This I must say is an interesting car and I’m not so sure how I feel about it. I’m a fan of big cars, but this car is a bit too cozy for its size. I certainly appreciated all the luxurious touches and the build quality, yet it was some how lacking something for me.
It certainly is an interesting blend of technology. Its the only EV in its class with extended range capability. It does it differently than the much cheaper Volt in that the gas engine only runs a generator with no physical connection to the wheels. Why use a gasser instead of diesel remains a mystery to me given the diesels inherent advantages with fuel consumption.
Let’s dive into the whole efficiency discussion. All the stats you could want can be found on Fisker’s web site. The car is good for 33 miles an MPGe equivalent of 54. The gas engine extended range portion requires premium fuel and gets 20mpg city, 21 mpg highway according to the EPA. The EPA says the total range of the car is 230 miles which means you have to stop for gas on a Vegas run from L.A.
This large car is classed as a subcompact by the EPA due to its tightish passenger compartment. (The trunk is tiny too for a car this large…7 cubic feet). The cockpit though cozy doesn’t feel cramped. The rear seats however were not a place I’d want to spend much time. Even though the rear buckets were nicely contoured they are not very wide more appropriate for small adults and children than this large 6 footer.
Driving the Karma is a pleasant surprise. The car is heavy feeling yet has a nicely tuned sport suspension that allows the car to handle very well. The ride isn’t firm, but very compliant without being floaty. It certainly absorbed the potholes of L.A without thuds and cabin shudder which one expects from a luxury car at this price point.
Of course the instant on of the electric motors means all 950+fl lbs of torque are there to immediately hustle the car along. This is a very easy car to drive in electric mode, no learning curve like some others. The regenerative braking is nicely programmed so there is a little bit of coast involved, not the abrupt shift to rapid deceleration like you find in a Mini or BMW 3 series electrics.
What I really appreciate about the Karma is the amount of style that the designers put into the car. Whereas its immediate competition the Tesla Model S is very conservative this car adds all sorts of curvaceous lines that add to the impression of speed and luxury.
All pics by me, more of the 2012 L.A. Auto show can be found in my flickr set.