2012 Fisker Karma

Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

2012 fisker karma Reviews and News

2012 Fisker Karma Front End In Motion 3
German vehicles exude precision and solidity. Japanese automakers own technology and quality. Italy's finest radiate passion and emotion. If cars derive traits from the country -- not just the company -- that births them, what is an American car?
Henrik Fisker, the man behind America's youngest automaker, has an answer. Conjuring icons like the 1963 Buick Riviera and the 1961 Lincoln Continental, the Danish-born designer believes the calling card of a quintessentially American car is unmistakable, unforgettable road presence. His $103,000 Fisker Karma has it in spades, and yet the car is nothing like those hulking relics from another era. The sensuous curves, the imposing stance, and the suggestive proportions of the Karma are more expressive than anything built by Detroit's Big Three, past or present.
Just as revolutionary under the hood
Fisker's entree into automobile production isn't just a styling masterpiece. The Karma also boasts a forward-thinking powertrain, turning the wheels with electrons while still delivering the freedom of a gas tank. Similar to the Chevrolet Volt, the Karma offers a limited range--between 30 and 50 miles--using electricity stored in a large, lithium-ion battery that is charged by plugging the car into a wall. Once the battery is depleted, a four-cylinder engine fires up, spinning a generator to provide another 250 miles worth of electricity. The not-so-subtle difference between the Volt and the Karma is power output. While Chevrolet's plug-in makes just 149 hp at the front wheels, the Karma's two electric motors can send 403 hp and 959 lb-ft of torque to the ground through the rear wheels.
Despite those massive numbers, the Karma's potential to be a tire-smoking, stoplight-dragging four-door is dampened by its massive, 5400-pound weight. Fisker claims a 6.3-second sprint to 60 mph, but slurring away from a stop in the Karma doesn't feel quite that quick and that maximum performance is only available in sport mode, when both the battery and the gas engine are feeding power to the motors. In pure electric mode or when the battery charge is depleted, acceleration is even less lively. The Karma is by no means a slow car, but straight-line performance doesn't compare to that of eight- and twelve-cylinder rivals.
For a refined luxury car, though, the Karma's powertrain makes a lot of sense. Under electric power, the car silently slinks along Malibu streets and wafts gracefully in Los Angeles traffic. You won't miss the four-cylinder firing up, but Fisker engineers have made strides in muffling the engine since senior editor Jason Cammisa drove a preproduction Karma last year. That didn't stop a handful of auto journalists from kvetching throughout our drive. "It's not right that you can hear the gas engine in an electric car," one person postured. Our take: we'd rather hear the distant din of a four-cylinder engine than the rumble of a tow truck when electric range expires. Besides, the Karma's General Motors-sourced engine is quieter and more isolated than any other four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. Less forgivable are the shudders that emanate through the car during low-speed creeping. Whether you're lightly braking, gently accelerating, or completely off both pedals, the Karma refuses to inch forward smoothly. We suspect that's the result of asking the electric motors to move such a heavy car while rotating at such a low speed.
The shift paddles behind the steering wheel play a new role in a car with a single-speed transmission. Here they provide access to a bevy of driving modes, which proves to be far less intuitive that switching gears. The right paddle increases the amount of regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator. The left is only relevant when the battery is charged, switching between stealth (pure electric) and sport (full power) mode. On our drive, we aimed to milk the battery for the most electric range in stealth mode and called up maximum regenerative braking for downhills. However, we did simultaneously dip into the battery charge and the fuel tank with sport mode for a handful of flat-out acceleration runs. Over a 115-mile route with about 35 miles of electric driving, our Karma's onboard computer calculated an average of 35 mpg. That's fantastic for a car this large and heavy, but that number was also falling with every passing mile. The EPA rates the Karma at a woeful 20 mpg when the gas engine is running, a reminder that this car's raison d'etre is as much about indulgent luxury as it is about mindful environmentalism.

A new handling adage: complicate and add heaviness

While mashing the accelerator pedal isn't all that rewarding, the chassis more than makes up for it. The Karma lives up to the handling promises made by the beefy haunches pulled tight around the 22-inch wheels. The heavy battery pack actually improves body control by locating so much mass low to the ground and in between the wheels. As a result, the Fisker remains virtually flat in corners. The steering is superb -- arguably better than that of a new Porsche 911. That sentiment likely says more about the Porsche than the Fisker, but it's worth noting that the Southern California startup stuck with a more traditional hydraulic pump that allows for excellent feedback from the front tires while many automakers are switching to pure electric setups. Despite the low-profile tires and the non-adjustable suspension, the Karma also rides comfortably over California's pavement.

An animal-free -- and plastic-free -- interior

Our test car, a top-of-the-line EcoChic model, featured an animal-free interior, but it wasn't the lack of leather that caught us by surprise. Instead, we were impressed by the scarcity of plastic in the cabin. With a fabric-and-suede-lined dashboard, center console, and door panels, the Karma coddles its four passengers in the ultimate padded cell. As plush as it is, the design isn't nearly as convincing as the exterior; some of the color schemes and patterns don't look authentically high-end. Our tester's navy blue and gray cockpit was strangely nautical, and the out-of-place glass accents and gimmicky lighting detract from the car's luxury pretentions. The touch screen isn't as crisp or responsive as what you get in an Audi, and toward the end of our drive, the information screen stopped showing the energy-flow animation. That wasn't nearly as disturbing, however, as when the energy actually stopped flowing to the car's speedometer. While driving at 70 mph, our Karma's digital instrument cluster disappeared and every warning light on the dash illuminated. The car drove normally, the cluster quickly reset, and the incident didn't happen again, but none of that makes it any less disconcerting to see your electrically powered car rebooting systems in traffic.

Not what you expect from a startup

Despite our gripes about the interior, the Fisker Karma is an incredibly impressive car. The build quality, the styling, and the technology amount to something you'd expect from a huge, established automaker, not a five-year-old startup. Still, Fisker's place in the market isn't guaranteed. The company will need money, sales volume, and its second, more affordable car to be mentioned in the same breath as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. That's a tall order in today's economy, but the fact that the company has come this far this quickly should have the rest of the American auto industry paying attention.
2012 Fisker Karma
Base price: $103,000
Price as tested: $116,000
Powertrain
Type: Range-extended electric vehicle
Total output: 403 hp, 959 lb-ft
Range extender: 2.0L turbo I-4
Range: 50/250 miles (electric/gas)
Transmission: Single-speed
Drive: Rear-wheel
Chassis
Steering: Electro-hydraulically assisted
Suspension, front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Control arms, coil springs
Brakes: Vented discs, ABS
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar
Tire size F,R: 255/35WR-22, 285/35WR-22
Measurements
L x W x H: 196.7 x 78.1 x 52.4 in
Wheelbase: 124.4 in
Weight: 5400 lb
Weight distribution: 47/53%
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Under the hood of the Fisker Karma is a GM-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is in no way connected to the wheels. Bolted directly to a generator, the 260-hp engine's sole assignment is to create electricity. The motivation to move this 5400-pound sedan comes from two electric motors attached to the rear differential. With a total output of 402 hp and 981 lb-ft of torque, the Karma promises brisk acceleration -- it takes fewer than six seconds to reach 60 mph, according to the manufacturer. Of course, that's only in Sport mode, where both the batteries and the gas engine provide power to the electric motors. In EV-only mode, the Karma needs almost eight seconds to reach 60 mph. Its wheelbase is as lengthy as a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-class, but the Karma is about ten inches shorter, 4.4 inches wider, and 5.6 shocking inches lower, giving it absolutely stunning proportions. Its high style is also evident in the interior, which has a center-console touchscreen for most secondary controls. Astute observers will notice some GM-sourced switchgear, but this cabin is as fashionable as it gets. The Karma is scheduled to go on sale this fall, pending EPA and CARB certification. Early test drives demonstrated its remarkable handling -- and Fisker showed a wagon version, called the Surf, at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Should the Karma be successful, it'll be joined in the marketplace by a convertible and Fisker's next effort, a mid-size sedan that will be more affordable.
2012 Fisker Karma Rear Three Quarter
Aside from its notoriety of being bought by pop musician Justin Bieber, and the many well-documented issues with its quality, reliability and workmanship, the Fisker Karma was noted for its sleek, dramatic, low-slung styling penned by its eponymous designer Henrik Fisker, of Aston Martin and BMW fame. But star power couldn't save the star-crossed company from hard times, with poor reviews, inconsistent quality, and ultimately a cash shortfall bringing the startup automaker to the uncertain state it currently finds itself.
2012 Fisker Karma Rear
Fisker Automotive has fired nearly 75 percent of its employees in southern California, signaling financial trouble for the manufacturer of the plug-in hybrid Karma. The news broke earlier this morning when it was revealed that Fisker had fired its internal public relations department and turned publicity over to Los Angeles-based Sitrick And Company.
Fisker Karma Front Right Side View
It's pretty much impossible to overstate what Fisker has accomplished. The five-year-old start-up has broken into one of the world's toughest and most regulated industries with a product that is more beautiful and more advanced than what's being produced by companies that have been at it for 50, 75, and 100 years. Fisker has had plenty of help from established suppliers and automakers, but the Karma's parts add up to something completely original.

2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic

Fisker Atlantic Prototype Front Three Quarters1
It looks like Fisker Automotive may have some good karma after all. A new report says the electric car maker has been able to raise the $100 million needed to continue production of its Karma sedan and charge ahead with the development of the new Atlantic hatchback. Fisker has had a rough summer – it recalled its six-figure Karma luxury sedan twice and saw some of its funding issued from the U.S. Department of Energy cut off. However, things may be looking up for the fledgling carmaker, as Bloomberg has reported that it has secured an additional $100 million is private funding. The new round of funding must be a nice reprieve for Fisker, since just six weeks ago said that it needed $150 million to get its second car – the Atlantic – off the ground. Unlike the Finnish-built Karma, Fisker hopes to build the Atlantic in the U.S., potentially at the Delaware plant it purchased from General Motors during that company's bankruptcy proceedings. Fisker has now raised around $1.2 billion in capital, but has had faced a rocky road with the recent recalls and the departure of two CEOs in the past year. Unlike its direct competitor Tesla, Fisker is not currently looking on turning to a stock IPO to raise additional capital. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously slammed Fisker – both the company and its founder Henrik Fisker – for focusing too much on design and not enough on engineering. However, Musk's strategy may not be paying off either: that company recently revealed that it's going to miss its revenue targets due to a slow ramp-up of Model S production, and that its future fiscal estimates depend on the possibility of amending the terms of its Department of Energy loan. Source: Bloomberg
2012 Fisker Karma Front Three Quarter
Fisker's status as a car company might not be dwindling--it's building Karmas, selling them, and making money--but we hear that Fisker's next venture, the Atlantic EREV sedan, depends on an infusion of cash that hasn't yet materialized.

Change Vehicle

Research Now

Used 2012 Fisker Karma Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$102,000

Free Price Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.
Select this Vehicle

Compare The 2012 Fisker Karma

Click Circles to Compare

Your Selected Vehicle's Ranking

rank
3
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
20 MPG City | 21 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
rank
1
rank
2
rank
3
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
20 MPG City | 21 MPG Hwy
rank
30
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
$102,000
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
rank
3
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
403hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
rank
3
2012 Fisker Karma
2012 Fisker Karma
Eco Standard RWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
403hp

2012 Fisker Karma Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
20 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
21 MPG
Horsepower:
403 hp
Torque:
981 ft lb of torque @ 0rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt (optional)
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 50 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:20
Component
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:COOLING SYSTEM:FAN
Summary
Fisker Automotive (Fisker) is recalling certain model year 2012 Fisker Karma passenger cars manufactured from June 15, 2011, through July 9, 2012. A manufacturing defect in the low temperature cooling fan may result in a direct short.
Consequences
A direct short may ignite the fan housing, shroud and surrounding components, causing a vehicle fire.
Remedy
Fisker will notify owners, and dealers will remove the two potentially affected low temperature cooling fans and replace them with one improved low temperature cooling fan, free of charge. The safety recall began on August 24, 2012. Owners may contact Fisker consumer affairs at 1-855-575-7577, option 2, 6am - 7pm (pst) Monday through Friday.
Potential Units Affected
1,377
Notes
FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:20
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: BATTERY: PROPULSION SYSTEM
Summary
FISKER IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2012 FISKER KARMA PASSENGER CARS MANUFACTURED FROM SEPTEMBER 22, 2011, THROUGH JANUARY 20, 2012. WITHIN THE HIGH-VOLTAGE BATTERY, CERTAIN HOSE CLAMPS MAY HAVE BEEN POSITIONED INCORRECTLY DURING ASSEMBLY. IF POSITIONED INCORRECTLY, THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT COVER COULD INTERFERE WITH THE HOSE CLAMPS, POTENTIALLY CAUSING A COOLANT LEAK FROM THE COOLING HOSES. THIS RECALL IS AN EXPANSION OF SAFETY RECALL 11V-598.
Consequences
IF COOLANT ENTERS THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT, AN ELECTRICAL SHORT COULD OCCUR POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A FIRE.
Remedy
ALL KNOWN OWNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED AND INSTRUCTED NOT TO CHARGE OR DRIVE THE VEHICLE. OWNERS WILL BE ADVISED TO CONTACT AN AUTHORIZED FISKER DEALER WHO WILL ARRANGE TRANSPORTING THE VEHICLE DIRECTLY TO THEIR REPAIR FACILITY. THE REPAIR FACILITY WILL REPLACE THE HIGH-VOLTAGE BATTERY WITH A NEW PART, FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MAY 30, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FISKER CONSUMER AFFAIRS AT 1-855-575-7577, OPTION 2, 6AM - 7PM (PST) MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.
Potential Units Affected
19
Notes
FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:11
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: BATTERY: PROPULSION SYSTEM
Summary
FISKER IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2012 FISKER KARMA PASSENGER CARS MANUFACTURED FROM JULY 1, 2011, THROUGH NOVEMBER 3, 2011. WITHIN THE HIGH-VOLTAGE BATTERY, CERTAIN HOSE CLAMPS MAY HAVE BEEN POSITIONED INCORRECTLY DURING ASSEMBLY. IF POSITIONED INCORRECTLY, THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT COVER COULD INTERFERE WITH THE HOSE CLAMPS, POTENTIALLY CAUSING A COOLANT LEAK FROM THE COOLING HOSES.
Consequences
IF COOLANT ENTERS THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT, AN ELECTRICAL SHORT COULD OCCUR POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A FIRE.
Remedy
FISKER WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE HIGH-VOLTAGE BATTERY WITH A NEW PART AT NO COST TO THE OWNER. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON JANUARY 5, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FISKER CONSUMER AFFAIRS AT 1-855-575-7577, OPTION 2, 6AM - 7PM (PST) MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.
Potential Units Affected
239
Notes
FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
N/R
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R

Find Used Fisker Karmas For Sale

Search through millions of listings in the Automobile Magazine classifieds