“What is that?” I wasn’t prepared for the fixed consideration the stubby, crouched Polestar 2 demanded from passersby and different drivers. People craned out of automotive home windows, and bikers pulled alongside at stoplights to ask what I used to be driving. “It’s sort of a Volvo,” I’d reply. “But probably not. It’s a Polestar, an electrical automotive created by lots of ex-Volvo individuals in Sweden for the Chinese automotive multinational Geely, which owns each of them and extra moreover. You might have heard of Geely … No?” Then I’d drive away (silently, after all), as a result of frankly it is bizarre to speak auto international manufacturing with full strangers.
The Polestar 2 is aimed on the identical a part of the market that the Tesla 3 occupies, the place you possibly can choose up an entry-luxury sedan for a tick beneath $40,000, after a $7,000 federal tax credit score. In this section, individuals anticipate their electrical vehicles to be actual working machines, not weekend luxurious toys. Electric or not, it’d need to be up for each day commuting and grocery-getting on all types of roads, and sort out just a few street journeys every now and then. So I took the brand new Polestar 2 down New York’s infamously potholed Long Island Expressway to see the way it coped with roads that might double as Hollywood set items for lunar landscapes.
Designed in Sweden, Made in China
First, a latest historical past lesson. After Ford acquired Volvo in 1999 for $6.5 billion, it was bought to Chinese automaker Geely in 2010 for $1.6 billion. Rather than gutting the 95-year-old model, Geely left most of Volvo’s design and engineering crew in Sweden, the place they proceed to function, and infused it with the money and assist for Volvo to turn itself around. A key level on this turnaround was luring Robin Page, Bentley’s then head of inside design, over to the model, the place he labored intently with Thomas Ingenlath, then senior vice chairman of design at Volvo, to craft the vastly successful redesign of the XC90 in 2015.
In 2017, Geely spun off Volvo’s in-house efficiency tuning arm, Polestar, right into a separate model revolving round hybrid and electrical autos, with none apart from Ingenlath as CEO. While most of Volvo’s vehicles bought within the US are in-built Europe and South Carolina, the Polestar 2 is constructed at a Volvo manufacturing unit in Luqiao, China, together with the Volvo XC40 Recharge SUV that shares its electrical drivetrain and platform.
The Polestar 2 goals squarely on the Tesla Model 3. Both of those compact executive-class vehicles value roughly the identical, and at 181.3 inches and 184.8 inches, respectively, they’re almost the identical dimension. But whereas the Model 3’s sheet metallic flows in easy, hilly curves, the Polestar 2 is all sharp creases and angles. The outstanding tail lights that stretch the width of the Polestar’s trunk are a pleasant contact that set it other than different five-door hatchbacks and sedans, and the Hofmeister kink (a ahead angle within the glass close to the rear-most pillar) lends the automotive a suggestion of pace, even at relaxation.
We have not had the Polestar for long-term testing, however preliminary impressions of the construct high quality are spectacular. Fit-and-finish is stable, and the usual options checklist has some gems: heated energy entrance seats, LED headlights and taillights, touchless entry, and dual-zone automated air-con. The lengthy ground hump between the seats the place the middle console and cupholders are—what we might name a transmission tunnel on an internal-combustion automotive—feels exceedingly light-weight, and reasonable stress makes the flimsy plastic bend and flex. It doesn’t intervene with the inside’s performance, however you’ll discover a budget really feel while you contact it. At least it’s swathed in the identical soft-touch cloth that covers a lot of the remainder of the inside’s sturdy surfaces.