February 24, 2024

2024 Polestar 3 Preview Drive Review: Polestar’s real future starts here

 

SANDHULT, Sweden — To get an thought of how Polestar will evolve within the coming years, look no additional than the three. Known as the model’s core, it inaugurates an strategy to design, know-how, and dealing with that may trickle right down to future fashions. It additionally takes Polestar out of the tiny pool of carmakers that don’t supply an SUV, so it is going to play an important function in serving to the younger Volvo off-shoot enhance its gross sales on the American market.

What took Polestar so lengthy to enter the SUV phase? I requested firm CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

“Someplace you must begin the corporate, and you can not have the whole lot on the similar time. If we had simply the three, folks would possibly come up and ask me, ‘Thomas, wouldn’t or not it’s good to have a extra inexpensive Polestar?’ That’s the two. After getting the whole lot it’s nice, however you must construct it up little by little.”

Polestar unveiled the three in October 2022, so we already know what the SUV appears to be like like; no surprises right here and no camouflage wanted. Visually, it represents a shift away from the two, which is distinctly Volvo-like, the results of it being based mostly on a Volvo design idea that by no means made it to manufacturing. The Polestar 3, then, represents the longer term, with its design language already permeating different fashions, together with an upcoming sport sedan referred to as 5.

Whereas designers are tugging Polestar out of Volvo’s shadow, they’re not severing all ties.

“The three is uniquely Polestar, and with the 4, 5, and 6 we’re actually departing from Volvo, however we additionally prefer to preserve slightly little bit of a bridge to Volvo as a household as a result of there’s a lot to realize,” stated Maximilian Missoni, the pinnacle of Polestar’s design division, including that folks belief Volvo. “The connection to Volvo is an efficient factor; it units Polestar aside from many different newcomers that don’t have this sort of belief.”

Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90

It’s an analogous story inside, the place particular styling cues (such because the wooden trim on the dashboard) and a usually minimalist strategy to design give off a definite whiff of Volvo-ness. What separates the EX90 and the three, then? How do you keep away from automotive cannibalism contemplating each EVs are constructed on the identical primary SPA2 structure, pegged in the identical worth bracket, and have comparatively shut dimensions?

“We’re centered on driving dynamics, whereas Volvo is concentrated on versatility,” Missoni stated, including, “We share a deal with security.”

You may see this differentiation within the selection of physique model. Whereas the EX90 – like its gas-powered counterpart, the XC90 – will likely be provided with three rows of seats, the three has solely two rows and was formed accordingly with a low, sloping roof line. As a bonus, making the three two-row-only offers rear-seat passengers loads of house.

Polestar developed its personal person interface to additional set itself aside from Volvo; it went so far as creating its personal icons for features just like the heated seats and the varied warning messages, and it designed a font referred to as Polestar Unica. Android-powered and displayed on a portrait-oriented 14.5-inch touchscreen, the infotainment system depends on tiles somewhat than lists to convey info clearly and rapidly. That’s good considering on Polestar’s half as a result of there’s not a lot in the best way of bodily buttons within the 3. There’s a quantity knob, fortunately, however even easy duties like opening the glovebox require tapping the display screen. I’m instructed the tradeoff is that house owners may have the choice of locking the glovebox by setting a password.

At launch, patrons may have two variants to select from. The usual 3 ships with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system rated at 489 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque, whereas the Efficiency Pack-equipped mannequin posts figures of 517 and 671, respectively. Each drivetrains use a large, 111-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack suitable with 250-kilowatt fast-charging (in addition to 11kW residence charging), and Polestar expects the EPA’s vary estimates to return in at as much as 300 and 270 miles, respectively. It’s not farfetched to imagine {that a} smaller battery pack and a two-wheel-drive powertrain may be a part of the lineup later within the manufacturing run.

My time behind the wheel of a pre-production Polestar 3 was restricted to a few dozen laps of a check observe nestled deep inside Volvo’s Hällered proving grounds in southwestern Sweden. This large, 50-year-old complicated options practically each sort of highway floor possible, together with a Los Angeles-area freeway (minus the visitors), Belgium cobblestones, and what a check driver known as a duplicate of Sweden’s worst highway. The observe I drove on appeared like the common two-lane highway within the Swedish countryside, which means slightly twisty and slightly hilly. The type of highway you would like didn’t have a velocity restrict — and on this case there wasn’t one.

The three’s steering instantly caught me abruptly: It’s faster and extra exact than you’d anticipate finding in an electrical, 193-inch-long household hauler that ideas the size at practically 5,900 kilos in its heaviest configuration. Joakim Rydholm, the model’s head of chassis growth, tells me that’s intentional.

“Every little thing begins from the steering. It’s so essential while you arrange a automobile,” he explains.

Whereas the three weighs greater than many full-size pickups, the majority of the load lies between the axles and beneath the passenger compartment. This structure helps dealing with in two methods. First, it offers this large SUV the identical middle of gravity because the Polestar 1, which was a low-slung coupe. Second, it unlocks a 50:50 weight distribution. Engineers then added a height- and firmness-adjustable air suspension system and a dual-clutch torque vectoring differential on the rear axle to dial in dealing with that’s virtually sedan-like. You’re not going to mistake the three for a Subaru BRZ, but it surely’s not your common floaty, overgrown hatchback, both.

That is the kind of dealing with we are able to count on from future Polestar fashions, no matter their dimension or the phase they compete in – and there are a number of automobiles within the pipeline. Rydholm notes that he’s not making an attempt to repeat competitor A’s suspension setup or competitor B’s steering really feel.

“In order for you (a rival’s) DNA, purchase (the rival’s) automobile,” he stated. His job is to create Polestar’s DNA. He’s ranging from scratch, there’s no last-generation 3 to construct on, however he brings an unlimited quantity of expertise to the desk. He labored for Polestar when the agency made (and raced!) hot-rodded Volvo fashions, earlier than it morphed right into a full-fledged model. He notably helped develop the Polestar-branded variants of the C30 and the second-generation S60.

At a extra leisurely tempo, the three drives like a high-end EV. It’s fast and linear off the road, quiet and secure at freeway speeds, and cozy no matter what’s proven on the speedometer. It could possibly additionally develop into front-wheel-drive, as a result of the rear motor shuts off to enhance effectivity when the facility and grip it delivers aren’t wanted. Nevertheless, as in lots of electrical automobiles, the brake pedal doesn’t really feel 100% pure. It doesn’t instantly summon the hydraulic components of the braking system: regeneration slows down the automobile till about 0.3Gs, which is when the pads start to clamp the rotors. Not less than the transition is sort of imperceptible and the brakes, together with Brembo-sourced four-piston entrance calipers, are highly effective.

Talking of regeneration, an icon conveniently positioned on the underside a part of the infotainment system’s touchscreen lets the motive force select one among three one-pedal driving modes referred to as Off, Low, and Normal, respectively. Normal is powerful sufficient that you simply don’t want to make use of the brake pedal in regular driving.

Will anybody off-road the three? Most likely not, however it may possibly deal with comparatively robust terrain. Volvo’s off-road course wasn’t a problem for it. Even {a partially} frozen 60% climb that didn’t look protected in any respect couldn’t cease it. As a passenger, I instinctively reached for the seize deal with considering, “Oh rattling, this isn’t going to finish nicely.” It ended simply effective, and I didn’t discover the seize deal with as a result of it’s not there. Polestar determined they’re ineffective and unnecessarily take up house, so it shipped them off to the pantheon of automotive historical past.

It wouldn’t be truthful to supply a verdict on the three after driving a pre-series automobile on a check observe; what I drove isn’t precisely what you’ll discover in showrooms when deliveries begin in 2024, and the chances of a future proprietor ending up on a Volvo-owned testing facility in a distant a part of Sweden are about as excessive as the chances of seeing a 4.0-liter V8-powered model of the three. My preliminary impressions are constructive, nevertheless. Polestar has created an electrical SUV that’s partaking to drive with out compromising roominess or practicality.

On sale now, the 2024 Polestar 3 carries a base worth of $85,300, together with the $1,400 vacation spot cost. That determine consists of the convenience- and luxury-stuffed Plus Pack and the Pilot Pack (principally adaptive cruise management, lane-centering steering help and a head-up show) that may be a part of the checklist of choices later within the manufacturing run. The Efficiency Pack prices $6,000. Be aware that the primary examples that may flip a wheel on our roads will come from Volvo’s manufacturing unit in Chengdu, China. Manufacturing within the five-year-old Charleston, South Carolina, facility that at present builds the S60 sedan is scheduled to start midway by 2024.