2022 Polestar 2 vs. 2021 Tesla Model 3: The Best First EV Luxury Sedan

Vehicle Comparison Highlights:

  • The Polestar 2 makes up for its poor range
  • Tesla’s controversial build quality lets it down
  • Which luxury EV is right for you?

Not so long ago, Tesla was at the top of their game, both in the review segments and in the public eye. Now, however, things have shifted. That’s especially true given the brand’s controversial “Full Self-Driving” software. Clearly, the opportunity lands at the feet of the 2022 Polestar 2. The model is back with more range than ever, but is it enough to stack up against the 2021 Tesla Model 3?

2022 Polestar 22021 Tesla Model 3
Price Range$47,200-$51,200$39,190-$56,190
Engine OptionsSingle or dual electric motors Single or dual electric motors
Horsepower231-408 hp221-470 hp
Torque243-487 lb-ft302 lb-ft
TransmissionSingle-speed automaticSingle-speed automatic
MPG (combined/city/highway)89/94/84, 249-265 miles121/124/116 272-315 miles
IIHS Safety Rating92% (Euro NACP safety test)Top Safety Pick+
NHTSA Safety Rating5 Stars5 Stars

2022 Polestar 2

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  • Pros: Easy-to-use interior, Ohlin’s dampers make for a sublime ride
  • Cons: “Meh” adaptive cruise, pricey

There’s two options for the Polestar 2, a dual and a single motor. The dual-motor offers AWD, and the single spins only the front wheels. Predictably, range falls when you add a few motors, from 265 down to 249. And range is not a strong suit of the 2022 Polestar 2. It’s a simple fact that the 2021 Tesla Model 3 goes further on a charge. The interior of the Polestar is a clear-cut win, however. Where the Tesla looks to break tradition, the Polestar brings it into the modern age with a simple and usable layout that’s just as fast as your phone.

It’s also powered by an Android/Google hybrid that works phenomenally, just like the car’s adaptive cruise. However, Tesla does have a better cruise system. The FSD beta might be a bonafide mess, but the brand’s “Autopilot” software works better than the Polestar’s. Polestar also charges $3,200 for the feature, whereas Autopilot is standard.

2021 Tesla Model 3

A red Tesla Model 3 EV shot from the high front 3/4 angle
The Tesla Model 3 | Salwan Georges via Getty Images
  • Pros: Exceptional range, high-quality displays, stupid fast Performance model
  • Cons: Build quality, “FSD” software is dangerous

In fact, you’re getting a lot more standard in the 2021 Tesla Model 3. The standard Model 3 has (as said above) more range, and for less money. The Model 3 Performance is also significantly quicker than the Polestar 2, but we like the way the 2022 Polestar 2’s Ohlin’s dampers work better than the Tesla’s. We’ll also have to omit the brand’s “Full Self-Driving” software from the comparison. There’s simply too much work that needs doing on the $10,000 option for it to be considered here.

Unfortunately, while the Model 3 is cheaper, it is subject to its fair share of criticism. The model is regularly criticized for its build quality. Everyone from TikTok detailers to Matt Farah has taken their shots at the brand’s build quality. While all that is a hard thing to come back from, the 2021 Tesla Model 3’s range is simply the best this side of a Lucid.

Which EV Luxury Sedan is right for you?

A white 2022 Polestar 2 luxury sedan shot from the front 3/4 in a volcanic boulder field
The 2022 Polestar 2 luxury sedan | Polestar

The clear winner here, despite the range deficit, is the 2022 Polestar 2. Some may prefer the interior layout of the Tesla, but we can’t in good conscience recommend a brand that currently sits as one of Consumer Reports’ least reliable brands. Right now, plain and simple, the 2022 Polestar 2 is the best entry-level luxury EV you can buy.

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