*sort of. But who cares how tenuous the party is, when the cake looks this good?
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The Top Gear car review: Polestar 2
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
Dispel any notions of this being a Volvo cabin with some new floormats. The Polestar 2 is bespoke, and rather brilliant inside.
The centrepiece, as with any self-respecting upstart electric car, is a giant touchscreen. Here it’s a portrait display measuring 11-inches across and mounted high enough that it’s in your eyeline without suffering from ‘lost iPad on the dash’ disorder. The graphics are crisp, the operation impressively rapid, with no stuttering or discernible loading time. It’s one of the most smartphone-like displays we’ve ever seen, because the Polestar is the first car to use Google OS.
So, it has ‘Hey Google’ voice assistant, you can sign into your Google account to personalise your settings, login to your Spotify account, and Google Maps is built in. Via the Google Play store, you’ll be able to download your own apps, so if you prefer navigating with Waze or listening to Apple Music, that’s all inbound. There’s no Apple CarPlay yet – that’s coming next year, but even for a hardened iPhone user this is the first in-car infotainment centre in years that doesn’t feel like it’d be improved with the addition of CarPlay.
And if you’re waiting for the ‘but what about touchscreens being fiddly on the move’ caveat, worry not, because Polestar has come up with a genius piece of common sense. The sculpted gear selector acts as a plinth for your forearm, steadying your hand as you delve into the screen. It makes operation on the move much easier than in… pretty much any car with a touchscreen. Even a new Volvo. So do measures like climate control that’s adjusted in one-degree increments, not 0.5 Celcius. Less tapping needed.
In front of the driver, there’s a further display which can be configured with a widescreen map, as well as your speed and range data. Only the steering wheel switchgear and the volume / play knob seem to have come from a contemporary Volvo, and they work just as well as they do in an S90. The quality is exemplary, and truly wouldn’t embarrass a car at twice the price.
Although you sit a little higher than in, say, an Audi A4, that effect is masked by the high door tops and cocooning nature of the cabin. It’s also not an austere or overly sporty cockpit. Light woods and fabrics are employed instead of business-suited carbon fibre. You can spec leather, but as standard the interior is vegan, and more welcoming for it. The Volvo-spec seats are supremely cossetting. It’s not a Frankfurt office, this. Or a Silicon Valley coffee shop. It’s a lodge retreat, in a pine forest.
In the back there’s enough room for adults to sit behind adults, though it doesn’t feel as roomy as a conventional saloon because of the smaller glass area. The boot isn’t gargantuan, but 405 litres should be fine for everyday tasks, and because it’s a proper hatchback (which Polestar wanted as a selling point beyond the Model 3’s pokey saloon tailgate), the opening is huge. It’s not invaded by charging cables either, as they’re housed in a separate cubby under the bonnet.