Polestar 2 Vs Tesla Model 3: Best Luxury EVs Compared< Back to blog
Can this slick-looking, powerful luxury EV compete with Tesla‘s flagship car? Find out in our Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3 face-off!
Of course you’ll expect nothing but the best equipment onboard your new luxury EV. But which out of the two here has the most advanced suite of tech?
Both the Model 3 and Polestar 2 are pretty identical when it comes to onboard tech systems. Both have 360-degree cameras which allow you to manoeuvre easily while parking, plus there’s other perks such as road sign recognition, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
One advantage the Polestar has on the Tesla is that it comes as standard with rear-cross traffic alert, which warns you when a car is detected behind you as you’re reversing. The sophisticated system also automatically applies the brakes if you don’t take action following the warning.
With this being said, Tesla has more ‘Easter Eggs’ in its software which allow for semi-autonomous driving features such as in-lane steering (where the car suggests better routes and adjusts steering, braking and accelerating for quicker routes). For an extra £7,000 you can also purchase what the brand calls ‘Full Self-Driving’, which promises owners a software update that will eventually allow the car to drive itself.
When you’re spending more than £40,000 on a car, you want it to look and feel the part inside-out. So it goes that those car buyers eyeing up a flashy EV that will make switching to an all-electric model somewhat as exciting as picking up a beefy sports car that produces exciting bangs and pops from the exhaust.
How does the Polestar 1 compete with the Tesla Model 3 when it comes to exterior and interior design then? Let’s take a look.
Now it’s no secret that Tesla design chief Elon Musk has an eye for creating clean-looking, uncluttered cars that do their talking on the road. The Model 3 is no exception to this rule either, with a tidy ironed-out body that does nothing in the way of extravagance, but certainly has you wondering what more is has to offer once you step inside.
On the contrary, the Polestar 2 has entered the running with the sort of boldness you’d expect from a new electric car company that’s decided to go at it alone. As a subsidiary of Volvo – which itself has abandoned mundane design for swathes of luxury in its new range – Polestar has taken styling cues from its parent company. In fact, the Polestar 1’s front end has much in common with Volvo’s second best-selling car, the XC40 – it’s wide, muscular bonnet and striking grille is very cool-looking.
Sustainability is one of the biggest focal points of advocacy from every manufacturer of electric cars. However, it’s all well and good to shout about how the world needs to pull together and develop innovative, greener technology, but it’s another thing to go out there and practice what you preach.
Inside its cars, Tesla wanted to show how automotive richness doesn’t necessarily have to be synonymous with animal hide upholstery and trims. Instead, the American EV pioneer opted to use vegan-friendly materials (polyurethane) for its seats.
Sound uncomfortable? Well, you may be surprised to find that they offer plenty of support for day-to-day driving and long-distance journeys. If we’re being really picky, lateral support could be better in order to make you feel more secure around corners, but other than this you’ll be hard pressed to find fault with the Model 3’s driving position. Both seats up top are electrically adjustable, plus the steering wheel has plenty of reach and rake adjustment so you can easily find your ideal driving position.
The centrepiece of the Model 3’s interior is that gigantic 15″ touchscreen infotainment display on the dashboard. No other physical controls are dotted around for things such as climate control or DAB radio, for example. Everything is housed within the car’s media system, which is by far one of the best in its class in terms of usability and sheer brilliance of the high-resolution graphics. When you do take your eyes away from the infotainment system, you can appreciate the full glass roof of the car for the way it floods the cabin with light for an airy feel.
By contrast the Polestar 2’s Scandinavian charm extends to the inside of this EV competitor. While materials inside aren’t all vegan (there’s a £4,000 optional extra which adds ventilated Nappa leather and reconstructed wood deco), the standard setup is vegan-friendly. The comfortable cloth, along with an easy-on-the-eye ash wood deco for the interior trims, are well balanced and uplift the cabin. All in all, the surrounding plastics are much softer than in the Model 3 too.
Polestar’s 11″ touchscreen infotainment system for the Polestar 2 is far from lagging behind Tesla’s. It’s the first car to feature Google OS, so you can use the intuitive voice assistant to navigate all your different media and apps – especially if you mirror your smartphone using Android Auto (fear not Apple users, CarPlay is coming next year!)
There’s even a 12.3″ digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel, which puts information such as your current speed in your line of sight. This is much better (and safer) than having to flick your eyes to a central display to find this out, like you need to do in the Model 3.
Performance and drive
Considering the Tesla Model 3 is £7,400 cheaper than the Polestar 2 to buy, it’s surprising how far ahead of its European rival it is when it comes to performance on the road.
Let us extend an olive branch for the Polestar 2, because it is 300kg heavier than the Model 3, so its 4.7-second sprint time is still thrilling.
Another great thing about the Polestar’s use of power is that it doesn’t seem to fizzle out once it reaches motorway speeds either, something which is common among lower-end EVs. At this point, the car seems to get a second wind at the mid-rev range and can still enthusiastically overtake most vehicles.
The Model 3 takes this a step further and uses its aerodynamic advantage to corner and handle much better than the competition. Whereas you’ll feel body lean in the Polestar 2 from the added weight, the Tesla – especially in range-topping ‘Performance’ guise – cuts through corners like a hot knife through butter. Precision steering that’s weighted impeccably and provides plenty of feedback is also an added confidence boost when you want to take them winding country bends with a bit more speed.
Range and charging
The ultimate question looming over any electric car is: how far can it go on a single charge? And how long does it take to top up on electricity?
If you’re asking this of the Tesla, then the answer you get back will depend on which version of the Model 3 you choose. Entry-level specifications (known as ‘Standard Range Plus’) tested in the real world returned 181 miles, a figure which is unlikely to cause even the ardent of drivers any range anxieties.
Bigger batteries are packed into the higher-spec Long Range and Performance versions of the car, bumping this range up to 211 miles and 239 miles, respectively.
When you’re getting low on juice and need to plug your EV in, you won’t find a much more reliable network than Tesla’s superchargers. It takes as little as 30 minutes to top the battery up from 10% to 80%, which would cost around £10.08p.
As for the Polestar 2, there’s not been a real-world range test yet. The company claims a 292-mile range can be achieved on a single charge, but the 329-mile official range for the Tesla has us doubting that it can beat the Model 3 for range. Nevertheless, it’s likely that it will be better for range than the Standard Range Plus spec of its rival.
Finding a rapid charger will be more difficult for Polestar owners than those with the Tesla, simply because it doesn’t have access to an exclusive network for convenient charges. However, if you do happen to come across one then you’ll be able to achieve the same 10%-80% charge in sub-30 minutes – mightily impressive stuff.
No matter how tall you or the person ‘riding shotgun’ are, neither of you will struggle for space in the front of these cars.
Both the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 come as standard with fixed glass panoramic roofs too, which not only look good from the outside, but also make the interiors feel that extra bit roomier. It’s also going to benefit any passengers you have that are prone to feeling car sick because it feels a lot less claustrophobic back there.
Headspace in the rear of the Polestar 2 can be a bit tight for six-footers due to the car’s sloped roofline, which is ever so slightly more abrupt than the Model 3’s.
Legroom in the rear of the both cars is pretty much identical, but the a large hump in the floor of the Polestar 2 is going to make the middle passenger feel like they’ve drawn the short straw. Luckily the footwells either side are rather big, so there shouldn’t be any fallouts in the back over whose feet belong where. You can, however, avoid any chances of your travel companions kicking up a fuss by choosing the Model 3, as its lounge-like flat floor accommodates appendages very well.
What about the boots then? Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to both these cars’ cargos.
In terms of overall size, the Model 3’s 425-litre space is bigger than the Polestar 2’s 405 litres. But the Sino-Swiss car’s hatchback-style boot allows for longer, taller items to be easily loaded into the back – especially when you drop the back seats using the 60:40-split configuration. The Model 3 has a saloon style boot, making this a bit more difficult to do.
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