Compared: 2023 Polestar 2 vs. 2023 Tesla Model 3

Tesla and Polestar each have their own answer to the $50,000 EV question.

Split-screen image of a white Polestar 2 atop a red Tesla Model 3Polestar | Tesla


Tesla remains the market leader in electric vehicles, and the Model 3 sedan is one of the automaker's bestsellers. The sedan-looking Polestar 2 luxury hatchback matches up as a close competitor.

Base versions of both vehicles compare closely in price and battery range while differing in performance. The equation changes when comparing the dual-motor all-wheel-drive (AWD) editions.

Polestar 2 in black, rearPolestar

The Model 3's Starting Price Is Lower Than the Polestar 2's

Tesla offers three versions of the Model 3, the $41,000 Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD), the $49,000 Long Range AWD, and the $55,000 Performance Dual Motor AWD.

The Polestar 2 starts right around $50,000 for the Long Range Single Motor front-wheel-drive model. The long-range dual-motor AWD version adds $3,500.

Tesla Model 3 in blue, rearTesla

The Polestar 2 and Model 3 Are Both Feature Packed

Both electric sedans feature minimalist cabin designs with large center control screens as the focal point. Neither is lacking in driver-assist tech, high-powered audio, or basic luxury amenities, including heated, power-adjustable front seats.

The Polestar provides hatchback versatility, while the Tesla's standout convenience feature is access to the automaker's Supercharger network. That said, the Polestar 2 will soon get Supercharger network access. The fast-charging network allows a Model 3 driver, for example, to add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

Polestar 2 interior and infotainment touchscreenPolestar

The Model 3 comes standard with a glass panoramic roof, which the Polestar 2 also includes, along with Harman Kardon premium audio and other features in the Polestar's optional Plus Pack. The Model 3's $6,000 Enhanced Autopilot upgrade adds automatic parking and Summon features to the standard suite of driver-assist systems.

It's worth noting, however, that neither the standard Autopilot system, the Enhanced version, nor the Full Self-Driving package can make the Tesla an autonomous vehicle.

Tesla Model 3 interior in whiteTesla

The Model 3 Offers More Range and Efficiency Than the Polestar 2

The Tesla Model 3 RWD is EPA rated for 138/126/132 MPGe city/highway/combined and 272 miles of range on a full battery. The Model 3 Long Range AWD returns 134/126/131 MPGe and delivers 358 miles of range. The top Model 3 Performance returns 118/107/113 MPGe and boasts 315 miles of range.

The base single-motor Polestar 2 essentially matches the Tesla Model 3 RWD in range at 270 miles, while returning 113/100/107 MPGe.

Dual-motor, AWD versions of the Polestar 2 are good for 260 miles of range and achieve 105/96/100 MPGe.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Jim Koscs
Jim Koscs has been writing about cars for more than 30 years, his byline appearing in national enthusiast and trade publications, newspapers, and websites. He covers a broad spectrum of topics in automotive business, culture, collecting, design, history, racing, and technology. The "car thing" goes way back for Jim. At the 1968 New York Auto Show, he snuck away from his father to get a better look at a Rolls-Royce... from underneath it, to see if it had dual exhausts. (It didn't.)