Polestar 2 switches to rear-wheel drive
Do you know what was unique about Renault 21? Not much, you might think. After all, this otherwise innocuous, mid-range family saloon of the 1980s is all but forgotten nowadays.
But, beneath its razor-edged styling, the 21 hides a quirk worthy of a pub quiz question: it is the only car made available in production form with all three types of powertrain, including front, rear and rear. Are. four wheel drive.
You can put that on me. Use it to impress friends at your next dinner party. Gently slip this into the conversation to surprise your coworkers at your next board meeting. Tell that to your kids, and they’ll be proud to know that their parents are very good at the production techniques of one of France’s Big Three carmakers.
One advantage of driving a car is its excellent handling
On second thought, don’t. Because if you do, some disturbing actions will undoubtedly indicate that, until a few months ago, you are wrong. Because the new Polestar 2 is here and, along with some very mild changes, there’s one big change: the 2 has gone rear-wheel drive.
The latter is a front-drive version, and all-wheel-drive is available on the top-spec model, making it a car that can now sit in that special place alongside the Renault 21 – like the Volvo XC40 and C40, which With it it shares a platform. So, has changing the Polestar’s powertrain made it a better car?
front to back
However, the switch to rear-wheel drive isn’t the only major change here. In fact, where most facelifts involve styling changes but nothing else, Polestar has done things the opposite way here; Under the skin, the two are almost completely different, despite the fact that superficially they look quite similar.
The interior has always been one of the strongest points of the two
The long range variant has new batteries of 79kWh (usable) supplied by CATL and the standard range model has 67kWh (usable) LG units. Charging speeds have also improved to 205kW in the former and 135kW in the latter, getting you from 10 to 80 per cent charge in 28 minutes and 35 minutes respectively, assuming you’re on a charger that’s up to the task. is applicable.
And given that Polestar is so conscious of the whole-life sustainability of its cars, the fact that it has reduced the production carbon emissions of the new batteries from seven to 5.9 tonnes is worth mentioning – that’s a life of 2- The cycle plans to revise the analysis in its year-end accounting.
So how far will those new batteries take you? Well, the standard range now has a WLTP rated range of 339 miles, which should work out to between 230 and 270 miles in the real world, depending on the temperature.
However, the Long Range has a WLTP figure of 406 miles – which should translate to anywhere between 284 and 324 miles on the road. That’s more battery than you’ll get in a Tesla Model 3 – in fact, it’s as much battery range as you’ll get anywhere for the price.
Prices start at £45,000 for the entry-level version
Ah yes, the price. The good news is that it hasn’t increased much, and as a result, as far as electric cars are concerned, the 2 now looks half-decent value. £45,000, or thereabouts, is the sticker for the entry-level version, while a long-range dual motor will cost you £4,000 more.
By comparison, a Tesla Model 3 will cost you around £2,000 less in each case, although it may not go quite that far when charging as standard range; Meanwhile, the Skoda Enyaq iV Coupe costs the same as the standard range Polestar, and manages the same range despite having a much larger battery, which is testament to the Polestar’s efficiency – it will go up to 4.2m/kWh compared to the Skoda . 3.9.
On the inside, it’s again a case of ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. And, while we’re talking about adages, let’s emphasize ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, because the interior has always been one of the 2’s strongest suits. So it remains; The cabin is great to sit in and look at, especially if you choose the beautiful open-pore wood grain finish.
The Polestar 2 remains one of the best EVs on sale
The digital instrument cluster, with white and orange graphics on a black background, remains beautifully clean and easy to read – unlike options from many manufacturers that prioritize fancy graphics over and above clarity – and Android- The infotainment system is, with a few exceptions, clear, responsive and easy to find your way around.
What’s clever here is that Polestar gives you giant on-screen buttons to hit, so that when you need to stab at a particular function, out of the corner of your eye you can almost see what you’re doing. Are. This means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for as long as you do with similar systems in other cars.
Partly for this reason, the always-on climate controls are easy to use on the go – and because they run below the screen, they’re easily within reach without having to stretch. So while it’s a shame you don’t get proper buttons, the in-screen climate control setup here is less obnoxious than many rivals.
Always-on climate controls are easy to use on the go
Space – the Polestar’s only real downside – remains at a premium in the rear seats. This doesn’t mean it’s tight; What’s more, your back seat passengers will be able to spread out much more in the Enyaq. They will also be able to take more luggage with them; The Polestar’s boot, at 405 litres, is one of the smallest in its class.
rest and joy
Our favorite version of the 2 has always been the one we’re testing here: the Long Range Single Motor setup, which, as its name suggests, gives you the bigger battery, but takes away the extra weight and complexity of the extra motor. . Front.
The result is a sweet spot in terms of ride and handling, and it remains so. Pull the Polestar away and it immediately feels somewhat taut; At low speeds on rough bumps, the big wheels hit gaps in the road.
The Polestar’s boot at 405 liters is one of the smallest in its class
Yet the Polestar doesn’t really feel uncomfortable. What’s clever here is that the springing and damping have apparently been refined so that it can deal with most things that thinner tires can’t; Despite its initial solidity, there’s a sophistication to the way the Polestar rides over undulations that isn’t evident in a Tesla or any other rival.
So while you undoubtedly feel them, bumps on the road aren’t really that bothersome. And as the speed increases, the softness of the pole star also increases. The wheels no longer have time to fall into gaps, yet excellent body control remains, so the Polestar feels planted and beautifully stable on the road.
If you try to throw it around a bit, it stays put. In fact, it’s quite hard to tell the difference between this car and its front-driven predecessor. It’s only when you start pushing it harder that better balance is achieved and the lack of corruption through the steering becomes apparent.
The car is clean, neat and eager to change direction
Is 2 funny? Well, it could be. In fact, its key characteristic is neutrality; It’s crisp, clean and eager to change direction, but overall it feels balanced and allows neither oversteer nor understeer. With huge levels of grip on offer, this makes it very confidence-inspiring, and in turn makes it a joy to lug around – although not exactly involving or exciting in the traditional sense.
The Telegraph’s decision
Frankly, it’s not necessary. This is a car that’s still very good – better than ever in fact – and that’s why it remains one of the best EVs on sale.
You have to live with the fact that it doesn’t have that much space – although still, there’s enough room for a family of four. And you might not be entirely impressed by the low-speed ride, although you’ll probably get used to it, too.
Otherwise, however, 2 is a class act; There’s very little to dislike here. And now it can add to its long list of talents the answer to a particularly tricky pub quiz question. With Renault 21.
On testing: Polestar 2 long range single motor
body style: five door suv coupe
On sale: Now
How much? £48,950 (from £44,950) on the road
How fast? 127 mph, 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds
How economical? 4.2mpkWh (WLTP combined)
Engine and Gearbox: N/A
Electric Powertrain: AC permanent magnet synchronous motor with 79kWh (usable) battery, 205kW on-board charger, Type 2/CCS charging socket
power range: 405 miles (WLTP combined)
Maximum power/torque: 295bhp/361lb ft
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km (tailpipe), 26 g/km (well-to-wheel)
Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles
Spare wheel as standard: No (not available)
Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor
449bhp, 374 miles, £50,990 on the road
You get a lot of power regardless of the price
Tesla doesn’t make a single-motor long range model, so you’ll have to pay a little more to get one. But for your money you get a lot more power into the bargain, not to mention more space (though you do lose the practicality of the Polestar’s hatchback). Which you choose really depends on personal preference – but for our money, the higher-quality Polestar will take it.
BMW iX1 xLine
309bhp, 267 miles, £54,655 on the road
The only downside is that it doesn’t go as far on a charge as the Polestar 2 – BMW Group
A look at the stats will show just how slow the iX1 already feels; It’ll cost you a lot more than the Polestar, yet it doesn’t go as far on a single charge. Traditionally, BMW’s driver appeal allows you to forgive a lot, but the iX1 feels remote with a weak ride quality that proves poor on longer trips.
Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80 Loft
201bhp, 343 miles, £44,825 on the road
The Enyaq is spacious and comfortable
If the Polestar isn’t roomy enough for you, try this Enyack instead. It has a lot more space, and it works more seamlessly into the bargain. It’s not quite as smart inside, but it’s pleasant enough to keep up with yourself – although you’ll have to put up with the slightly glitchy touchscreen system that has plagued Volkswagen Group cars for the past few years. And while you won’t go as fast, nor as far on a charge, the Enyaq is a little cheaper to buy.