Tech review: The electric car with the high-tech interior

Polestar 2 offers you a Google-fuelled, digitally assisted experience of driving

Polestar 2

Just a few years ago, if you wanted an electric car you had a choice of a couple of models, and that was it.

Things have changed dramatically since then. Now it is more unusual for a major car brand not to have an electric model or two, and there are a whole range of new brands coming into the Irish market that could shake things up.

Polestar is a relatively new brand to Ireland, having made its debut more than a year ago. The brand is an offshoot of Geely, the Chinese parent company of Volvo, and only makes electric cars, positioning itself firmly for the future of personal vehicles.


You won’t find forecourts full of Polestar cars around the country; the company has a small operation in Sandyford where you can see the car, organise a test drive and put in your order. Everything can be customised, from the power and range – single versus dual-motor, standard versus long-range – to extra packs that allow you to adjust the suspension, improve the sound and add comfort measures such as ventilated seats and heated steering wheel.

The Polestar 2 is, the company says, its volume car, a vehicle that was designed to be quickly produced in the numbers that Polestar needs to get its foothold in the market. You can see the Volvo undertones in the design, although the Polestar 2 feels light years away from the Swedish brand in other respects.

And, as you might expect, Polestar has added a high-tech interior, choosing Google software for its main in-car system. The Android-based system is familiar, bringing apps to your car that you use regularly, and putting them exactly where you need them, when you need them. Want to pick up that podcast on Spotify where you left off earlier? It’s right there in the car. Need to navigate to a saved place on your Google Maps account? You can access it without having to connect your phone to the car – just your Google account. And all your contacts saved to your Google account and other useful information will be available too.

Most of your interaction with Polestar’s in-car tech will come through the built-in screen that sits in the dash. It’s a good size – not too small but not dominating the dash either – and gives you plenty of options for messing about with car settings.

You can also see various bits of information about the car’s performance, through Polestar’s built-in app that shows you the g-forces generated by your acceleration, cornering and so on.

But there will be times when you can’t find what you need. And that’s where the Polestar 2 has a real advantage, Not only can you use Google Assistant to command the Google apps, send messages and search for directions, but you can also use it to find settings or control some of the car’s smart functions. If you can’t find the climate control setting in the car, for example, you can just ask Google to change it for you. Or if you’d rather keep your hands on the wheel, Google can change the volume of your radio or media so you don’t even have to reach for the volume setting yourself.

It’s not an essential feature, but since we’ve all become used to digital assistants at our beck and call, it is nice to have it extended to the car – and in a way that we are familiar with.

And it just works, although the more you use it the more accurate it gets, as is the usual practice with voice assistants.

Google’s mapping prowess is also on display here. You can see the route on the large screen, but the driver display will show the directions too, with turn-by-turn directions appearing right in front of you as you drive.

The key thing Polestar offers though is how it tries to eliminate range anxiety. When you plan a route, the system will tell you – accurately, in my experience – if the car has enough battery range to get you there, what you can expect the battery to have left when you arrive and, if needed, where you can charge along the way. There is very little guesswork here, because the range predictions in the Polestar appear to hold up – even if you are motorway driving. If it says you’ll have 30 per cent of your battery left on arrival, you can count on it being almost bang on.


Android-based software means that most people will be familiar with the main apps that the Polestar 2 relies on, such as Google Maps.

And if you can’t find something, voice commands will help you find your way through the menus.


Accurate voice recognition can take some time to build up if you aren’t already a Google user. And if you are opposed to using Google or another voice interface, then this will not be the car for you.

Everything else

You can add more apps to the system through Polestar’s link to Google’s App Store, so you aren’t stuck with either mirroring your phone or the built-in apps that the car company has chosen for you.


The Polestar 2′s choice of technology makes driving the car a smoother experience.

4 stars

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist