ROAD TEST: The latest models to hit the uncrowded roads of North East Victoria | Southern Riverina
2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor AWD
2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor AWD.jpg
2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor AWD.jpg
2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor AWD.jpg
2022 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor AWD.jpg
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Story/photos: Chris Riley

WHAT are the chances of seeing two Polestars on the road at the same time?

 

Not great, or so we thought, but upon entering the motorway we fell in behind another Polestar 2 on our way into Sydney.

 

That's significant because a brand must achieve a certain number of sales before a car achieves visibility on the roads of a city.

 

The Chinese-owned, Swedish Polestar brand is an offshoot of Volvo and has been positioned as a standalone, electric range of performance vehicles.

 

Polestar 2 is the first and only model to be sold here so far and here we have the recently updated, top of the range dual motor model.

 

Prices start from $63,900 for the standard range single motor.

 

Long range single motor is priced from $68,400. Top shelf long range, dual motor model, with all-wheel drive, is priced from $73,400 (all before on roads).

 

Metallic paint is standard, and all models start with the same basic range of equipment, with some minor upgrades for the current model.

 

Apart from new wheels and colours and more environmentally friendly production techniques, there's the addition of a much-needed screen for the panoramic sunroof to keep the summer sun out.

 

Standard stuff includes embossed, textured leather upholstery, and two-zone climate air conditioning.

 

Driver and front passenger seats are heated and partly power adjustable, with four-way power lumbar adjustment for the driver, but the seat backs must be adjusted manually.

 

There are also 19-inch alloys, LED headlights with active beam, adaptive rear LED lights, retractable frameless mirrors, auto lights and wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, front and rear park sensors. and a foot-operated tailgate.

 

Few buyers are likely to take the car the way it comes, with a range of option packs available that build on the basics.

 

Like the single motor Polestar 2 that we drove a few weeks ago, our current test vehicle had been fitted with the $3400 Pilot Lite pack, $6000 Plus pack, and $6000 ventilated Nappa leather (ethically sourced of course).

 

Pilot Lite Pack adds Adaptive Cruise Control and Pilot Assist, auto dimming for side mirrors, plus a further four parking sensors and 360-degree birds eye view.

 

Plus adds a heated steering wheel, full power seat adjustment, an energy-saving heat pump, air filtration system, wireless phone charger, 600 watt 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio, plus full-length panoramic glass roof.

 

Pride of place in the Ikea-inspired cab is occupied by a large Tesla-like 11.2-inch portrait style touchscreen affixed to the dash.

 

Polestar 2 is the first car to be fitted with a built-in Google operating system that includes Google Assistant, Google Maps, with charging options and Google Play Store, which offers optimised in-car apps for seamless integration.

 

It's an Android environment, but iPhone have not been entirely forgotten, with Apple CarPlay/Siri.

 

The system is connected to the net and receives over-the-air updates like a phone.

 

There are two USB Type-C connections in the front and two more in the rear.

 

Polestar 2 gets a full five-star crash rating, with a rear-view camera and seven airbags including a centre airbag.

 

There's also autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car, Vulnerable Road User and Junction Assist) as well as a lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK), and an advanced speed assistance system (SAS).

 

What you don't get as standard is blind spot warnings, cross traffic alert with brake support, rear collision warning and mitigation, nor adaptive cruise control which are all part of the $3400 Pilot Lite pack.

 

 Like the car itself, buying a Polestar is a whole new experience too.

 

There are no dealerships. One orders and pays for the car online.

 

You can however book a test drive, at a designated 'space' in each capital city or at a location of your choosing.

 

Polestar offers a 5-year five warranty, along with 5 years complimentary servicing and roadside assistance.

 

The battery is covered by an 8-year/160,000km warranty.

 

The Dual Motor version really cranks performance up a notch or two.

 

Output jumps from 170kW of power and 330Nm of torque, to a whopping 300kW and 660Nm.

 

With it the dash from 0-100km/h drops from 7.4 to just 4.7 seconds.

 

One would think the extra load of a second electric motor along with all-wheel drive would have an impact on the range of the vehicle.

 

In fact, the dual motor model gets up to 487km, compared to 478km (WLTP) for the single motor front-wheel drive version.

 

But the long-range single motor model still pips both, with a range of up to 551km.

 

Drive is to all four wheels through a single reduction gear transmission.

 

There's no key or start button as such, you just put it in Drive (or Reverse), hit the accelerator and start driving.

 

The abrupt way the parking brake disengages as well as the surge forward can be a little unnerving, however.

 

Acceleration in this model is rapid but requires a decisive right foot to get going.

 

Overtaking can be accomplished virtually at will with all that instant torque on tap.

 

Weighing in at 2113kg, however, there's a sense of weight when driving the car, as it bumps and thunks its way over the bad roads and speed humps of suburbia.

 

But this disappears as the car transitions to the billiard table-flat pavement of the motorway.

 

It's 120kg heavier than the single motor model we drove previously, but apart from the questionable ride quality, the extra power of the two motors more than compensates for the weight.

 

The harder you drive the car and the more often you plant it, the quicker it will eat through the remaining kilometres of course.

 

Regenerative braking recaptures some power when the car is travelling down hill.

 

You can choose between two levels of regenerative braking via the touchscreen and adopt a one-pedal style of driving where there's no need to apply the brakes.

 

Just lifting off the accelerator brings the car to a halt.

 

It takes some practice, but may not be to everyone's liking.

 

With a 78kWh battery array, 75 kWh of which is useable, energy consumption is a claimed 19.4-20.2 kWh/100km (WLTP).

 

We chalked up 540km at a rate of 21.4 kWh/100km.

 

Once again, the extra-long seven-metre charging cable is welcome.

 

For us it means with a bit of close manoeuvring it is possible to charge the car without having to move the car in front.

 

Charging takes as little as 35 minutes using a public, high-powered DC fast charger, or eight hours with a home wall box - that is if you have three-phase power.

 

No figures for an ordinary 10A power point, but we were able to top up the battery from 50 to 100 per cent in about 19 hours.

 

Although no SUV, Polestar 2 sits at a comfortable height for access with a liftback that rises to reveal a long but shallow luggage area (and hidden area underneath).

 

There's also some extra storage in the front boot or frunk as it is known.

 

No provision for a spare tyre. Instead, a puncture repair kit is provided.

 

Inside, it's Swedish and minimalist, with a high-roofed, light airy cabin that has an upmarket feel.

 

But some of the ergonomics need sorting out.

 

It's easy to catch your feet on the control pedals when getting in and out, and the back seat is cramped with a low roof line.

 

And here's one I didn't see coming. The deep recessed front windows are set back a good 6cm.

 

It was enough to catch my left shoulder on the lip as I was getting out, with painful consequences.

 

It's surprising that in a car as hi-tech as this one, there's no head-up display - not even of the pop up plastic variety.

 

It's interesting to note that while Google Maps can keep tabs on the speed limit, it can't or won't provide warnings of school zones and speed cameras.

 

What we like?

  • Looks cool

  • Light and airy cabin

  • Long charge cable

  • Impressive range

  • Rear air vents

 

What we don’t like?

  • Constantly having to charge the car

  • Rear legroom limited for tall people

  • Not all safety features standard

  • Catching foot under the pedals

  • No head up display

  • Skinny door pockets

 

WHILE most buyers will be drawn to the extra performance offered by the dual motor model, we'd quite happily settle for the long range, single motor version.

At this stage of the transition, it is all about range and charging, and even with one electric motor still provides a satisfying level of performance.