The Polestar 2 has been given a minor facelift for 2024, but a major overhaul under the skin with a switch from driving the front wheels to the rears instead, bolstering the brand's performance-focused image but only bringing it on par with its competition.

It’s not often these days that when a company gives one of its cars a facelift, the looks are largely left alone in favour of totally switching up its underpinnings instead. Sure, you might get the occasional introduction of a new engine or transmission option, but the changes certainly wouldn’t be as major as, say, switching the car’s entire platform from a front-wheel drive one to rear-wheel drive instead.

Yet, that’s precisely what’s been done to the 2024 Polestar 2. In terms of looks, very little has changed, with a new blanked-out grille design being the only noteworthy update. Peel back the bodywork and all of its powertrain components have been changed out with the aim of increasing driving range and vehicle dynamics.

Single Motor variants which were previously front-wheel drive now feature a more powerful motor which offers as much as a 50kW jump in power and instead drives the rear wheels. This shift to a rear-biased feel is also mirrored in Dual Motor variants which feature a more powerful rear motor so more torque can be channelled through the rear tyres, while also offering the ability to disconnect the front motor in low-load situations to improve range.

A pair of new lithium-ion battery options with improved chemistry are available as well, with the sole Standard Range variant featuring a 69kWh pack from LG Chem while Long Range models feature an 82kWh pack developed by CATL.

To sample these many changes, I sampled two of what I imagine will be the more popular variants in the range – the middling Long Range Single Motor and range-topping Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack. Thanks to recent price cuts of as much as $15,000 across the range, which are officially on offer until June 9, 2024, you can pick these models up for as little as $58,900 for the former and $76,400 for the latter at the time of writing. Previously, the same variants went for $71,400 and $85,400 respectively after pricing for 2024 rose by $3000-4000.

Similar to the tweaked exterior, little has changed on the inside of the Polestar 2, with the addition of YouTube to the central touchscreen – to alleviate boredom while charging – being the only noteworthy update. Otherwise, all looks and feels the same as last time I hopped behind the wheel a couple of years ago.

Both vehicles on test here featured the optional $3500 Pilot Pack which adds Pixel LED headlights and Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving, along with the $6000 Plus Pack which adds the Harman Kardon audio system and panoramic sunroof among other features. Also fitted to both was the $6000 white Nappa leather interior upgrade – it looks the business, feels far more premium than the standard WeaveTech vegan leather, and adds seat ventilation, but that much of a price premium for it borders on highway robbery.

Beyond the Performance model’s ‘Swedish Gold’ seatbelts, the interior of all models is unchanged, meaning the extra money for each variant is all going towards performance. The 11.2-inch portrait-oriented central touchscreen is clear and slick, and offers some useful features such as easy Google Maps navigation, air quality sensing, and performance recorders.

This infotainment system is actually based on an Android platform – thus allowing you to link it with your Google account – which perhaps explains why it runs so smoothly. There’s a 12.3-inch display ahead of the driver as well, which is equally as clear although fairly basic, with a full map view or large speedo the only real configurations for it.

Ergonomically, the Swedes have worked their usual magic, which the seats feeling ideally comfortable and supportive, with plenty of adjustment on offer. The driving position is ideal also, while the cabin really wraps around you from the low-slung position of the front row. This cabin is clearly a sporty design from the ground up.

There’s still plenty in the way of practicality, though, with a 405-litre boot which also offers a second storage space under the boot floor, along with a pop-up divider with hooks to stop your shopping from flying around. Mind you, there’s only 40 litres of storage space in the frunk, while the rear seats aren’t the most spacious out there.

Of course, the drastic increase in performance is the real talking point of the 2024 Polestar 2, and the Long Range Single Motor sees the most drastic of all, with the 220kW and 490Nm outputs of its new rear-mounted electric motor marking increases of 50kW and a whopping 160Nm over its predecessor. As for the all-wheel drive performance model, it now offers 350kW and 740Nm, which is a similarly noticeable 50kW and 80Nm boost from before. Both feature the same 82kWh CATL battery pack.

Starting with the rear-wheel drive model, it now feels like all the car you’d ever need. Thanks to the extra torque, which is delivered instantaneously, over a second has been slashed from its 0-100km/h claim which is now an undeniably quick 6.2 seconds. With its newfound rear-driven feeling, it now drives like it looks like it always should have, with it serving up the same sort of predictable feeling you’d get from a BMW or Mercedes saloon.

The torque delivery makes it easy to initiate powerslides, although a little bit more weight to the steering – even when in its most aggressive setting – and a touch more firmness to the suspension would make it even easier to control them.

Mind you, the standard suspension rides beautifully, and for daily driving this is the ideal specification. A few tweaks have been made to this setup for 2024, although suspension hardware changes have been kept to a minimum, helping the ride feel compliant over day-to-day nuisances such as potholes and speed bumps.

The Performance model, meanwhile, feels as nutty as it always should have. Even with all-wheel drive, the extra torque channelled to the rear wheels also make it feel tail happy when you push it hard, while off the line it’s even more of a rocket than before. Half a second has been slashed from its pre-update 0-100km/h dash which now takes a blur-inducing 4.2 seconds.

Like before, the Performance Pack continues to include upgraded Brembo brakes and manually-adjustable Öhlins dampers, which both do a fine job of managing its considerable 2105kg heft. The ride might be on the firmer side, but it’s still entirely fine for a daily driver, with the benefit of its suspension setup being that you – or the service department – can set it up to suit your precise needs.

In my review of the pre-update model, I called the Polestar 2 Performance Pack the closest thing to an electric sports car, and I stand by that now more than ever. With that hint more of a rear-biased feel combined with a rock-solid chassis, it’s the best embodiment of Polestar’s driving DNA – and having this clear an identity in terms of vehicle dynamics is something many other EVs only wish they had.

Yet while the Long Range Single Motor is a bit softer and far more approachable, it still has a hint of the same flamboyance it can turn on when required – simply, with a tap of the Sport ESC button on one of the many pages on the infotainment screen.

Efficiency, of course, still plays a big part, and it’s here where the Long Range Single Motor unsurprisingly comes into its own. After my 463km behind the wheel of it, energy efficiency sat at an impressive 15.2kWh/100km, equating to an impressive realistic range of 539km. The Performance Pack, meanwhile, used a sky-high 20.8kWh/100km after 818km of admittedly spirited driving, equating to a real-world 394km between charges.

Polestar models are all covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, while the battery has an eight-year/160,000km coverage period. Impressively, servicing is free for the first five years. Do note that due to Polestar’s business structure in Australia, servicing is handled by Volvo dealerships.

Considering the drastically-lowered pricing for the Polestar 2 – at the very least, for the next few weeks – it’s a particularly enticing option, although the savvy and much-improved Tesla Model 3 is so much cheaper compared with the 2’s standard pricing that it’s a hard one for any rival to beat, let alone the Polestar and its many expensive optional extras.

What the Polestar 2 does offer, though, is close to the most complete driving experience of any EV right now, particularly when it comes to the Performance Pack model. For enthusiasts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better for the money right now, considering how much more a Kia EV6 GT is, but when looking across the rest of the range, there’s some stiff competition to consider as well, and a switch to rear-wheel drive architecture only brings it on par with the rest of them, rather than ahead.

2024 Polestar 2 Long Range
  • 8.5/10
    Performance - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Ride & Handling - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Tech & Features - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Value for Money - 7.5/10

Pros: Playful rear-biased dynamics, big power jump, sporty driving position, improved battery chemistry allows for impressive real-world driving range
Cons: Cheaper pricing is only for a limited time, expensive options packages required to bring it level with rivals, rear seat and storage areas on the smaller side

2024 Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor

2024 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack

Full Disclosure: The vehicles tested here were provided by Polestar Australia for one week each, both with a full charge upon collection. All additional charging expenses were covered by the author.

Patrick Jackson
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