The Polestar 1 and 2 are Insider's 2020 Cars of the Year

  • Unlike previous years, Insider selected two winners for 2020's Car of the Year award.
  • The Polestar 1 and 2 impressed us with their looks and performance.
  • But we especially liked the company's mission and believe that it's making good, electrified products that people will actually want to buy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

We know, we know. How can you have two Cars of the Year? 

Easy. It was a tie. That's how. 

Among other things, sustainability weighed heavily on our minds this year. We currently find ourselves in the midst of a climate crisis that's become far too dire to ignore. 

"Advancements in manufacturing and battery technology have given us a contemporary plug-in hybrid that is not only mighty and fast, but will also age gracefully in the coming decades," Lee wrote. "It's met with a buying populace that's only becoming more and more willing to embrace electrified cars."

The Polestar 1 would have easily won this year's Car of the Year award. Except for one thing: its accessibility. 

Most people cannot afford a $155,000 car. And even if they did, Polestar is only making 1,500 examples of the 1, so there might not exactly be enough to go around. The 1 might get people excited about the brand, but there isn't a terribly strong business case for it that we were able to observe. 

Still, though, the car is too good and too capable for us to write it off completely.

The Polestar 2

Whereas the Polestar 1 was inadequate in terms of accessibility, the Polestar 2 EV is the one for the masses. It's not cheap-cheap — it starts at $59,900 — but that's nearly $100,000 cheaper than the flagship 1. 

The 2 retains the 1's good looks and Polestar's overall corporate fascia, but it's shorter in length and stockier in stance. It's a sedan with back seats and a usable trunk. It runs the Android operating system natively. It's set up to be far more consumer friendly.

2021 Polestar 2.Kristen Lee/Business Insider"Take away my sight, and I'd be tempted to guess I'm at the wheel of the Tesla Model 3, about as good an electric car as can be driven," Lee wrote. "But I'd know better because something feels different: Things here are more substantive, more satisfying.

"The interior is built to be something an actual human would use and enjoy — not a button-free, avant-garde exercise in alternative design. This is the all-new Polestar 2, you see, and it drives like a finished version of the Model 3."

2021 Polestar 2.Kristen Lee/Business InsiderFurthermore, the Polestar 2's interior is made largely from post-consumer recycled materials. 

"Built in Luqiao, China, the Polestar 2 quickly established itself as a champion of sustainability," Lee went on. "In addition to running without reliance on fossil fuels, the 2 also touts seat fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, interior plastics made with waste cork products, and carpets woven from recycled fishing nets."

2021 Polestar 2.PolestarWe found the Polestar 2 to be highly capable and downright pleasant to drive. It was not difficult for us to imagine a buyer becoming easily enamored with its looks and everyday comfort and usability.

As a brand, Polestar is one of the most exciting ones there are right now. The company has made the leap past promises and mere renderings of its products to actually selling them. 

2021 Polestar 2.Kristen Lee/Business InsiderThere's still a lot more work to be done — its dealer network needs to expand — but with backing from the deep-pocketed Geely, it's likely only a matter of time before Polestar catches on in more US locations. 

But as starts go, Polestar has hit the ground running. 

It's unconventional for us to name two cars as winners, but as a grand-touring hybrid and a volume-seller EV, the Polestars 1 and 2 knock it out of the park. It's also the first time we've named a hybrid and an EV as winners. 

2020 Polestar 1.Kristen Lee/Business InsiderBut we felt these two offer buyers a legitimately good electrified alternative that perform wonderfully and are great to look at. 

Congratulations to the Polestar 1 and 2. Take your win — you deserve it.

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