I had the opportunity to drive both cars. The same day. And let me start with my own story. I love BEV. I drive a BMW i3s since 2018. And currently I am looking for a new Electric Vehicle. And even though I love BMW, I must admit that currently there are not many E-Options for me. So I started to look around. And 2 possible cars, are the mentioned Model 3 or the Polestar 2. So, lets drive.
I started with the Polestar 2. A real Volvo, made by Geely, produced in China, named after Volvos Performance brand, Polestar. The Polestar 1 was the first attempt and is a hybrid-supercar, priced way above $150k. The Polestar 2 is fully BEV, priced at almost identically to the Tesla Model 3. So far, there is no basic version, so we have to compare it to the Long Range Model.
The Concept of the Polestar 2
The Polestar 2 is an interesting car. It looks like a classic sedan but is built a bit higher because it is based on the chassis of the Volvo XC40. To me, this is a great crossover effect, a sportive sedan/coupé that has a slightly higher entry and seating. Still, the seats are sportive and so is the whole car. With 2 electric motors with 150kw each, it results in 300kw (408hbp), 660Nm and a 4,7s from 0-100 with all wheel drive.
And yes, this is, what it is, 300kw are fun. The low center of mass, 20inch rims (19inch in standard trim) and a really good suspension (I drove the regular one, not the +6.000€ sports version with additional sports dampers from Oehlins racing). The suspension is sportive but not too aggressive, so even harsh roads are floating by silently. Talking about silence. The car is silent. Not only because of the electric engines. The suspension works without rattling, the wind is also very well isolated and even with 200 kph the car is very quiet.
The interior of the Polestar 2 is good. It’s not a Mercedes S-class, but for the price, it is absolutely okay. The seats are covered by a nice, dark cloth, for additional 5.000€ you can upgrade to full leather. The rest of the interior is just perfect. It looks super modern with the big Touchscreen in the middle (in portrait format other than in the Model 3), powered by Google Android. I don’t like Google and all their Data gathering. But I have to admit, the Android system works super fast, it is simpel and navigation works great.
The best thing – compared to the Tesla model 3 – is that Polestar dis also invest in a second display right in front of the driver. Even though it feels not that bad in a Tesla, the additional information you have right in front of you is super handy. The Navi Map right there is so much better than having to look down to the right, away from the street in the Model 3. Still the Whole Dashboard looks modern and clean.
Moving on to the Tesla Model 3
I literally switched from the Polestar 2 to the Tesla Model 3. The first impression is „yes, it looks cool from the inside“. The exterior design is – in my personal opinion – okay but it still looks very much like a Tesla Model S from 2012 in small. The design was great back in 2012. But in 2021 the Polestar looks much fancier. The super clean Dashboard looks great, but sometimes having a real button makes it a lot easier. Not even talking about the nonsense to open the glove box vie touch screen. But setting the mirrors to the right position is in a sub menu combined with one of the two little buttons in the steering wheel. And from there on, it starts. The buttons in the steering wheels are often used and feel – sorry Tesla – like the ones from a 10y old Dacia. The ceiling above the right back seat was not in place and kind of loose. Yes, it is just a test vehicle but even more, if you show a potential customer a car for 50k+, this is not acceptable. And stop caling the seats anything fancy like „vegan leather“. It is plastic. You start to sweat and it feels as if you could easily clean the seats with 20l of water, just in case.
Starting the test drive in the Model 3
„Dual Motors“ in the long range version result in 340kw and all wheel drive. And yes, this sounds even funnier than in the Polestar, and yes, it really is fun to kick the pedal to the metal. But after some time and when focusing on other things than the impressive power, you realise more. The suspension is harsh. Not just sportive but not responsive enough, not hightech, just stiff. And this results in harsh movements of the chassis and – well – the chassis is not happy with this. It rattles a bit here and creaks there. It’s not always present, don’t get me wrong, but even if it just happens every 10 or 20 minutes during my test, it was annoying. Even worse was that thedrivers seat was making some little noise in load-cycle changes. Plus the wind noise above 150km/h coming from the A-Pillar is annoing.
Okay, I know many Tesla drivers will see this differently. And I have to admit, that the car is still fun to drive. As said, power, range, supercharger (!) these are valid points for the Tesla. Also something Tesla is proud of, is their „Autopilot“. It works okay, to me personally other than the regular distance controled speed-cruise is not very helpful. Changing lanes automatically on a German Autobahn needs a lot of couryge, as the car acts well as long as there is not a Porsche coming from the back with a much higher speed. The Tesla ignores that, I would never pull out in such a situation. It was not critical, but at least unnecessary (and I switched back to the origininal lane manually and quickly).
So what, Telsa or Polestar?
I would always prefer the Polestar 2 over any Tesla Model 3. Both are fun to drive but the Polestar is a lot better in terms of quality. The only thing Tesla is really great is the loading infrastructure with their superchargers and also their battery management enables super quick charging. If you are planning multiple roadtrips accross Europe, the Tesla has clearly advantages. If not, the Polestar2 is a lot better to me.