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In-depth reviews

Polestar 3 review – upmarket and well built, but not sporty

“The Polestar 3 SUV is a welcome addition to the electric brand’s lineup with a premium, well-built feel”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Comfortable and refined
  • High-quality interior
  • Good electric range

Cons

  • Doesn’t feel sporty to drive
  • Too many virtual controls
  • No single-motor variant from launch

Verdict – is the Polestar 3 a good car?

The Polestar 3 is a well-built, high-quality electric SUV which we think looks great, too. Its minimalist interior exudes a premium feel, albeit in a more understated way compared to many rivals. The ride is comfortable, too, but we think it’s a push to consider the Polestar 3 sporty as per the manufacturer’s claims – sure it’s powerful, but there’s not much feel in the driving experience, and on that basis we think it's worth waiting for the cheaper single-motor version arriving later in 2025, rather than the dual-motor model from launch.

Polestar 3 models, specs and alternatives

The Polestar 3 is a large electric SUV that’s the biggest model produced by the brand so far. The first thing to make clear is that Polestar uses a chronological naming system much like that used by phone companies like Apple, so it’s called the 3 because it arrived after the Polestar 2. That means that despite what you might expect, another upcoming model, the Polestar 4, isn’t necessarily bigger – in fact, it’s a smaller coupe-SUV that confusingly sits between the 2 and the 3.

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The Polestar 3 debuts with a ‘Launch Edition’ model which starts from around £75,000 and can be had with a ‘Performance Pack’ bringing a higher power figure and slight styling changes. 

The Polestar 3 shares many of its underpinnings with the Volvo EX90 and in the beginning all models will come with a dual-motor configuration, although a cheaper single-motor ‘Long Range’ model will arrive later in 2025. The two motors combined produce 483bhp as standard, but opting for the Performance Pack bumps this up to 510bhp.

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The Polestar 3 also gets a 107kWh battery that gives it a decent range of up to 390 miles in standard dual-motor guise, while the Performance Pack sacrifices some of this in the name of power, so it’s capable of up to 349 miles to a charge. While those figures are very usable, the Polestar 3 isn’t particularly efficient considering the large size of its battery, but the later single-motor variant will likely improve things, as will updates to the lineup.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Launch Edition
  • Long Range Dual-Motor (483bhp)
  • Long Range Dual-Motor Performance Pack (510bhp)

Range, charging & running costs

"The Polestar 3 offers a very usable range thanks to its big battery"

Polestar is an electric-only car brand, and the Polestar 3 gets a large 107kWh battery to power its two electric motors. It’s not groundbreaking in terms of efficiency, but it still does at least boast a very competitive range that many buyers will be happy with. From launch the standard Long Range Dual Motor variant has the longest potential range because the extra power of the Performance Pack version comes at the cost of some miles, but a single-motor model is expected to arrive in 2025 which is likely to improve in this area, and we’d expect it to be a little cheaper, too.

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One thing that’s interesting to note is that on dual-motor cars the rear axle can be decoupled to make the Polestar 3 intermittently two-wheel drive in the pursuit of improved efficiency.
 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor

107kWh

390 miles

Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack

107kWh

349 miles

How efficient is the Polestar 3 in the real world?

Despite the adequate on-paper range figures, real life usage does muddy the waters a little. When we tested the Performance Pack version, the efficiency figures we were achieving in the Polestar 3 would have returned a range of around 256 miles, which is quite a way behind the official figure.

What will the Polestar 3 cost to insure?

Official insurance groupings are yet to be confirmed for the Polestar 3, but we wouldn’t expect it to be a cheap car to insure. For context, competitors like the BMW iX span groups 47 to 50 out of 50, so the Polestar 3 will probably sit around this ballpark.

Electric motor, drive & performance

“The Polestar 3 is comfortable and capable, but dull to drive, despite the brand’s sporty claims”

The Polestar 3 is based on many of the same underpinnings as the Volvo EX90 SUV, but where Volvo focuses on comfort first and foremost, Polestar has emphasised its intent to offer a more driver-focused experience with the Polestar 3 – to what extent the brand has succeeded, however, is another question.

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Getting into the Polestar 3 we were very impressed with its driving position for an SUV overall, but didn’t like the fact that we had to go through five steps via the infotainment screen just to change the steering wheel position. Visibility is excellent, and the ridges on the edges of the bonnet made it easy to place the car, even when there was a lack of feedback through the steering wheel.

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Although it’s a big SUV, the Polestar 3 has a low centre of gravity and plenty of power on tap in either guise. From launch every Polestar comes in a dual-motor configuration, but while standard cars get 483bhp, the Performance Pack bumps this up to 510bhp for even more punch, and it’s the model we’ve tested. While that sounds like a good start, once we were on the move there was no avoiding the fact that it still felt like a very large heavy car and the suspension setup means it feels soft and floaty to drive.

The upside to this is that the Polestar 3 does a better job of smoothing out road imperfections at lower speeds than the Polestar 2’s harsh setup thanks to the sophisticated self-levelling dual-chamber air suspension and adaptive dampers. Really, then, the 3 feels more comfort-focused than Polestar intended.

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The Polestar 3’s brakes provide an impressive amount of stopping power, and although the regenerative braking system comes on very smoothly, we wish there was more adjustability to it. In ‘High’ mode you get enough braking force to drive the Polestar 3 with just one pedal, and the ‘Low’ setting makes this slightly less aggressive, but other than that, the only option is to turn it off completely.

Is the Polestar 3 good to drive in town?

Given its large size there are certainly easier cars to drive around town, but the Polestar 3 doesn’t do a bad job thanks to its tight turning circle – a feat it manages despite a lack of four-wheel steering. The steering feels light and quick which helps make it more nimble, although it does cause the Polestar 3 to feel a little wallowy at times. While the suspension setup can feel a bit floaty, good visibility and a view of the edges of the bonnet makes it straightforward to manoeuvre.

Is the Polestar 3 good to drive on long journeys?

At motorway speeds the Polestar 3 does a good job of offering a smooth comfortable ride, even on the 22-inch wheels our test car had. Polestar has done a particularly good job of insulating the cabin from road and wind noise, so it feels refined and quiet inside. We recommend putting the Polestar 3 into ‘Nimble’ or ‘Firm’ modes when on the motorway as it feels more settled.

Is the Polestar 3 good to drive on B-roads?

Although Polestar has reiterated that it intended to create a more driver-focused driving experience with the Polestar 3, B-road driving is unfortunately not really its forte. The steering can be put into one of three modes: ‘Standard’, ‘Firm’ or ‘Light’ – the problem is that it feels over-assisted and artificial in Firm. While the Polestar 3 certainly feels agile and grippy enough to cope with fast, twisty bends, there’s an unfortunate lack of feedback through the steering which makes it hard to confidently push it.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor

483bhp

5 seconds

130mph

Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack

510bhp

4.7 seconds

130mph

Carbuyer notes

“There’s not much communication done via the steering in the bends, which is a shame because the front end is quick, and there’s a clear overall balance to the Polestar 3.” Alastair Crooks, Senior News Reporter

Interior & comfort 

“The Polestar 3’s interior is well built and premium, but we’d prefer more physical controls”

The Polestar 3’s interior is a fairly minimalist affair which carries over some similarities with the Polestar 2. It feels more premium than that car, though, and in a way that’s a lot more understated than the interior of a BMW iX. The Polestar 3 feels very well built and high quality, with a soft headlining and faux leather upholstery which feels more cushioned. There’s also the option of Nappa leather for a little more luxury. 

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The Bowers and Wilkins audio system features noise-cancelling technology and 25 speakers, but we found it a little underwhelming and the sound seemed very front-biased.

Is the Polestar 3’s infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

As a general rule, we like Polestar’s Google-based infotainment system because it feels intuitive to use and feels as familiar to use as a smartphone. The software is displayed on a large 14.5-inch touchscreen and there’s a nine-inch digital driver’s display with brilliant resolution, too. The problem is, we think too many of the car’s functions are accessed via the infotainment system, such as climate control, driving modes and more, making it more difficult than it ought to be to access simple functions while on the move.

At least the brand has included the functionality of customisable shortcuts on the home screen, and the Google voice assistant works well and will be familiar if you use an Android phone.

Where there are physical buttons, they’re not particularly good to use anyway. The ones mounted on the steering wheel are unfortunately not backlit and don’t have any markings to show what they do, so will be hard to use at night. There’s also a rotary dial on the centre console to move through menus on the touchscreen, but it’s not very responsive which made it dissatisfying to use. Then there are the electric window switches – there are just two physical switches and a touch-sensitive button you can use to toggle between the front and rear windows, but it doesn’t work well and just feels frustrating.

Is the Polestar 3 well equipped?

Considering what the Polestar 3 goes up against, it feels well equipped. All cars get that 14.5-inch infotainment screen and nine-inch driver’s display, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, a Bowers and Wilkins audio system with Dolby Atmos surround sound, an airy panoramic roof, a comprehensive suite of safety tech including adaptive cruise control, lane keep and departure warning and a heat pump to keep the battery running at optimum temperatures in the winter.

What options should you choose on the Polestar 3?

At launch, the Polestar 3 is only available in ‘Launch Edition’ and its main options are split into packs. There’s the Nappa leather pack, which not only brings luxurious Nappa leather upholstery, but also a massaging seat function with five settings. The Plus pack brings a power-adjustable steering column, heated steering wheel and a system that improves the air quality. The Performance Pack will appeal if you want the extra power, and also brings 22-inch alloys, some more aggressive exterior touches, Performance Pack badging on the interior plus ‘Swedish Gold’ ambient interior lighting and seatbelts.

Key features

Launch Edition

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • 14.5-inch infotainment screen
  • Nine-inch digital driver’s display
  • Panoramic roof
  • Three-zone climate control
  • White interior ambient lighting
  • Black seatbelts

 

Launch Edition with Performance Pack

(Launch Edition plus…)

  • 22-inch alloy wheels
  • Swedish Gold seatbelts
  • Swedish Gold brake callipers
  • Swedish Gold interior ambient lighting
  • Sportier suspension setup
  • More aggressive exterior styling
  • Performance Pack badging
  • Power increase to 510bhp

"There are electric SUVs with bigger boots but the Polestar 3 is still very spacious inside"

The Polestar 3 is a large SUV, so it boasts a lot of interior space. Rear passengers are spoilt for legroom, and despite its low sloping roofline there’s a lot of headroom too. The standard-fit panoramic roof on Launch Edition models makes the car feel even airier. There’s loads of storage space dotted around the cabin, too – between the front seats there’s a 32-litre compartment, and the door bins are generously sized. There are two cupholders up front and two in the back which pop out of the centre armrest.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Polestar 3

4,900mm

2,120mm

1,614mm

BMW iX

4,953mm

1,967mm

1,695mm

Mercedes EQE SUV

4,893mm

1,940mm

1,685mm

Volvo EX90

5,037mm

1,964mm

1,744mm

Does the Polestar 3 have a big boot?

The Polestar 3’s boot is not quite as generous as that of the closely-related Volvo EX90, which offers seating for seven and boasts 655 litres of space with its third row of seats folded down. The BMW iX boasts 500 litres and the Mercedes EQE SUV offers up to 520 litres. While those all trump the Polestar 3’s 484-litre figure, it’s still a very usable size, and folding the seats down will free up 1,411 litres. A useful feature is the way the Polestar 3’s ride height can be lowered by 50mm via some buttons in the boot that control the air suspension, making loading in heavier items much easier.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Polestar 3

484 litres

BMW iX

500 litres

Mercedes EQE SUV

520 litres

Volvo EX90

310 litres (655 litres with third row folded)

Is the Polestar 3 a good tow car?

The Polestar 3 is a fairly capable tow car, and both Long Range Dual Motor versions are capable of hauling a trailer of up to 2,200kg in weight. It’s not yet confirmed how much the upcoming single-motor variant will be capable of towing.

Reliability & safety

“It’s too early to say how reliable the Polestar 3 will prove, but it gets plenty of safety tech to put your mind at ease”

Polestar is a brand that still sells in smaller numbers than most others in the UK, so we’re yet to receive enough responses from owners for it to feature in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, let alone for the brand-new Polestar 3 model. The car does feature lots of technology from previous parent company Volvo, however, and that brand came in 13th place in terms of customer satisfaction in 2023. Reliability was slightly worse than average, with 27% of Volvo owners reporting an issue in the first year of ownership, but that’s not necessarily indicative solely of electric models with which the Polestar 3 shares technology, so it’s a bit of a grey area.

How safe is the Polestar 3?

Safety as a priority is a trait passed down to Polestar from its previous parent company Volvo, so we’d expect the Polestar 3 to get the full five stars when it’s tested by Euro NCAP. It comes with a long list of safety equipment including lane keep assist and departure warning, blind spot warning, driver fatigue monitoring among other tech.

What are the Polestar 3 service intervals?

Polestar offers free servicing for the 3 for the first three years or 31,250 miles, whichever comes first. Polestar doesn’t specify the intervals, but the brand will contact you when your car needs maintenance, or the car will show a message when it’s due.

What is the warranty on the Polestar 3?

The Polestar 3’s warranty looks a little sub-par by modern standards, as you’re covered for just three years or up to 60,000 miles if anything goes wrong. In contrast, BMW and Mercedes offer a warranty for the same time frame, but with no mileage cap. It’s a shame the warranty isn’t longer, with many other brands such as Lexus offering more peace of mind – just like parent company Toyota, your Lexus is covered for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, so long as you get it serviced annually (or every 10,000 miles) via a main dealer. The Polestar 3’s battery has an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is about the industry average.

Should you buy a Polestar 3?

The Polestar 3 is a great electric SUV that offers a well-built, premium interior, lots of equipment, and a comfortable ride. Its range is very impressive thanks to a large battery, too, and we think it looks unlike a lot of other cars on the market at the moment, which will appeal to buyers after something a little more left-field compared to a BMW iX or Mercedes EQE SUV.

The problems arise when it comes to the driving experience which Polestar insisted would feel sporty. Despite the car’s high power output in standard and Performance Pack guise, it just couldn’t shake the feel of a large and heavy SUV. That means it doesn’t quite differentiate itself from the Volvo EX90 in terms of a USP, although a cheaper list price does make the Polestar 3 slightly more accessible (although it’s still an expensive car).

On that basis, we think it would make more sense to wait for the cheaper single-motor version of the Polestar 3 to arrive, given that the dual-motor variants that launch first fail to offer much in the way of sportiness.

What is the best Polestar 3 for low running costs?

As well as a lower list price, the upcoming single-motor variants of the Polestar 3 look like they’ll be the best for lower running costs, too. In most cases, having just one motor, two-wheel drive and a lower power output makes electric cars more efficient, so we’d expect the versions arriving in 2025 to be the best choice in this regard.

Polestar 3 alternatives

The Polestar 3 goes up against some well-established premium brands which now also offer electric SUVs, such as those from BMW, Mercedes and even Volvo, which was until recently Polestar’s parent company.

How we tested the polestar 3

We tested the Polestar 3 in Madrid, Spain in June 2024.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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