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2023 Polestar 2 Dual Motor first drive: Limited spec upgrades are offset by a revamped aesthetic

When I drove the 2022 Long Range Polestar 2 Single Motor earlier this year, my biggest wish was to try out the dual-motor version to see what this all-electric sedan can really do. I recently got the chance to test out the 2023 Polestar 2, complete with two motors and plenty of design upgrades compared to its 2022 predecessor. Here are my thoughts.

Let’s start with a very quick refresher course on the Polestar 2. It arrived in 2019 as the second model to debut for the EV-centric brand and its first all-electric option. Since then, the Polestar 2 has continued to grow in popularity alongside the brand behind it, helping set the stage for four additional models that will follow, including the recently debuted Polestar 3 SUV.

This past April, the automaker shared details of the upcoming 2023 version of its Polestar 2, including two new exterior colors. To that note, many of the changes for next year’s model are aesthetic upgrades with a focus on sustainability throughout the build process, an ethos Polestar continues to be celebrated for. Here’s how they break down:

  • New exterior colors: Space (metallic black) and Jupiter (gold-gray with red flake)
  • New wheel designs (standard 19″ and optional 20″)
  • Zinc gray color for ventilated Nappa leather upholstery, available with a new Light Ash deco trim
  • Removable sunshade for the panoramic glass roof
  • Improved optimal temperature range for heat pump (included in Plus Pack)
    • Now between 20°F and 77°F
    • Increases real-world EV range in adverse conditions
  • Advanced cabin filter and upgraded interior particulate matter sensor with new in-car app
    • System quantifies exterior air quality improvement in the cabin

Luckily, I was able to get my hands on the 2023 Polestar 2 (a dual motor this time too) and test it out – here are my impressions.

2023 Polestar 2 shines aesthetically, with few spec upgrades

As you can see from the images above and below, my 2023 version of the Polestar 2 came in the new Space exterior and Zinc interior with light ash deco. This model also came equipped with 20″ 5-V spoke black silver alloy wheels (seen above).

I didn’t really notice a difference between Space and the black exterior of the 2022 Polestar 2 I drove, but the lighter interior with Nappa leather is a major upgrade compared to my last loaner.

The lighter colors offer more of an open feeling within the cabin, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or the back. I usually don’t gravitate toward lighter trim, but in the case of the 2023 Polestar 2, I was thoroughly digging the contrast.

There’s not much else to say about the interior, to be honest, as it is minimalistic in true Polestar fashion. The display layout is the same, although I found the UX a lot easier to use than last time. Especially as it pertained to connecting my own phone via Bluetooth. That being said, it ended up being a lot easier to simply use apps like Google Maps and Spotify on the infotainment system. I still prefer to access apps through my phone using Apple CarPlay, but that’s my personal preference.

Next, we will dig into how the 2023 Polestar 2 drove, but first, let’s give you an idea of some of the performance improvements so you can understand what has changed in a year and what hasn’t. Here’s how both powertrain versions of the 2023 Polestar 2 compare to their predecessors:

Polestar 2 Model2022 Single Motor2023 Single Motor2022 Dual Motor2023 Dual Motor
EPA Range270 miles270 miles249 miles260 miles
Horsepower231 HP231 HP408 HP408 HP/
476 HP*
Torque243 lb-ft243 lb-ft487 lb-ft487 lb-ft/
502 lb-ft*
Starting MSRP$45,900$48,400$49,900$51,900
Pilot Pack Price$3,200$3,400$3,200$3,400
Plus Pack Price$4,000$4,200$4,000$4,200
Pack Price
*2023 Performance Pack adds 68 HP and 15 lb-ft torque (available on 2023 Dual Motor Polestar 2 only)

I bolded the specs my version of the Polestar 2 was equipped with, which included the Pilot and Plus Packs, but not the Performance Pack, which offers additional HP and torque. Compared to the 2022 Dual Motor, the 2023 Polestar 2 offers the same performance specs, aside from 11 miles of additional range. (We’ll take it.)

Not the most robust model-year upgrade, but compared to my previous drive in the RWD version, the Dual Motor Polestar 2 is a major step up in performance.

If you get this electric sedan, you’ve gotta go dual motor

As you may recall from my drive in the single-motor Polestar 2 earlier this year, my biggest complaint was its lack of power – a common occurrence in RWD EVs. (Who knew!) The Polestar team heard me loud and clear and made sure I got a dual-motor version this time around.

Having driven both now, I would highly recommend two motors. Polestar’s performance specs are by no means industry-leading to begin with, so you’ll need dual-motor torque and horsepower to truly enjoy the speedy ride this sedan can offer.

Even without the Performance Pack, I was very pleased with the acceleration and drive of the 2023 Polestar 2. I personally love how responsive Polestar’s regenerative braking is, some of the stiffest on the market in my opinion. I’m a huge proponent of one-pedal driving, and the Polestar 2 is perfect for drivers who feel the same. I think I used the brake about three times during my entire time with the EV.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, I found myself a bit low, making it slightly difficult to see other vehicles around me. I didn’t notice that last time I drove the Polestar 2, but I’d call that a minor issue at best. A larger issue for me is the size of the sedan itself.

I still don’t love the compact size of the Polestar 2 for its price tag. While the trunk offers ample cargo room and the seats fold down, I find the cabin itself a little cramped. The front truck is also a bit small for how wide the front end is.

Much of Polestar’s higher price tag relates to premium quality materials, and that’s blatantly obvious if you get inside one. Albeit minimalist, the design of the Polestar 2 is beautiful, well assembled, intuitive, and sturdy.

Personally, I still wouldn’t pay the prices Polestar is charging for either powertrain of the Polestar 2, simply because my EV preferences are focused more on range and nascent technology like 800V platforms, bidirectional charging capabilities, and ADAS. These are categories Polestar could use some improvements in and we could very well see in its upcoming models that have less of parent company Volvo’s fingerprints on them.

All that being said, if I had infinite funds and had to choose, I’d definitely go with the 2023 Dual Motor Polestar 2. Hell, throw the Performance Pack in there too. Who doesn’t love more torque?

Although the Polestar 2 is admittedly not my first choice in a new EV, I cannot deny the granularity of its aesthetic, the quality of its assembly, and the overall smoothness of its ride. If you’re a fan of the brand and its EVs, the 2023 Polestar 2 holds true to its creator’s design progress, and there’s a lot of upsides looking ahead. It began deliveries in September and is currently available for order.

I’m very much looking forward to what I get to drive next. I’m thinking it’ll be the Polestar 3, the automaker’s first venture into SUVs. Keep an eye out for that soon!

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Avatar for Scooter Doll Scooter Doll

Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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