2022 Polestar 2 vs. 2022 Tesla Model Y Comparison

Jack R. Nerad | Sep 30, 2022

In the battle to win the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of electric-vehicle (EV) buyers, many carmakers are resorting to bending segments to fit the expected desires of potential customers. That's exactly what Tesla has done with the class-leading Model Y, using the underpinnings of the Tesla Model 3 to create a crossover SUV (kind of). And to an even greater extent, that is what the Polestar 2 does. It cops a large part of its tech from its parent company's Compact Modular Architecture, which also supports the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volvo C40 Recharge.

Carmakers are playing fast and loose with segmentation because they are uncertain what the market for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) is…and really will be. In light of this, auto manufacturers are offering models like the 2022 Polestar 2 and 2022 Tesla Model Y that one can view as either SUVs or hatchbacks, depending on the rose-colored glasses the prospective car buyer is wearing at the time.

The Tesla Model Y entered the American market as a 2020 model. Texas-based Tesla Motors, the luxury-vehicle leader in the United States, manufactures it. Meanwhile, the Polestar 2 hit the market as a 2021 model, and its background is more complicated than a "Mission Impossible" plot. Polestar began as an independent racing team that modified and campaigned Volvos. The Swedish luxury automaker subsequently acquired Polestar and used the brand and its expertise to create performance-oriented Volvo street cars bearing the Polestar badge. Now, the Polestar brand is firmly attached to BEVs like the Polestar 2, with other models in the works. In a nutshell, Polestar is a Swedish brand owned by a Chinese automaking conglomerate, and the company builds the Polestar 2 in China with rumors of a U.S. plant in the future.

The Tesla Model Y and Polestar 2 sing from the same songbook in many ways. They are not only automotive "gender benders" but also have similar interiors that stress tech and openness versus traditional luxury. But they have significant differences as well. The Polestar 2 is a 5-passenger model, while the Tesla Model Y offers an optional third row to enable the transport of 7 passengers.

For 2022, Polestar launched a single-motor front-drive version of the Polestar 2 with added range and a lower price point. All Model Y trim levels are all-wheel drive (AWD) with dual electric-motor systems. Thanks to its new single-motor version, the base Polestar 2 is significantly less expensive than the base Tesla Model Y Long Range.

If a Swedish or American coffeehouse is more appealing to you than a German beer hall or an English pub, considering the Polestar 2 and the Tesla Model Y makes great sense. Here is a comprehensive comparison of the 2022 Polestar 2 and the 2022 Tesla Model Y.

Price and Value

2022 Polestar 2 Front Quarter View

2022 Polestar 2

Both the Polestar 2 and the Tesla Model Y are available in two basic forms. The Polestar 2 has Dual Motor and Single Motor versions. The new-for-2022 Single Motor Polestar 2 has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $52,400, plus a $1,300 destination charge. The Dual Motor has a base price of $61,200 with the same destination charge. Those who shopped Polestar previously might be shocked (happily surprised?) by the Dual Motor's 2022 pricing. Polestar dropped the price by more than $10,000 and re-jiggered its options packages to provide better value.

The Polestar 2's standard equipment includes dual-zone electronic climate control, 8-speaker 250-watt audio, SiriusXM satellite radio, digital key, power-operated liftgate with automatic operation and soft-close, Google Maps navigation system, power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback. The Polestar's adjustable regenerative braking allows for one-pedal driving. You can also adjust the amount of assist in the electric power steering and program the Polestar 2 to heat up or cool down before you unplug and get in it.

Polestar offers its customers lifetime over-the-air updates for navigation, infotainment, and even the powertrain. The automaker includes a three-year subscription to Polestar Connect connected services with the acquisition of the Polestar 2. Infotainment with Google built-in enables easy connectivity to apps through Google Play.

Compared to the newly priced 2022 Polestar 2 Single Motor, the base 2022 Tesla Model Y—the Long Range trim—has a significantly higher suggested retail price. Its MSRP is $67,190, including the $1,200 destination fee. One key reason for the big price differential: it offers 385 total horsepower versus the base Polestar 2's 231 hp. The pricier Model Y Performance trim has a suggested retail price of $71,190.

While the three years of free connectivity that Polestar 2 offers is generous, the Tesla Model Y provides standard connectivity for eight years.

The availability of tax credits and other incentives for the Tesla Model Y and the Polestar 2 are a bit nebulous based on recent federal legislation. Before its passage, no Tesla model qualified for the $7,500 federal income tax credit because the carmaker had sold well more than the 200,000-unit limit for the incentive. But now, indications are that Teslas built in the United States will qualify for a tax incentive. Polestar, not nearly as successful in sales, previously qualified for the tax credit. But a built-in-North America stipulation suggests Chinese-assembled Polestar 2s won't be eligible for the tax credit under the new law.

In terms of resale value and value retention, the Tesla Model Y is the highest-ranked model in the Premium Electric segment of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards. Polestar has sold so few vehicles it is difficult to determine a value retention profile for the brand.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Reliability and Quality

2022 Tesla Model Y White Front Quarter View

2022 Tesla Model Y

The Polestar 2 is too new to the market for inclusion in the J.D. Power 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which assesses owner-reported problems during the third year of ownership. The Polestar 2 does not rank among the top three models in its segment in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study(IQS).

The Polestar 2 comes with the following standard warranty coverage:

  • Standard limited warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Electric-vehicle components/high-voltage battery warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 4 years
  • Scheduled Maintenance: 3 years and unlimited mileage

Like the Polestar 2, the Tesla Model Y is too new for inclusion in the 2022 VDS. However, the Model Y does appear in the 2022 IQS but is ineligible for awards because Tesla does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the 15 states that require the automaker to grant its permission. The Tesla Model Y ranks second among Premium BEVs in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, which examines satisfaction among EV owners.

The 2022 Tesla Model Y comes with the following warranty coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 8 years or 120,000 miles
  • Electric-vehicle component/high-voltage battery warranty: 8 years or 120,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Performance and Efficiency

2022 Polestar 2 Interior Dashboard

2022 Polestar 2

The Single Motor Polestar 2 has the twin advantages of longer range and a lower price than the Dual Motor version. The tradeoff is less horsepower, less torque, and milder acceleration. The Single Motor Polestar 2 has a 231-hp motor that drives the front axle. It offers 243 pound-feet of torque. In the Dual Motor variant, one electric motor drives the front wheels while another motivates the rear wheels. Each motor delivers 204 hp and 243 pound-feet of torque, so the combined figures are 408 hp and 487 pound-feet of torque.

A 75-kWh battery pack provides electricity for the motors in both Polestar 2 models. The Single Motor offers 270 miles of total range on a full charge. With an extra motor drawing from the same battery pack, the Polestar 2 Dual Motor has a total range of 249 miles.

Courtesy of a recent software update that upped the fast-charging speed, the Polestar 2 can replenish from a 10-percent to an 80-percent charge in about 30 minutes by connecting to a 155-kW DC fast charger. According to Polestar, using a 240-volt home charging station to charge the battery pack from zero to 100 percent at 11 kW will take 8 hours.

Both currently available Tesla Model Y trims have dual-motor AWD systems. The car uses a less powerful motor on the front axles, while a more potent electric motor drives the rear wheels. In the de facto base Long Range trim, a 91-kW electric motor drives the front axle, while a 200-kW electric motor drives the rear wheels. The Performance trim uses a 133-kW electric motor at the front and a 179-kW unit at the rear. Tesla doesn't publish horsepower figures, but the total power estimate for the Model Y Long Range is 385 hp. The Performance version offers about 420 hp.

According to Tesla, the Model Y Long Range can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, much quicker than the nearly 7-second zero-to-60-mph time of the Single Motor Polestar 2. The Model Y Performance is quicker still, with zero-to-60 mph coming in 3.8 seconds. But while the Tesla's acceleration is good, the Polestar 2, especially when equipped with the optional Performance package, is likely to out-handle it in tight corners.

On the all-important range issue, the Model Y Long Range model has an 80.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that the EPA says will offer 330 miles of total range. The Performance trim is EPA-rated at 303 miles of range on a full charge.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Safety and Driving Assistance

2022 Tesla Model Y Interior Dashboard Front Seats

2022 Tesla Model Y

With its roots in safety-leader Volvo, it is unsurprising that you can equip the 2022 Polestar 2 with a variety of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). What is surprising is that many of them are not standard. The Polestar 2's standard ADAS roster includes blind-spot warning and automatic forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

Should you desire more advanced safety features, the optional Pilot Lite Pack contains many of them. This package includes blind-spot warning assist, rear cross-traffic warning with brake assist, rear-collision warning and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Pilot Assist supplements the adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance and lane-centering assistance. The Pilot Lite Pack also includes a 360-degree surround-view camera system and side parking sensors.

At this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has evaluated or rated the crashworthiness of the Polestar 2.

The Tesla Model Y's standard ADAS include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance. The Tesla Autopilot system does not provide self-driving capability, but it does offer significant driver assistance. The optionally available Enhanced Autopilot system has automatic lane-change ability and active parking assistance. Some say Tesla is pushing the edge of the envelope with its Full Self-Driving package. While the system will drive the Model Y in certain defined circumstances, it requires the driver to monitor the vehicle closely at all times.

While some of the ADAS features from Tesla might not exactly fulfill the promises of their names, Tesla drivers like them. Tesla achieved the highest—yet unofficial—score in theJ.D. Power 2022 U.S. Tech Experience (TXI) Study. Included in the industry calculation for the first time in the benchmark study, Tesla has the highest-ranking Innovation Index score of 681 (on a 1,000-point scale). Because Tesla does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the 15 states where the latter must get permission, Tesla models remain ineligible for awards in the study.

The NHTSA has yet to rate the crashworthiness of the 2022 Tesla Model Y. However, the 2021 Model Y, structurally identical to the 2022 model, earned the top rating of 5 stars in all crash tests, as well as 5 stars for rollover resistance. The 2022 Tesla Model Y received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Infotainment and Technology

2022 Polestar 2 Snow White Rear Quarter View

2022 Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 leverages Volvo's Android Automotive OS infotainment system. Polestar divides the 11.2-inch portrait-mounted touchscreen into quadrants. Users can decide which apps/functions go into each of the quadrants. Depending on your point of view, this can be either really convenient or confusing. A saving grace is the ability to use the built-in Google Assistant to perform most of the functions. Say, "Hey, Google, find me the nearest drug store," and the system will do its work and offer you Google Maps directions. While Google/Android Auto underpins the system, it also offers Apple CarPlay integration, so you could use Apple Maps if you dare to.

An 8-speaker, 250-watt audio system is standard in all Polestar 2 models. The optional Plus Pack includes a 600-watt, 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Two USB ports up front and two in the rear aid charging and connectivity.

One of the first things you notice when you slide into a Tesla Model Y is its large 15-inch touchscreen mounted centrally on the dash. The display is big, but it is also required to deliver a lot of information because the Model Y lacks a traditional instrument panel.

The Model Y's infotainment offering includes navigation, natural-voice recognition, and wireless device charging. While the Polestar 2's infotainment system is built on Android Auto and supports Apple CarPlay, the Model Y's infotainment doesn't support either one.

The audio system in the Model Y is a 14-speaker unit that offers about 600 watts of power (Tesla doesn't provide an exact figure). To play music from your smartphone, you must use Bluetooth because the Model Y doesn't support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the USB-C ports are for charging only.

Advantage: Polestar 2

Comfort and Utility

2022 Tesla Model Y Blue Rear Quarter View Action

2022 Tesla Model Y

The same aesthetic seems to inspire the interiors of both the Polestar 2 and the Tesla Model Y: less is more. The Polestar 2's interior is minimalistic to the point of making one yearn for a Volvo C40 Recharge. An embossed fabric that has substantial depth covers the seats. The front seats have a combination of powered and manual adjustments. They are heated and also feature power-adjustable lumbar support. The rear bench seat is split 60/40 and has a ski pass-through for all you cross-country skiers.

The Polestar 2 is significantly (6 inches) shorter in overall length than the Tesla Model Y, and its sloping fastback roofline limits interior cargo space versus the Tesla Model Y. The Polestar 2 offers 16 cubic feet of room behind the second-row seats. With the second-row seats folded out of the way, the cargo area is 37.8 cubic feet. And the Polestar 2 has a 1.2-cubic-foot front trunk ("frunk").

The Tesla Model Y takes the trophy in a shootout between two minimalist interiors. Unlike the Polestar 2, it doesn't have a traditional instrument panel. Instead, the central display screen that contains basic readouts like speed, all the infotainment, and most of the common controls dominates the interior.

The Model Y's seating is comfortable for those in the first two rows, but passenger space in the optional third row is exceptionally tight. And the panoramic roof gives a further feeling of openness. Tesla relies on synthetic leather upholstery and fabrics rather than genuine leather, which seems to strike a chord with its buyers.

While one might debate the aesthetics, there is no doubt the Tesla Model Y offers more cargo space than the Polestar 2. It has 30.2 cubic feet behind the second row in the 5-passenger version and 26.6 cubic feet in 7-passenger models. With seats folded, maximum cargo space is 72.1 cubic feet in the 5-passenger and 67.9 cubic feet in the 7-seat version. The Model Y also has a frunk that will hold an additional 4.1 cubic feet of cargo.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Learn More About the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model Y

If you'd like to learn more about these battery-electric luxury crossovers, be sure to read our preview of the Polestar 2 and research the Tesla Model Y. To find out how people like you rate models in this segment, check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on September 29, 2022, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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