2012 Fisker Karma Electric Car First Drive Impressions: Video

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2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

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After what feels like forever, the 2012 Fisker Karma electric car is finally about to go on sale.

Last month, we showed you how to order a Fisker Karma. Now, we've been able to slide behind the wheel of a new 2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport to bring you some quick first-drive impressions of the car's performance, ride, interior, and controls.

Our ride came courtesy of the Fisker Silicon Valley dealership in Palo Alto, California, which believes it will deliver roughly 20 Karma extended-range electric sedans to eager (and wealthy) early-adopter buyers by December 31.

In Stealth Mode, the Karma performs like any other electric sedan. Running only on battery power, the torque is instant off the line with relatively little regenerative "engine braking" when you lift off the accelerator.

Pull the right paddle behind the steering wheel, and you can engage Hill Mode. This increases drivetrain braking for greater regen when lifting off the accelerator--making the driving feel somewhat closer to that of a Tesla Roadster, our favorite example of one-pedal electric driving.

While still operating in full electric mode, the Karma will kick on the 260-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine to generate extra electric power when needed. The transition between full electric mode and range extender mode was quite seamless, with little to no drivetrain noise.

To get anywhere close to the estimated 6.1-second 0-to-60-mph sprint, though, you'll need to engage Sport Mode by pulling the left paddle. This switches on the engine full-time, to provide additional electricity through its generator to the pair of electric traction motors on the rear axle.

Steering was nicely weighted with nice feedback. We were surprised by the firm, yet not harsh, ride quality provided by the massive 22-inch alloy wheels.

For our first driving impressions, watch the full video above.

Then, let us know in the Comments below what you think of the new 2012 Fisker Karma.


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Comments (4)
  1. When I test drove the Fisker Karma it was the Eco Chic trim level. I think ride and handling is nearly identical to a BMW 7-series. What I liked most aside from it's beautiful design, was the feel of the interior, I liked the high center console armrest and the ample leg room. The ride is excellent, the power is smooth and seamless with plenty of torque on-demand, though I wouldn't call it fast I think the Tesla Model S would easily out run the Karma and the Model S Sport would just kill it. But I don't think you should worry about 0-60 times in the Karma because it's all about sophisticated cruising, the Fisker is worthy of it's slogan, Pure driving passion. I love it, it is one of the best cars I've driven in a long time.

  2. The car looks fantastic both inside and out but hopefully the EPA numbers for both gas and electricity consumption don't cause too much frowning from those in the market for some serious "eco chic". Was the irritating noise problem caused by the ICE generator solved?

  3. Chris,

    We didn't feel the ICE produced much noise. It reminded us of the Volt, but with slightly less noise making it into the cabin.

    Thanks for the question.

  4. Customers are taking delivery of the Fisker Karma in Southern California for about a month and interested parties can schedule test drives. I had my test drive two saturdays ago.

    Awesome car. I posted a raw YouTube video when it was my wifes time to drive.

    I agree with CDspeed, about the speed, but if you want a coversation starter and a EREV you can take on long drives without needing charge, the Karma is a work of art.

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