Having owned a Mazda MPS 6 for 10 years, I reluctantly decided it was time for an upgrade. I say reluctantly because the MPS 6 was a brilliant car, a real drivers car with superb performance and quality.
This is my first Volvo and so far i’m very impressed. The finish and build quality is excellent, as is the long list of standard features and inclusions. The ‘price and features’ rating of 9 seems high for a Volvo which retails for $100,000. However, I picked it up for a ‘bargain’ of $65,000 as an ex-demo from a dealer with only 4,000km. So from my perspective, it was fantastic value.
The engine is a cracker. Strong and flexible performance with masses of useable torque and linear power delivery. Unfortunately, the gearbox doesn’t match the engine and the 6 speed auto just doesn’t do the engine justice. In normal driving mode, gear changes are slow, particularly in the lower gears. In sport mode, the gearbox is much smoother and far more responsive but it’s still not quite up to par.
Handling is brilliant and inspires confidence in any conditions. The handling is amazing actually for such a heavy car. The combination of Ohlins springs, AWD, Michelin Pilot Super Sports and a terrific chassis has the car stuck to the road. The ride can be firm at the factory settings, but the dampers can be adjusted and I may do that at my next service. The Brembo brakes have superb stopping ability and good feel.
The interior is excellent in materials, feel and ambience. The seats are superb and testament to why people comment that Volvo make the best seats in the business…….the comfort and bolstering is excellent and I could easily sit in them all day. The centre console design is perhaps a little dated now and too many buttons for my liking, but it still has an upmarket feel about it. The infotainment system can be cumbersome to use, with too many sub menus to navigate effectively while driving, but then I’m a technophobe anyway!!
The real party trick of the Polestar is the noise it makes. In sport or manual mode, the exhaust valves open and the sound is unbelievable form a straight six. Even at low revs, the exhaust turns heads wherever I go, but at full sound, an intoxicating pitch and roar that is pure theatre fills the air. It may sound trivial, but when you buy a performance car you want it to sound like one and this goes over and above that.
It can be thirsty when driving around town, but I expected that after driving an MPS for 10 years. Around town, i’m averaging 11-12 litres per kilometre, but 80% of my driving is city driving during peak periods
What I love about the car is its character, it has bucket loads of character. It sounds like a wild animal, brilliant performance, beautiful shape and looks and yet it’s a Volvo!! After searching for some time, it was hard to find a car with character in the sub $80,000 bracket and this feels a bit special when I drive it. Would I pay $100k for it?……definitely not! But at ex-demo prices, it’s an absolute bargain.