You probably haven't heard of it yet, but trust us, Polestar is going to become a household name as we switch to electric cars. Based in Sweden and sister company to Volvo, Polestar is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, and its remit is to produce performance electric vehicles (EVs). Polestar 2 is the brand's first mainstream model. A 100% electric five-door fastback, its squares up against the Tesla Model 3 - the most affordable car yet from the American company.
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With its chunky styling, muscular stance and frameless side mirrors, it looks like no other car on the road and turns heads - for all the right reasons. It's equally impressive inside where there's a minimalist feel and it oozes Scandinavian chic. The centre console is dominated by a huge touchscreen and there's a digital driver's display, but for many, the headline is that the interior is vegan-friendly. The upholstery is made from WeaveTech - a 100% vegan material that is durable, with a smooth, sporty look and feel inspired by wetsuits.
There's a plethora of infotainment, driver assistance and safety tech available, and it has everything you'd expect from a premium car, including Pilot Assist as standard, which means it can accelerate, brake and steer itself on a motorway, all with minimal input from the driver. What's more, if you try to pull out in front of a car in your blind spot, it will steer you back into your lane.
Polestar 2 is also the first car to get the impressive Android Automotive software. In other words, it runs the Google Assistant voice-activation system, so just say "Hey Google" and you can ask it questions and give it commands - everything from phoning a friend to navigating to a destination. And because it works with Spotify (also available), you can work your way through the playlist in your head. Polestar does things differently. The door unlocks with your smartphone and you don't need a key to start it. There's not even a start-stop button. Instead you just flick the dinky gear selector into D and you're away.
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As with all EVs, it's near-silent and there's instant oomph. It's blisteringly quick (0-62mph in 4.7 seconds), adding a sense of theatre to overtaking manoeuvres. It feels totally planted on the road, even when you're pushing it, and the four-wheel drive traction is phenomenal. Polestar 2's range of 292 miles should be enough for most buyers. Usefully, if you're using Google Maps for navigation, it will not only work out your route, but also tell you if you have enough range to get there, and suggest places to recharge en route if you need a top-up. Charging the battery pack to 80% can take as little as 40 minutes using faster public chargers.
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There's plenty of room for four adults, but if you're like me and lower the driver's seat, there's next no room for the passenger behind you to tuck their feet in underneath. That aside, there's a decent 364 litres of luggage capacity, plus a small 35-litre "frunk" or "froot" (under-bonnet front trunk or boot), which is useful for storing your charging cables.
Fancy a Polestar 2? Well, there are no dealerships and the buying experience is online. Potential buyers will be able to experience the car at a Polestar 'Space', two of which will shortly open in shopping centres in the UK (one in London, the other in Manchester). As for servicing, Polestar will collect your car, then deliver it back. No wonder Polestar's launch campaign slogan was "Goodbye Normal".
HELLO!'s verdict: The pure electric Polestar 2 is quite simply one of the coolest cars on the road. Entertaining to drive and ticking all the right boxes for the eco-conscious, it's a beautifully built design and technical tour de force. Price: from £46,900 (including the £3,000 government Plug-In Car Grant).