Polestar Designer Takes a Jab at Cars Like the New Tesla Model 3

Polestar Designer Takes a Jab at Cars Like the New Tesla Model 3

Polestar has just previewed the all-new ‘3’ SUV at a reveal event in Sydney, marking the company’s second vehicle in Australia, with last year’s Polestar 2 getting a facelift soon. The 3 was revealed by Polestar’s Global Exterior Design Manager, Nahum Escobedo, who spoke about the all-new design and explained why the car was different to other large SUVs on the market.

Despite being a large SUV, which typically have space for seven seats, the Polestar 3 has been configured to only have five seats, which is to emphasise the ‘Sport’ part of ‘SUV’, at least according to Escobedo. As the exterior designer of this car, Escobedo described it as his baby, and he’s extremely proud of it – especially the front end and its aerodynamic wing, which sits above where the grille would be on a combustion engine vehicle.

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Nahum Escobedo at the Polestar 3 reveal. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

“We want this to be more of a sports utility vehicle, rather than, you know, just bringing all of the family together, go for a picnic,” Escobedo said at the event.

“It was important from the beginning that we should create something unique, something that has a different structure.”

The Polestar 2 and the 3 have very similar identities, but the 3 certainly has more of a cyberpunk aesthetic to it. The behind-wheel display has been raised out of the dash, the lights have been changed to look more blade-like than hammer-like, and the door handles are raised out of the car electronically, rather than always being out.

Perhaps the greatest thing separating it from the Polestar 2 is the change in direction for the brand. While the Polestar 2 is priced competitively against the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 3 takes aim at the upper-luxury end of the market, with pricing starting at $132,900 down under. This would have put it in competition with the Tesla Model X, but the X is no longer available in Australia. Still, it’s priced to compete with the Audi e-Tron SUV, BMW iX xDrive40 Sport, and the Mercedes-Benz EQC.

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The Polestar 3’s interior. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And just on other cars – while Escobedo didn’t name any other companies, he did take a moment to jab at cars with loads of lighting in the cabin.

“Another very nice touch about the space and the luxury is the lighting, and what the lighting does to the car. Nowadays – I don’t want to say a company’s [name] or anything – you sometimes go into the interior of a car, and they have so many lights inside. It becomes a bit like Vegas,” Escobedo added.

“You’ve got red, you’ve got blue, you’ve got orange, and then you have all the displays, that have all of these little icons… Maybe after a day or two, it’ll be nice, but after that, you know, you get so much stimulation.”

Escobedo said that it could become stressful for the driver to need to pick a colour identity for when they’re inside the car – a key feature of the Tesla Model 3 facelift, which now has a customisable lighting bar across the dash, and a screen in the backseat for passengers. Escobedo later told Gizmodo Australia that he doesn’t really follow “what the other brands are doing”.

Five seats in this large SUV, instead of the typical seven. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And while the lighting and screen features aren’t particularly unique to the Model 3 (after all, RGB colour profiles are directly tied to performance mode in cars like the Cupra Born), it does ring a particular bell; last year, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said that modern cars tend to “molest” people with their “arrogant” design.

The Polestar 3 certainly doesn’t look like many other cars – just like the Polestar 2, it has different stylings depending on how you look at it. From the front, it looks vaguely Range Rover-like; from the back, it perhaps looks a little like the BYD Atto 3, and from the side, you can definitely see that Polestar 2 DNA (with a raised SUV rear, of course).

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Interestingly, the Polestar 3 will be the last car the company produces with a rear window, at least for now. The Polestar 4 small SUV revealed earlier this year ditched the rear glass, as did the Polestar 5. Part of this, according to Escobedo, is to solidify a unique identity for the brand’s aesthetic. Another part is an insistence on the camera technology being so good that it could supplement the glass.

“Now, also with large SUVs, because of the packaging and what they do in the interior, the screen or the rear window keeps getting smaller and smaller, so it’s a gradually (sic) sort of a transition into electric cars, and you will start to see a lot more of that,” Escobedo said.

“Because it’s getting minimised: the technology is catching up fast, and we are getting used to that setup.”

He added that it’s a matter of just getting comfortable with the setup.

With the Polestar 3’s reveal done and dusted, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see it on the road. Polestar expects the car to come down under in mid-2024, with a WLTP range of 560km, a consumption of between 21.9-23.1kWh/100km, DC charging of up to 250kW, a 0-100km/h speed of just 4.7 seconds, and an AWD drivetrain on the Long Range Dual Motor variant, priced at $132,900. The ‘Performance’ variant is expected to start at $141,900.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

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