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Electric 2021 Polestar 2 review: Fast, fun advanced

There’s a surprising new contender for 2020’s best and most advanced new car: The Polestar 2.

The handsome four-door fastback from Volvo’s performance and technology brand is loaded with useful features and accelerates and handles like a first-rate sport sedan.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Polestar. The brand’s a baby, founded by Volvo and its Chinese owner, Geely, in 2017. The Polestar 2 goes on sale in September, but the brand’s total presence in America so far is about 150 units of the Polestar 1, an expensive carbon-fiber plug-in hybrid.

The 2021 Polestar 2 is the brand’s bid for wider awareness, but it’s not exactly mainstream. True to its Scandinavian roots a “vegan” interior  — no leather and no wood — is standard on the $59,900 base model. Leather is not exactly disapproved— Swedes are practical people; hand them a check, they’ll cash it — but it is a $4,000 option.

The Polestar 2’s features include all-wheel drive with a motor on each axle, and the first production use of Android Automotive. Not to be confused with the Android Auto smart phone — right, that’ll never happen — Android Automotive provides voice recognition, navigation, music, control of some vehicle functions and more through Google computing.

You can also set it to provide information about road conditions to Google, making it a precursor to the connected vehicles expected to reduce traffic congestion in the future.

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The 2021 Polestar 2 electric car has a long hood and roofline, 4.45-second 0-60 mph acceleration and responsive handling.

The car can even connect to your Google account for full access to addresses, calendar and more, but that’ll be a bit Big Brotherly for some, so it’s optional.

I spent a recent afternoon driving a Polestar 2 around lakes, highways and cities in Southeast Michigan. I barely scratched the surface of its features, but it was fun to drive and the features seemed reasonably easy to use.