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Here comes a very large, very expensive electric SUV – but it’s one that makes an unusual and bold promise…

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Yes, it’s an SUV. And it drives like a sports car.” This is the slogan for the Polestar 3 that greets you on the manufacturer’s website. Hmm. Bold words, Polestar. Bold words…

Can it possibly live up to that? We will soon find out. But for a start, the Polestar 3 is quite a good trick of the eye. Here’s an SUV that’s 4.9m long and 2.1m wide yet doesn’t look massive on the road. Even when it’s creeping, like an alien on a scouting party, through a beautiful old village of narrow roads and stone in the mountains outside of Madrid, it doesn’t shout ‘look at me, I’m a big SUV’ in the way that other large SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, BMW iX and Range Rover Sport do.



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Maybe that’s just the cleverness of the Polestar design language that wraps around the new SPA2 platform and 107kWh lithium ion battery (supplied by CATL). Or maybe it’s the low, 1614mm roofline (that’s only 5cm taller than the Volkswagen ID 3’s, for some context). Probably both of those aspects, I suppose. Either way, while I’d say that the 3 is some way off beautiful, it’s also a bit different to everything else in this class. And it’s unmistakably a Polestar, with all of the sleek minimalism and Scandinavian glossiness that entails.

The SPA2 platform is shared with Volvo, and underpins its new EX90 electric SUV, which means the 3 gets a heat pump as standard and offers you the option of a single- or dual-motor layout. More than that, for the sports car drive that Polestar is promising, there’s mechanical torque vectoring at the rear. Yup, none of that namby-pamby vectoring-by-brake. This is, after all, the manufacturer that offers 22-way adjustable Öhlins dampers on an electric hatchback. So the 3 gets a proper dual-clutch affair that can send 100% of the torque to either rear wheel.

As for the electric car stuff, that 107kWh battery gives the 3 a WLTP range of up to 390 miles, or 348 miles if you add the £5600 Performance Pack. A single-motor 3 with a longer range is expected later this year. Charging is at speeds of up to 250kW, which is good for a 10-80% rapid charge in 30 minutes.


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Slide into the 3’s cabin and you’re greeted by a double-decker dash design, complete with a recessed vent line that runs the full width, pale recycled textiles, a wood insert and some subtle chrome touches. It’s straightforward but also oozes that classically understated, airy, Scandinavian feel.

A compact digital readout behind the steering wheel gives you speed and range, and there’s a head-up display as part of the £5000 Plus Pack, if you want it. Then, of course, there’s a huge touchscreen as well, which is your window to the climate control, inbuilt sat-nav (with Google Maps), wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and more.

The climate settings are all accessed via the touchscreen, but the vent angles are adjusted manually. That’s great, but it feels peculiarly old-school in an otherwise brashly digital car. VP

The 3’s infotainment software is ultimately the same as that in the Volvo EX30, which drove our Matt Prior to distraction last year. Polestar has made the icons bigger and added shortcut buttons from the home page to key features (which change depending on whether you are parked or driving).

There are still frustrations, though. The adaptive driving features are a total faff to adjust and having the headlight, seat and steering wheel adjustments buried back there is annoying. Peculiarly, the icon for the hazard warning lights (there is a physical button on the ceiling) on the home screen is immediately next to the button you want for all of this, so it’s fairly easy to turn your hazards on when all you wanted was to change your suspension from Firm to Nimble…

Ho hum. It’s better than in the EX30 and the inbuilt Google stuff is great – but there are still plenty of aspects that will be properly teeth-grinding on a daily basis.

Still, at least you’ll be comfy while you get annoyed with the touchscreen which, granted, is due to have an update or two before the Polestar 3 reached customers. The driving position is great, barring the steering wheel needing to drop a touch lower, and space isn’t likely to be an issue either. Rear passenger room is properly impressive, even by the high standards of this class. The clever roofline design means that even tall passengers have loads of head room despite the comparably low roofline and standard glass roof, and it’s all seriously cushy and lovely.

Boot space is good too. The sloping roofline does make it a bit shallow towards the back of the car, but the 484-litre space (accessed through a usefully large hatch aperture) is decent, with a nifty boot floor that folds up to split the load space and gives you something to strap your groceries securely to (as we have seen in various Volvos). Meanwhile, the small ‘frunk’ is good for storing a single charging cable.


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I spent most of my time driving a car fitted with the Performance Pack, which ups power by 27bhp to 510bhp and brings a firmer set-up for the air suspension. The 0-62mph time of 4.7sec says enough, and the 3 does feel incongruously fast for such a big car. While throttle response isn’t the sharpest, that may be a good thing: it makes for smooth progress, even in more challenging driving.

Mind you, I also had a go in a standard Dual Motor 3 and, honestly, it’s the better car. It still has 483bhp, so it’s only 0.3sec behind the upgraded car when it comes to the 0-62mph time, and I prefer the slightly softer suspension.

The regen feels well judged, but some steering wheel paddles would have been welcome.

The 3’s regenerative braking has three modes, but it’s fairly basic, ranging from completely off to medium-level on and finally very heavy for one-pedal driving. Steering wheel paddle control would be better than having to use the touchscreen, but at least the medium regen mode is easy to get used to and isn’t grabby (the one-pedal mode is harder to judge). I was happiest just leaving it in that mode and forgetting about it, and most drivers will probably feel the same.


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As you would expect, the dual-chamber air suspension, steering weight and power delivery are all independently adjustable, and a potter through Madrid’s hectic centre and out onto a motorway showed that, with everything in its most relaxed mode, the 3 is smooth and intuitive.

Even on the big 22in wheels and the firmer suspension, the ride is well controlled, with initial bump absorption nicely smoothed out. There’s noticeable patter on scruffy surfaces, though, so again the regular Dual Motor is the one to go for, as it’s a touch more easygoing.

I was impressed with the handling and tactile steering on a closed track, but it could be a different story threading this 2.1m-wide SUV down a narrow, hedge-lined UK B-road.

My only grumble in terms of the 3’s comfort actually concerns refinement, as wind and road noise are more noticeable than in a lot of rivals, especially at higher speeds.

Now, to return to my initial point: whether the 3 feels like a sports car, as Polestar promises. Did it do so at any point on the more mundane stretches of my test route? No. How about on the fast-flowing mountain switchbacks, with the suspension and steering both dialled up to Firm? Still no.

What I did find, though, was one of the sweeter-driving electric SUVs. The steering isn’t overflowing with texture and feedback, but it gives you plenty of confidence in the grip levels available, and there’s a more light-footed feel than you would expect of a car weighing 2.6 tonnes. It’s keen and even quite fun – more dialled in and rewarding than most rivals, for sure. And yes, you can feel that dual-clutch torque-vectoring system driving the 3 out of corners cleanly. There’s even a touch of playfulness from the rear axle if you really push hard for it.

But does it drive like a sports car? Well… no. Not really. This is one of the more driver-oriented cars in this class, but even in spirited progress it feels chiefly like a fast, luxury car with rather decent steering weight and impressive body control. Porsche needn’t panic: the Taycan saloon/estate remains a clear benchmark if you want anything like sports car thrills in an EV.


polestar 3 review 2024 19 front cornering

It’s a bit sickening to describe an £80,000 car as good value, but by the standards of rivals like the BMW iX and Mercedes EQE SUV, it really is. Especially given that the Polestar 3 gets a huge amount of standard equipment. You might want to add the Plus Pack, as it ups the standard 10 speaker system to a Bowers and Wilkins audio system, as well as adding massage seats, heated rear seats and more. But you have to add the Pilot Pack with its semi-autonomous drive mode and 360-degree parking camera to get it. That means that it’s £7,300, when it’s possible that all you wanted was the fancy stereo.

We’d be tempted to keep it simple, as you still get heated seats, keyless entry with soft-close doors, 20-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, all the infotainment stuff you want, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and more. It’s not too shabby at all, even without any options.

Monthly PCP and leasing aren’t cheap, though, and you’ll probably be paying around £900- to £1000 per month even with a healthy deposit.

Efficiency isn’t unreasonable for a big, powerful electric SUV. We’d expect to see around 250 to 320 miles per charge from the Performance Pack model in real world use, depending on conditions.


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Overall, I really like the 3 – principally because it looks and feels like nothing else in a class of cars that can seem rather samey, and also because it’s comparably decent value for money, given the long range and huge standard kit list. More than that, it strikes a very happy blend of comfort, pace and modest handling zing.

It’s not a sports car, but it is a peculiarly charming, very competent and really recommendable car. Just don’t judge it on the over-optimistic marketing spiel.