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The Nice Folks At Consumer Reports Call The Polestar 2 EV Crossover A Failure

Consumer Reports is one of the first private owners in America with a Polestar battery-electric vehicle. Watch as the group struggles to find anything good to say about this vehicle.

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Consumer Reports is an organization that tries to find the good in the vehicles it buys, tests, and reviews. However, with the new Polestar 2 battery-electric vehicle (BEV) the organization just paid $62K for, that is proving to be a challenge.

In the latest episode of Talking Cars, the three-person panel of experts discuss the new Polestar 2 BEV begining with the weird way they obtained it. The Polestar brand has no dealerships, so the consumer-advocacy group paid $62,000 for this luxury EV at a “pop-up store” in New York City. You’ve done that, right? Ponied up sixty-two large for a vehicle without a service network? Heck, I’m sure Consumer Reports members do that all the time.

Polestar 2 - Not Family-Friendly
CR’s family vehicle expert summed up her experience with the vehicle by saying, “...I was pretty frustrated…” This vehicle expert struggled to find a way to turn on the vehicle. She also had a tough time installing and using the car seats in the vehicle. An expert in car seat installation, the CR tester was very frustrated that she could not use a tether, which is the best practice for such seats without climbing into the rear cargo area and taking apart part of the cargo cover. You can view this section beginning at time stamp 8 minutes.

Polestar 2 - Team Android Only
The CR team discovered that the Polestar 2 is powered exclusively by Android. Apple CarPlay is not supported, and you need a Google account to make the car work. Even worse, though Waze is owned by Google, the popular navigation app is not supported. CR found that the Polestar 2 only uses Google Maps (our personal favorite, but perhaps not yours).

Polestar 2 - Silly Range
The Polestar 2 earns a 233-mile EPA-Estimated range. However, the CR folks all found that was overly optimistic. The group says that its testers experienced a 140-mile real-world range - and that with the heat turned off!

Polestar 2 Odd Seating Position
The Polestar 2 has an unergonomic layout in the opinion of the CR team. The seating position coupled with the poor outward visibility made one reviewer feel like he was looking out the slit window of a tank. Another said it was like “...looking through one of those toy viewfinders.”

Polestar 2 Consumer Reports Summary
The episode’s host at one point sums up the Polestar 2 by saying, “It seems like it’s sort of the worst possible combination of a new company of an all-new car brand that doesn’t quite have its footing, and the things that we don’t like about Volvo."

You can read more about the Polestar 2 at if you are a member.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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DeanMcManis (not verified)    February 15, 2021 - 2:35PM

The Polestar 2 is really the first mass market Chinese EV being sold in the U.S. And it is just disguised as being Volvo/Polestar. Knowing this puts the Polestar 2's issues into clear view. The Chinese EV market is broad and very competitive, but in the U.S. the Polestar 2 is in a smaller EV crossover market, and compared to the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mach-E ironically Polestar doesn't have the experience in building and selling EVs, lacking Tesla's engineering innovation and Ford's vast automotive experience and dealer network.

John Goreham    February 15, 2021 - 3:07PM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

Well said. I avoided the Chinese Mfg. angle and may revisit it later. I was shocked by how negative the CR video was and that they bought one in the first place. Why not just "rent" a media vehicle? The depreciation on that thing has to 90% in the first year of ownership.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    February 15, 2021 - 5:17PM

Polestar did a great job in early promotion of their $155K Polestar One, halo car. With a lead-in to the production Polestar 2 crossover, and their connections to the legacy automaker Volvo. So it wouldn't seem like too much of a stretch to buy one, especially with the Polestar 2 being one of the only few new EV crossovers competing with the Tesla Model Y and Mach-E for 2021. The other obvious candidate for purchase and review is the upcoming Nissan Ariya. If they have good coverage online, they could recoup their costs quickly from YouTube revenue.

John Fish (not verified)    February 17, 2021 - 9:40AM

I find the review lacking credibility, because I've watched and read so many reviews for this car and this one looks past anything positive to then pick silly talking points. It's not difficult to fit child seats at all, the top tether point is clearly visible on the back of the seat and accessible through the trunk or by tilting the seat forward slightly during the installation process. Visibility is absolutely fine, not great for parking for short people but it has 360-degree cameras. The range has been confirmed by many people to be ~250 miles but of course it's lower when using it for stop-go journeys around town. As for the Android only issue, they chose correctly, Android has 86% market share globally.
I think CR wanted to 'fail' this car so they had it tested by someone who's needs are completely unsuited to it.

Mason (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 6:24PM

In reply to by John Goreham

I own one, got it on December 23rd (northern California). I love driving it. The one pedal driving means very quick acceleration (since my foot is always on the accelerator) and very quick stopping (since lifting my foot off the accelerator starts to slow me immediately, faster than I could get to the break). I'm a little over 5' 11", and I find the cabin very comfortable, just love the seats. Some taller people have complained about the wide center console, but I don't notice it at all.

Negatives include a very small back window, occasional camera outages, and my parking sensors didn't work for a week or so, though the only issue there was the car kept telling me the sensors weren't working. The sensors fixed themselves, and the next software update (next week supposedly) is supposed to improve the camera performance. 360 degree view is very helpful, though I do wish I could make it default to that instead of having to switch to it. I haven't tested range, but short trips do eat up the battery since the battery needs to heat itself, which means you loose a couple of percent of charge getting out of your neighborhood.

I got the base model, not the performance package, and I'm really happy with that choice. I test drove the performance package at their Marin popup, and though I know it's adjustable, I felt it was too stiff for a daily driver. The ride in mine is maybe the best of any car I've had, though my 2002 Subaru WRX is also excellent but in different ways.

John Goreham    February 20, 2021 - 7:59PM

In reply to by Mason (not verified)

Thank you Mason! If you'd like to do a guest story highlighting your new Polestar 2, feel free to reach out to us via the contact us tab at the bottom of the page. Your first-hand knowledge would be most welcome. We would love to know the service network plan if you are interested in sharing it.

art (not verified)    June 12, 2022 - 11:11AM

In reply to by John Goreham

I find this review hilarious actually. None of it is true.

I own Polestar2.
Range - I get consistently 220+ miles, android infotainment systems works really well with iphones too, accelaration is amazing, baby seats are easier to install then in toyotas, build quality way higher then teslas.

Oh and the first "issue" in the review where "This vehicle expert struggled to find a way to turn on the vehicle."
What kind of expert is that? :) That is EV vehicle, there is nothing to "turn on". You get inside, car senses someone in the drivers seat, detects fob in the car and you just drive.

Freddy (not verified)    February 21, 2021 - 7:19PM

I found the CR review about as confusing and puzzling as they apparently found the car. I've owned a Polestar 2 (non-performance pack) for only about a month after trading in my Volvo XC40 (which I thought was a great car and they found not too bad as well). I don't want to seem to be a fanboy but as a parent with a couple of kids (still in car seats) and a couple of middling size dogs, a daily commute, a wife that keeps me busy with errand runs and chores I have to say that I just haven't seen the issues that they complain of. It's a fun car to drive, handles great, is quite comfortable (as nice as my XC40 on comfort setting anyway). It's practical enough - unless you had the mistaken impression that it's supposed to replace a minivan - and the buying process, while different than what we're used to, is not an entirely alien experience in an age when we buy pretty much everything from puppies to groceries to new homes online.

No, I don't have to drive 300 miles a day, no I'm not schlepping the entire little league team to and fro from home to field, no I'm not 5 foot nothing nor am I 6'6". Like most people I need to drive about 50 miles before plugging in for the night in my garage, I can see just fine, live in a fairly busy city and don't have a problem getting in and out of tight spaces without running into things. I'm fine with not having leather, find the surfaces in the cockpit more than acceptable in quality and as nice (to me) as my wife's X3. The Android system works better than any other infotainment system I've used (I'm talking to you BMW, Audi and Ford). It took about 5 minutes to figure out how it works

I've driven the Model 3 and Model Y. They clearly have the edge with range, brand recognition and the ability to slam your eyeballs into the back of your head but FSD is still at best a down the road promise for most buyers, the ride quality of the 3 and Y is, to be kind, an acquired taste and build quality doesn't come close to the Polestar - at least for a persnickety buyer like me who will run their finger between the body panels looking for uneven gaps and warbles when making their judgment.

Yes, I've taken a leap of faith that the service network will build out as promised and I may be sorry a few years from now but that's a willing decision on my part.
Only the EV gods know how reliable the car will turn out to be but if not for early adopters we'd still be living in trees. To be fair this car is not the spawn of some backyard start-up so any rookie mistakes in the roll out and subsequent servicing will be on the company. To Polestar's credit so far they have shown a reasonably amount of effort in dealing with the problems that have arisen.

All this is not to say that Consumer Reports' criticisms are unworthy of discussion. They are, at least in theory, unbiased by the desire for YouTube likes or manufacturer swag and I do think that they provide a much needed service giving an alternate, critical view point to all of the car reviewers out there on social media who tend to focus on looks and 0-60 times. Still, I have to wonder if they went out of their way to pick three reviewers who were so unsuited to the car in the first place, like asking my 80 year old mother with a bad hip to review a McLaren. . .

Sid (not verified)    January 16, 2022 - 10:24PM

I drove two Polestar 2s this weekend for a few hours in various driving conditions. The first was the AWD long-range with the sunroof, 20" tires, and the Pilot Package. As I am a Volvo S60 T6 2019 driver with the Polestar chip for a little more punch, it is natural for me to look seriously into the Polestar. The pros and cons are all very well articulated by most reviews, from the great ride to the disappointing range. For me to transition into EV, it is about ride comfort. Both this Polestar and the Tesla Model 3 are too stiff for my liking when driving in the city or along regular, slightly bumpy roads. If I was on a smooth race track that stiffer suspension would be great. In the city, however, I don't need to feel every crack in the pavement. What no one reviewing this car spoke about was the optional ability to adjust the suspension in the Performance package at $5000. While they mention you can manually tune the suspension of each tire, I haven't seen anyone actually do it. So I asked the dealership if they can make that tight ride more soft, in the hope it approached my Volvo S60 for comfort. Guess what? On the softest mode, it was almost as comfortable as the Volvo. I really liked driving the Polestar 2 after that adjustment. But a $5000 optional upsell for a smoother ride? My other challenge with the Polestar 2 is that the Pilot Package is $3200 for safety items that really should be standard. And of course, the other huge disappointment is the heat pump option, with a few other items for $4000. Honestly? I want to tell the Polestar marketing suits to be realistic. Heat pump in Canada and USA should be standard equipment! While the lower distance range in the Polestar 2 makes the car a difficult choice compared to Tesla, now add to that having to pay extra for a heat pump and safety options that should be standard makes switching to Polestar a huge challenge. So distance aside, let me also point out that the beautiful panoramic glass roof does not open for fresh air and, if the sun is shining really strongly, it beats down on your head because there is no screen to slide protecting the driver from the sun's rays. The tinted glass isn't enough. So... Polestar 2 or Tesla Model 3, that is the question? I get the range from the Tesla 3 but the stiffness of the road is a turn off. Polestar 2 can be softened up but that's a $5000 upgrade. What do the readers here, think?