Last fall, Polestar sent me a fully-loaded example of their electric sedan, the Polestar 2. Equipped with the Pilot, Plus, and Performance packages, I generally enjoyed the car but found the Öhlins performance suspension to ride far too rough on anything but perfect roads, and needlessly fussy to adjust with its manual knobs under the car. Recently, I spent a week with a 2022 Polestar 2 base model that, frankly, may be the one to buy.
The base price of a no-options 2022 Polestar 2 is listed as $48,400, and my test car was just a touch above that at $51,050 due to its extra-cost Magnesium paint – which has been made a $0 option for 2023. Otherwise, the car was as base as they come, with a single motor on the front axle producing 231 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. Every single-motor Polestar 2 is considered “long range” with an EPA-estimated 270 miles of range. Charging is supported up to 155 kW, with Polestar claiming a 10 to 80 percent charge time of 33 minutes.
Given my car did not have the Performance package, its suspension was a far more simple setup with fixed-rate dampers. It was also missing the bigger Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels with summer tires that come with the same package.
Despite being “the base model,” the interior of the Polestar 2 was still generally as nice as the loaded sibling I drove last year. Seats were a heated gray cloth. The large Google-based touchscreen and fully-digital gauge cluster are standard across the board, powered by Android Automotive. New for 2022 – and added via Over The Air update to 2021 Polestar 2s – is Apple CarPlay.
I was missing some typical niceties given the lack of Pilot and Plus packages. Absent were premium audio, fully-powered seats, driver assistance tech, wireless phone charging, and – perhaps most crucially – a heat pump to help with efficiency in cold weather. Winter efficiency wasn’t much of an issue given summertime highs, and though I didn’t complete a “100% to 0%” sort of range test while driving this Polestar 2, range seemed to match the company’s claims of 270 miles on a charge.
One feature I was missing – despite finding most driver assistance tech a bonus, not a must-have – was blind-spot monitoring. Only available with the Pilot package, the lack of orange warning lights on the mirrors really drove home the lack of rear visibility. Pillars are wide and, more annoyingly, the rear deck sits high. With my mirrors adjusted, I was generally okay, but I did change lanes more cautiously than normal.
Despite the missing features, the most basic 2022 Polestar 2 was still a nice place to spend time. The basic cabin features feel premium, largely helped by the Android Automotive operating system and its beautifully-designed user interface. Though I did try Apple CarPlay – wired only via USB-C – I didn’t care for it, given the default interface is so damn pretty and functional. CarPlay hides much of the Polestar UI, the car’s built-in Google Assistant can handle text messages while driving, and mapping is (naturally) based on Google Maps with standard range calculations… so why not enjoy the full-featured system that comes standard?
As for my biggest complaint with the Performance Package – those shocks – the non-Performance Polestar 2 was worlds better to drive day-to-day. Between the base suspension and bigger sidewalls that come with the smaller 19-inch wheels, my base-model example rode how I hoped the Performance would.
And still, the car handled admirably for “most people doing most things” given its low center of gravity – an EV hallmark. Steering remains just okay in feel, but I suspect most buyers of a non-Performance Polestar 2 won’t really notice or mind.
Charging was generally a non-event, though the Polestar 2’s charging curve means it can only handle legit “fast charging” for a brief period when the battery is run fairly far down. My past Polestar 2 charging experiences were great, with the car taking juice at 150+ kW as designed.
The particular EVGo charger I selected this time, despite a label claiming 300 kW charging speeds, struggled to hit 80 kW with the Polestar 2. In any case, I showed up with about 30 miles to empty, spent twenty minutes or so grabbing a coffee and replying to work email nearby, and rolled back out around 80 percent.
I already liked the Polestar 2 with my first drive of the loaded Pilot, Plus, Performance car last fall. But this year’s test of the 2022 Polestar 2 base model is proof that sometimes choosing the most expensive model and assuming it’s “the best” can be a fallacy. I’d still want the Plus package – and would contemplate Pilot if only for blind-spot sensors – but this car is far better balanced on the base suspension and tires.