For its mid-cycle refresh, the 2024 Polestar 2 has had its motor moved from the front to the back, transforming a front-wheel drive car into a rear-wheel drive car. That’s not something you see every day. You can, of course, opt for a more powerful dual-motor AWD model ($62,050) but it’s the “new” RWD ($54,950) version that will give you the most range to the tune of 516 km versus the dual-motor’s 444 km.
Styling-wise, the main attraction for 2024 is the addition of a new 20” two-tone Y-spoke design for the top Performance Pack trim, as well as the removal of the faux grille up front. That’s been replaced by what Polestar calls a “SmartZone” panel, a body-coloured item that is home to the parking and adaptive cruise control sensors. It’s interesting that they aren’t trying to hide these as is so often the case and while it can be a little alien-looking, it is unique and it’s not like folks don’t know these exist.
Otherwise, the Polestar 2’s exterior is more restrained than the BMW i4 and the Mercedes EQE sedan and when you consider that it gets its own version of the “Thor’s Hammer” DRLs seen on Volvo products, it does sit perilously close to the S60 sedan in terms of styling. That image, however, is somewhat dissolved by the fact that the 2 is a hatchback (with over 1,100 litres of cargo space), and it has a somewhat more aggressive profile as a result.
Inside, the airiness provided by the optional fixed glass roof is nice, but not having a sunshade of any kind is a big no-no. It also gets three seating surfaces to choose from – textile, wetsuit-like “Weave Tech”, and sustainably sourced leather from Bridge of Weir in Scotland. The “Textile” material is vegan, while the leather is as sumptuous as it sounds. I’m a big fan of the Weave Tech choice, however, as it is more durable and has great heat regulation while still remaining comfortable and non-abrasive. Heated front seats are standard on all trims while upgrading to leather gets you ventilated front seats and heated rears.
Being of the Volvo family, the front seats are properly supportive and comfortable, but the rears will leave even medium-sized adults wanting more. It’s nice that the cushions are so thick, but the extra volume they take up has to be found somewhere, and that somewhere is in rear headroom. What no one will complain about, however, is just how well-fastened it is inside. Since the dash is basically made up of a single 11.2” vertical display with few other controls, it’s a low-clutter space and the lack of moving parts or panel gaps has added to that feeling of solidity.
Google built-in comes as standard – it basically turns your infotainment system into a Google phone -- but a host of previously optional features have been made standard for 2024, including a 360-degree parking camera, wireless charging, blind spot system, and cross-traffic alert as well as auto-dimming mirrors on both sides. Adaptive cruise control remains part of the Pilot tech package.
It’s a comprehensive list but one issue that’s been present for some time on both Polestars and Volvos, however, is the need to navigate a few text-heavy menus to activate your brake regeneration level, climate control, and so forth when a single hard button would be nice. It’s an improvement over older Volvos for sure, but I would have liked to see them push the envelope a little more here.
Power from the dual-motor car is rated at 421 horsepower (455 with the Performance Pack) and a stump-pulling 546 pound-feet of torque, while the rear-wheel drive version makes do with 299 hp and 361 lb-ft. Those aren’t small figures necessarily, but I say “makes do” because at over 2,000 kilos, the Polestar 2 is heavy and the steering is just a little on the lazy side. You can adjust the steering weight through those finicky menus, but I didn’t feel a huge difference between the three different levels – until I moved to the RWD car. It’s the more involved piece. It’s lighter, almost feeling like it’s the more performance-oriented model even though the dual-motor has all that extra power. It just felt so much more car-like in the traditional sense with less of that disconnected feel you get when driving so many EVs today. Add the great range it gets (helped along by three levels of brake regeneration, including an “off” setting), and you have a package that’s full value even with the lower power figures.
You do feel that dearth of power when accelerating up a hill or at higher speeds. The dual-motor Performance Pack car definitely earns top trumps there. There are many that will appreciate the extra power it brings. They’ll also appreciate the uprated brakes and suspension the Performance Pack provides – the braking is especially notable because when it comes to power regeneration through braking, getting good brake feel is often a challenge and they’ve aced it here.
What I’m unsure of, however, is how many will look at the range figures vs. the power figures and opt for the car that provides the best of the former as opposed to the latter. After all, even with the power made by the dual-motor, the Polestar 2 never really feels like a performance EV – but with the RWD, there’s that je ne sais quoi
that makes it so it doesn’t require big power to feel like a more committed drive. In this rare instance, I think I’ll have the less-powerful model.
2024 Polestar 2
Four-door electric sedan
single or dual motor/
rear- or all-wheel drive
Permanent magnet synchronous/asynchronous
CONSUMPITON Le/100 KM CITY/HIGHWAY/COMBINED single motor:
CONSUMPITON Le/100 KM CITY/HIGHWAY/COMBINED dual motor:
WEBSITE: Polestar 2