(Screenshot from our Jason Drives episode featuring the Karma back when it was a ‘Fisker’. Not much has changed, including the expression.)

The Fisker Karma went through hell and is now back again, this time spun off separate of its designer’s company as its own thing called Karma Automotive. It was bad before, and reports indicate it is, yeah, still bad.

Let’s put “bad” into context. The original Fisker Karma was an... interesting design from automotive legend Henrik Fisker, who wanted to start his own company making expensive luxury hybrid cars that kind of competed with Tesla. Unfortunately, his company lost a ton of cars to water damage along with a lot of the government’s money, and then it was sold off to a Chinese company who has brought it back from the dead for some reason.

Here’s an overview of what we found wrong with the original car:

The new car is called the Karma Revero, and the new company is named after the original car, Karma Automotive. The price of the Revero jumped to $130,000, about $30k over the original Fisker, with an updated hybrid setup paired to the same-old 260-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine from GM that essentially acts as a generator. It also added a dumb, expensive solar roof gimmick to the car that only realistically adds about 1.5 miles of range on a good day.

Advertisement

So the old Karma had problems, and the Revero isn’t any better, according to the latest review of the car by Hannah Elliott over at Bloomberg. Here are some notable quotes from her review, which you should definitely check out in full:

As for how the Revero feels to drive, well, have you ever crunched sand in your teeth? Accidentally skied over gravel? It feels like that. I sat in traffic with this thing and it might have looked like I was someone learning to drive stick; I actually thought the parking brake was still engaged when I first pushed the gas, it felt so heavy and stilted as I turned the wheel and tried to go.

I turned to the Karma minder/marketing lady in the back seat and asked, “How much does this car weigh?” Fifty-four hundred pounds was the reply, more than a 2017 Ford F-150 truck.

The oddly shaped inserts in the dashboard and doors, which look like Pyrex containers, had me literally thinking there must be some Scientology connection here.

The front grille looks like a bad mustache—like a longer, blunt male version of the pink ones on the front of a Lyft.

But this following quote, for me, is the true sign of all of the revised Karma’s problems:

Multiple times, to several Karma employees, I asked: “Who would you say are this car’s closest competitors?” I got everything from Tesla to not-Tesla; the Maserati Quattroporte; the Aston Martin Rapid; a “Lamborghini.” Barring the Quattroporte, those all outperform the Revero in every way, and the Quattroporte is $30,000 cheaper.

But I can see how this is a difficult question. Taylor said the Karma “is not set up to go to the airport and pick up a bunch of luggage,” but on the other hand, it’s “not meant to be a rocket ship” or even, amusingly, “to replace your Maserati.” What are we talking about again?

“This is not meant to be a testosterone car,” Taylor said. “If you want a zero-to-60-mph car, go get that one.”

So we’ve got undertones of Scientology, a ride quality reminiscent of eating sand, enough mass to act as a paperweight for a continent, and a company with no clue who its competition or customer is.

Advertisement

I very much like the idea of Karma Automotive (and Henrik Fisker’s other, new-new car brand he’s got running now), and the idea of new, unique and special proprietary cars running around. I just hope they can work out how to make them better to drive and more desirable to own. I wish them luck, but I’m not confident karma is on their side in deciding their fate and future.