Polestar 3: First Look Review

  • Polestar's first SUV priced from USD 85,300
  • Expected to deliver up to 300 miles (Polestar-est.) range
  • Competes with the Tesla Model X, Audi Q8 e-tron, and the Mercedes EQE SUV
  • To be made in China from Q1 2024 and then also in the U.S., from mid-2024

The first Polestar SUV sits in one of the most contested luxury EV segments in the U.S., competing with the Tesla Model X, Volvo EX90, BMW iX, Mercedes EQE SUV, and the Audi Q8 e-tron. The new EV is expected to go on sale in the U.S. by April 2024, and marketing efforts are in full swing before customer deliveries commence.

Prototype display cars have arrived at U.S. dealerships and are simultaneously being displayed at various public events. Recently, I checked out a Snow-colored sample of the Swedish electric SUV. Here are my observations:

Design

Polestar 3 front three quarter live image

The Polestar 3 has a high-tech and sporty exterior, and while it lays a great emphasis on aerodynamics, it just doesn’t look like a jacked-up sedan like the Tesla Model X. When I saw this white unit in person, I liked the low and fast-sloping roofline, which, along with the wide body, gives the SUV an athletic stance. My favorite design element is the full-width tail lamp, which is slim, angular, and boxy, emphasizing the SUV’s broadness and futuristic nature. I didn’t find the Volvo EX90’s headlamps nearly as appealing as its platform-mate Volvo EX90’s, though.

When I gave the Polestar 3 a closer look, I was impressed by the focus on cleaning up the exterior and making it more aerodynamic. I liked how the windows and door handles are flush against the surface like the fuselage of an airplane, but what particularly made me curious about the exterior were the wings; there are two of them, one on the lower edge of the hood and one at the end of the roof. I also liked the glass-to-edge design of side mirrors, which contributes just as much to style as drag reduction.

Polestar 3 rear three quarter live image

Interior

As expected from Polestar’s Swedish roots despite its Chinese ownership, the 3 has a properly Scandinavian interior. The sleek dashboard, ultra-compact instrument cluster, and floating center console helped me feel immediately relaxed once I shut the door close, although these weren’t the only elements contributing to the serene on-board feeling.

The meticulously created combination of soft-feeling and light-colored materials and the 0.4-mm-wide, laser-etched ambient light that runs around the whole cabin and has a color temperature of 5000K to replicate bright daylight also helped get a sense of calm in the Polestar 3. I touched the smallest of small parts and even the elements that usually don’t come into the eye of drivers and passengers to get an idea of the quality. In my experience, the overall quality was superb, and mind you, this was a pre-production prototype.

Vegans would be disappointed with Polestar using “animal welfare traced” Nappa leather seat covers. However, I understand that a vegan upholstery that uses Ineos Group’s Biovyn, a bio-attributed vinyl consisting of fully renewable feedstock and recycled polyester textile, is available and actually the standard fitment. In my experience, this material, called ‘MicroTech,’ felt quite premium.

Polestar 3 infotainment system

Of the two available decor options, repurposed aluminum and black ash wood, the Polestar 3 I sat in was equipped with the latter. When I touched it, it felt like real wood for a moment, and its color lent it an upmarket feel.

As a six-foot-tall person, I was immediately comfortable in the Polestar 3’s driver’s seat. The legroom was ample, and the headroom was also sufficient. Under-thigh support was ample as the seat comes with extenders. The flat-bottomed steering wheel was easy to reach from my most comfortable position. I was disappointed by the lack of analog controls on the steering wheel, though.

Stepping into the rear of the Polestar 3, I felt it was easy getting in. As the Polestar 3 is a two-row model with a long wheelbase, I expected it to be exceptionally spacious and comfortable in the back. A three-person bench is standard, but I wish Polestar had offered a comfier option of two captain’s chairs to make the best use of this space. That’s where the Geely Auto Group’s Lotus Eletre steps in, though, or the Volvo EX90 in case a third row of seats is also needed.

I felt that the rear seat of the Polestar 3 offered ample knee room thanks to the bespoke EV platform. Under-thigh support could have been better, and the higher floor leads to a slight knee-up posture, while headroom was good. If three six-foot-tall adults like me were to sit abreast, it could be alright for short trips, I would think, helped in part by the flat floor.

Specifications

The Polestar 3 is available in the U.S. in two dual-motor AWD variants, both with a massive, 111 kWh (net) battery pack. The base variant’s powertrain produces 489 hp and 620 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing it to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds and attaining a top speed of 130 mph. The top-end variant sports a powertrain that develops 517 hp and 671 lb.-ft. of torque and bests that 0-60 mph time by 0.3 seconds – 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is the same, though. Both variants can tow up to 3,500 lbs.

The top-end variant doesn’t offer a substantial gain in performance, but I think it will offer a better driving experience as well. With Polestar Engineered chassis tuning, it should feel firmer, while its Pirelli P-Zero tires should offer more grip. Weighing up to nearly 5,900 lbs. (curb), the Polestar 3 is quite a heavy SUV, so it could be a little lazy around the corners and may demand all possible efforts to ensure it’s nimble if driven a bit dynamically. That’s where I believe the differently tuned chassis and the special tires of the top-end variant could show the extra money’s worth.

Polestar 3 side profile live image

A dual-chamber air suspension system is standard in the Polestar 3. I expect it to give the SUV all the flexibility it needs to alter its character from a comfort-focused luxury cruiser to a dynamic model engineered for driving enthusiasts. Charging is possible at up to 11 kW (AC)/250 kW (DC), with a 0-100% normal charging session (using an AC charger) taking 11 hours and a 10-80% fast-charging session taking half an hour (using a DC charger).

The Polestar 3 is estimated to deliver a range of 300 miles (Polestar-est.) of range in the base variant and 270 miles (Polestar-est.) in the top-end variant. I think most customers would find the base variant more than good enough for their requirements.

Polestar 3 cargo area

Price

The Polestar 3 retails at USD 85,300 in the base variant and USD 91,300 in the top-end variant. Both prices include a USD 1,400 destination charge.

TopElectricSUV says

The Polestar 3 seems like a great five-seat electric luxury SUV, offering plenty of style, a posh and very comfortable interior, and a wide range of new-age safety features. I’ll reserve my verdict until Polestar conducts the media drive, but from everything that I know so far, it looks like a solid Mercedes EQE SUV challenger.

Polestar 3 FAQs

What is the Polestar 3 release date?

Customer deliveries of the Polestar 3 in the U.S. will likely begin by April 2024.

What is the Polestar 3 price?

The Polestar 3 is priced starting at $85,300.

Which models are Polestar 3 rivals?

The Polestar 3 competes with the Tesla Model X, Audi Q8 e-tron, and the Mercedes EQE SUV.