Volvo, or rather Polestar, has unveiled a car that on paper looks like the ultimate Tesla Model 3 rival the industry has been hoping for, which is good, because competition breeds innovation.
It’s called the Polestar 2 and it’s the sub-brand’s first volume vehicle, priced from around $45,000, although buyers will also be able to purchase a Launch Edition spec for the first 12 months, which will cost them some $63,000 in the U.S., not including government incentives.
The entry-level Polestar 2 is best-matched against the Dual Motor AWD version of the Model 3, which costs about the same and even has somewhat similar performance and economy figures.
Down with the King? Not so fast
On paper, the all-electric Swede looks very impressive, thanks to its two electric motor setup, delivering a combined output of 402 HP (300 kW) and 487 lb-ft (660 Nm) of torque. It also has a 78kWh battery pack and an estimated range of 275 miles (EPA) or 500 km (WLTP). According to Polestar, the 2 can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 5 seconds flat, which might actually put its 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time somewhere near the dual-motor Model 3’s, which is 4.5 seconds.
That said, the Tesla has a range of 310 miles (EPA) in this configuration, and if you really cared about performance, you could just opt for the Performance variant of the Model 3, which will get you to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds.
A bold new world
One of the main attractions when it comes to fully electric vehicles is the fact that they tend to look a lot more futuristic than your everyday compact hatchback or midsize family sedan. The Tesla Model 3 shares the same visual DNA as its Model S and Model X siblings, helping it stand out among more traditionally-styled cars.
The Polestar 2, on the other hand, is a five-door fastback that looks like a chunky Volvo of sorts, even a tad crossoverish thanks to its raised ride height and plastic lower cladding – something obviously intentional. That’s not necessarily bad seen as how the design language is certainly modern and there are plenty of sharp angles and creases to admire.
As always, equally important is the interior styling and available on-board tech. In the Model 3, or any Tesla for that matter, the cabin has a minimalist design, where all you get are indicator and shifter stalks, a pair of physical buttons on the steering wheel, buttons for the windows and that’s pretty much it. Everything else is stored within the gigantic 15.4-inch touchscreen display, with a landscape orientation.
Meanwhile, the cabin of the Polestar 2 is a little more conservative, although we still wouldn’t call it traditional. Physical buttons are also kept in check, at least compared to a regular Volvo, and in the middle there’s an 11-inch touchscreen display, housing an Android-powered infotainment system, so you get Google services at your finger tips.
If it’s your money…
Unless you’re already a Model 3 owner (and happy with your purchase), would you consider buying the entry-level Polestar 2 over the dual-motor baby Tesla?