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Key Specs

of the 2011 Fisker Karma. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Styling
  • Relatively low price
  • Zero tailpipe emissions for 50 miles
  • Charges at 120 or 240 volts
  • Animal-free interior option
  • Solar-panel roof

The Bad

  • Snug seats
  • Navigation not standard
  • Limited availability
  • Unproven company, car

Notable Features of the 2011 Fisker Karma

  • Plug-in hybrid
  • Four doors
  • Seats four
  • 50-mile range on electric power
  • 250-mile range on gas power
  • Zero to 60 mph as quick as 5.9 seconds

2011 Fisker Karma Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview

The 2011 Fisker Karma is at once an exotic sports car, a four-door and a plug-in hybrid. The brainchild of Henrik Fisker, a veteran of Aston Martin and BMW, the Karma was developed by Fisker Automotive in Irvine, Calif., and is assembled in Finland.

The Karma has an electric range of roughly 50 miles on a full charge, and an onboard gas engine and generator can then activate, allowing it to drive an extra 250 miles.

As of its launch, the Karma will come in three versions: EcoStandard, EcoSport and EcoChic. EcoSport and EcoChic are essentially option packages that can be added to the base EcoStandard.


Exterior
The imposing Karma would look at home among exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini, yet it seats four adults and has four doors. At 196.7 inches long, the Karma is about an inch longer than the Porsche Panamera and an inch shorter than the Aston Martin Rapide — both four-door sedans. The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a foot longer.

The Karma looks conventional riding on 22-inch wheels, but some features aren't as they seem. What appear to be tailpipes in the rear are actually speakers that can broadcast synthesized engine sounds. The true exhaust pipe is in the front, low on the fender, where the gas engine and generator are located. The roof incorporates a standard curved solar panel to capture the sun's rays. Its size prevents it from contributing substantially to the car's electric-drive range, but it helps maintain a charge in norm...

Vehicle Overview

The 2011 Fisker Karma is at once an exotic sports car, a four-door and a plug-in hybrid. The brainchild of Henrik Fisker, a veteran of Aston Martin and BMW, the Karma was developed by Fisker Automotive in Irvine, Calif., and is assembled in Finland.

The Karma has an electric range of roughly 50 miles on a full charge, and an onboard gas engine and generator can then activate, allowing it to drive an extra 250 miles.

As of its launch, the Karma will come in three versions: EcoStandard, EcoSport and EcoChic. EcoSport and EcoChic are essentially option packages that can be added to the base EcoStandard.


Exterior
The imposing Karma would look at home among exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini, yet it seats four adults and has four doors. At 196.7 inches long, the Karma is about an inch longer than the Porsche Panamera and an inch shorter than the Aston Martin Rapide — both four-door sedans. The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a foot longer.

The Karma looks conventional riding on 22-inch wheels, but some features aren't as they seem. What appear to be tailpipes in the rear are actually speakers that can broadcast synthesized engine sounds. The true exhaust pipe is in the front, low on the fender, where the gas engine and generator are located. The roof incorporates a standard curved solar panel to capture the sun's rays. Its size prevents it from contributing substantially to the car's electric-drive range, but it helps maintain a charge in normal conditions.

To save weight, the Karma is skinned in aluminum and composite.

Interior
The Karma's layout resembles the market's only other extended-range plug-in, the Chevrolet Volt. Similarly, the battery pack runs through the center of the cabin, creating a console that separates the seats. All controls look familiar, including drivetrain-control buttons labeled P, R, N and D. The centrally located 10.2-inch touch-screen, called the Fisker Command Center, incorporates audio, navigation, climate and other controls, similar to competing luxury and ultraluxury cars. Unlike others, it has a haptic-feedback feature that provides physical confirmation when you push an on-screen button. A backup camera and navigation system are optional.

The circular gauges in front of the driver are high-resolution LCD screens that display a variety of information in graphical form, from a conventional analog-style speedometer to range and battery charge level.

In keeping with Fisker's environmental focus, the Karma's luxury interior uses materials that should appeal to the sustainability crowd. Wood trim comes from timber reclaimed from California forest fires and the bottom of Michigan lakes, according to Fisker.

Leatherette is standard. The EcoSport option package introduces genuine leather, which Fisker says comes from a sustainable plant powered by byproducts of the manufacturing process. The EcoChic option package provides an animal-free interior with fabric and simulated suede.

Under the Hood
The Karma's drivetrain, which Fisker calls Q-Drive, uses a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that powers two electric drive motors rated at 150 kW apiece. The generator is driven by a 260-horsepower, turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from GM.

While the Karma can travel roughly 50 miles on battery power, with a zero-to-60 mph time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 95 mph, it can run  quicker with a higher top speed when the engine and generator are engaged, too. Switching from Stealth Mode to Sport Mode shaves 2 seconds from the zero-to-60 sprint and raises the top speed to 125 mph. The motors send a maximum of 403 horsepower and 981 pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels when powered by the battery pack and engine-powered generator together.

Fisker says the Karma can be charged with 120- or 240-volt outlets, and a fully depleted battery pack can be topped off in as little as six hours with the highest voltage and amperage.

Safety
The Karma has eight airbags, including two frontal and two knee airbags. Front occupants also get seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and there are side curtain airbags that cover the side windows, front and rear. Also standard are antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Latch child-seat anchors are provided in all three passenger seats.


Latest 2011 Karma Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(3.8)
Reliability
(3.8)
Value For The Money
(3.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Most reliable car I have ever used

by Mr. Way from IL on September 9, 2017

This car met all my expectations. I definitely recommend getting this nice car. The price is reasonable. Read full review

(5.0)

Way Cool

by 20 year Aston Martin Owner from Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2012

I had my first opportunity to drive this vehicle in LA, during a demo tour the company was conducting in the 4th quarter of 2011. The ride comfort, the fit & finish, the ergonomics, the acceleration - ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2011 Fisker Karma currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2011 Fisker Karma has not been tested.

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Fisker Karma

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Karma received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker