Polestar 3 teased: the future of the electric SUV?

It might feature a generic numerical suffix in its nameplate, but Polestar’s forthcoming Polestar 3 promises everything except cookie-cutter motoring.

Aug 26, 2021

Polestar will soon take the covers off the next model to be launched in its growing standalone vehicle range – its first SUV.

In a departure for Polestar, the 3 will be built in the United States. The electric carmaker says the 3 is unapologetically American in its demeanour and design yet will be available globally including in New Zealand by 2023.

The third addition to Polestar’s line-up will, rather suitably, be known as the Polestar 3. Beyond the company’s adopted nomenclature, however, the 3 will look quite apart from what we have so far seen emanate from Polestar’s manufacturing facilities.

While the (very) limited edition Polestar 1 was based heavily on 2013’s attractive Volvo Concept Coupe, the Polestar 2 represented a push for independence from its old parent company, Volvo. There remain plenty of unmistakably Scandi styling cues in the four-door sedan’s exterior design, but the 2 is very much its own beast. The 3, which introduces Polestar’s first SUV silhouette, takes up this theme and runs with it.

Designed to compete with the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron, the 3 is described by Polestar as an “aerodynamic electric performance SUV”. Put plainly, it is designed to fulfil the role of the muscular ‘I’m not done having fun yet’ high-power SUV variant most traditional manufacturers build into their ranges.

Nothing is known about its power output or other performance figures yet but expect to see dual electric motors under the sheet metal in keeping with the manufacturer’s suggestion this will be a performance-focused model. Dual motors will be essential for all-wheel drive as well.

What we can also tell you, is the 3 will be built on the new SPA2 platform. This platform – which is designed to carry bigger vehicles than the CMA platform upon which cars like the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2 ride on – will also form the underpinnings of the next-generation Volvo XC90 full-size SUV, which will be available as a dedicated electric vehicle in many markets.

So, we except the Polestar 3 will be a large vehicle. However, that rakish roofline suggests it’ll be a five-seater rather than featuring three rows, meaning the jury remains out for now on whether Polestar will chase the large family vehicle buyer with a seven-seater eventually, or if the 3 will be as far from the sleek sedan template as the company intends to stray.

The 3 does remain sleek looking – as much as we can tell from the shape it casts from under its pre-launch silk robe.  It looks chunkier than the 2, as it should. There is also an almost Kamm-tail-ish to the way the rear quarter sheers and drops dramatically, while the bulges under the covers suggest flared rear wheel arches: a further nod perhaps to its status as a performance-focused SUV.

In another departure for Polestar, the 3 will be built in the United States, rather than in China. The electric carmaker says the 3 is unapologetically American in its demeanour and design. While its European roots are clear and it will be a model available in many global markets including New Zealand, the American new car market is where Polestar plans to further cement its premium EV-builder reputation and grow its mass-market appeal as the EV audience evolves.

The Polestar 3 is anticipated to be on sale in Northern Hemisphere markets by late next year, with a potential Kiwi market debut scheduled for 2023.