Polestar 3 Vs Tesla Model Y: Electric SUVs Compared

Luxury compact SUVs have been all the rage for the past few years now so it's only logical to see EV makers following the trend. The Tesla Model Y has been out on the roads for a couple years now and serves as the one of the first real entries into the compact luxury EV segment. Priced at over $58,000 for a base model and well over $86,000 with all of the options, it certainly isn't an inexpensive EV. With 21-inch wheels and Tesla's much maligned "Full Self-Driving" capability, it's quite firmly in the luxury EV segment. 

With a dual motor "Performance" configuration and a zero-to-60 time of under four seconds, the Model Y is no slouch either. Today, Polestar, Volvo's EV spin-off announced the arrival of its Polestar 3 electric SUV. The Tesla Model Y may have met its match when it comes to the segment it practically created. 

Who wears the EV crown?

The Polestar 3 comes right out of the gate loaded to the gills with features in an effort to punch the Model Y directly in the jaw in the fight for segment supremacy. On the outside, the Tesla Model Y has taken styling cues from a beluga whale while "Polestar" went in the Blade Runner and "Cyberpunk 2077" direction. Both EVs are decidedly "futuristic" looking. 

Styling is subjective, but cold, hard specifications are hard to argue with. In the EV world, range is one of the chief stats that most EV shoppers look at. At its base specification, Polestar estimates the Polestar 3 has a range of about 300 miles on a full charge. That number is cut to an estimated 270 miles with the optional $6,000 Performance Pack. Compare that to the 2022 Model Y's estimated range of 330 miles for a base model and just a hair over 300 miles for the Model Y Performance version. 

Tesla does not list horsepower figures for any iterations of the Model Y, but Car and Driver estimated a 2020 Model Y Performance to generate a combined 470 horsepower from its dual motor all-wheel drive setup. The Polestar 3 starts at 489 horsepower from a similar motor configuration, but that is boosted to 517 horsepower in the performance spec. EVs have always had impressive zero-to-60 times and both SUVs deliver. The highest spec Model Y launches itself to highway speed in 3.5 seconds according to Tesla and the Polestar 3 accomplishes the same feat in 4.6 seconds.

Practicality and price

When shopping for SUVs, EV or not, storage space is an important metric to consider. It's important to know whether or not your vehicle is up to the task of carrying a full load of children, pets, furniture, or whatever one might be carrying. Tesla claims the Model Y has a cargo capacity of 76 cubic feet before resorting to bungee cords and ratchet straps to secure cargo to the roof. The Polestar 3 has just over 50 cubic feet when you include the front trunk or "frunk."

Neither SUV claims to be "affordable" in the same way that the upcoming Chevy Equinox EV does, but price still matters. The Polestar 3 comes with all the options at launch with a price tag of a cool $83,900. Add in the $6,000 Performance Pack and you're looking at just a hair under 90 grand. The Tesla Model Y comes in at $89,440 with every option checked. 

On paper, the Model Y beats out the Polestar 3 in most metrics. It's important to note that the Polestar 3 isn't out on the roads yet so a seeing and driving one in the flesh when it launches in 2023 for the 2024 model year may tilt the scales in Polestar's favor.