I came to Volvo later in my life when I bought a red C30 T5 6-speed manual. Depending on who’s telling that tale, I’d either go back to my hot hole days or have a midlife crisis.
Either way, it was the best car I’ve owned that doesn’t have a battery. Incredible grunt from a transverse five-cylinder engine, probably the best Volvo ICE ever, but I’m biased. I loved that car so much that I paid a ridiculous amount of money to get a Polestar chip upgrade. As my daughter said at the time, “How much did you pay for a blue scribbled tile on the back?”
Which brings us to today. High-performance racing brand Polestar has turned into its own company jointly owned by Volvo and Geely (which also owns Volvo) with a mandate as a pure EV brand.
The first pure EV, Polestar 2, is now available in Australia. It is marketed directly to the public with leadership experiences organized through a series of ‘events’, initially in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
This is one of the “direct to the public” models that eschews the dealer networks that Tesla pioneered and is initially embraced across the industry, albeit with some resistance from incumbents.
Due to my favorite Polestar prep and the fact that I run a website that aspires to be electric vehicle-neutral direct to the general sales channel, I booked a test drive at the Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast with the goal of seeing how the car was and how their live model was delivered.
I must say my first impressions were a bit disappointing. So many connections that ended up feeling overly intrusive. But all that changed when she arrived at the site and was introduced to Mel, the protesters; It embodies competence and professionalism.
My ride was the long-range version of the FWD in “Thunder,” a juicy gray that didn’t live up to its name, but was relatively inoffensive.
Mel gave me a detailed inside and out brief, which was very helpful and made sure my phone was paired with the car so they could call me on the road.
As expected, this was the hardest thing to achieve. Then I put a route in the navigation (local golf course) and she said when you want to go back just say “Hey Google, take me home” and told me to be back in 45 minutes.
The Polestar 2 is a fastback car that looks a bit like a hatch on steroids. It is built on the CMA platform from Volvo / Geely and has over-the-air updates. Very spacious interior, comfortable cockpit position, four-way heated front seats and two memory buttons, are worth their weight in gold.
The center-mounted touch screen was easy to use and didn’t feel like it was overwhelming the space. The steering wheel is not crowded and the navigation is popped up on the dashboard. Plenty of room in the back seat for the occasional flight with friends, but I personally don’t care about sitting in the middle seat.
Driving was easy. It took a while to get a feel for how high the pedal was to get the car moving, but the times I was able to sit in front row at the lights showed that the single-engine version doesn’t slack.
I’m not a fan of one-pedal driving, so I chose to regenerate the light during setup. Due to crowding around Broadbeach, I canceled the navigation with Hey Google so I could cycle in the M1.
Very slow to respond, about 15 seconds, which made me wonder if I was doing something wrong. But there was also the same delay in responding to my request to take me home. (Editor’s Note: Polestar says the roaming connection issue was not identified before the media cars were released, and it will be fixed).
Maneuverability was excellent and the car had good visibility everywhere including the rear.
Shall I buy one? Hell yeah! But I don’t think Polestar makes it easy.
The base price is great, I can get into the Void (Polestar inside joke) with the free color and standard range from $63,310 by car in Queensland.
For another $5,000, I can get an FWD Long Range with a 78 kWh battery and a WLTP range of 510-540 km. This sounds like good value, but I’m not sure I’d pay another $5,000 to upgrade to two motors. You do not need to increase a buzz to 100 km / h in 4.7 seconds.
Then there are options packages. There are three, and if you add them all up, that’s another $19,000, which takes you well into the LCT territory.
The $5,000 trial package gives you upgraded driver aids including adaptive cruise control, 360-degree cameras and premium headlights. can convince me.
The next package, ‘Plus’ has more interior amenities, better sound, lighting and a grocery bag holder. It also has a heat pump! Aghhhh, I’m not paying six thousand for a heat pump. If you sell an electric car, a heat pump should be standard equipment.
The “performance” package I’ll leave to your imagination, but needless to say, I’ve never felt the need to pay $8000 for gold valve caps.
My memory of the Polestar was the signature electric blue. It was great, but where is it? The current option is Void (black) which is complementary, then Snow, Magnesium, Thunder, Moon and Midnight all at $1,400 each.
I mean, it’s a great muted palette if I live in the North Pole and want something that doesn’t catch the eye of polar bears. But seriously, where’s red, yellow, orange, or even better than the traditional arctic blue?
So does Polestar live up to their high-performance heritage? They are not quite there yet in my opinion. I’ll definitely buy a Polestar 2 (long range plus Pilot bundle) from the back of my experience, but I’m sure I’ll settle on the Void and see how much orange casing I can get for the $1400 look.
David Mitchell is the founder of findmyev.com.au and a Volvo driver.