Used 2012 Fisker Karma
Pros & Cons
- Plug-in-hybrid fuel economy
- smooth and ample electric power
- sharp handling
- head-turning style
- earth-friendly cabin materials.
- Cramped two-person backseat
- tiny trunk
- poor visibility
- excessive glare on touchscreen
- firm ride
- some subpar cabin materials and construction.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The all-new 2012 Fisker Karma expands what a plug-in hybrid can be, as it promises not only fuel efficiency but also exclusivity, luxury and performance.
So how would you like a car with 402 horsepower, sexy styling and a price tag of around $100,000? Not interesting enough? OK, how about a 52-mpg equivalent estimate for combined driving from the EPA? That, in a nutshell, is the 2012 Fisker Karma.
Fisker is a new American company that's dedicated to building environmentally friendly luxury vehicles. The Karma, the company's first model, is a plug-in hybrid, meaning it can run for a certain number of miles (an EPA-estimated 32) on electric power before the lithium-ion battery pack runs out of juice and its gas engine/generator kicks in, extending the range by about 250 miles. The EPA figures that with the generator running, the Karma gets 20 mpg. So using the estimated electric range (32 miles) plus 1 gallon of gas (20 miles) equals the 52 "mpg-e."
As with the two other plug-in hybrids on sale this year, the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In, the Karma's range and fuel economy greatly depends on the way you drive. We managed to achieve that 32 miles of electric range in testing, but we were driving rather aggressively. We're guessing most people will get much better, and as such, most Americans could conceivably commute in this exotic car every day without using any gas at all. We'll have to wait for a longer test to see if that 20 mpg is also on the conservative side.
Pushing the calculator aside and evaluating the car itself, we admire the 2012 Fisker Karma. It stands out with its bold styling, innovative technology and fun-to-drive nature. There's quite simply nothing else like it on the market. The plug-in Prius and Volt are similar in powertrain concept, but are radically different in design and especially price. The upcoming all-electric Tesla Model S will probably attract some of the same shoppers, but its larger electric range and lack of a range-extending engine make it a decidedly different creature.
That said, you'd be an extreme early adopter if you bought a 2012 Fisker Karma. Not only is the technology brand-spanking-new, but so is the car company itself. The cabin in particular is less polished than those found in established luxury brands, and there's a blank slate in terms of reliability. As an alternative, we recommend the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is available in two fuel-efficient guises: the S400 Hybrid (19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined) and the S350 Bluetec diesel (21/31/25). There is also the Porsche Panamera Hybrid (22/30/25), which has a similar body shape and sporty driving dynamics. They may not be as green or special, but they're probably a more sensible purchase for now.
Fisker Karma models
The 2012 Fisker Karma is a large four-door luxury sedan that comes in three trim levels: EcoStandard, EcoSport and EcoChic.
Standard equipment on the EcoStandard includes 22-inch alloy wheels, Brembo high-performance brakes, xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors, a solar panel roof, heated mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, six-way power front seats (with power lumbar), heated front and rear seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, real wood cabin accents, a trip computer, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The EcoSport adds leather upholstery, a navigation system, a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system with 10 speakers. The EcoChic features all that as well as 100-percent-recycled faux-suede, other eco-friendly upholstery and wood trim reclaimed from California wildfires or the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid. As such, it features a pair of 150kW electric motors driving the rear wheels. Electricity is stored in a 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The Karma can be propelled solely under electric power for an estimated average of 32 miles, at which point the 260-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine takes over, extending range by about another 250 miles. (The engine is connected to a 175kW generator and never powers the Karma directly.) There is no transmission in the traditional sense.
The Karma can be driven in pure electric ("Stealth") mode or combination electric/gas mode ("Sport") in which both battery and generator work in concert, generating 403 hp and an astounding 981 pound-feet of torque for maximum performance.
In Stealth mode, Fisker estimates the Karma can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 95 mph. In Sport mode, the 0-60 sprint time drops to an estimated 6.3 seconds and top speed rises to 125 mph.
As stated previously, the Karma is rated at 52 mpg-e by the EPA, including a rather pedestrian 20 mpg combined when the gasoline engine is running. Charge times for the battery pack range from 14 hours (for a standard 110-volt outlet) down to 6 hours (with the optional 240-volt charging station).
Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Fisker Karma includes stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, dual knee airbags and side curtain airbags.
Those who prefer a sporty drive should be pleased with the 2012 Fisker Karma, as its performance-tuned suspension, wide track, wide tires and relatively low height endow it with an athletic personality. The steering is quick and direct, and overall the Karma corners pretty well given its size. Its enormous 22-inch wheels aid handling as well, but they do contribute to a firm ride.
Acceleration in Stealth mode is typical of electric propulsion; the car will jump off the line if you so choose, as peak torque is immediately available. Switch to Sport and the car is certainly quick, though the gas engine can get raucous under full throttle due chiefly to an exhaust that exits out of the front fenders, rather than behind the car. The regenerative brakes are strong and linear.
Below 25 mph, the otherwise quiet Karma emits an artificial futuristic buzz to warn pedestrians. It's kind of cool and certainly gets people's attention. Above 25 mph, the car quiets down, but road noise coming from the wide tires keeps the cabin from remaining completely silent. When the engine starts up, there's a noticeable amount of vibration at peak demand.
Emphasizing its environmental cachet, the Fisker Karma features a cabin decked out in recycled and renewable materials. The wood cabin accents are sourced from reclaimed lumber, seat foam is constructed of soy-based fiber and the EcoSport's leather upholstery is sourced from farms that adhere to a standard of humane animal treatment. The Karma EcoChic is "animal free," eschewing leather in favor of 100-percent-recycled (post-industry) faux-suede ("EcoSuede") and other fabrics. It's certainly environmentally friendly, but the Karma's cabin nevertheless lacks the same premium feel you'd get in a Mercedes or Porsche. Some of the plastic switchgear is a bit cheap, and it just can't match the craftsmanship those established brands have spent years and countless dollars perfecting.
From a functionality standpoint, a large touchscreen dominates the dash. Dubbed the Fisker Command Center, the interface provides intuitive controls for the audio, navigation, climate control and Bluetooth systems. As a result, dash clutter is minimized. Unfortunately, should you live in a place where the sun shines, there's a good chance you'll rarely be able to use this screen during the day -- it washes out and reflects worse than any touchscreen we've ever come across.
The Karma is strictly a four-passenger sedan, as a high central tunnel that houses the battery pack bisects the cabin. The extra-long (124.4-inch) wheelbase provides rear passengers with decent legroom, but it falls far short of every other $100,000 sedan. Rear headroom borders on terrible for even those of average height, with hiproom barely better than the similarly squished Aston Martin Rapide. Meanwhile, its low roof line, miniscule rear window, low-slung driving position, wide body and curvaceous front fenders make for limited visibility all around. We strongly suggest adding the optional rearview camera. Trunk space is tiny at just 7.1 cubic feet, and features gooseneck hinges that tend to crush whatever items you managed to fit inside.
|Overall||undefined / 5|
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Most helpful consumer reviews
Ferrari, Aston Martin looks for half the price.....at the same time averaging 112 miles per gallon over the last year. Talk about a sexy poster child for green vehicles. First couple months had some little software bugs with the touchscreen and check engine lights however nothing that impacted driving. Software patches have put that behind us and now just enjoy driving around a technological and artistic masterpiece.
Although other have commented that the rear seats are small. They will comfortably fit an 6'3" tall adult. I love that it has 50 miles to a charge, with 250 miles of gasoline backup, making it a great daily driver. I love how quiet it is in Stealth mode. This is a beautiful, eye catching vehicle. Do not buy if you don't want people coming up to you daily asking what it is and telling you how gorgeous it is! Trunk space is enough for a carry on and laptop+, or groceries, or a golf bag. This is not an suv. It is a luxury sedan.
Don't buy one, one day after purchasing the car it broke down, I got stranded in the desert for three days, it cost me thousands of dollars to transport the vehicle, and now I can't find anyone to fix it. To make along story short it was a terrible experience. I'm still looking for someone that nows how to fix it??????? Do you?
This is a great car. I have had several days with my new Karma, and I love it. I Have driven 300 miles and used only two gallons of gas! The design catches more eyes than I thought, as people are constantly pulling out their cell phones and taking pictures of it. Charging at night is simple. Plug it in and forget it. Interior is comparable to any of the many European luxury cars I have owned, only more plush. Drives like a big car, it does weigh 5300 lbs, but it handles much better than I thought it would.
Features & Specs
|Eco-Chic 4dr Sedan|
gas/electric hybrid DD
|MPG||N/A city / N/A hwy|
|1-speed direct drive|
|Eco-Sport 4dr Sedan|
gas/electric hybrid DD
|MPG||N/A city / N/A hwy|
|1-speed direct drive|
|Eco-Standard 4dr Sedan|
gas/electric hybrid DD
|MPG||N/A city / N/A hwy|
|1-speed direct drive|
Is the Fisker Karma a good car?
Is the Fisker Karma reliable?
Is the 2012 Fisker Karma a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2012 Fisker Karma?
The least-expensive 2012 Fisker Karma is the 2012 Fisker Karma Eco-Standard 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $102,000.
Other versions include:
- Eco-Chic 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD) which starts at $115,000
- Eco-Sport 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD) which starts at $110,000
- Eco-Standard 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD) which starts at $102,000
What are the different models of Fisker Karma?
More about the 2012 Fisker Karma
Used 2012 Fisker Karma Overview
The Used 2012 Fisker Karma is offered in the following submodels: Karma Sedan. Available styles include Eco-Sport 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD), Eco-Chic 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD), and Eco-Standard 4dr Sedan (gas/electric hybrid DD).
What do people think of the 2012 Fisker Karma?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2012 Fisker Karma and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2012 Karma 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2012 Karma.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2012 Fisker Karma and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2012 Karma featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Which 2012 Fisker Karmas are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Fisker Karma for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2012 Fisker Karma.
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Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2012 Fisker Karma?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
Check out Fisker lease specials