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CAR OF THE MONTH September 2012

2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

High-Performance Hybrid

A three-quarter rear view of a 2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

In short: A powerful and intelligent 4-door hybrid sports car.

Fisker Karma EcoSport Review

The Fisker Karma is less of a practical everyday car and more of a statement. You have to applaud Henrik Fisker's new age creation and his determination to bring to market a product that heralds a new-again era in car manufacturing. There is much talk about the environment and how to find ways to protect it. Henrik's brainchild encompasses a lot of technologies that aim to reduce the environmental footprint with recycled materials and solar panels on the roof. As General Goliath Motor struggles to get traction with the Chevrolet Volt, let's see what Henrik David Fisker's car has in store for you.

This unique hybrid sports car delivers high-performance fun with a low environmental impact. Boasting two rear-drive electric motors plus a generator engine that combine for a total of 662 horsepower, this four-door plug-in hybrid jets from 0-60 in just over six seconds — far faster than most fuel-sippers. Under the hood is a two-liter turbocharged Chevrolet engine that acts as a generator to replenish the lithium-ion battery with electric power. For a daily commute, you can go as far as 40 miles on an electric charge; you can recharge it at each point from a regular electrical outlet, eradicating the need for gasoline. With a full charge and full tank of gas, you can cover 300 miles. There are no gears to change and you get over 900 pound-feet of torque, so driving it is easy. You can choose the all-electric stealth mode or the sport mode with the shift of a paddle engaging the gas motor. Just look at these custom-made 22-inch Goodyear tires which help deliver a smooth ride. This is truly a worldly car, designed by a Dane in California with parts from Canada, an American engine, a transmission from Mexico and assembled in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

An interior view of the 2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine of the Fisker Karma is supplemented by two electric motors

Furthermore, while some green machines choose to go the bare bones route when it comes to interiors, Fisker realizes the importance of creature comforts, outfitting the Karma with cool features like a touchscreen infotainment system, voice-activated hands-free navigation and premium leather upholstery from 100 per cent sustainable sources. Already turning heads with its striking design and attracting celebrity clientele a la Justin Bieber and featured in TV shows such as Two And A Half Men, the Fisker Karma is a welcome alternative to the current class of gas-guzzlers that populate the luxury car segment.

We got one on loan from the manufacturer for a few days and loved the experience, but we did find the cabin somewhat cramped. Trunk space is rather limited for such a large car. In as much as most of the car is very progressive in design, it could be off-putting for some to find blinker controls sourced from a GM parts bin in a six figure car. And the artificial sounds generated to alert drivers of pedestrians and bikers drove us bonkers after a while.

The Fisker Karma is not a car for everyone but an outstanding stepping stone towards the future. Let's hope Mr. Fisker will have more luck than Mr. Tucker. Next comes the Fisker Atlantic.

Fisker Broken Down
After selling a couple thousand of the high-priced luxury plug-in hybrid electric Fisker Karmas, Founder Henrik Fisker left the company and production ceased as of March 2013 partially due to lack of customer interest and battery supply issues. The company is currently reorganizing and the possiblity of a buyout remains.

A three-quarter front view of a 2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

Related Content:
Top 10 Hybrids
Top 10 Exotic Cars
Fisker Karma EcoSport Photo Gallery
Watch a video of the Fisker Karma

Warranty/Service: Five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty; six-year/unlimited-mile corrosion perforation warranty; two-year/unlimited-mile parts and accessories warranty; 50-month/50,000-mile roadside assistance

QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $110,000 / As Tested: $111,000

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine-driven generator with two rear electric motors, rear-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 4-door sedan
Engine: two rear-drive electric motors; 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 402 hp (electric); 260 hp (gas motor)
Torque: 959 lb-ft (electric); 260 lb-ft (gas motor)
Transmission: 1-speed direct drive

Curb weight:
4,300 lbs
Wheelbase: 124.4 in
Length/Width/Height: 196.8/78.1/52.4 in
Turning circle: 40.4 ft

Brakes:
4-wheel disc brakes with electro-hydraulic boost; regenerative braking system; ABS with panic brake assist
Suspension: 4-wheel independent suspension

Traction: electronic stability control with traction control

Top Speed: 125 mph
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds

EPA Combined: 54 MPGe
Total Driving Range: 300 miles

Safety:
dual-stage front airbags; driver and front passenger knee airbags; seat-mounted side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags

Likes: progressive engineering; style; environmental consideration

Dislikes: teething issues; some parts selection and quality of assembly; limited interior space

 

Check out other Fisker models
See all of our Automobile Reviews

Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW080612 (Updated: 08/07/13 NW)

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