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Segment-straddling Porsche Macan rival looks to inject sporting appeal into a long-range, family-friendly proposition

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The Polestar 4 is difficult to figure out. It’s trying very hard to be bold and original, hence the windowless beetleback in place of a rear screen. It’s also trying very hard to be a lot of different things including an SUV, a coupé, an executive car, a sports car, a tech device… and probably some others that we’ve forgotten.

This could be genius. As if Picasso made a car, with all its disparate bits brought together into one brave yet cohesive thing. Or it could be more Frankenstein’s monster: lots of unrelated stuff, stitched together and brought to life so that it can shamble about in your nightmares. 

Let’s start with the basics. Obviously, being a Polestar it’s electric only, and it’s based on the same Geely SEA platform that underpins the Volvo EX30 and Smart #1. Power comes from a 94kWh (usable capacity) lithium ion NMC battery, which you can choose to have powering dual motors, for 536bhp and 506lb ft, or a single motor delivering 268bhp and 253lb ft to the rear wheels.

Charging tops out at 200kW, which is good for a 10-80% charge in 30 minutes. Vehicle-to-load charging is also standard, while WLTP range is up to 385 miles for the single-motor car that we’re focusing on here.



polestar 4 review 2024 02 side panning

At 4.84m long and 1.53m tall, and with pricing from £60,000, Polestar pitches this five-seat SUV-coupé up against the Porsche Macan, BMW iX3 and Audi Q6 E-tron. Not to mention the Tesla Model Y, which may be cheaper and shorter but does a similar job and is so dominant across the mainstream electric SUV classes that it’s basically omnipresent.

That’s all pretty straightforward, but as soon as you look at the Polestar 4 you can’t help feeling that it’s just as much – if not more – of a rival to alternatives like the (granted, smaller and lower) BMW i4. The coupé lines are strong on the Polestar 4, and that roofline is so low that it’s actually only 2cm higher than a Mercedes EQE’s. Mind you, the lack of a rear windscreen does mean that Polestar has been able to do some clever things with rear head room despite the low-slung roofline. More on that in a bit.

Is it pretty? Well, no. Not to these eyes, at least. But it is striking, intriguing and divisive, and that’s always preferable to bland and forgettable. That distinctive on-road presence and head-turning value is undoubtedly a chief selling point.


polestar 4 review 2024 04 dash

Slide into the driver’s seat and the sense that this is more coupé than SUV is only emphasised. Sure, you sit higher than in ‘classic’ saloons or coupés, but not by much.

The dash has strong horizontal lines, complete with hidden vents that you adjust via the screen (annoying), but thankfully there’s a simple readout behind the steering wheel, and if you add the Plus pack you also get a head-up display.

It’s a classy affair in the Polestar 4, including some rather lovely textured textiles, or nappa leather if you prefer. There’s definitely that unmistakable Scandi-chic feel in the materials and design, and it feels refreshingly different to the obvious German rivals – another selling point for any Polestar fans that may well revel in a car that’s anything but the norm.

The landscape infotainment touchscreen gets a heavily altered version of the software used in the Volvo EX30, and there are some neat touches to it. The icons are fairly big, and the adaptive dynamic functions light up orange when they’re activated, so they’re not too difficult to hit and it’s easy to see what’s active and what’s not. Configurable shortcuts on the homepage mean that you can have your lane keeping assistance, brake regen modes and more all a single prod away. The in-built Google Maps is very good, too.

But there are some properly irritating aspects, too. Yes, you can choose what ambience you want according to planetary theme (pick a planet and the car’s ambient lighting adjusts accordingly), but you still have to go three or four prods into the menus to change some adaptive drive features, lights and some other key functions. It’s not as bad as the Volvo EX30’s set-up, but it is still not a user-friendly delight – the laggy screen response on our pre-production infotainment system didn’t help, either.

What is impressive is how much head room Polestar has squeezed into the back. Look closely at the profile of the car, and you’ll notice that roofline is fairly flat, until a noticeable kink just before that missing rear windscreen. By doing that, Polestar has kept enough head room for someone well over six-foot tall to sit comfortably, despite that coupé lines. The seats also recline, and it’s all very plush and luxurious back there.

It's also a bit dark. Who’d have thought that’d happen, with no rear windscreen? The standard glass roof stretched back over rear passengers’ heads helps to alleviate this, but there’s still a weird sense of looming claustrophobia.

The hatchback boot has a very healthy 526 litres of space, including 31 litres under the floor, so there’s some useful SUV-ness for you right there. A 15-litre frunk adds further useful cable storage, too. Overall, when it comes to space, the 4 really is pretty impressive – whichever of its many potential identities and rivals you choose to measure it against.

But then visibility is a key part of safety and practicality, and it is frankly annoying to not have a view out of the back of the car. While the rear-view camera that makes up for the solid metal shell at the back is high-def by the standards of such things, it’s not as crisp and sharp as a traditional mirror, and visibility to the rear three-quarters isn’t brilliant, either.

We’re not against tech advances, or additional camera help for side and rear views. But for this road tester, there wouldn’t be a day spent in the Polestar 4 without some level of irritation over the lack of a rear screen and normal mirror.



As for how it drives? Well, not bad. The single-motor 4 that we drove gets 268bhp and 253lb ft going to the rear wheels, which is good for a 0-62mph time of 7.1sec. It feels more than sprightly enough when you want it to, with decent pedal feel and modulation so that it’s easy to drive smoothly. Basically, while the on-paper sprint time is a bit middling by the standards of this class, you never feel lacking in response or outright pace even on a decent road and when you want more spirited progress.

Brake feel in hard driving is very decent, but in everyday progress around town it can be a bit hard to judge bringing the car to a smooth standstill. Regen is adjusted in the screen and has three settings: Off, Low or Standard, with Standard being a heavy one-pedal drive mode, Low being a fairly mild mid-level brake regen and Off being – unsurprisingly – off.

It would be nice to have a slightly more varied range of regen, not to mention easier control of them via paddles on the wheel, with a couple of mid-range settings to choose between, but as it is the Standard regen is intuitive and easy to get used to, so most will most likely stick with that and be more than happy.

We did have a go in the dual motor, all-wheel-drive Polestar 4 with Performance pack, too, which adds adaptive dampers with a performance-focused set-up, and has a healthy 536bhp and 506lb ft, for 0-62mph in 3.8sec. It is a drastically different beast to drive: it eggs you on in a way that the single-motor model doesn’t, and while that version has something of a sweeter balance and steering feel, there’s an unflappable brutality to the dual-motor 4 that brings an appeal of its own.


polestar 4 review 2024 09 front cornering

The Polestar 4 is very decent – even fun, you might say – to drive by the standards of the big SUV-coupé class. There’s a directness and predictability to the steering that makes it feel very chuckable, with body lean kept well in check and good front-end bite – this is a car that even feels playful if you really push it. Having said that, at normal road speeds it lacks the organic control feel of some rivals, and overall the Polestar 4 is not quite as engaging to drive as the BMW i4 or Porsche Macan.

That dual-motor model with Performance pack, which adds adaptive dampers with a performance-focused set-up, does feel more purposeful. More taut in its responses, and genuinely very close to the BMWs and Porsches of this corner of the car market when it comes to driver reward. But there’s just not quite the same level of tactility to it, and it doesn’t hide its weight quite as well, and we actually prefer the more laid-back, flowing feel that you get with the single-motor Polestar 4.

Ride comfort on the 21in alloys and Michelin Pilot Sports of our single-motor car is settled at higher speeds, but there’s a noticeable shiver and thump around town. The dual-motor car that we tried on 22s and Pirelli P Zeros (which are part of the Performance pack) is a touch firmer despite the adaptive dampers, and while you can feel that the dual-motor 4 isn’t uncomfortable, it is quite choppy around town.

Stick with the single-motor car for the best balance of tidy, natural-feeling handling and also better value all round. It’s outshone by some of its rivals, but it’s fun enough on a decent road, and super-refined and comfortable as a long-distance cruiser.


polestar 4 review 2024 01 front tracking

It’s not cheap, at £59,990 for the single-motor 4 and £66,990 for the dual-motor car before you’ve added the Performance pack, and Plus pack, and any other pack that takes your fancy. Having said that, standard equipment is very generous, and includes a heat pump, keyless entry, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, a 360deg parking camera, adaptive cruise control, planetary-themed ambient lighting, three-zone climate control and more. So you don’t really need to add any of those packs, anyway… And spec for spec, the Polestar is decent value compared with alternatives like the Porsche Macan and BMW iX3. If you can get a decent finance deal, then it’s definitely one to consider.

That range is up there with the best in the class, too, and we’d expect to see around 280 to 360 miles of real-world range, depending on conditions.


polestar 4 review 2024 12 rear static

So, after all that, it seems that the Polestar 4 is a more cohesive thing than we might initially have feared. It’s slick to drive, roomy inside, has a long range and is interesting to look at.

But try as we might, we still can’t quite figure out why you’d buy one. There are others that drive better, that you can see out the back of, and that are just a bit more… defined. Honestly? The only reason that comes to mind is just because the Polestar 4 looks so different, and is so deliberately radical. Rebellious, almost, in its design. If you’re not fussed about that? Well, you may find your mid-to-large, posh electric car needs are catered for better elsewhere.