 Horsepower / 546 Pound-Feet|
|Base Price||$49,900 + $1,400 Destination|
Gallery: 2024 Polestar 2 First Drive Review
Right Wheel Drive
All the juicy changes are under the skin. Like the Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge models with which the Polestar 2 shares a platform, the Single Motor version of the 2 is now rear-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive. It has a new, larger electric motor, and there are new inverters as well. The Single Motor 2 now makes 299 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, up from 231 hp and 243 lb-ft, and it’ll go from 0-to-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, an improvement of 1.1 seconds over the old front-drive Single Motor model.
The Single Motor 2 also gets a new battery pack with a capacity of 82.0 kilowatt hours, increased from 78.0 kWh in the outgoing version. Charging speed has been boosted from 155 kilowatts to 205 kW, which means the 2 can now be charged from 10 to 80 percent in 28 minutes, a little quicker than before. Thanks to the more efficient motor and bigger battery, the Single Motor 2 now has an EPA range of up to 320 miles, an impressive 50 miles better than the old car.
Upgrades to the all-wheel-drive Dual Motor 2 are more minimal. It keeps the old front motor and 78.0 kWh battery pack (with its 155-kW charge speed), but it’s fitted with the same larger rear motor as the base car, so power has been increased from 408 hp and 467 lb-ft to 421 hp and 546 lb-ft. That means a 4.3-second 0-to-60-mph time, 0.2 second quicker than before. Opt for the Performance Pack and you get 455 hp, bringing the 0-to-60 down to 4.1 seconds. Range for the Dual Motor 2 is 276 miles, 16 miles better than before, though with the Performance Pack range goes down to 247 miles.
Curiously, even with the updates that's still less horsepower than what you could get before. Back in December Polestar released a $1,195 OTA update that gave Dual Motor cars 476 hp and 502 lb-ft and a 4.2-second 0-to-60 time, which matched the limited-run BST Edition 270 and Edition 230.
The Single Motor 2's enhanced speed is immediately noticeable from behind the wheel. It's a few tenths quicker to 60 mph than the BMW i4 eDrive40 and more than half a second quicker than a base Tesla Model 3, with a satisfying gut-punch of instant torque off the line. Even better is the mid-range acceleration, which feels rapid at highway passing speeds. The regenerative brakes are so strong with one-pedal driving enabled that I rarely have to touch the pedal, though you can put the regen on a low setting or turn it off completely.
You can toggle between three different steering settings, each increasing the firmness and weight; I prefer the heaviest setting. There’s a good amount of feedback from the steering wheel and it’s easy to make minor corrections without any twitchiness. The rear-drive 2 has a 48/52 weight distribution, and the heavy battery pack lends it a low center of gravity. The ride is firm without being stiff, with minimal body roll in corners. There’s also a lot less understeer than before, and the rear-drive 2 is easier to rotate. While not an outright performance car, the Single Motor Polestar 2 is a blast to drive on a good road.
An ESC Sport mode lessens the stability control’s input, allowing for more playful handling. Stability control can’t be completely switched off, nor can traction control, but I don’t know why you’d want to anyway. It is disappointing that there’s no performance tire option for the Single Motor 2 – whether you choose the base 19-inch wheels or the optional 20s, you get Michelin Primacy all-season tires that are great for efficiency but not for grip or fun. The rear-drive 2 is already one of the most enjoyable EVs to drive, and with a nice set of summer tires it would be even better.
While not an outright performance car, the Single Motor Polestar 2 is a blast to drive on a good road.
Hopping into the Dual Motor 2 is less revelatory. With the $5,500 Performance Pack equipped the 2 certainly feels mighty quick, though it would be tough to notice a difference compared to last year’s model without driving them back-to-back. Otherwise the Dual Motor 2 drives the same as before, which is no bad thing. But the manually adjustable Öhlins dampers of the Performance Pack remain unnecessary, as they give the car a too-harsh ride without enough of a performance benefit. The Brembo brakes are similarly pointless, as the AWD 2’s regenerative braking is even stronger.
The Dual Motor 2 weighs just 218 pounds more than the rear-drive car, and it has a 50/50 weight distribution. The all-wheel-drive system has a rear bias and automatically adjusts how much torque is going to each axle, and the front motor can disconnect for better efficiency. Handling is predictable but still fun, and it’s easy to get into the groove and drive quickly on a good mountain road. Put ESC Sport mode on and you can kick the Dual Motor’s tail out, likely thanks to the Performance Pack’s 20-inch Continental SportContact 6 summer tires.
Don't Fix What Isn't Broken
Only the smallest of trim changes have been made to the 2’s interior, which remains stylish and very well-built but also a bit cramped and ergonomically compromised, especially when it comes to storage space. The tall center console has wraparound wood trim and a couple of hard controls plus the cool geometric shifter, and the dash features a cool woven material that’s also found on the door panels. But there’s only one tiny, annoyingly placed cupholder that’s always exposed, while the second is under the center armrest, taking up much of the already tight cubby. But the Polestar 2’s seats are seriously comfortable, and outward visibility is pretty good despite the thick pillars.
Every Polestar 2 gets a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and an 11.0-inch vertically oriented touchscreen. Polestar has made major improvements to its Android Automotive-based infotainment system – Apple CarPlay capability being one of the biggest additions – and it remains one of my favorite setups to use. The menus are simple and easy to navigate, and the graphics and animations look great. Cargo space both in the frunk and under the hatchback rear is the same no matter which motor setup you pick.
Now standard on every Polestar 2 are a wireless phone charger and auto-dimming side mirrors, which used to be part of the Plus package, and a 360-degree camera and parking sensors, cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring with steering assist, which were all part of the Pilot package. The $2,000 Pilot pack is $1,400 cheaper than before (and standard on Dual Motor cars), adding LED fog lights and Polestar’s Pilot Assist suite of driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control with steering assist and lane centering. The Plus pack is $2,200 for both models ($2,000 less than last year) and adds ambient interior lighting, power front seats with memory, a Harman Kardon sound system, a panoramic sunroof, a heat pump, WeaveTech seat upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and heated wiper blades. Nappa leather with ventilated front seats remains a $4,000 option.
The rear-drive Polestar 2 starts at $51,300 including a $1,400 destination charge, an increase of $500 over last year, while the Dual Motor 2 costs $55,700 including destination, $2,400 more than last year. That’s cheaper than both rear-wheel-drive versions of the BMW i4, though the only rear-drive Tesla Model 3 undercuts the Polestar by nearly $10,000. (That car’s upcoming facelift will likely up the prices.) Going for the Dual Motor 2 isn’t a huge leap in cost given its standard equipment and powertrain, but unless you absolutely need all-wheel drive or want quicker acceleration, the greatly improved Single Motor Polestar 2 is the one to buy.
2024 Polestar 2 Dual Motor With Performance Pack