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Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma Hybrid Car is Full of Flaws

By - Source: BusinessWeek | B 20 comments

It is not a secret that, while the Fisker Karma may do well as a chromified Bieber mobile, it is not a perfect car.

Plenty of reviewers have complained about the build quality and there have been reports of sudden fires, but the published reviews have been rather forgiving noting the unique shape and standout design of the vehicle. Consumer Reports, however, is less forgiving.

In a comparison with Porsche's Panamera sedan, the publication said the Karma "is full of flaws".  Consumer Reports complained about a tight cabin, problematic visibility, confusing dashboard controls, an unrefined roar as well as substantial weight that impacts the car's agility.

Consumer Report's conclusion: "Although we found its ride, handling and braking performance sound and it has first-class interior materials, the Karma’s problems outweighed the good," said ,” Jake Fisher, the magazine’s director of vehicle testing. The magazine's test vehicle was purchased and carried a sticker of $107,850.

Fisker reportedly has sold more than 1,900 Karmas so far.

 

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  • 1 Hide
    rangas , September 27, 2012 6:02 AM
    i would like one of those anyday anyways, sign me up!
  • 3 Hide
    bluekoala , September 27, 2012 6:15 AM
    Better than the bus I ride
  • 5 Hide
    thecolorblue , September 27, 2012 8:56 AM
    clicked on the photo, amusing (and appropriate) title
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , September 27, 2012 11:48 AM
    Sounds like bad karma...
  • 1 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , September 27, 2012 12:42 PM
    It's a sports car. Limited visibility and a tight compartment comes with the territory. Confusing dashboard? - Welcome to the computer age! And it's electric... What kind of roar are you expecting?

    Geez call the fashion police!

    Yuppies...
  • -1 Hide
    nforce4max , September 27, 2012 12:55 PM
    If it is not durable and able to take some abuse then I won't do people like me any good. I live out in the country but in town the roads are worse. They finally started filling the in the pot holes that were once as big as kitchen sinks!
  • 0 Hide
    Wisecracker , September 27, 2012 1:27 PM

    I like Consumer Reports, but they might want to stick with the refrigerators on this one - LOL

    And, not that I would recommend this type of behavior (heh-heh), but the Fisker Karma would eat up something like the Blue Ridge Parkway.



  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , September 27, 2012 1:45 PM
    3 recalls:
    http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2012/fisker/karma/recalls/
    Recall ID # 91911 - ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:COOLING SYSTEM:FAN
    Recall Date:
    AUG 22, 2012
    Model Affected:
    2012 Fisker Karma
    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:1377
    Recall ID # 93184 - ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: BATTERY: PROPULSION SYSTEM
    Recall Date:
    DEC 27, 2011
    Model Affected:
    2012 Fisker Karma
    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
    Recall ID # 93251 - ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: BATTERY: PROPULSION SYSTEM
    Recall Date:
    MAY 30, 2012
    Model Affected:
    2012 Fisker Karma
    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
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , September 27, 2012 1:55 PM
    Note: the above car pictured is specifically Justin Bieber.
  • 1 Hide
    hrhuffnpuff , September 27, 2012 2:59 PM
    Hate to see that car here in Montana where it can at least get to 40 below Fahrenheit. Well, at least I like to see it on fire with Beiber in the trunk. And for a 100k, a used 2011 ZR1 'Vette is way more fun to drive!
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , September 27, 2012 3:42 PM
    Consumer Reports???

    Stopped paying attention to their high nosed bs years ago when dozens of other credible outlets started publishing reviews, roundups, and reports for free.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , September 27, 2012 4:19 PM
    The problem with their "professional opinion" is that it is fall on facets that are a matter of personal preference. They say it's too heavy, but you can say the same about most Mercedes/BMW/any American car. It's too tight or low visibility? That's every Ferrari or every sports car really. Confusing controls? Take five minutes to read the manual, otherwise it's something you probably never will use anyway. And the whole "roar" comment was nonsense, because everyone knows that an electric car is not gonna make noise like a V8. This is a disappointingly bad review from Consumer Reports.
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , September 27, 2012 4:46 PM
    tin-foil-car
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , September 27, 2012 5:45 PM
    They are rather pretty. I've seen a handful of them around my town (not a single one on fire!).
  • -1 Hide
    dark_lord69 , September 27, 2012 6:49 PM
    I don't have money like these rich people but if I was on the market for an awesome looking car I'd get a black 2013 Ford Fusion. The new 2013 design makes it look like an Aston Martin DB9 in the front and a Jaguar in the back. Google it...
    Best of all, it's affordable.
  • 1 Hide
    lamorpa , September 27, 2012 6:58 PM
    dark_lord69I don't have money like these rich people but if I was on the market for an awesome looking car I'd get a black 2013 Ford Fusion. The new 2013 design makes it look like an Aston Martin DB9 in the front and a Jaguar in the back. Google it...Best of all, it's affordable.

    Are there any job openings over there at the Ford marketing department where you work?
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 27, 2012 9:19 PM
    soo... this is the iphone 4 of cars? first make it pretty, then make it work as best you can, then sell it for 4x more than it costs to build?
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , September 27, 2012 10:49 PM
    52MPGe and only 20MPG if you don't plug in, because it is a series hybrid. Yes I know the Fisker Karma weighs 5300 pounds but the Model S weighs ~4700 pounds with the largest battery pack and still gets 89MPGe EPA. So why does the Fisker get such horrible electric MPGe? No regenerative braking?
    To put it another way, buy a Prius and the car will use the same or less energy than a Fisker, even if you always plug-in the Fisker.

    I hope for success with the Volt, Tesla, Aptera, Coda, Tango.
  • 0 Hide
    UVB076 , September 28, 2012 12:41 AM
    DRosencraftThe problem with their "professional opinion" is that it is fall on facets that are a matter of personal preference. They say it's too heavy, but you can say the same about most Mercedes/BMW/any American car. It's too tight or low visibility? That's every Ferrari or every sports car really. Confusing controls? Take five minutes to read the manual, otherwise it's something you probably never will use anyway. And the whole "roar" comment was nonsense, because everyone knows that an electric car is not gonna make noise like a V8. This is a disappointingly bad review from Consumer Reports.

    Actually Ferraris were (originally) supposed to have amazing visibility. Take a look at the Testarossa, that has an overabundance of visibility.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2012 4:50 PM
    If I had that kind of money the last thing i would do is go out and buy a bieber mobile and a dud car at that.