Polestar 2 2022 long-term review | Autocar

1/15/2022 11:00:00 AM

Our Scandi-cool EV is already turning heads. Will we be shaking ours before we part?

Our Scandi-cool EV is already turning heads. Will we be shaking ours before we part? Polestar 2 long-term review

Our Scandi-cool EV is already turning heads. Will we be shaking ours before we part?

Back to topI think the 2 is a rather handsome thing, too. Polestar’s gaffer is Thomas Ingenlath, a designer, so he probably gets to choose who wins all of the ‘engineer versus designer’ arguments we’re told happen in car companies.The 2 has a high beltline with a narrow window area, thick pillars and a small back window. I think it looks great from the outside. But, yes, that makes it harder to see out of. It’s a compromise that I’m prepared to accept, right up until I lose sight of another car behind the A-pillar.

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matty_prior You need to kick your editor matty_prior Excellent machine. Good to have EV choice. All very reliable? matty_prior Three times you’ve posted this - at least - and all with a broken link 😡 matty_prior Not that impressed with their looks

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Read our review Back to top I think the 2 is a rather handsome thing, too.Share What is it? Adding a four-wheel-drive version to a petrol or diesel model brings with it huge complexity.View all latest drives Back to top It works just fine and feels nicer to the touch, and the touch-sensitive shortcut icons on its border are a welcome addition, although it would be even better if they were physical buttons.We live with Britain's cheapest car ► Dacia Sandero long-term test diaries ► It's cheap, but is it also cheerful? Month 1 of our long-term test: getting to know the Sandero The Dacia Sandero could well be the perfect car for these troubled times.

Polestar’s gaffer is Thomas Ingenlath, a designer, so he probably gets to choose who wins all of the ‘engineer versus designer’ arguments we’re told happen in car companies. The 2 has a high beltline with a narrow window area, thick pillars and a small back window. Dedicated EV platforms, on the other hand, are usually designed to house an optional extra drive motor. I think it looks great from the outside. And the screen displays couldn’t be simpler; just take the music player, which presents the track and artist names in large white writing against a black background, above skip and pause buttons. But, yes, that makes it harder to see out of. The 80x – so called because it has the bigger, 77kWh ‘80’ battery – adds a 61bhp motor on the front axle for a total of 262bhp. It’s a compromise that I’m prepared to accept, right up until I lose sight of another car behind the A-pillar. Dacia restructured the range in autumn 2021, by which we mean it’s raised prices, pared back choice and adjusted specs.

Inside is where you find more of the simplicity I opened with. It’s not an entertainer, but it offers practicality, material appeal and comfort in spades. The steering wheel is wrapped in a pleasantly smooth material (Dacia lists it as ‘soft feel’, whatever that means) but the dashboard plastic looks about as nice as it is to touch, which is to say not particularly. The driving position is straight and easy, with a round wheel with normal buttons on it. There’s a big, upright touchscreen using an Android Automotive and Google system, rather than a car maker’s own bespoke software. Does that diminish its appeal? Related Skoda Enyaq iV reviews. And while I would rather the heater controls stayed on physical buttons, every icon is large and clear and it’s very intuitive, plus not over-burdened with features that I couldn’t use while driving anyway. The ride is much softer and comfortable than you can expect from most cars today. The (Google) map is quick and comprehensive and, for once, this is a car whose voice control actually understands me. That’s miraculously cheap for a small car, even if it has risen by nearly £2k in the past year of turmoil.

It will sync with an iPhone but won’t use CarPlay, which brings some limitations (it will receive audio but not allow app controls via the car’s screen), but it’s generally as good and straightforward as car systems get. The 2’s 78kWh battery gives an official WLTP range of 292 miles, but I’m not getting near that. The 1. At full charge, the car usually estimates range at 250 miles, but a secondary ‘range assistant’ is more accurate, pessimistic and, at this time of year, tends to predict 200 miles fully juiced. My fag-packet calculations suggest a return of 2.6 miles per kWh on a typical journey, which puts 200 miles at the edge of its limit. Advertisement Back to top The gearshift is admittedly somewhat stiff, but we reckon that’s better than it feeling lame, like in the rival Citroën C3 Aircross . So we’ve established it’s cheap, but is it any good? Our initial impressions are entirely favourable.

The car suggests you don’t charge to more than 90% to preserve battery life; and it’s a brave soul who goes deep into single-figure percentages if they’re holding out for a public charger. So the usable range is even less than that, and while the battery can apparently charge at rates of up to 150kW, it tends not to. In short, it’s not really good enough. It’s a handsome (rather than aggressive) SUV with a petrol engine, a manual gearbox, front driveshafts, five seats, a spacious boot and a touchscreen for your music and phone, and that’s pretty much all. Advertisement Back to top During my first few weeks with the car, I couldn’t charge it at home, which made life a bit tiresome, but I always have something to write so didn’t feel like I had wasted much time charging. More on all of that in another report, though, once I’ve accrued more time/consumption records. It’s a joy to be back in a car with physical switches, heating controls that don’t require a touchscreen and – praise be! – a manual gearlever and handbrake.

Meanwhile, I’m £930 lighter but now have an AC charger screwed to a wall of my house, which means the 2 is fully juiced every morning and I’m only occasionally topping it up on the road. Advertisement. I’m enjoying the 2 to drive. It has an easy one-pedal mode if you want, but its retardation and low-speed creep level can be adjusted. The steering has a few weightings, but the handling is always sure-footed and confident, if a bit firm around town. To adjust those optional Öhlins dampers, though, requires sticking the car on a ramp. It’s surprisingly roomy, too, with lashings of space in the back seats and boot for carrying my family and their associated teenage clobber around.

Bonkers. I can’t imagine many owners doing it, but it’s a project for some downtime I’ve got coming up. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s the kind of complexity I’m on board with. Second Opinion I tested the Long Range Single Motor version of the 2 recently without the Performance Pack, and it made me wonder how much more an owner could really need from the car. I will be interested to find out if Matt’s long-termer can offer a meaningful reason to spend more.

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