There are a lot of great options in the electric vehicle segment, but if you're looking for the best of the best, the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 are worth a good look.
Both vehicles have excellent features and overall specs, but there are some key differences that you'll want to be aware of, too. Here's a closer look at the Tesla Model 3 and 2022 Polestar 2 so you can decide which one is right for you.
The Polestar 2 may not carry the Volvo nameplate, but its exterior design leaves no mystery as to who this electric sedan’s parent company is. It features the same mature and upscale look as the Volvo brand, avoiding excessively dramatic themes, body lines, and creases. However, it’s far from boring, with its 3D block-textured grille, signature Thor’s hammer front LED accents, and U-shaped rear LED light bar. It’s sharp and futuristic while at the same time showing restraint.
The Polestar 2’s body measures 4,606 mm long, 1,473 to 1,479 mm tall, and 1,985 mm wide (mirrors included). This body sits atop a 2,735-mm wheelbase, and it tips the scales at 1,994 kg in its long-range single-motor setup and 2,113 kg in the long-range dual-motor model.
The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, features a sleek body more commonly attributed to the electric vehicle segment. It’s far from over the top, but it certainly stands out more than the Polestar with its sloped hood, windswept headlights, long and swooping roofline, and coupe-like rear glass. If you’re looking for more sporty styling than class, the Model 3 is the right option.
The Model 3 is slightly larger than the Polestar 2 at 4,694 mm long and 2,088 mm wide, but its roofline is lower at 1,443 mm. With a 2,875-mm wheelbase, the Model 3’s wheels are pushed further to the vehicle’s corners, helping with handling.
Inside, the Polestar pulls a lot of inspiration from its parent company, boasting a clean, organized, but still very upscale cabin. It features a clutter-free dash highlighted by an 11.15-inch touchscreen infotainment system running the Android Automotive OS. So, while the Polestar 2 doesn’t run Android Auto or Apple CarPlay from your phone, the OS features many of the same tech features, such as Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Assistant, and more.
As for roominess, the Polestar 2’s front seats have 1,055 mm of headroom, 1,073 mm of legroom, and 1,365 mm of shoulder room. The rear seats have 940 mm of headroom, 862 mm of legroom, and 1,355 mm of shoulder room. In addition to having limited rear seat space, the Polestar 2 also has only 404.9 litres of cargo space, despite having a hatchback-like liftback instead of a traditional trunk.
The Tesla Model 3, like the Polestar, has a clear and clutter-free setup that’s highlighted by a massive 15-inch infotainment touchscreen. While the touchscreen is large, it lacks a familiar interface like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Also, the Model 3’s cabin takes the cleanliness too far for some buyers, as it can border on boring and featureless. However, some buyers will prefer this design.
Other than headroom, the interior measurements are slightly more generous in the Model 3, but it is still not overly spacious. The front seats have 1,024 mm of headroom, 1,085 mm of legroom, and 1,430 mm of shoulder room. The rear seats offer 958 mm of headroom, 894 mm of legroom, and 1,372 mm of shoulder room. As for cargo space, the Model 3 shines with 561 litres of room behind the rear seats and another 88 litres in the front trunk.
Electric vehicles have quickly gone from focusing on practicality, range, and economy to throwing in serious performance, and the Model 3 and Polestar 2 are no exceptions.
The Polestar 2 has two powertrain options, starting with the long-range single-motor setup that delivers 231 horsepower (hp) and 243 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. This sprints it to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds and up to a top speed of 160 km/h.
For those seeking better performance and enhanced traction in the slippery Canadian winter, the long-range dual-motor all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup delivers 408 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque. In this format, the Polestar 2 hits 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds and tops out at 205 km/h.
Tesla was the originator of the high-performing electric vehicle, and the Model 3 shows this off with its standard rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model sprinting to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds and topping out at 225 km/h. In the Model 3 Long Range, you’ll get dual-motor AWD that drops the sprint time to 100 km/h to just 4.4 seconds and lifts the top speed to 233 km/h.
For those who want to live on the edge, Tesla offers the Model 3 Performance, which pushes the dual-motor AWD powertrain even further. The Performance model sprints to 100 km/h in a sports-car-like 3.3 seconds and tops out at 261 km/h.
The Model 3 also had the added benefit of optional Enhanced Autopilot, which allows it to park itself and drive itself a short distance to you in a parking lot, like a valet, using the Smart Summon feature. Upgrade to the full self-driving capability and the Model 3 can drive itself on many streets with minimal driver intervention, including stopping and starting at signals and stop signs.
While having a nice-looking, fast EV is great, the big reason for buying an electric car is never having to purchase gasoline again. That means shoppers are looking for a long electric driving range and, importantly, fast charging speeds.
The Polestar 2 comes standard with a 78-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack that delivers up to 435 km of driving range in the single-motor model and 401 km in the dual-electric-motor setup. The combined fuel-consumption equivalents check in at 2.2 Le/100 km in the single-motor model and 2.6 Le/100 km in the dual-motor model.
The Polestar 2 can accept up to a 155-kW charging speed and takes 33 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% on a DC fast charger. On a Level 2 3-phase home charger, it takes eight hours to charge from 0% to 100%.
The base Model 3 comes standard with a 60-kWh battery pack that delivers 438 km of range. The Long Range AWD model upgrades to an 82-kWh, bumping the driving range to 576 km. The Performance model uses the same battery pack as the Long Range AWD, but its added power requirements reduce its driving range to 507 km on a single charge.
The Model 3’s combined fuel-consumption equivalents check in at 1.8L/100 km in the base and Long Range AWD model and 2.1 L/100 km in the Performance model.
On a Level 2 home charger, the Model 3 takes 15 to 22 hours at 3.6 kW, eight to 12 hours at 7 kW, and five to eight hours on 22 kW. DC fast chargers speed this up to 40 to 60 minutes at 50 kW or 20 minutes at 150 kW. Using the Tesla Supercharger network, you can get up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
If your goal is range and low consumption equivalents, the Model 3 is superior. But you’ll soon learn this comes at a price.
Despite its status as a luxury car, the Polestar 2 is the more affordable of the two electric sedans. Here’s its trim lineup and pricing:
The Tesla Model 3’s pricing is a good deal higher:
The wait times for these models can be significant due to their limited production and the computer chip shortage. As of August 2022, if you place an order for a new Polestar 2, you can expect to wait at least three months for delivery.
The Model 3’s wait time varies by powertrain option. Bought new, the base model has a three- to five-month waiting period, while the Dual Motor AWD Long Range model has a four- to seven-month wait. The Performance model is the shortest wait at just one to three months.
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