2024 Polestar 2 first drive: Dual motor shines on the road, but the single motor’s range is a big win

2024 Polestar 2 first drive: Dual motor shines on the road, but the single motor’s range is a big win
2024 Polestar 2 first drive: Dual motor shines on the road, but the single motor’s range is a big win
2024 Polestar 2

As Polestar will begin deliveries of the 2024 model year version of its flagship 2 sedan, we got the invite to Denver, Colorado, to not only test the sporty dual-motor but to also test the automaker’s new single-motor version, which includes rear-wheel drive.

Each day, Polestar ($PSNY) becomes a relatively young EV brand that garners more interest from the general public. Following last year’s Super Bowl commercial featuring the Polestar 2, I personally have had several friends and family inquire about the brand.

Despite realistically only offering one model right now, Polestar has continued to bolster sales and make top brand popularity lists in countries like Germany. As for the Polestar 2, well, I personally am well versed in this flagship BEV, dating back to 2021.

To date, I’ve driven the 2022 Long Range Single Motor Polestar 2, the 2023 Dual Motor, and even the limited edition, high-performance BST 270. In between drives, I’ve covered many details of the Geely- and Volvo-owned automaker, including the four additional EVs in the pipeline that will follow the Polestar 2.

Since January, Polestar has been teasing a RWD version of the Single Motor 2, a first-ever for the company and a real marvel in engineering when you learn more about it. By June, we had learned the pricing of the 2024 Polestar 2 models, in addition to some bolstered specs on both powertrain configurations.

Last week, I got the invite out to Denver to experience the 2024 models myself while taking in the beautiful vistas up in the mountains. Here are my thoughts.

2024 Polestar 2 sees major upgrades where it counts

Right out of the gate, I want to let you know there have been relatively no updates to the interior of the 2024 Polestar 2 compared to a year prior, so today’s focus will be entirely on the exterior, the drivetrains, and of course, the driving itself.

Let’s start with the biggest changes to the model year 2024 sedan: powertrain upgrades. This includes new motors and inverters, in addition to a new configuration in the single motor that improves dynamics. These combine for 16 miles of additional range on the dual-motor Polestar 2, all while using the same 78 kWh pack as the 2023 version.

Other additions you can see above include new performance wheels we were told will carry over as design language in future Polestar models (i.e., the 3 and 4 SUVs). Another feature is the “Smartzone,” which integrates radars, cameras, and other sensors into the front of the EV. This design element was first introduced in the Polestar 3, but the 2024 Polestar 2 models will be the first on the road with it.

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Dual motors NEVER get old

For the first half of my drive, I started out in the Long Range Dual Motor Polestar 2, complete with the Pilot, Plus, and Performance packages equipped, meaning I had 20-inch Continental performance tires and the aforementioned forged performance wheels.

While leaving Denver, I immediately tested out Polestar’s Pilot Assist ADAS and found it more than adequate. Polestar’s software, in general, is quite good – just minimalist rather than showy or overly complicated. The company is about style and sustainability, not bells and whistles.

Anyway, once we got out of the proper city and onto some winding roads, it was clear I was once again in a Polestar 2. The 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds may seem a little slow on paper, but it is more than adequate for the average driver, and the acceleration never gets old.

When I was weaving through cars on the highway, I found my acceleration and movement instantaneous, and when I passed anyone up in the mountains, I was extremely confident I could do so quickly and safely.

I really want to point out the dynamics of Polestar’s tuning for a second, especially since it’s so apparent on the 2024 Dual Motor Polestar 2. As I mentioned, I’ve driven performance EVs like the BST 270, but for a mass-produced passenger BEV like the new 2, the Polestar engineers still put a lot of expertise into the handling of the vehicle.

Only a drive for yourself can truly describe it, but it’s so sticky and can hug any turn with ease, making it a joy to drive up the mountains of Colorado. For the 2024 version, Polestar replaced the identical motors front and back and put a larger motor in the rear. This supports a dynamic disconnect that will run a single motor to optimize range, which is listed as 247 miles with the Performance Pack (up to 276 miles without).

Overall, I found the vehicle more playful and sporty compared to my previous drives in other model year Polestar 2s. This one had my heart from the get-go, but you know I had to experience the new RWD in the single-motor to see how it compared.

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The new RWD Polestar 2 wins in range and charging

While the Dual Motor version of the 2024 Polestar 2 was quite fun to drive, the single-motor RWD version offered the most dramatic refresh compared to last year’s model. As we’ve pointed out several times since Polestar 2 announced the change earlier this year, this is one of the rare instances we’ve seen an automaker move a motor from FWD to RWD on the same platform.

The weight of the car has changed this year because of its larger battery (82 kWh), and the single-motor trim has been tuned differently, but the suspension is the same, and it is now rear-wheel heavy, making it much more of a joy to drive in my opinion. Polestar’s product launch manager, John Quinn, also pointed out that there is virtually no compromise for consumers in choosing the 2024 single-motor Polestar 2 – unless, of course, they require AWD for their local terrain.

Other upgrades include an increase of 69 horsepower (299 total) and 118 extra lb-ft of torque (361 lb-ft in all). Additionally, the 440V platform can charge as high as 220 kW, charging 10-80% in 25-28 mins – a 20% speed increase, according to Polestar.

The biggest perk, however, is the single motor’s 320-mile range. Adding 60 miles of EPA range in a refresh is a huge jump, plus getting over the 300-mile hump goes a long way with prospective consumers who still think they need more range than they actually do.

The second half of the drive was all downhill, going back the exact way I had come up, just with one less motor beneath me. The single-motor version of the 2024 Polestar 2 was more than adequate, but it was a tougher transition to go from the dual-motor, in my opinion. The acceleration was still good, but it lacked the oomph of the dual-motor for obvious reasons.

Still, the dynamics were top-notch, as they always are with Polestar, and I still had no trouble passing Toyotas and other slow vehicles on straightaways. There were some hairpin turns on the way back down, and the single rear motor made for a fun configuration to get the tires squealing and whip that back end around a bit. That’s much harder to do with two motors, so I’d say that was another perk.

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Pricing and availability of the 2024 Polestar 2

Compared to previous model years, pricing of the Polestar 2 has gone up, but you’re getting more bang for your buck this year, especially when you consider that the 2023 refresh was mostly aesthetic.

The new RWD, single-motor version of the Polestar 2 starts at $49,900, while the dual-motor version starts at $55,300. Note this includes the Pilot Pack standard but will cost an additional $5,500 for the Performance Pack (also includes Plus Pack valued at $2,200).

Also, note prices do not include $1,400 destination fees.

Orders are open now on Polestar’s website, with deliveries expected in November 2023 if you order today.

Electrek’s Take

Overall, I’m a much bigger fan of the Dual-Motor Polestar 2 because it’s simply more fun to drive. That being said, logic tells me the single motor is the smart play because of its lower price and it’s still fun to drive. That range too. I think that will go a long way with buyers and has the making to further expand Polestar’s brand recognition to the masses.

Price remains a hurdle for this automaker, in my opinion. I’d describe it as a premium brand but not a luxury brand. The performance you get is absolutely competitive but not industry-leading in any category.

What Polestar is selling, however, are beautifully designed BEVs that are built with sustainability in mind. Creating beautiful interiors that are still sustainable is tough, but this automaker has it down to an art form.

Tuning is also a huge selling point for Polestar as I believe the 2 always offers some of the smoothest feels when driving, but how do you relay that to consumers aside from test drives? Overall, this is a big refresh for Polestar, which is nice to see, considering it has its hands full with four (or more) additional EVs coming each year. It’s nice to see they’re just letting the Polestar 2 drift away like we’ve seen with other flagship EVs like the Nissan LEAF.

Go give this one a drive, preferably on some winding roads if you have any near you. I’m interested to hear what you think.

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