The driving experience in the Polestar 1 varies wildly depending on the conditions. In Hybrid mode, it’s versatile and efficient; in Pure mode, it’s clean but sluggish. On the ratty California highways that we did our initial drive on, the noise from bumps and high winds was intrusive due to the nearly silent powertrain. On smoother mountain curves, the car stayed firmly planted and swiftly pulled out of corners. The steering feels accurate and easy to operate, and torque vectoring from the dual electric motors sends variable power to the rear wheels to aid cornering.

Choose between the standard D setting that allows easy coasting or the more aggressive B that stiffens the regenerative brakes and enables one-pedal driving (though it struggles to bring the car to a full stop). There are lots of settings and decisions to consider inside the Polestar 1 based on your route, road conditions, preferred mode and driving style.

For the most exhilaration, put the Polestar 1 in the Power mode and use the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Left in automatic mode, the Aisin eight-speed transmission errs on the side of efficiency. But in the driver’s control, the Polestar 1 can unleash its considerable power and carve canyons as well as lighter sports cars.

We set out to tackle the freeways and twisting mountain roads around San Francisco with a full battery charge. Most of the drive was spent in Hybrid mode, with some jaunts in electric Pure as well as Power. After 88 total miles, much of it uphill, our test vehicle had used all its juice and reverted to gasoline. It recharged slightly on the downhill cruise toward the coastline, leaning into electric power when possible. After 115 miles of driving, our test car’s digital display read an average fuel economy of 45.1 mpg. If there’s one thing the Polestar 1 teaches us, it’s that electrified vehicles need not be one-dimensional.

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