Instant Karma it definitely wasn’t. When the Danish designer Henrik Fisker brought his plug-in hybrid sports car to market five years ago he must have been paying for the sins of a past-life, because seemingly everything went wrong. The company went broke barely a year later, and its assets were sold off to China’s Wanxiang Group. But while Fisker Automotive may be gone, the Karma is coming back to life.
Here it gets confusing, what was known as the Karma hybrid-electric vehicle is now the Revero. The reborn automaker is now known as Karma. What matters is the fact that it’s an iconic design, as fresh and handsome as the day it first rolled out. Maybe even more so, as the now Chinese-owned, California-based carmaker has made a handful of welcome tweaks and refinements, most notably to the original car’s “moustache” grille and diamond air intakes. Oh, and that distinctive new Karma badge—each one hand-painted, the company brags, by an artist in Hawaii.
The cabin has also been updated, giving it both a more refined look as well as the sort of cutting-edge technology you’d expect of a vehicle like this. That includes a much-improved infotainment system with such niceties as Apple CarPlay. Absent, however, are active cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
What’s more likely to matter to potential buyers is what’s under the Revero’s hood. Karma has refined the original plug-in hybrid package pairing a General Motors–derived 2.0-liter inline four with an electric motor drawing power from a 21.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That’s slightly larger than the original version and boosts range to 50 miles in EV mode before the gasoline “range-extender” kicks in. There are now three distinct operating modes, including Sport, which uses both battery and gas power to deliver more satisfying, if not benchmark, performance. You’ll hit 60 in 5.4 seconds, a full second faster than the original version’s launch time. One downside: when operating in gas-only mode, the Karma Revero manages only 20 mpg city, 21 highway.
The $130,000 price tag is a bit daunting, all the more so compared with the original car’s $103,000 base MSRP. But the new model comes loaded, with even a solar roof that can generate several additional miles worth of current a day in places like sunny California. Just pick your exterior and interior colors. Ironically, the original Fisker Karma was imported from Finland, of all places.
Is it worth it? While it doesn’t offer the performance of the similarly priced Tesla Model S P100d, the Karma Revero is about as visually striking—and as rare—as anything on the road. For those who want something green, or at least green-ish, to add to their personal car fleet, it’s worth checking out.