Tesla Lost to Polestar for Best Electric Luxury Sedan of 2021, but It’s Not All Bad News for Elon Musk’s EV Maker

Tesla has set the bar high in the EV segment, but steep competition is hot on the automaker’s heels. The electric sedan space, specifically, continues to grow with worthy rivals. And in one recent assessment, the Polestar 2 beat the popular Tesla Model 3

Not that Elon Musk should be worried, though. It wasn’t all bad news for his EV maker on this best-of list. But it implies there’s more than one excellent EV out there, and Tesla might need to keep an eye in the rearview mirror.

You can’t have a best-of-EVs list without Tesla

Model 3 EVs at Tesla's gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on October 26, 2020
Model 3 EVs at Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on October 26, 2020 | Xinhua/Ding Ting via Getty Images

For “The Best Electric Cars of 2021, According to Engineers,” Good Housekeeping charged its engineers with a tall order: Evaluate and rank the best electric vehicles of 2021. Those experts spent quality time with each contender. They evaluated driving dynamics, comfort, user-friendly tech, and more. And before making its final determinations, the GH team also took insights from Car and Driver into consideration. 

The best electric cars for 2021 include the Audi e-tron in the luxury compact SUV category and the Volvo XC40 Recharge in the luxury subcompact SUV category. In the compact car segment, the Chevy Bolt EV took top honors, while the Kia Niro EV dominated the subcompact SUV space, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E won for best electric compact SUV.

But you can’t rank the best EVs without mentioning Tesla. And the Model 3 took the win for best electric sedan. However, there was an upset in the luxury sedan category, where the Polestar 2 prevailed.

Polestar 2 for the win among electric luxury sedans

The Polestar 2 rose to the top in Good Housekeeping’s electric luxury sedan category, in part because of its high-quality interior and robust list of tech features. GH’s testers also love the front trunk. But there were plenty of other standout features, including the 11-inch infotainment screen and giant panoramic roof.

But the Polestar 2 impressed, too, with its 408 hp and 233 miles of range. And the reviewers at Roadshow concur that this electric luxury sedan is fast.

Both are worthy electric contenders


Tesla Fell to Ford for 2021 EV of the Year, but Don’t Get Too Upset

But Tesla can’t be too mad that it lost to Polestar in the electric luxury sedan class. Musk’s brand earned its own spot at the top of the leader board in the general EV sedan segment. And it’s worth a look regardless, thanks to its 260 miles of driving range on the base variation and luxurious extras. The starting MSRP isn’t too shabby, either, at $36,990.

But don’t forget to check out the Polestar 2, especially if you want a quick EV with all the bells and whistles. The folks and Car and Driver especially like that it’s the first car to leverage Google’s Android Automotive infotech, calling it one of the best systems available today. It’s a fun-to-drive ride that feels high-tech and high-quality. But the base-model Polestar 2 will set you back nearly $59,900, which might sway your EV-buying decision.

Tesla may have led the charge in the EV race. But it’s clear that the competition is getting fierce, and critics are taking notice. The Polestar 2 earns recognition for being the best electric car in the luxury space. The Tesla Model 3 got a nod of its own, though, so no hard feelings.

In the end, the Polestar 2’s win demonstrates that when it’s time to buy an EV, Tesla isn’t the only name in the game worth considering anymore, especially if range, performance, and luxury matter.