2025 Polestar 3 hits an electric-SUV stride

June 9, 2024

  • Five-seat, two-row luxury electric SUV

  • 0-60 mph, 4.8 seconds (base); 4.5 seconds (Performance Pack)

  • Top speed: 130 mph 

  • Range: 315 miles (base); 279 miles (Performance Pack)

  • Launch Edition costs at least $80,300; could qualify for Federal tax incentives

The Polestar 3 has five seats, an electric powertrain, and despite a lovely
Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid coupe and Polestar 2 electric sedan, a badge that’s all but unknown to U.S. drivers. 

Even the Spaniards who eye me with rightful suspicion as I streak north from Madrid want to know what this is, and for good reason. The pickaxe logo doesn’t say much about the car’s country of origin—and almost nothing about it says “electric car.”

But, boy, is the Polestar 3 ever electric, in all kinds of ways.

It’s a brilliant effort on behalf of the startup EV automaker that’s based in China, with engineers outposted in Sweden. With its foot down firmly on the side of acceleration, grip, and a gorgeous subdued interior, the 2025 Polestar 3 feels very much akin to a clarified Volvo SUV. That makes sense, since it’s related to the upcoming EX90.

Polestar pitches the 3 as competition for the Tesla Model Y and the Porsche Cayenne, but with its masterful road manners and hotwired speed, it’s more a rival for a hot political take of the moment. It’s the car I’d put an electric-car denier in to get them to change their minds.

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3: Pioneering “Fuselodge”

In part that’s because it does everything well—in particular, in style. Its aero-keen exterior mates to a cabin that could come from the pages of the Swedish edition of Dwell. Call it “Fuselodge,” and don’t forget my royalty check.

Take an SUV body, taper the ends and the body sides, and hone down all the details that get in the way of smooth airflow, and that’s where the Polestar 3 begins. With all its seams Frenched, door handles made flush, and spiked LED headlights faired in smoothly, it presents a clean path for air to flow past. A striking wing marks this mission—and it sits on the SUV’s nose, where its three nostrils divide and conquer the slipstream, just below its LED-lit logo.

It’s more tradcore at the rear, where the tall tailgate and muscular haunches get aero blades and spats to keep that air hustling around and away in neat, laminar streams. The upkick at the rear roof pillar brings to mind that other Swedish brand (not IKEA), but the rear wing’s all Polestar, sitting atop a gunslit slice of glass across the rear end, which itself rests on a bar of LED taillights. 

The cockpit makes recent Volvo interiors look Rococo by comparison. A single line crosses the dash like an equator, with a soft-trimmed dash cap above and slim vents behind, on a pedestal of black ash or aluminum trim. The driver faces a low-set 9.0-inch digital gauge cluster, while a 14.5-inch tablet-style touchscreen sticks to the center of the dash as if on a MagSafe adapter

Polestar provides a knob on the wide center console for some ancillary functions, and buries the rest of the controls in on-screen menus rendered in a thin, pale font. That’s annoying on setup: the mirrors must be placed through a combination of touchscreen swiping and steering-wheel fussing that lack precision and ease of use, even as distraction gets limited and focused on those crisp displays. 

Every other surface gets muted as if it were computer wallpaper. The Polestar 3 thus teeters between sparse and starved of detail; satisfying materials and color choices, like the gold seatbelts on the Performance Pack car, keep it on the right side of that fulcrum.

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

Polestar 3: A space ship

  • Overall length: 192.9 inches

  • Wheelbase: 117.5 inches

  • Cargo space: 1.1 cubic feet (front), 17.1 cubic feet (rear), 49.8 cubic feet (behind front seats)

Fit and finish elevate the interior into the sublime, but the electric-car fundamentals give it the space to outpace gas-powered rivals. A 311-mile dash through herds of cyclists toward Segovia sorted out my impressions of the Polestar 3’s comfort and utility.

It would be difficult to name a vehicle with better front seats among its competitive set. The eight-way power-adjusting front seats wear synthetic leather in base spec, but either nappa leather or wool can be found across the lineup. In the two leather-clad models I drove, the 3’s cinching side bolsters, tilting bottom cushion, and expanding lumbar padding let me fine-tune a driving position that left a great view of the road ahead, a clear look at the digital displays, ample headroom and kneeroom—and enough space to sit behind myself in row two. 

At 6 feet tall, give or take, that’s an accomplishment rendered even better by the Polestar 3’s flat floor and wide door cuts. The rear seatback reclines for swell comfort, and top editions have napworthy nappa headrest pillows. The 60:40 split seatbacks fold down to allow the Polestar 3 to carry a 5-foot ladder home, while a charging cable tucks away under the hood. It does all of this with the solidity of a $100,000 car, which it isn’t, from the soft thunk of the doors closing to the hushed hustle of its electric motors hard at work. Going electric means you never have to worry about loud exhaust noise and what that might say about you.

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

How fast is the Polestar 3?

  • 0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds; Performance Pack, 4.5 seconds

  • Top speed: 130 mph 

  • Range: 315 miles; Performance Pack, 279 miles

You were waiting to know how it performs? Brilliantly. Threading the needle between batches of mountain bikes and speed cameras, the Polestar 3 proved swift and poised, though more direct control of its driving behavior would be a welcome upgrade.

The 3 puts a 180-kw motor at the front and another at the rear, and powers them with a 111-kwh battery pack (107 kwh usable energy). In standard-issue 3 SUVs, the combination pours out 489 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque good for a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds, Polestar says. Opt for the $6,000 Performance Pack and output rises to 517 hp and 671 lb-ft, while the 0-60 mph time drops by 0.3 second, to 4.5 seconds. Top speed, either way, gets limited at 130 mph.

Silent and speedy, the Polestar 3 can decouple the rear electric motor for better efficiency. As it stands, it might deliver 315 miles of EPA range (or 279 miles in Performance Pack trim) when it attains final, official ratings soon. That hits a sweet spot for drivers who don’t want to give up the scorching acceleration of, say, a Porsche Cayenne or the utility of a machine that can drive all week on a single tank, whether it’s filled with gas or electrons.

Though it weighs as much as 5,886 pounds in its portliest configuration, the Polestar 3 surges and hustles urgently, but without any brittle ride motions or wonky steering interjections. Agility comes baked into its suspension design, with dual-chamber air springs and adaptive dampers that absorb all its heft without throwing unfiltered speed bumps and potholes directly into the body structure. The 3 doles out little in the way of extraneous steering weight, but lasers in on direction changes without going overboard on overzealous turn-in (like a Stelvio Quadrifolgio, for example). Polestar credits the torque-vectoring, twin-clutch rear axle with effective and lower-effort power distribution than a 3-motor design might have induced. 

Select one-pedal mode through a few taps on the tablet, and the Polestar 3 adopts a more casual regenerative braking feel than I’d like. But it backs that up with 15.8-inch vented discs and at least 20-inch wheels and tires. Opt into the Performance Pack and the brakes upconvert to 4-piston Brembo calipers painted gold, the tires to 22-inch Pirelli P Zeros. 

Slipping through the mountain passes to Segovia and back, the base-spec 3 felt at ease well beyond the usual family-SUV cornering limits, though it rode on EV-specific treads. It paid off to flick through its screen-accessible drive modes, which can toggle between performance power delivery and battery preservation, as well as steering and suspension responsiveness. Even when I selected firm springs and steering feel, nothing intruded on the SUV’s balanced approach to ride and handling. But since they are buried, those modes become a set-and-forget prospect—and no one wants the same mode when those snakelike routes turn into the highways that drill back toward central Madrid. That’s where the 3’s adaptive cruise control with limited hands-free assistance took over for a few dozen miles, though I was unable to actuate its automatic lane-change function on the prototype I drove.

Left on the table: a test of the 3’s Off-road mode, which lifts the air springs almost two inches above the standard 8.3 inches of ground clearance, or the self-leveling assistance that offsets a potential towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

2025 Polestar 3 Performance Pack, test drive, Madrid

What’s the 2025 Polestar 3 price?

It’s a high-end machine, without being ludicrously expensive. Launch Edition Polestar 3 SUVs cost $80,300, including a $1,400 destination fee—lower than initially expected, as Polestar wants this one to be eligible for a $7,500 federal EV tax credit (though the earliest batch will be assembled in China).

Those early Launch Editions come with all the standard technology we expect in this set: automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, 20-inch wheels, synthetic leather trim, and power features. They also carry what will become the Plus Pack and Pilot Pack on future 2025 model-year vehicles—features ranging from the air suspension and head-up display to a 25-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.

A separate Performance Pack has 22-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires, gold seat belts, and gold-painted brake calipers. A Pilot Pack with lidar adds more sensors to boost future hands-free driver assistance when it becomes available through OTA updates.

A 4-year/50,000-mile warranty pairs with a 3-year/30,000-mile complimentary service plan.

Down the road—philosophically, not to the heart of Madrid where I valeted the car and where gawkers continued to interrogate its origins—a base Polestar 3 will carry a price of $74,300. When fully stocked with the Plus, Performance, and Pilot Pack with lidar, that price will surge to at least $91,300. 

There’s more on the way. We’ll tell you all about the Polestar 4 sedan at the end of the month. Then, a Polestar 5 and 6 will emerge, on a new platform developed in-house and assembled in the company’s own factory. A Polestar 7 model will one day replace the Polestar 2. A renaming exercise might be a good addition beyond that.

The names will fall in line, one day. Polestar’s growing in a jagged way. So long as cars as well-executed as the 3 lead the charge, that mystery logo on the front wing won’t be a mystery for long. 

Polestar paid for travel expenses to Spain so that we could bring you this test drive review.

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