2023 Polestar 2 Dual Motor Review – Silent Luxury

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2023 Polestar 2 Dual Motor Fast Facts

Powertrain
Front and rear electric motors (421 horsepower @ N/A RPM; 546 lb-ft of torque @ N/A RPM)
Transmission/Drive-Wheel Layout
Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPGe
105 city / 96 highway / 100 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, Le/100km
2.3 city / 2.5 highway / 2.3 combined (NRCan Rating)
Estimated Range
Up to 260 miles / 418 kilometers
Base Price
$51,900 (U.S.) / $65,450 (Canada)
As-Tested Price
$67,450 (U.S.) / $76,450 (Canada)
Prices include $1,400 destination charge in the United States and $2,600 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

What if I told you there exists a small luxury sedan with Swedish roots and an uncanny ability to go about its business with unfussy silence?

Well, there’s at least one of those on the market – the 2023 Polestar 2 Dual Motor. If your idea of luxury is no fuss, no muss, no noise, you’ve found your huckleberry.


Unfortunately for the Polestar performance rep, the enthusiast buyer might demand a bit more.

Polestar, remember, is the performance-electric arm of Volvo. And while sometimes the Polestar 2 feels right at home as a sporty EV sedan, there are other times when it feels more like a luxury commuter giving a too-small dose of steroids.

Body roll is a bit too noticeable in a nearly $70K performance sedan, as one example. Another issue: Steering that’s too numb and artificial.

On the other hand, most EVs deliver swift acceleration these days, and this Polestar is no different. My tester was a dual-motor unit without the Performance Pack, meaning it made 421 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque from its front and rear electric motors. This car is quick enough in a straight line to be satisfactory in the stoplight races.

Where the Polestar is a tad better is when it comes to coddling the driver and passengers. It doesn’t swaddle occupants in luxury or high-end design like a Genesis might – instead the motif is Swedish simplicity. Modernism in a modern automobile.

I do like the large infotainment screen, though there's a learning curve to using it. Once you get it figured it out, however, it's a decent system to use.

If you think it looks like a dressed-up Volvo, you’re not wrong. That sounds like damning with faint praise but it isn’t – one could do worse by starting with a Volvo cabin and spiffing it up. That said, those who prefer a more complicated aesthetic should shop elsewhere.

As befits a car of this price – and one with near-silent electric motors at each axle – the silence is nice. This is a quiet car. And the ride is pleasant, too, never veering too much into unnecessary stiffness or softness. I didn’t get a lot of highway miles on this test unit, but this car seems built for freeway cruises.

The estimated range here is 260 miles.

Modernism doesn’t come cheap. This car based at a reasonable $51,900, but options that include Nappa leather interior materials ($4,000), a Pilot (LED fog lights, adaptive cruise, and more, $3,400), and Plus Pack (Harmon Kardon audio and more, $4,200), and 20-inch black silver alloy wheels ($1,300) took the price to $67,450.

In general, I found the Polestar 2 to be an enjoyable, well-rounded sedan, but the performance could be a bit better – though to be fair, this car didn’t have the Performance Package that boosts horsepower and has a chassis tuned for better handling. The price could also be a bit friendlier to the wallet.

Perhaps enjoyable is enough. Being good at many things isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, though sometimes, as the old saying goes, it means that there are no trades mastered.

That would be easier to swallow if Polestar didn’t make performance its whole thing. If this were a Volvo EV, this car would seem properly positioned. As it is, it’s a shame one must fork over well more than another five grand to fully unlock this car’s potential.

For those who don’t, this car is just fine for commuting in silence with a nice touch of luxury refinement.

That will be good enough for some. Still, we’d like a bit more for our money.

[Images: Polestar]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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Comments
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2 of 39 comments
  • Bkojote Bkojote on Sep 18, 2023

    I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, it's a chinese built volvo. The interior space utilization is poor, there's no useful cup holders, the steering is artificial too, and i've heard the software and charging is glitchy (it worked fine for me, however.)


    BUT


    The interior materials are pleasant. Just the simple cloth seats are a welcome change of pace from the fake or crappy leather everyone else has. There's hardly any piano black (minus the center console.. grr) The UI for the tablet is dead simple (though I wish it had a more useful home screen), and the best part is this car is absolutely un-branded, which is refreshing in an era of giant badges or say, mercedes making everything their logo.


    And best of all, you will absolutely blow the doors off most cars on the road. It will humiliate any roided up Ford Raptor or Dodge Challenger credit criminal.


    If the next gen could fix the poor space utilization (mostly due to it being on a gas/electric platform), add 100 miles of range, squash some bugs, and maybe build it in that new plant in South Carolina I'd be seriously short listing it.

  • JamesGarfield JamesGarfield on Oct 01, 2023

    What charging network does the Polestar use?

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
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