Polestar might have emerged as Volvo’s racing division, but it evolved into a standalone electric vehicle. Jointly owned by Volvo and Geely, the brand introduced its fourth model at the Shanghai auto show on April 18, 2023.
The model is expected to be released in 2024 and promises to become a true threat for the Tesla Model Y. But should Tesla worry, or is it all a marketing hoax? This head-to-head between the Polestar 4 vs. Tesla Model Y unveils what we know so far and highlights the differences between the two cars.
Polestar 4 vs. Tesla Model Y: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Tesla Model Y Performance
|Year of release
|Up to 372 miles per charge (est.)
|Up to 330 miles per charge
|Acceleration (0 to 60mps)
|3.8 seconds (est.)
|Dual-motor AWD, Single-motor RWD
|Number of seats
|Up to 7
|52.3 cu. ft.
|76 cu. ft.
|20” to 22”
Polestar 4 vs. Tesla Model Y: What’s the Difference?
As one of the newest car brands, Polestar was established as a standalone manufacturer in 2017. The project, funded by Volvo and Geely, saw its first vehicle built between 2019 and 2021. Polestar 2 was introduced shortly after the 1’s success, and, in 2022, Polestar launched its third model.
Today, the Polestar 4 is one of the brand’s most anticipated cars. This small SUV was initially scheduled for a 2023 release, but project delays pushed the timelines back.
According to the company, we’ll see this car sometime in 2024. Until then, the presentation at the Shanghai auto show revealed lots of details about it, making it easy to imagine what to expect.
Unlike Polestar, Tesla has been around for over a decade. Elon Musk’s brand has been a pioneer in the EV world and one of the first mass-produced electric vehicles. All Tesla vehicles are synonymous with innovation; perks include autonomous driving (available as an add-on for all models) and minimalist but sought-after interiors.
The Model Y is a high-end SUV from the American brand, a capable vehicle that impresses with its power, top speed, and range. Considering that this car has been around since 2020, you might wonder whether it’s worth buying it now or if you’d better wait for the new Polestar. Let’s find out.
Both Polestar 4 and Tesla Model Y showcase a sporty allure, but the design of each vehicle is essentially different. Polestar 4 is a coupé-SUV hybrid, its sporty lines blending seamlessly with elegant curves.
The design of headlights and taillights gives this vehicle the right dose of punchiness, letting everyone know that this isn’t a car you should mess with.
Tesla Model Y remains truer to the sporty-utilitarian style expected from an SUV, but it features stylish curves, too. The head and taillights are less remarkable, but the vehicle is incredibly attractive, overall. However, while the Model Y features all the elements of a standard vehicle, the Polestar 4 stands out with its windowless rear.
The absence of a rear window in the Polestar 4 is a calculated move, increasing both safety and headroom for the rear passengers. From a design standpoint, this innovation allows the brand to fit the vehicle with a larger glass roof — a choice that gives the cabin a roomier, more airy feel.
However, the SUV coupé combo has its downsides, too. This vehicle has a lower ground clearance than Tesla, which impacts off-road performance. The difference is not excessive — Polestar 4 offers 6.5 inches of clearance, whereas Tesla Model Y Performance offers 6.8 inches. However, Tesla can still tackle more types of terrains.
Polestar offers its model 4 in various drivetrain options. The automaker hasn’t revealed much about its single-motor option, except that it’s a 272-horsepower rear-wheel drive. However, the all-wheel drive packs all the sporty performance we’ve come to expect from the brand.
The dual-motor AWD Polestar 4 features 544 horses and hits 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. That is a lot faster than most electric SUVs, but not faster than the Model Y. Despite its less powerful motor (425 horsepower), the Model Y AWD hits 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.
Top speed is also superior in Tesla, with the Model Y reaching a whopping 155 miles per hour. Like most vehicles manufactured by Volvo, Polestar 4 only goes up to 124 miles per hour.
Now, hot-shoe drivers might think that the Model Y is the best EV of the two but, despite its performance, this SUV doesn’t deliver a huge driving satisfaction.
The car’s high center of gravity dulls the sharp edge you’d expect from such a powerful motor while delivering a bumpier ride over road imperfections. We don’t know yet how the Polestar 4 handles it, but if earlier models are any indication, it might deliver more driving satisfaction than Tesla.
Range and Charge Time
With months to go until the official launch of Polestar 4, the brand hasn’t revealed much about the SUV’s range and charge time. We do know that it comes with a 102kWh battery on both long-range versions, which will likely deliver up to 372 miles per charge.
If the estimated range proves to be true, that’s over 40 miles more than the Model Y. Another big unknown at the moment is the charge time.
However, considering that the Polestar 3 needs about 20 minutes to replenish the battery to 80 percent (at a fast charging station), we can expect a similar or shorter charge time.
Meanwhile, the Model Y has an EPA-estimated range of 330 miles and needs about 15 minutes to charge to 80 percent at a Tesla Supercharge station. While the range is shorter, the faster charging time could make the deal for busy folks.
Modern cars are more than a steering wheel and gear stick, and EVs are no different. The infotainment system allows you to check non-essential driving data, control the HVAC system, listen to your favorite tunes, stream podcasts, and shows, put on the radio, or even access video content. Whether you can do so easily depends from system to system.
Polestar 4 comes with a 15.1-inch infotainment display that — in true Volvo fashion — features the latest Google-based interface. The system is intuitive to use, and you’ll get quick access to Google Maps for seamless navigation. You can pair it with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to play music from your phone or answer hands-free calls.
You’ll obviously get Google Assistant, too, as well as Google Play, should you want to download any apps. In addition to this system, this SUV offers a 10.2-inch digital gauge screen with info that can be projected on a 14.7-inch head-up display. This is a nice touch if you want to keep an eye on battery status and speed without distracting yourself from the road.
The Model Y comes with a 15-inch infotainment touchscreen that really stands out in the car’s minimalist interior. The OS is based on Linux and is not compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. However, you can pair your handset with the car for easy mobile access from your Model Y.
Beyond incompatibility with the aforementioned apps, the Model Y stands out with its otherworldly infotainment. You can use it to check non-essential vehicle data, control the HVAC and audio system, but also to stream shows on Netflix, or play your favorite video game.
With manufacturers trying to cram as many safety features as possible in their vehicles, it is unsurprising that the Polestar 4 and the Tesla Model Y come with loads of driver assist and safety functions.
Besides the usuals — such as airbags, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning — Polestar 4’s most sought-after features include the SuperVision Advanced Driver Assistance System from Mobileye.
This fancy name refers to a wide-angle camera that lets you know what happens behind the car. It replaces the rearview mirror and the rear window, bringing a smaller blind spot compared to a standard setup. You also get adaptive cruise control and some hands-free driving modes, although this vehicle doesn’t come with full autopilot.
In true Tesla fashion, the Model Y does feature autopilot, which is available on all models and trims as an upgrade. When enabled, the autopilot can drive the car autonomously in all driving conditions, and you can even ride in the car without a person actually driving it.
Autonomous driving also comes with a perk for those who don’t have a driving license yet. If self-driving cars are legal in your state, the driver, if one is present in the car, isn’t required to have a license.
Polestar may have presented its model 4, but we can’t say for sure how comfortable it is. However, the car is promising. The absence of a rear window allowed the automaker to push the rear seats back for an allegedly “more immersive” experience.
There is plenty of room at the front, with the minimalist interior providing an airy feel. It’s further enhanced by the fixed glass roof that extends all the way to the back.
You can also expect comfortable gaming-style seats made of recycled materials and solar system-inspired ambient lights. If you want more comfort and don’t mind paying more, there is also an option of ventilated massage seats in the front.
Tesla Model Y isn’t that groundbreaking, but it is a comfortable ride. Like the Polestar, it features a (tinted) glass roof that lends an airy feel to the ambiance. There is a rear window, but occupants in the back seats still have plenty of leg and headroom.
A difference between this car and the Polestar is Tesla’s larger cargo capacity. You can also opt for an extra row of seats if you don’t mind sacrificing trunk space.
When it comes down to it, what really makes or breaks the deal for most people is the cost of the car. Polestar hasn’t released official prices for its 4th model, but speculations have placed the starting price at $60,000. If that’s true, this could be one of the few EVs that’s actually more expensive than the Model Y.
Currently, the basic version of Model Y dual-motor AWD has a starting price of $47,240. The Long Range trim costs at least $50,240, and you can expect to pay $54,240 for a Model Y Performance without any add-ons.
Optional features can drive costs up. For instance, an additional row of seats comes at a staggering $3,000, while full self-driving capabilities add another $15,000 to the price. Yet, considering that potential savings can drop the starting price to only $31,740 for the standard trim and to $38,740 for a Model Y Performance, you might be able to afford the upgrades.
Polestar 4 vs. Tesla Model Y: 5 Must-Known Facts
- Polestar 4 is the automaker’s first small SUV coupé. It is an ideal town car, and AWD capabilities on selected trims also make it perfect for adventures.
- Model Y is one of Tesla’s most popular cars. The compact crossover SUV comes with AWD as standard on all trims.
- Polestar 4’s most innovative feature is the absence of an actual rear window, which is replaced by a virtual one. This setup increases the viewing angle and reduces the blind spots.
- Tesla Model Y might have a rear window, but it also has full self-driving capabilities. The enhanced auto-pilot and full self-driving are available as upgrades on all trims.
- The Model Y can reach a higher top speed, but the Polestar 4 is more powerful and has a longer range.
Polestar 4 vs. Tesla Model Y: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Get?
Both the Polestar 4 and Tesla Model Y come with drawbacks and strengths. The latter’s greatest strength is that you can buy it right now. If you’re in dire need of a new ride, this is your only option at the moment. If you’d rather wait, the Polestar 4 is undeniably worth it.
The upcoming release promises innovation, a fluid driving experience, and updated safety features. It might not have full self-driving capabilities, but if Volvo and Geely’s joint projects have taught us anything, it is that their vehicles are built to last.
Tesla is constantly evolving its EVs, but we’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see in the Model Y. Until the Cybertruck arrives, you might want to wait and give Polestar a chance.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Jeppe Gustafsson/Shutterstock.com.