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Car Rental Review: Polestar 2 Electric Sedan Hertz Car Rental Portland PDX

September 19, 2023
Osman Dadi
The Polestar 2 electric sedan was a fun but costly rental on my recent trip to Portland PDX. The car is quick and spacious, but the range was disappointing.

I recently headed to Portland while on a visit out west to the Dwinell Country Ales Six-Year Anniversary Party in Goldendale, WA. Arriving in Portland PDX using Delta, I pre-booked my Polestar 2 Saturday and Sunday rental.

Polestar 2 vehicle charging
Polestar 2 vehicle charging

I booked the electric Polestar 2 from Hertz Car Rental, with whom I have had Executive Elite status since 2020. I wanted to try the Polestar 2, so I was happy when that was the car I received. While overall, my experience was positive overall, but some things were not great, like the charging speed and range. That being said, I really enjoyed driving this car, and the ride was smooth, fast, and comfortable.

Booking a Hertz Polestar 2 Rental

This was a very last-minute booking. In fact, I was so late it nearly ended up being a same-day booking since I only booked it about an hour before midnight. I started looking at National Car, but they were sold out. I then moved to Hertz, which only had two electric vehicle types available.

Due to the high demand, my choice was limited, and the price was high. I ended up paying $262.70 for 25 hours of rental. On the flip side, it was an excellent opportunity to try this electric vehicle. I figured trying the Polestar 2 would be great, and if it was not available, I could end up trying a Tesla.

Interestingly, about a couple hours before pickup, while on my flight, I was notified the vehicle was to be a blue Polestar 2. The notification came through on my phone app and also showed the exact car, license plate, color, and spot #4 where to find the vehicle. Which was excellent service, I thought.

Portland PDX car rental is now a long walk away
Portland PDX car rental is now a long walk away

Where to Find Hertz at PDX Airport

Car Rental pick up and drop off has gotten much more complicated than before at Portland PDX. Historically, you picked up and dropped off your rental in an area directly adjacent to the check-in and drop-off ramps.

The tunnel to the car rental center
The tunnel to the car rental center

Sadly, due to some massive construction at the airport, this location has now been moved much further away. Now, you must exit the terminal and use a tunnel to walk about 10 minutes to an area near the long-term parking.

Portland PDX car rental center
Portland PDX car rental center

Today, after the baggage reclaim area, I followed the signs to the car rental facilities. This took me to the far south side of the terminal, where I turned left into the escalators to take me into the tunnel. After about a 10-minute walk in the dark tunnel, you finally come to another escalator, which takes you out of the tunnel to the car rental areas.

Escalator to the Hertz car rental center
Escalator to the Hertz car rental center

Once there, you find a multilevel rental parking garage; Hertz was located on the second level of the garage.

Polestar 2 Pick Up & Drop off at Hertz PDX

The pick-up process was a breeze; I headed directly to the Hertz Presidents Circle Desk and screen. After checking the screens, I saw I had a car in spot #4.

Hertz car rental facility Portland PDX
Hertz car rental facility Portland PDX

I headed over to take the usual pictures of the car and browse the lot to see if I wanted a different vehicle. As a Presidents Circle member, you can still choose from any other vehicle categories (except Specialty, Premium, and Reserved), but I mostly saw Chevy Malibus and some SUVs. So, in the end, I opted to keep the Polestar 2.

Hertz Elite Members Directory
Hertz Elite Members Directory

I was a little disappointed with the car initially. Although it was very new only showing 3,700 miles on the clock. However, the battery was not fully charged, only showing 89%. I was advised to return the car with a charge of at least 70%, but unfortunately, I could not, and I returned it with a charge of 11%.

Polestar 2 electric vehicle

Drop off

Returning the vehicle was easy; I just drove in, left it at the return lane, and didn’t even wait for the attendant. Unfortunately, I was one hour late and got billed one extra hour, resulting in a total 25-hour charge of $262.70. Pretty steep. However, I think this is largely a factor of PDX airport pricing. In the end, I spent less than $15 on fuel. However, the range was poor.

Front view of Polestar 2 car
Front view of Polestar 2 car

The Polestar 2 Sedan Vehicle Configuration

My first impression of the Polestar 2 is that it is very spacious, with a spacious rear and a driver’s seat. Overall, the car is very comfortable, with some very cool, unique yellow seatbelts. My only gripe would be that the windows seem a little low/small, especially in the vehicle’s rear.

Interior cabin view
Interior cabin view
Side view of Polestar 2 car
Side view
Back view of the Polestar 2 vehicle
Rear of the Polestar 2

The car has tons and tons of luggage space, making it a good option if you have lots of large luggage. Furthermore, you can fold down the back seats to create even more luggage storage space.

Polestar 2 open trunk
Polestar 2 open trunk
Spacious rear trunk space
Spacious rear trunk space
Polestar 2 side view
Polestar 2 side view

Externally, the car side mirrors are an exciting shape, although I must admit that they did provide good viewing. The doors are easy to open using a handle, and the windows are electric. The car had no manual locking system, only an automatic one. The trunk can be opened via a small button below and to the left of the steering wheel.

Driver's seat control and instrument array
Driver’s seat control and instrument array

Throughout the cabin, there is lots of storage space. Starting off, there is a large storage tray on the side of the door. Then, a small storage bin is on the center console side, by the driver’s knee. Plus, a Cabinet/storage is on the top/back of the center console.

Polestar 2 driver seat controls and storage
Polestar 2 driver seat controls and storage

The air conditioning vents are not great. They are pretty small and are located in a strange place. This means they fail to deliver the needed cold or hot blast of air to the passengers. The rear compartment also has AC vents.

Poorly designed air vents are hard to direct air flow.
Poorly designed air vents are hard to direct air flow.
Instrument panel left side with air vents design
Instrument panel left side with air vents design.

Overall, the finishes on the car were very basic, with nothing special. However, they did appear to be good quality.

Window and wing mirror controls
Window and wing mirror controls
Passenger seat
Passenger seat
Drivers seat
Drivers seat

Polestar 2 Center Console

The center console is one of the main hubs of operating the vehicle, with a transmission shifter and a button to park. The console also has audio play, pause buttons, and a volume control wheel. You can also find two cup storage units, although one is combined with center console storage.

Polestar 2 center control console
Polestar 2 center control console
Gear lever
Gear lever

As a rule, the car is on when the key is inside. So once you are in the car, all you need to do to drive off is place it in D or R and go. There are two USB ports in the center console; and there is also a hidden cup holder under the cushion cover, for a total of two cup holders here.

Center console cup holders - one is hidden below the cushion cover.
Center console cup holders – one is hidden below the cushion cover.

Above them is an overhead central console with two reading lights; these can also be turned on with a single button.

Reading lights
Reading lights

Vehicle Controls

Everything on the vehicle can be controlled from the central touch screen, which features the following menu options.

  • Drive/Assist/Charge screens – also showing charge % and general timing for full charge.
  • Bluetooth, Audio, and Climate Control.
  • Other options.
Center console display
Center console display
car control options
Car control options

The steering wheel also has some basic function controls. I found these confusing, but the right side generally controlled media, while the left was for driving controls.

Steering wheel controls
Steering wheel controls

The seat functions are electronic and motorized and can be controlled by buttons on the side of the seat.

Fuel & Charging Experience

During my trip, I had to charge the car a couple of times. When I first received the vehicle, it showed a 170-mile range with 89% battery, which I thought was rather low.

Charging Connector
Charging Connector

The first time I charged was in Goldendale, WA, at a ChargePoint station at a municipal building in the city. However, this was a slow charge; my charge increased by 15% over two hours. The charge was billed at $4 but was free to me.

Plugged in at Goldendale, Washington
Plugged in at Goldendale, Washington
EV charging point
EV charging point
Charging
Slow charging in Goldendale, WA

The second time I charged was in Hood River, Oregon. Here, I found a high-capacity charger by EVCS & Tritium. This beast got me from 36% to 55% in about 25 minutes and cost $12.

Charging station with a high flow charge
Charging station with a high flow charge

Charging was effortless: press a button to open the fuel door hatch, plug the cable, then press a button to release it. The main odometer screen displays the remaining charge and an estimated range at current usage, estimated time to charge fully, and so forth.

Charging station with a high flow charge
Charging station with a high flow charge
Polestar 2 charging
Polestar 2 charging
Instrument Panel showing charge and remaining time.
Instrument Panel showing charge and remaining time.

As mentioned, I returned the car with an 11% charge, and I didn’t cover that many miles, so the range on the Polestar leaves a lot to be desired.

Since I am not an EV aficionado, I ran into a funny, embarrassing situation. At first, I visited a Tesla supercharger. Then I realized Tesla uses an entirely different electric charging infrastructure. I had to sit and watch Tesla drivers go around me and smile at my misunderstanding.

Polestar 2 Driving Experience

In the City

The Polestar 2 is very quiet and comfortable in the city. It is also very fast and has a tremendous pick-up, which is one of the best perks of an electric vehicle.

The car is packed with driver-assist features that are changeable and customizable. These include alerts for traffic, crash proximity warnings, and others. Overall, I didn’t find the announcements overbearing; sometimes, when I heard them, they were appropriate and appreciated.

Polestar 2 steering wheel
Polestar 2 steering wheel

The car is relatively easy to park, and I would even say that it was easy to parallel park.

One downside is the car does feel bulky, and it isn’t easy to feel where it starts and stops; it’s larger than I expected.

On The Highway

On the Highway, the car is quiet, with excellent sound insulation. While I didn’t set any speed records, the Polestar 2 handled well, and the quick pick-up meant overtaking was a breeze.

In terms of maneuvering at speed and general driving, the Polestar 2 delivered in every aspect, including overtaking, lane changing, and cruising.

Parked Polestar 2
Parked Polestar 2

Parking and Reversing

The full rear camera makes reversing and parking the Polestar 2 seamless. That being said, rear visibility is difficult but not overly so. The seats are large and the windows to the rear small.

However, combining the camera, the large rear view, side mirrors, and reversing is no major issue.

Special Features

The car starts automatically with the key inside; I thought that was weird initially because you don’t need to press a start button, which felt counterintuitive.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was impressed with the Polestar 2 and pleasantly surprised. I genuinely enjoyed driving the car and found the ride smooth, fast, and comfortable. However, all things considered, it was a costly rental for what it is.

The Hertz Car rental at PDX was an entirely different proposition with several things I didn’t like. I found the check-out time was obscenely long and took approximately 15 minutes. This was much slower compared to National Car in my last experience. Furthermore, I thought the facility lacked vehicle selection this time, but I think it was just a busy weekend.

That being said, the Hertz app performed smoothly and notified me of my car and lot location with sufficient time, which was a nice touch.

Pros

  • Speedy and quick pick up.
  • The rear-view camera was nice.
  • Large storage in the trunk.
  • Very quiet on the highway, with good sound isolation.
  • Excellent sound system.

Cons

  • Range is quite low. Very poor, to be honest.
  • I learned the speed is limited to 100mph, which is quite sad if you’re a fast driver.
  • Battery charging can be quite slow at some stations – using this in a small city in the countryside was a risk in this regard. I was only able to get a 15% charge in two hours.
  • Driving in rural areas needs planning due to the limited range.

Hertz Verdict: 9/10

Polestar 2 Verdict: 8/10