The Chinese company that bought bankrupt Fisker, Wanxiang, made a crucial decision when it came to resurrecting the Karma: the basic exterior design would be left pretty much the same. I think this was a pretty smart idea, since the look of the car was never the problem: the crappy build quality, the cramped interior, and the willingness to catch fire were far more pressing issues. Now they’ve revealed the car, and, yes, it looks mostly the same.
The name of the car has changed, too. Instead of being known as the Fisker Karma, the Fisker part has been dropped, the model name has shifted to become the company name, and a new model name, Revero, has sneakily slid in.
So, what we’re looking at today is the Revero, and, like the Karma of yore, it’s a handsome, striking design. The basic design of the Karma was always athletic, feline, and imposing, like some sort of bionic sex-lion, and you can say the same about the Revero, because it seems to be pretty much unchanged.
I’ll admit, I was sort of expecting some minor updates to the grille/bumper areas and maybe the light units—the sorts of easy-to-swap parts you usually see in a car’s mid-cycle facelift—but there’s none of that here. So far, the only notable visual difference I can really see is that the grille mesh pattern has gone from a series of vertical slats to a honeycomb pattern.
Oh, and the badge, of course. Gone is the old Fisker pause-button-looking logo and in its place is a new logo that looks sort of like what you’d see in orbit around Neptune if the planet was eclipsing the sun. What’s interesting about the badge is that each one is hand-painted for each car, which is a novel and interesting touch to give each car a bit of hand-made individuality.
They’ve also changed out the dashboard displays, made smartphone connectivity better, and swapped suede for leather on the interior.
Under the skin, Wanxiang claims to have made a number of changes to the Kar– sorry, the Revero. The layout of wiring harness has been reworked, re-routing crucial lines and conduits. They don’t come out and say it, but my guess would be that these steps were taken to solve the Karma’s spontaneous combustion issues.
The roof-mounted solar panel has been improved as well, and Wanxiang now claims that it’s capable of recharging the whole car, though they don’t specify how long that would take, or if you’d need to be in a heliocentric orbit somewhere near Mercury to make it really practical.
The published specs look pretty much the same as before: 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, 125 mph top speed, 20 MPG when using the gas motor (still a turbo 2-liter GM Ecotec, it seems), 52 MPGe economy overall, and it’ll cost between $125,000 and $150,000. One possible difference is that they claim a 50 mile EV-only range, when the old Karma only made 32, according to the EPA.
Maybe this means new battery technology? If so, they’re not specifying, at least not yet.
It also seems like the gas engine’s exhaust exits in the same place, one of the parts of the original Karma I liked least.
The car is still striking, and (at least based on the Karma I drove) satisfying to drive. I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to compete with its biggest competitor, Tesla, though, which is also striking-looking, has as much or more EV eco-cachet, and vastly more room inside for people and cargo.
The Tesla is, of course, a pure electric vehicle, and the Revero, while always driven by electric motors, has a range-extending gasoline engine. If finding charging locations is an issue, the Revero has an advantage, of course.
I’ll be curious to see how these actually are in reality, since cold, cruel reality is what did the original Karma in. If they can build these worth a damn and keep them from bursting into things like flames, they could have a shot.
Because you can get surprisingly far on looks.