Polestar 2: Revving Up with a Stronger Punch and Longer Legs

The Polestar 2, the electric hatchback from Volvo’s sleek offspring, isn’t your average mid-cycle update. Forget facelift tweaks and minor power bumps – Polestar likes to do things differently. For 2024, the 2 sheds its baby teeth and emerges as a bolder, more compelling proposition, ready to rumble in an increasingly crowded EV arena.

Outside the Lines:

At first glance, the changes might seem subtle. The new “SmartZone” on the front fascia, housing a plethora of sensors and cameras, now sports a prominent, almost comical grin when painted white. But the real story unfolds under the hood and between the wheels.

Single-Motor Mayhem:

Say goodbye to the wimpy front-wheel drive setup on the base model. The 2024 single-motor variant channels its energy through the rear wheels, unleashing a potent 295 horsepower (a dramatic leap from 228) and 361 pound-feet of torque (up from a measly 243). This translates to a scorching 5.5-second sprint to 60 mph, a far cry from the previous model’s sluggish 6.8 seconds. Passing maneuvers become a breeze, with the 50-to-70-mph time slashed down to 3.2 seconds – a significant upgrade for everyday driving.

The revamped powertrain isn’t just about brute force; it’s about finesse too. The steering remains adjustable, allowing you to dial in the desired level of heft, and the passive dampers keep things composed in corners, offering just the right amount of lean without feeling sloppy. While the 300-foot skid pad test yielded the same 0.88 g as the previous front-drive model, the rear-wheel-drive setup feels more playful and engaging on twisty roads.

Range Revolution:

The power upgrade isn’t the only treat. A new 79.0-kWh battery from CATL bumps the EPA-estimated range to a healthy 320 miles, a substantial jump from the 2023 model’s 270 miles. The cherry on top? DC fast charging speeds have also gotten a boost, maxing out at 205 kilowatts compared to the previous 155. Sadly, the real-world highway range test fell short of expectations, with the 2 managing only 250 miles. Yet, even this figure represents a 30-mile improvement over its predecessor, showcasing the battery’s increased juice.

Dual-Motor Dynamism:

The dual-motor variants haven’t been left behind. They too gain the rear-wheel-drive setup for the base motor, bumping horsepower to 416 and torque to a hefty 546 pound-feet. The Performance trim, however, sees a slight drop in horsepower (449) compared to the 2023 model, though the torque remains unchanged. Despite the minor horsepower tweak, the Performance model feels just as exhilarating as before, thanks to the instant punch of the dual motors. The Öhlins dampers offer a firm but controlled ride, and while the seats could benefit from more lateral support, the overall handling remains sharp and engaging.

Inside Story: Polestar 2

Step inside the cabin and you’ll find a familiar layout dominated by the user-friendly Google-based infotainment system. It’s a clean and uncluttered space, though the tall center tunnel eats into cabin space and storage options remain limited. One-pedal driving is possible with the strongest regenerative braking setting, but it could be more aggressive for those seeking true one-pedal fluency.

Packaging Perks:

Polestar has also revamped its options packages. The single-motor model can now be equipped with the Pilot package for just $2000, adding adaptive cruise control, swivelling LED fog lights, and a suite of driver-assistance features. The Plus package gets a price cut, now at $2200, and bestows both drivetrain layouts with a heat pump, a Harman/Kardon sound system, a panoramic sunroof, and a host of other comfort and convenience goodies. The Performance trim, for those seeking the ultimate 2 experience, automatically bundles the Plus and Pilot packages along with its own collection of performance-oriented upgrades.

Verdict:

The 2024 Polestar 2 is a significant step forward for the electric hatchback. The rear-wheel-drive setup on the single-motor variant is a game-changer, injecting much-needed excitement and agility. The increased range and faster charging add practicality, while the revamped options packages offer better value. While the cabin remains, a touch cramped and the real-world range didn’t quite match EPA estimates, the overall improvements make the 2024 Polestar 2 a compelling proposition in the increasingly competitive EV landscape.

It’s no longer just a stylish alternative; it’s a serious contender, ready to take on established players with its potent performance, impressive range, and user-friendly technology. For eco-conscious drivers seeking a blend of driving thrills and everyday practicality, the single-motor rear-wheel-drive variant shines brightest. Its newfound power and agility make it a blast to drive, while the extended range and faster charging cater to real-world needs. Those craving the ultimate in performance will find the dual-motor options, especially the Performance trim, hard to resist.

The combination of raw power, sharp handling, and luxurious amenities pushes the 2’s capabilities to the edge, carving out a niche for drivers who demand the best from their electric machines. However, the Polestar 2 isn’t without its quirks. The tall centre tunnel and limited storage might deter some, and the slightly higher starting price compared to some rivals puts it in a more premium segment. Additionally, the real-world range falling short of EPA estimates might raise eyebrows for those prioritizing maximum efficiency.

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