Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
Car Review

Polestar 4 review

£59,935 - £72,235
710
Published: 30 Jun 2024
Advertisement
Polestar’s eponymous fourth model, this time with added subtraction. Of a rear ‘screen

Good stuff

Typically stylish Polestar interior, styling definitely a talking point, very useable range

Bad stuff

Not one for dog owners, early test cars showed up some touchscreen issues, always a problem when there are few physical buttons

Overview

What is it?

A five-seat, pure electric car from Chinese-owned and Swedish developed-slash-inspired Polestar. It’s a mid-sized ‘SUV Coupe’ (although it has four doors) with a heavy lean towards the more sporting end of things, most notably in the dual-motor version (536bhp/506lb ft) which clocks the 0-62mph time in under four seconds.

There’s a more sedate single-motor, rear-wheel drive version (268bhp/253lb ft) if you don’t feel the need, and that manages the benchmark in just under seven seconds. Plenty fast enough for normal duties.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Both get a 100kWh battery (of which 94kWh dead is useable), the single-motor 385 miles of possible range, the faster dual 367. So not a huge difference there unless you use that extra power all the time.

What’s going on at the back of the car?!

Styling-wise it looks very Polestar, with that clean, reserved look that works so well, but yeah: you have immediately noticed that the Polestar 4 comes without a rear windscreen. And no, that’s not a filled-in rear; the 4 was always designed to have no back glass. The aim is to improve rear headroom and rear passenger comfort and improve aero.

A big, standard glass roof stretches back way past the rear passenger’s heads, so the rear never feels dark, and the driver maintains rear vision via a high-def camera on the roof linked to a similarly high-def rear-view mirror.

There are some interesting things when you start to dig into the stats though: the 4 is 60mm shorter than the ‘full-sized’ SUV 3 (4,840mm plays 4,900), but actually has a longer wheelbase (2,999mm vs 2,985mm). But it’s also wider and lower. It’s not tiny.

Advertisement - Page continues below

So if Polestar is Volvo’s funky cousin, which Volvo is this based on?

Well, that’s not as easy a question to answer. Thus far, Polestars have been based on Volvo’s CMA or SPA architectures (for the 2 saloon and 3 large SUV), while the 4 is actually on the SEA1 platform from Geely. So that’s cars like the Volvo EM90 large luxury minivan which we don’t get in Europe, the Zeekr 001 and 009 and the Ji Yue 01.

The SEA2 bones are for cars like Smart’s #1 and #3, the Zeekr X and Volvo EX30, while the SEA-P includes the Lotus Emeya and Eletre. So the 4 isn’t quite like anything we get for the European market.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t have all the usual Polestar vibes; the interior is smart and calm, there’s a large quantity of recycled and repurposed bits and there’s a sense that it’s not quite as macho as some other brands.

Oh and Polestar’s forthcoming cars - the 5 large saloon and 6 four-seat convertible - are both on more bespoke, Polestar-specific aluminium platforms. So they’ll be the real test.

What’s this up against?

Pretty obviously stuff like the new all-electric Porsche Macan. Or anything of a similar size, really… if you ignore the drivetrain. Possibly even a well-specced Tesla Model Y if you don’t.

It does offer good-looking value though. The single-motor weighs in at under £60k - with the Macan 4 from almost seventy grand - and there’s plenty of standard equipment. The Porsche is a bit quicker with 400bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds, but worth noting that you can have the dual-motor P4 for a starting price of £66,990. Also worth remembering that cheaper Macans (including a single-motor) are on the way.

Still, if you want a pure electric car, these mid-sized SUVs do seem to cover a lot of bases, especially now that they provide decent range. Except if you have a dog, obviously, because you can’t really put one in the back of the P4. Polestar says you can drop the rear divider to ‘accommodate long items or dogs’, but it’s not the best solution. Your dog will hate you and life will therefore be awful.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

Although the driving element is fine, the Polestar seems to suit being a rapid car rather than an outright sporty one

The Polestar 4 is fun and interesting. But it’s not perfect. The lack of rear-view to gain a bit of rear headroom and marginal aero gains on what is a 2.3-tonne, high-riding SUV isn’t really worth it. Yes, you can get used to the digital mirror - vans and lorries have done so for a while - but it’s bluntly not as good as plain glass and even a marginal view, even if you angle everything the right way. And the way to do that is to face the mirror rather than positioning it as you might for looking backwards.

Also, commercial vehicles get away with it because vans and lorries are dealing with an issue, rather than creating a solution to an invented one.

The interior is lovely, but early cars had very laggy and unresponsive touchscreens, which obviously still need work before they get to customers. And although the driving element is fine, the Polestar seems to suit being a rapid car rather than an outright sporty one. Something highlighted by the fact that TG much preferred driving the cheaper, passively-damped, single-motor version. So it really depends on what you need to do with your Polestar 4.

The Rivals

Find another car review

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe