The Polestar 2 has been overhauled in a bid to close the gap to the popular Tesla Model 3. Prices have increased by as much as $4000, but significant changes have been wrought on the Sino-Swedish brand’s mid-size electric fastback including higher performance and a longer driving range across the single-motor and dual-motor line-up. Throw in a handsome new front-end design, big safety upgrade and a switch from front- to rear-wheel drive on single-motor versions and the Polestar 2 suddenly becomes a more attractive proposition.
The order book opened on July 5 ahead of first deliveries in September for the 2023 Polestar 2 (MY24), which is priced from $67,400 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Standard Range Single Motor variant – up $3500 compared to the previous model year.
If you think you’ll need to travel further, the Long Range Single Motor now starts at $71,400 plus ORCs (+$3000), while the Long Range Dual Motor fetches $76,400 (+$3000). Adding the Performance Pack to the latter takes the price to $85,400 plus ORCs (+$4000).
Despite blurring the boundaries between SUV and sedan, the Polestar 2 electric fastback is aimed squarely at the popular Tesla Model 3 that’s currently priced from $57,400 plus ORCs for the entry-level rear-wheel drive version.
From there, the Model 3 climbs to $70,400 for the dual-motor Model 3 Long Range, and to $83,400 plus ORCs for the Model 3 Performance.
Those headline prices appear to give the Tesla Model 3 a significant advantage over its Polestar rival, but a closer look at the equipment list works in the Polestar 2’s favour.
The model year updates brought with the 2023 Polestar 2 are significant, combining with the previous standard kit to create a more appealing package overall.
Without ticking a single option box you get 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, auto-fold frameless door mirrors, four-way power-adjustable front seats (including lumber) and vegan leather upholstery.
For in-car tech, there’s a large 11.2-inch portrait-mounted infotainment screen running the Android Automotive operating system that’s compatible with Google Maps, Google Assistant, Spotify, Apple CarPlay and, of course, Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
Over-the-air (OTA) software updates are provided.
Ahead of the driver is 12.3-inch customisable digital instrument cluster, while even the most basic version of the Polestar 2 gets a 250W eight-speaker sound system.
There’s a 15W wireless phone charger up front and four USB-C ports across the cabin (two up front and two in the rear).
Some options worth considering include $1500 premium paint and the $3500 Pilot pack that adds more sophisticated Pixel LED headlights and adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist.
The Plus pack is also well worth considering as it adds a 600W Harman Kardon 13-speaker sound system, a panoramic roof, tinted rear windows, premium WeaveTech fabric seats, extra ambient lighting and an energy-saving heat pump for cold weather.
That’s not all, for the $6000 it costs to get the extra options bundle, you also get full-electric seat adjustment and a cabin air filtration system that monitors in-car and exterior air quality.
Finally, there’s also a gesture-operated power rear tailgate.
Buyers of the Long Range Dual Motor are offered the extra Performance Pack that costs $9000 and adds 20-inch rims, a Brembo four-piston brake upgrade (with gold callipers), trick Ohlins dampers with an incredible 22 different settings, a tweaked chassis and a set of Swedish gold seat belts.
You can spend an extra $1400 on the Long Range Single Motor for a 20-inch wheel upgrade, but be warned that the ride quality deteriorates as a result.
Another unusual option for an EV is the $2800 charged for a semi-electric tow bar accessory as the Polestar 2 is capable of hauling up to 1500kg.
The Polestar 2 is protected by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with free servicing for the first five years or 100,000km, whichever comes first.
Polestar owners also have access to the Volvo service network, making it easier to find somewhere to maintain your car than some of its rivals.
The Polestar 2 was awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was tested in 2021, based on a 92 per cent result for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 80 per cent for pedestrian protection and 82 per cent for Safety Assist systems.
Standard safety features include eight airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping with road edge detection, trailer assist, run-off road mitigation, oncoming lane mitigation, driver alert, road sign assist, blind spot assist, post-impact braking, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree surround-view camera.
In the rear there’s electric child locks, two ISOFIX mountings and three top tether strap points for child restraints.
The in-car tech offering for the 2023 Polestar 2 hasn’t changed much since it was introduced to the Australian market late in 2021, meaning it still comes with both a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 11.2-inch infotainment screen that is portrait-mounted.
Despite familiarity, we’re no less impressed at the ease of use offered by Android Automotive, with its inclusion of apps like Google Maps and Spotify and the smooth operation of the quick-to-react screen.
It remains far preferable to the system offered by Tesla, and in our view the separate display for the speedo and second screen offering sat-nav instructions ahead of the driver should be legally mandated.

Few cars swap driven axles during their lifecycle but that’s exactly what the 2023 Polestar 2 has done with this latest MY24 update.
It’s also gained a huge chunk of power, especially the entry-level – and now rear-wheel drive – Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor that features an all-new e-motor and a 69kWh battery pack with revised chemistry.
As a result, total output climbs 30kW/160Nm to 200kW and 490Nm, enabling the Polestar 2 RWD to accelerate from 0-100km/h dash in just 6.4 seconds – down from 7.4sec before.
The next rung up is the Long Range Single Motor that gets an all-new 82kWh battery and a rear-mounted e-motor that also offers 220kW/490Nm and can send the Polestar 2 from 0-100km/h in 6.2sec.
For those who want all-wheel drive there’s the Long Range Dual Motor now producing a combined 310kW/740Nm (+10kW/80Nm), which in turn produces an exceedingly swift 0-100km/h dash of just 4.5sec.
At the top of the tree, the Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack pumps out the maximum 350kW and 740Nm. Against the clock, the fastest, most expensive version can rocket from 0-100km/h in just 4.2sec.
The top speed for all models is limited to 205km/h.
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Whichever version of the 2023 Polestar 2 you choose, the driving range offered is very respectable.
Even the base model with the revised 69kWh battery can now cover 518km – 54km more than before.
If that’s not enough, the Long Range Single Motor with the bigger 82kWh battery bumps that up to 654km (+103km.)
Opt for the Long Range Dual Motor and the range is reduced to 591km – which is still a 104km improvement over the pre-facelifted model with the older battery.
Part of the improvement in efficiency comes from the ability of the front motor to disconnect as required.
Choose the Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack and you sacrifice little in the way of how far you can travel on a single charge, with the high-performance version still able to cover up to 568km.
Those range figures are seriously impressive, beating the Model 3 RWD (491km), Model 3 Long Range (602km) and the Model 3 Performance (547km).
The 69kWh battery can handle DC charging at up to 135kW, requiring 34 minutes for a 10-80 per cent top-up. Using an 11kW AC charger from 0-100 per cent takes seven hours.
The 82kWh battery offers far superior charging speeds thanks to its ability to receive a DC top-up of up to 205kW. That means charging from 10-80 per cent can take as little as 28 minutes. Using a slower 11kW AC charger, it takes eight hours to replenish the battery from zero to fully charged.
Despite the new battery technology, the Polestar’s enhanced charging abilities are still outclassed by Tesla, which is capable of being topped up at a fast-charge rate of 250kW.
Like many of its rivals, the Polestar 2 can claw back energy under braking and offers a single-pedal mode for maximum regenerative braking effect.
The Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor can average 14.8kWh/100km, while the version with the bigger battery consumes 14.9kWh/100km. The dual-motor EV can return 16.0kWh/100km.
Compare those figures with the Tesla Model 3 and the US brand’s Chinese-built sedan is capable of 14.4kWh/100km (RWD), 13.8kWh/100km (Long Range AWD) and 16.5kWh/100km (Performance).
The switch from front- to rear-wheel drive with the 2023 Polestar 2 (MY24) update is said to make the EV “even better” to drive.
The updates to the chassis haven’t been detailed, but the resulting car is said to be both more playful and agile.
At the same time, Polestar engineers say the Polestar 2 has matured with added comfort.
We drove just one version, the Long Range Single Motor that offers plenty of performance thanks to its 220kW rear-mounted e-motor.
In fact, we suspect most buyers won’t need any more straight-line performance than this mid-series model.
What engineers haven’t been able to change is the simple fact that the Polestar 2 remains based on the old CMA platform that underpins combustion-engined cars like the Volvo XC40.
That means the Polestar 2 with the bigger battery still weighs about two tonnes, some 265kg heavier than the equivalent rear-drive Tesla Model 3.
From behind the wheel you can feel it, too – not in a straight line, the combination of big power and torque shrug off the mass easily. But find a series of curves and the battery-powered 2 feels less nimble than its arch-rival from Tesla.
Compounding this, to support all that bulk it feels like engineers have been forced to employ some seriously stiff coil springs, which results in an unsettled ride.
Over British B-roads, which aren’t a million miles away from what we endure in Australia, comfort is borderline unacceptable, especially on our car’s optional 20-inch alloy wheels.
It’s hard to tell whether engineers have achieved their ultimate aim of sharpening up responses, but the now rear-biased handling is immediately obvious, as is the lack of torque-steer.
That said, based on this first outing, the lighter Tesla Model 3 remains the better drive.
One positive take-away is the noise of the electric motor and inverter are well supressed, but the lack of whining is slightly offset by the sound of the suspension clattering over bumps.
Our car also had a rattling steering rack, while road and tyre noise were ever-present at cruising speeds.
It’s a shame the 2023 Polestar 2’s drive lets it down slightly, because behind the wheel it’s business as usual – and that’s a good thing.
Beside the quirky desynchronies of the Tesla Model 3 and its questionable ergonomics, the Polestar 2 is a breath of fresh air with something as simple as an instrument panel ahead of the driver.
It’s also easy to find a decent driving position, nice and low, although rearward visibility is limited.
Like before, the ex-Volvo underpinnings rob space, with the redundant transmission tunnel making those seated up front a little cramped while at the rear stealing legroom from anyone banished to the middle seat.
There’s also a distinct lack of foot space under both front seats.
The rear compartment is compact, acceptable for adults on shorter journeys but fine for smaller children. Headroom is compromised by the raked roofline, while the rising window line also makes it feel a little claustrophobic across the back seat.
We’d also worry about living with a panoramic glass sunroof. Even though heavily tinted it could give rise to potential heat issues in a hot summer.
Further back resides a 405-litre boot area that is accessed via a liftback-style tailgate and includes a 12-volt outlet. The area is big enough for a couple of full-size suitcases, with narrow proportions limiting the amount of useable space.
An extra 35-litre frunk (or froot) is also available – a handy spot for the charging cables.
The faster, longer-range and quicker-to-charge 2023 Polestar 2 is now a more enticing proposition beside the Tesla Model 3 that dominates its class.
We wish it rode better and offered more interior space, but the broad range of improvements brought with this MY24 update are welcome.
The Tesla Model 3 remains the better all-rounder, but the Polestar 2 now runs it closer than ever before.
It also bodes well for incoming models like the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4, which aren’t hobbled by an old platform and are set to debut even more advanced tech.
How much does the 2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor cost?
Price: $71,400 (plus on-road costs)
Available: Now
Powertrain: Single permanent magnet synchronous motor
Output: 220kW/490Nm
Transmission: Single-speed reduction gear
Battery: 82kWh lithium-ion
Range: 654km (WLTP)
Energy consumption: 14.9kWh/100km (WLTP)
Safety rating: Five-star (ANCAP 2021)


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