First drive review: 2022 Polestar 2 dual-motor revisits the value equation

A lot can change in a year. Suddenly the Polestar 2 is more than just one car in one build configuration.

The 2022 Polestar 2 lineup has expanded to become more competitive, less expensive, and now has both a single-motor and dual-motor model with option packages.

Priced right on top of the Tesla Model 3 the 2022 Polestar 2 dual-motor long-range arrives in the U.S. in December with 249 miles of range and vault-like build quality for $51,200 before tax incentives. There’s a value equation at foot, and it can get messy.

Polestar flew us to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend some time in the full range of 2022 Polestar 2 lineup, including the single-motor long-range, dual-motor long-range, Plus Package cars, and Performance Package cars to determine if there’s a new world order in the premium electric car segment.

2022 Polestar 2

2022 Polestar 2

Same performance, with more range

With the dual-motor long-range model for 2022 nothing’s changed about how the Polestar 2 drives.

With 408 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque the dual-motor Polestar 2 still hustles from 0-60 mph in a brisk 4.45 seconds, but now it has up to 249 miles of EPA-rated range. The 2021 Polestar 2s will get this same range later this year thanks to a free over-the-air software update.

When it comes down to it, the dual-motor long-range Polestar 2 without any options is the 2 to buy for most people if driving dynamics and performance are more of a concern than range.

Here’s a quick run through of the option packages on the Polestar 2 and what makes sense and for whom.

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

Base isn’t so base

The base 2022 Polestar 2 dual-motor long-range car for $51,200 (including destination) doesn’t feel very stripped down. With a standard 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 11.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system that runs Google’s Android Automotive, heated front seats, LED lighting, and automatic emergency braking with lane-keep assist function, the Polestar 2 feels well equipped without any options.

It feels well-built, too. Things like panel alignment, door seals, and paint imperfections—yes, the things haunt owners of the Tesla Model 3—are simply not issues with the Polestar 2. In fact, the three-dimensional deco-like trim inside the base Polestar 2 looks nicer and feels cooler than the Plus Pack’s reconstructed black ash wood trim.

But just as we reported last year when the Polestar 2 launched, the interior layout is compromised because it’s based on an ICE platform. The battery pack has cells stuffed under the front footwells, in the drive shaft’s tunnel, and under the rear seat bottom. The last one makes for a stadium seating design that eats into rear seat headroom. At 5’10” I had only a few inches between my head and the roof.

What’s a heat pump worth?

For $4,000 the Plus Pack adds in the newly available heat pump with a Harman Kardon 13-speaker audio system, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, black ash deco wood trim, panoramic glass roof, electric power memory drive seat, front cushion extension, wireless smartphone charger, and tinted rear window along with a rear cargo floor lid that has an integrated bag holder.

Odd as it’ll sound out of all that, the only thing I truly missed while spending time with the base dual-motor long-range Polestar 2 was the wireless smartphone charger. And no phone charger is worth $4,000.

Those in a cold climate who plan on taking road trips should seriously consider it for the heat pump though. Polestar said the heat pump will add up to 10% more range in cold weather. It performs best between -10 and 60 Fahrenheit, with little happening below or above those temperatures. But it could be the difference that allows making it to a charger with today’s lackluster infrastructure.

Polestar said the 2 is capable of DC fast charging at rates of up to 155 kw. It can recharge from 10% to 80% in 33 minutes on a 150-kw charger. On a Level 2 240-volt charger at 11 kw the Polestar 2 will take 8 hours to recharge.

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

Safety should come standard

Buyers who plan to take road trips might want to opt for the $3,200 Pilot Pack, which adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, cross-traffic alert, Volvo’s Level-2 driver assist system (which requires hands on the steering wheel, like Tesla’s Autopilot system) a surround-view camera system, along with advanced LED lighting and automatic dimming exterior mirrors.

Some of this stuff should be standard, like the automatic dimming exterior mirrors and blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alert, but the rest of it is really only needed if one plans to take road trips. Hardly justifiable for $3,200 for around town driving.

2022 Polestar 2 dual-motor with Performance Package

2022 Polestar 2 dual-motor with Performance Package

$5,000 dampers with some tires and brakes

The $5,000 Performance Pack swaps in 20-inch forged alloy wheels withs sticky Continental SportContact 6 tires, Brembo 4-piston brakes with ventilated and drilled front rotors, golden brake calipers, valve caps, and seat belts, along with trick manually adjustable 20-way Öhlin dual flow valve dampers.

The reality with this build: You’re paying for trick 20-way Öhlin dampers. If living by canyons or twisty switchbacks, this package is worth the charge for the dampers alone. In my testing of a dual-motor long-range Polestar 2 with and without the Performance Package, the car with the fancy dampers and stickier tires exhibited far less body roll, had more grip and could be hustled around sharp switchbacks at a much higher rate of speed.

Polestar flew us to New Mexico and put us in a hotel to bring you this first drive review

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