Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings
  • Fisker Karma by Gijs Spierings

It's not a surprise that Consumer Reports doesn't like the Fisker Karma. The tester vehicle that the magazine straight-up purchased died before it went 200 miles. Then CR really figured out what was wrong with the plug-in hybrid.

So, is it really a surprise that CR's test results found the $107,000 Karma to have "numerous shortcomings" and "fell well short" of expectations? Enough of each, in fact, to earn a "failing grade." It's a brutal review, and one that goes beyond problems with a single vehicle. No, CR says the Karma has:

poor dash controls, limited visibility, a cramped interior, awkward access into and out of the seats, an engine that is noisy when running, long battery recharge times, and a small backseat and trunk. The Karma's heavy, SUV-like weight affects agility and performance, and the Karma lacks the oomph you would expect.

So, yeah.

Fisker had a response ready, pointing out the good parts of the review, like the "outstanding ride, handling and braking." In the CR video, which you can watch below, reviewer Tom Mutchler does say nice things about those particular aspects, but the good is outweighed by the problems found with the fit and finish of the Karma. In the end he says the car "sacrifices way too much function for fashion."

There's also this: Fisker says, "As the Karma is a concept car come to life, packaging and visibility will of course not be that of a minivan," which no one is asking for. Just a little common practicality. Fisker also says it plans to improve NVH and the touch screen. You can get an idea why those are important, in this video.





Show full PR text
Fisker Automotive Statement Regarding Consumer Reports Test

Anaheim, California, USA –September 24, 2012: Consumer Reports today published their review of the Fisker Karma.

Since its launch in December 2011 the award-winning Fisker Karma has defined a new automotive segment of luxury electric vehicles.

The Fisker Karma is the only American car to win the Top Gear Luxury Car of the Year award; Automobile magazine named the Karma its Design of the Year; TIME magazine listed the Karma as one of its 50 Best Inventions; the Fisker Karma also received an Edison Award for Innovation and is a finalist in Fast Company's Innovation by Design competition.

The Karma impressed CR's evaluators with its outstanding ride, handling and braking, which can be attributed to the car's low, wide stance, race-inspired suspension and massive Brembo brakes. As the Karma is a concept car come to life, packaging and visibility will of course not be that of a minivan.

The Karma's innovative powertrain technology lowers the center of gravity to give it a slalom time close to that of high performance sedans from the best European manufacturers. And the 66 MPGe recorded during testing – the highest of nearly any production car -- is a great endorsement for Fisker as pioneers of this new luxury segment.

Plans are in place to improve sound quality, which is a new challenge for all silent-running EVs, while software improvements are being made to touch-screen controls to improve responsiveness and functionality.

Fisker has brought this pioneering vehicle to market based on a brand new platform and technology in record time and is now selling the car globally to critical acclaim. Many initial customers have become Fisker's strongest advocates, as seen in testimonial videos at the following link: http://onward.fiskerautomotive.com/en-us/karma/reviews/

Fisker has worked extensively with its customers who are eager to be leading the charge of electric vehicle adoption, are keen to give feedback and are very satisfied with their purchases.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      This corresponds to some owner reviews i've seen on youtube and elsewhere. I mentioned it and only got flak on here. Oh well. Maybe if CR says it you'll believe it ;D ;D The only true positives i could the braking is good and the car looks nice. I'm still trying to find out how it is so inefficient. I know the hummer-esque weight is part of the equation, but when it's using something like 60% more electric energy than the Model S to move in a straight line, something is really wrong. Where does the energy go? I'm thinking there is low electrical motor efficiency at play, as well, they are beating on the battery really hard and burning off watt-hours as waste heat. It could be a tragically poor powertrain design, but i suppose we'll find out about that later.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I think the low efficiency mainly is because the CD is much higher than the Model S. It's 0.31 vs 0.24 for the Model S. Frontal area is probably around the same (both are quite wide, but the Karma probably is not as tall as the Model S). I have heard that the motors that Fisker uses (units from a Chinese manufacturer: Jing-Jin Electric) are less efficient and heavier than the uqm motors they originally planned to use (and installed in the prototypes).
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        series hybrids inherently inefficient: engine - generator - rectifier - batteries - inverter - (motor) driver - motors - drivetrain gas car: engine - drivetrain electric car: batteries - inverter - driver - motor - drivetrain
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        @2WM: "hummer-esque" is off by about about 50%. A USDM HUMMER H2 is a Class 2 truck, with a weight of 8,600 lbs. A Fisker Karma is more comparable in weight to a 5000-lb 3-row W251 Benz R-klasse or Buick Enclave.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I don't recall 2WM speccing dry or curb weight, so I went with gross. Not my fault the H2 can carry a lot more. @2WM, I'm pretty darn sure the porkiest sedan is Cadillac One.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          The GVWR is over 8,000 lbs. GVWR is the max weight a car is rated for including cargo. The weight of the HUMMER H2 is about 6,400 lbs, and that's what we're comparing here, "wet" weight (weight including vehicle and fuel).
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Efficiency problems are likely related to a variety of factors: Lower Aerodynamics. Massive wheels/tires chosen for style over efficiency. Off the shelf vs custom designs, Likely leading to lower efficiency in: power conversion/motor control EV motor itself Gearbox too combine the two motors The design aesthetics seem to be the only thing well done on this car, everything else appears second rate.
      mazdamattyp5
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fisker Karma is a let down?? In other breaking news, Water is Wet. This is exactly, as Elon stated, the problem with having a designer engineer vehicles. Tesla X's Eleventy billion.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Karma is an outstanding car, period. 99% of owners are beyond satisfied....much more so than the Leaf owners in AZ... As with every product, there are a couple lemons here and there, and that is the case with ANY brand.
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      This over two ton car isn't very efficient. Fisker should have skipped over making this hybrid and used a regular ICE. Oh wait he couldn't get the funding for making ICE cars so he conned the US government to fund this 22mpg barge. Style over substance garbage.
        Matt C
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maddoxx
        The federal money received was to fund the NEXT Fisker product, the Atlantic, and the money came with strict performance targets. Fisker didn't meet those targets, which is why the rest of their federal funding got yanked and they've had to resort to private financing.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is amazing how Consumer Reports producing the most consistent/honest car reviews elicits the most reactionary attacks. Truth hurts? CR doesn't "hate" Karmas or Wranglers as some claim. What they do is do a consistent review of cars as a car. The Wrangler sucks as a car and CR correctly reports that, but if you are planning to go seriously rock crawling then you put up with it being a poor car overall. I rented a Wrangler to go rock crawling in Moab, great for that, but in almost every other way it was a terrible car and I would never own one, anymore than I would own a moving van as my daily driver because I use one to move every couple of years. It is completely backward to think that CR should rate what are otherwise poor cars, higher because they have some specialized use for a few people. Consumer Reports should do, exactly what they have been doing, and rate them as cars and make note of the specialized usage, and users can then properly judge the tradeoff between the poor performance accurately reported by CR with their own desire for the specialized use. As for the Karma, it is full of shortcomings in every area, it is weak combination of cobbled together off the shelf parts, that don't work all that well together. The worse electric efficiency of any EV ever tested by huge margin (62 kw-hrs/100 mi ) In Range extender Mode the worse efficiency of any hybrid (20 MPG) Performance that is miserable for the price range and dismal efficiency. Poor fit and finish inside and out. Terrible packaging efficiency. Absolutely Horrid computer control system. Riddled with show stopping gremlins. The Karma is a dismal, poorly engineered, poorly assembled embarrassment of a luxury car. Consumer Reports called it correctly (again), so don't shoot the messenger.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        It's specialized use is a novelty toy for the "more money than brains" set. Once the Novelty wears off, Fisker will be on a short road to bankruptcy. The facts of the poor engineering abound in every aspect of the car. It only has about half the efficiency of other electric vehicles. Even high school students building EV project cars have better efficiency than the Karma. The oddball off the shelf components include using two Chinese EV motors into one differential because they could find one motor right for the car and even with two, they still have weak performance. The Karma is the perfect example of "Lipstick on a Pig".
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        @ PeterScott, Amazing how emotional you become over Fiskers Karma ! Considering you will never buy one, what offends you so much ? The Karma is not a " weak combination of cobbled together off the shelf parts, that don't work all that well together. " ! It's a very unique vehicle. I can understand someone saying, " it's not to my taste", or "it doesn't suit my needs", but your highly emotional, over-the-top, hatred of the Karma, displays the Karma's strongest selling point. It offends people like you ! The Karma is an imaginative car created for people who love 'form over function', a GT of the old school, yet bristling with new technology, a cool car,.... a car to make people stop to stare enviously or admiringly. It's designed to allow Ezee to annoy cardigan clad contemporaries bitter indigestion from swallowed bile, as they watch him drive away with that gorgeous young girl and her friends... Definitely not designed to appeal to the terminally anorak clad, pedantically pedestrian bore who will drone on about engineering minutia until the fashionable club/restaurant/resort's doorman tells them to vamoose ! Now, you have your answer ! Engineered ? It's pretty damned near perfect for it's primary purpose !
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        "Consumer Reports should do, exactly what they have been doing, and rate them as cars and make note of the specialized usage, and users can then properly judge the tradeoff between the poor performance accurately reported by CR with their own desire for the specialized use." The "specialized use" of the Karma naturally being making Ferrari owners jealous while buying gas only once a month or less.
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR hates the Jeep Wrangler for similar reasons. Poor ride. Poor use of space. Of course, try and take a Camry through the Rubicon. They want every vehicle to have a certain list of things, regardless of the intended market and buyer. It's not Car Reports. It's Consumer Reports. With that said, Fisker has dropped the ball in a number of areas. Everyone buying that car knows it is cramped inside, with a small trunk and limited visibility. It's the quality control issues, like the touch screen functionality, that Fisker needs to focus on.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Karma is an outstanding car, period. 99% of owners are beyond satisfied....much more so than the Leaf owners in AZ... As with every product, there are a couple lemons here and there, and that is the case with ANY brand.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Karma is an outstanding car, period. 99% of owners are beyond satisfied....much more so than the Leaf owners in AZ... As with every product, there are a couple lemons here and there, and that is the case with ANY brand.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Karma is an outstanding car, period. 99% of owners are beyond satisfied....much more so than the Leaf owners in AZ... As with every product, there are a couple lemons here and there, and that is the case with ANY brand.
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      This over two ton car isn't very efficient. Fisker should have skipped over making this hybrid and used a regular ICE. Oh wait he couldn't get the funding for making ICE cars so he conned the US government to fund this 22mpg barge. Style over substance garbage.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maddoxx
        "This TWO-AND-A-HALF-TON COMPACT car isn't very efficient." Fixed it for you.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR does say that they get an average of 38 miles on a charge - an 18% improvement over the EPA est. and much closer to the real-world 40-ish AER reported by typical Karma drivers.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Most of the problems CR outline are already well-known and acknowledged. However, most Fisker owners seem exceedingly pleased with their purchase, and happily use much less gasoline than they had been in their previous cars.
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