By on March 20, 2012
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Consumer Reports has their Fisker Karma back from the dealership, and has finally been able to get their driving impressions. The folks at CR are apparently being cautious with their new six-figure sports sedan, for fear that another breakdown could happen far from home, rather than within their compound.

CR’s chief complaints center around the car’s mass; the big, heavy battery pack allegedy makes for a cramped rear seat, while also hurting the Karma’s performance. The staff are also hesitant to take the car on any sort of long trips, since any breakdowns would leave them stranded in an area with poor cell phone coverage. CR’s claim that “It is expected we’ll be revisiting the dealership soon. We’ve had cars in the past that have been troublesome, but never anything like this,” should tell you everything you need to know.

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41 Comments on “Consumer Reports Finally Gets To Drive Their Fisker Karma...”


  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    And so the ghost of John Z Delorean took a giant poop, ironically, the car was called Karma

  • avatar
    MarkP

    It should be interesting.

    I want to see a head-to-head comparison with a Tesla, especially regarding build quality. I saw a Tesla yesterday. I didn’t recognize it as it overtook me. It looked like a kit car, and even more so as I got a closer look.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I have to wonder if the Karma’s problems would make the upcoming Tesla S sedan seem more or less appealing by comparison. Certainly Tesla can’t have that car be as buggy as the Karma seems to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Franz K

        #1 Vapor Ware is Vapor Ware

        #2 Can’t be as buggy as the Fisker ? Haven’t heard lately how it takes a minimum of Four TESLA’s to finish a road test ? Missed out on the fact that almost every TESLA Roadster sold to date has had a Car-BQ episode of one type or another ?

        #3 Build Quality ? ( @ both of you ) Haven’t had a first hand look at the Joke the TESLA Roadster is quality wise ?

        #4 I’ll also assume you both haven’t kept up on Elon Musk’s pathetic attempt to sue the BBCA as well as Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear for DARING to expose the TRUTH about the TESLA Roadster

        Come on guys . Get your heads out of the ‘ Virtual ‘ World and sink your feet into ‘ Reality ‘

        TESLA & Fisker are the two biggest Automotive con jobs in recent history . TESLA having cost the Tax Payers upwards of $1.25 Billion ( thats just for the car end , not Musk’s pretentious Space Program ) and Fisker over $500 million with another $625 million Finally getting the Axe from the DOE at the 11th hour

        Oren Weizman hit the Nail on the Head up above .

        Fisker = Bastard Son of DeLorean for the 2010′s

        TESLA as well .

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        #3 it is based on a lotus and you are complaining about build quality?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @Franz K:

        Vaporware is the promise of product without actual product. Both Tesla and Fisker are actully producing and selling cars – Tesla for several years now.

        Your claims about Tesla’s reliability during ownership and testing are simply untrue.

        Tesla should not be suing Top Gear – agreed.

        The SpaceX launch system is real – They have a contract to launch stuff to the International Space Station, and have already put things into orbit. You must think this is easy.

        Please stop trolling.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        @franz k

        I sense you don’t like electric/hybrid cars. Perhaps a bad experience with a battery as a child?

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Did you guys see 60 Minutes last Sunday?.. the first 30 min segment was on Spacex and Elon Musk.. very interesting but a bit embarrassing when Elon tears up.. the man has feelings!

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      I’ve seen Teslas and they’re beautiful. You must have seen something else.

      • 0 avatar

        I rode in a Tesla once, in a ride in the Coast Range foothills with speeds that would have quite scared me in a normal car. The flat cornering was incredible, the torque was amazing, and the fit and finish seemed excellent.

        I do take a fairly dim view of the Karma. With the 5,000 lbs, or is it 5,500, and the 20 mpg on the engine, alone, it seems more like a stunt than a car.

  • avatar
    salhany

    I can’t believe the car weighs nearly 5400 pounds. That’s insane.

    From their blog, CR is experiencing many of the same glitches and bugs that other Fisker owners are suffering, if the Fisker forums are to be believed. Many, many reports of the cars going dead on the highway and then mysteriously booting up again, gages going out, constant hard rebooting required, etc. It looks like this thing needed more time in the oven before being released.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I could insert a Microsoft Windows joke here, but that would be too easy. And in today’s world, it seems that my wife’s Android phone could be substituted as it suffers from the same issues.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    If a Volt and a ’82 seville had a baby

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Why would anyone in their right mind buy this crap is beyond me, so you buy a new car and have to be fearful of going on a trip away from home, you gotta be kidding, I have a very high mileage Corolla and I’m scared of going out of my area due to breaking down and being stuck far from home, but this is something I accept and expect, so I always rent when I need to go somewhere, but to buy a NEW car and have the same fears, is absurd.

    • 0 avatar
      Franz K

      Or …….

      If a VOLT and a Hummer H2 got married and had a kid designed by Hyundai and priced as Designer ware

    • 0 avatar

      stop making me laugh so hard. My stomach’s starting to hurt.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Agree with Oren, sounds like a $108,000.00 Volt to me. No way I would pay that for a car with a GM drivetrain. No thanks. Looks nice though. :/

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Franz K – I have no dog in this fight. I was just commenting on the fact that I saw a Tesla that looked like a kit car. In other words, it looks amateurish. I can’t understand why anyone would spend any money at all on a car that can’t pass muster at a distance of 30 feet.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I wonder if Powell and DiCaprio are having issues with their early production Karmas.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    From a marketing perspective, that this is a premium car may be Fisker’s genius, and what GM should have done with the Volt all along. Right now, high tech cars like this and the Volt function best as toys for the wealthy. Plus, when you’re talking about $100k cars, stuff like whether or not the fuel savings offset the price of the car versus a normal one (like with the Volt vs Cruz comparisons) doesn’t matter. You buy the car because you want it, and because it makes you feel like $100k, and (in many but not all cases) it makes you look like $100k. this car has the looks and the eco friendly pedigree to give limousine liberals the indulgence they’re looking for. Hell, every time I see one in person, I’m tempted to say I’d pull the trigger if I had the $. The car is truly that beautiful to look at.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      GM can’t sell cars of Maserati quality and not be burned for it in the non-luxery market.

      Fisker is competing with Maserati and Aston Martin. And in this segment their build quality is not outside of normality. Especially considering that this is the first run of their car

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Gm trapped themselves in a car that is too expensive to be an economy car and too cheapish to be a electric toy for the well heeled. All that’s left is the claim of saving the planet and that’s in question given the short range it has on batteries.

    • 0 avatar

      If I had that kind of money, I’d restore a Peugeot 404, and have a bunch left over for the new Toyobaru. If I lusted after the Karma the way you appear to, I’d take a really good photo, blow it up and put it in my office. But I think the Peugeot 404 is much prettier. (I do agree with the rest of your comment.)

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        If I was the kind of stupid-rich that could make buying AND owning this car a serious consideration I’d buy it for sheer Irony, it would be the only car I would drive in stringent-emissions-country California, the only thing registered to me in the car-park of my Malibu condo..

        ..I’d drive it every night up and down the strip, cuss out Jay Leno for owning and driving so many pre-catalytic converter classic cars.. then retire to my summer house in Oklahoma where there are no emissions inspections and where my fleet of vintage Muscle-Cars would reside. *Evil!* >;)

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Have you read some of the options it has?

      A Real wood and leather-trimmed interior.. with wood provided by ‘Salvaged’ lumber dredged from lake-bottoms and/or picked from the leavings of brush-fires, and leather stitched together from all the scraps of cow-hide that would normally go in the bin after making Gucci bags and Tony Lama boots.

      Oh, and it has solar panels on it’s roof. :)

      I don’t know if Fisker is trolling the people who would want to buy this car, or the people who would make fun of the people who want to buy this car.. but they be trollin’, and successful troll is successful.

      Look how hard they just trolled Consumer Reports. ^_^

  • avatar
    salhany

    I think that’s a bit extreme, no? Fisker’s build quality seems far below Maser’s or AM’s. They can’t even take it for a 15 mile jaunt for fear of being stranded.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I saw my first Karma in the wild last night, in Bryn Mawr. Looked like a rock star amongst the plebs. Couldn’t say the same for the comb-over in the driver’s seat.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I’m curious if the Karma is being sold nationwide yet . I saw one in Houston with some sort of dealer or manufacturer tag a couple of weeks ago . In person a very striking car . Unfortunately I was in heavy traffic and couldn’t get very close to it .The Leaf appears to be the locally more successful electric car launch- I’ve seen a few of these . I’ve been intrigued with electric cars ever since riding in an EV1 many years ago . I worked as a contractor for a local utility that was given 5 or 10 of these to evaluate . A guy somehow-uh- aquired the keys and we went on an unauthorized midnight drive .I was impressed by the novelty and the lack of noise.

    • 0 avatar
      aaabballo

      I follow Fisker on Facebook, and they consistently post photos of new owners from various states, so it’s definitely nationwide.

      Yeah, the Leaf seems to be best bet. It will be interesting to see other varieties of the Leaf, or more competition from other companies.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It seems the 110K electric cars could require new batteries when something goes wrong, or is it the batteries are likely to be damaged/fail causing something to go wrong?

    I don’t see any resale potential for these cars without a warranty and I’d like to see that warranty under a glass for definition of customer obligations and manufacturer liability.

  • avatar
    aaabballo

    I really wish electric cars didn’t use batteries. They are just heavy and inconvenient (slow charge). Something on the lines of a turbine engine powering a generator, which charges a capacitor, sounds like a better idea.

    In fact, if the turbine gets hot enough, and can be cooled with water, and the created steam could power a steam turbine, which powered another generator. (If not hot enough, a stirling engine would work.)

    • 0 avatar

      What you describe would be a hydrocarbon hybrid.

      electric cars are a technology whose time hasn’t yet come (and may or may never).

      • 0 avatar
        aaabballo

        Ah. Well nevertheless, a concept like my idea would use minimal fuel with almost any fuel.

        -Fuel is going to be used even with batteries (power plants)–unless solar or wind power.
        -A combustion engine is fairly inefficient at converting potential energy into kinetic energy, as most of the energy is lost to heat.
        -Batteries are heavy and inconvenient. So, something different is ideal.

        I think is fair to say that electric cars by not make it, but the electric motor has potential.

  • avatar
    Lynchenstein

    For all the shortcomings, I’d buy one if I could afford it. Hell, if I could afford it, I’d buy one and toss in the new v8 from the Mustang. Screw the green cred, this beauty needs to go as well as it looks. Maybe ditching the huge battery will lose it 1000 pounds as well!

  • avatar

    This thing looks terrible. I used to think the Panamera was ugly, but, I’ve found something that bests it.

    Why the hell would you put 22′s on this thing instead of less weighty, rolling resistance 20′s like on the typical SRT8 – to save weight? 22′s are dead. No one buys them anymore for cars. And a grayscale Nav Computer? I nearly threw up on my computer when I saw that.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Fisker (Musk) seem to have been counting on a boutique EV market sprouting up. Thus far no joy. Bill Devin did better work.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    5,300 pounds curb weight? The nissan leaf is less than 4,000 pounds and can go 100 miles on electricity.
    The Volt is also less than 4,000 pounds, although I could be wrong. I’m sure the Volt is less heavy than the Karma though.


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