AUTO REVIEW: 2024 Polestar 2 EV Masks Its Improved Performance

By Larry Printz

Polestar 2
The 2024 Polestar 2. (Stefan Isaksson/Polestar/TNS)

(Tribune News Service/TNS) — Even as some automakers are struggling to unveil their first electric vehicles, Swedish EV manufacturer Polestar is updating its initial battery-electric model, the Polestar 2. The 2024 Polestar 2 may not look much different, but looks can be deceiving. Under its familiar profile, the revised luxury five-door hatchback boasts increased range, faster charging and improved dynamics that render it far more compelling.

The Polestar 2 launched in the 2021 model year as the brand’s battery-electric model; the Polestar 1 was a gas-electric hybrid. With a single electric motor placed on the front axle and a 233-mile range, its chances for dynamic handling were limited at best. But it boasted the beautifully balanced feel typical of Volvo — no surprise given that Volvo and Polestar are both part of the Chinese automaker Geely.

But being front-wheel drive dinged its luxury status, as the front wheels have to propel the car as well as steer it. So, if the wheels are using 60 percent of their grip for steering the car, only 40 percent is available for propelling it. With rear-wheel drive, the front wheels do 100 percent of the steering and the rear wheels provide 100 percent of the power, allowing each do its job with greater enthusiasm. This is why the best cars boast rear-wheel drive for its superior handling, if they’re not using all-wheel drive. Both are more expensive to build than front-wheel drive. As a result, front-wheel drive proves better for mass-market vehicles, dooming its cachet among the upper echelon despite its use by some premium manufacturers.

So Polestar switched the 2024 Polestar 2’s base model to rear-wheel drive by moving the motor to the rear axle from the front. Engineers also added a rear-wheel-drive bias to its all-wheel-drive Dual Motor Polestar 2, which disconnects the front motor when not needed. As a result, the car that once delivered a beautifully balanced if unexciting driving experience now possess a sporting vigor that’s immensely satisfying.

The 2024 Polestar 2 can be had in two flavors: the rear-wheel-drive $51,300 Single Motor Polestar 2 with 299 horsepower and 320 miles of range, or the all-wheel-drive $56,700 Dual Motor model with 421 horsepower and 276 miles of range. Both come with 19-inch Michelin tires, although 20-inch Michelins are optional. But they will reduce your range to 307 miles with the single motor and 266 miles with dual motors. Dual Motor models can be fitted with an optional $5,500 Performance Pack, increasing horsepower to 455, while reducing range to 247 miles, and its 0-60 mph time to 4.1 seconds from 4.3 seconds.

All Polestar 2s see recharging times drop by a third, with an 80% charge taking as little as 28 minutes using a DC fast charger — if you can find one that works.

Still, unless you require all-wheel drive, there’s little reason to choose it over the Single Motor model, a fact made plain in my test drive of both models in a glorious late-summer drive.

Polestar 2
The 2024 Polestar 2. (Stefan Isaksson/Polestar/TNS)

There’s little doubt that the Dual Motor Polestar 2, especially when equipped with the Performance Pack, feels quicker and more responsive than the Single Motor model, but the latter makes up for it with its lighter weight and a noticeable rear-wheel-drive attitude. When entering a corner, the Polestar 2 Single Motor settles in and hunkers down, allowing its tail to rotate through the corner in an automotive ballet that’s immensely satisfying. Its regenerative braking, which captures energy generated while decelerating, allows you to expertly feather the throttle smoothly, making this EV refined and athletic. It’s as beautifully balanced as ever, and far more engaging.

For those who tow, the Polestar 2 can yank 2,000 pounds and has a tow hook that pops up front behind the rear bumper.

Unlike the car’s mechanical bits, its interior remains unchanged, with a minimalist aesthetic typical of EVs, albeit offset by whitewashed trim in one of my test cars. As is typical for compacts, legroom is good up front but merely adequate in the rear. The same could be said for headroom. Its biggest fault lies in the car’s glass roof, which lacks a cover, making it a nonstarter in states like Florida and Arizona.

Otherwise, the 2024 Polestar 2 has become a far more interesting alternative to a world overrun by Teslas.

2024 Polestar 2 Single Motor

Base price: $51,300

Powertrain: Rear-mounted permanent magnet motor

Horsepower/Torque: 299/361 pound-feet

EPA range: 320 miles

DC recharge time (10-80%): 28 minutes

Length/Width/Height: 181.3/78.1/58.2 inches

Ground clearance: 5.9 inches

Cargo capacity: 15 cubic feet (front and rear)

Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!