by Morgan Carter
When you first see a Karma Revero, you would be excused for thinking that it's a lot older than it actually is. The revived Karma hybrid sedan closely resembles the old Fisker Karma that saw only a single year of production. The Revero is certainly nostalgic in this regard, and proves that some classics are worth reviving. For better or worse, Karma Automotive didn't stray much from the original design. As such, the new Revero struggles to keep up with ultra-modern hybrid vehicles or all-electric rivals like the Tesla Model S. You'd think it difficult to complain about the Revero's powertrain, which develops a decent 403 horsepower and a truly impressive 981 lb-ft of torque. However, even this much power isn't enough to move the sedan with the kind of athleticism we have come to expect from electrically assisted sports cars. The Karma Revero is certainly easy on the eyes, though, and it will definitely find a place in the heart of more than a few car enthusiasts, assuming they can afford the hefty $130k price tag.
The Karma Revero may technically be an all-new car by Karma Automotive, but it is built upon the foundation of the now-defunct Fisker Karma. In many ways, it hasn't changed much from the discontinued model. Perhaps the most interesting change is the introduction of solar cells on the roof, which are meant to improve the sedan's electrical range by recharging the lithium-ion battery while on the move. In reality, however, this innovation doesn't do much to improve mileage. It is a good selling point for the company, though, as it has made great claims that the Revero is the first tri-power hybrid in the world.
Single Speed Automatic
Its good looks are one of the Karma Revero's top selling points. With far sleeker and athletic curves than you'd expect on an electric hybrid, the sedan cuts a fine figure on the road and strikes quite the pose parked at the curb. As standard, the Revero rides on 22-inch silver-tinted alloy wheels. Two additional 22-inch styles are offered, and you can even step down to 21-inch alloys. Aside from several wheel sizes, you can also choose to customize your brake calipers, if the standard black doesn't do it for you. Up front, the Revero has a broad hood with undulating curves to improve aerodynamics, while the equally broad lower bumper hosts the split mesh grille that looks almost like an English mustache. Slanting up the sides of the hood are a pair of automatic bi-xenon headlights, while LED taillights bring up the rear, sitting well above the dual integrated exhaust tips. Unlike many luxury sedans, there is no available panoramic sunroof, as the roof houses solar cells to help recharge the electric battery.
While not as large as some sedans with a price tag of over $100k, the Karma Revero matches up well against its hybrid rivals like the Tesla Model S, with an overall length of 196.8 inches and a pretty long 124.4-inch wheelbase. Including its mirrors, the Revero has a width of 84 inches, but since it is likely to be in a garage housing at least a dozen other high-end vehicles, this probably won't be a problem. Its sleek, sporty profile is enhanced by a height of just 52.4 inches. Despite all these reasonable measurements, though, the hybrid sedan weighs in at a hefty 5,400 pounds.
The Revero gets a very refined palette, which is a bit unusual for such a pricey car. Not unusual, though, is that all but two of the eight paints available require you to pony up some extra cash. Borrego Black and Pacific Fog come free of charge, but Balboa Blue, Mar Pacifico, and Moreno will cost you an extra $1,500. The remaining premium paints each cost $2,500 and comprise Anza Desert, Ocean Veil, and Corona Del Sol. You'll definitely want to use the configurator to check out how each color looks, as the names can be a little misleading.
The Karma Revero may not be a legitimate sports car, but it gets sport-like performance thanks to its torquey powertrain. The four-cylinder engine is nothing special, but throw the twin electric motors into the mix, and the hybrid sedan develops 403 hp and 981 lb-ft. With all that power under the hood, the Revero is capable of making the 0-60 mph sprint in as little as 5.4 seconds, according to Karma Automotive. However, the top speed is electronically limited to 125 mph, so you won't be able to see what the revived Karma is truly capable of.
Three driving modes are offered to meet multiple situational needs. Sport is the standard setting, drawing power from both the gas engine and the electric motors for optimal performance. Switch to Stealth, and the sedan relies purely on the electric motors and lithium battery, but this isn't sustainable as the battery has a maximum range of 37 miles, according to the EPA. This is despite the fact that the manufacturer claims a range of 50 miles. The aptly named Sustain mode using gasoline only, saving the electric power for when you may need it later.
The powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with twin electric motors. Sourced from GM, the combustion engine develops a modest 235 hp. But when the electric motors add their power, the combined outputs are a more impressive 403 hp and a truly intimidating 981 lb-ft. Despite the near-three-tone weight of the Revero, this powertrain still moves the sedan without breaking a sweat. Passing on the highway is almost a joke, as you pump the throttle, and all that torque pushes you past the Hoi Polloi on the road.
The Karma relies on a single-speed automatic transmission to regulate its power outputs, and only a rear-wheel drivetrain is offered. Despite only offering a single speed setting, the transmission is still smooth and refined, although acceleration is extremely linear.
The Revero handles quite well for a car of its size and weight. The almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution helps to make it feel a little lighter than it actually is, and certainly improves its ability to handle sharper turns. That said, this is still a two-and-a-half-ton sedan, so there is going to be some body roll. The suspension is well-tuned to manage this, though, so it won't detract too much from the driving experience.
The steering is also adjustable, so you can opt for lighter steering around town or add some weight if you want to feel what the wheels are doing. Getting the right weight setting will be imperative if you choose to coax out the Karma's imposing torque potential. Punch the throttle, and the sedan can lurch rather unexpectedly, requiring some quick adjustments from the steering. The limited-slip differential also helps to improve handling in this regard.
And should you need to bring the beastly sedan to a stop, you can rely on the potent Brembo brakes to get the job done. They also come with adjustable settings for battery regeneration. And, speaking of the hybrid components, when engaged in Stealth mode, the Revero is almost deadly silent, as is the wont of electric vehicles. However, thanks to some genius engineering by the manufacturer, this silence doesn't invite exterior noise to clutter up the cabin. Wind noise is completely inaudible, and even the large 22-inch tires make almost no sound on the road.
Overall, the new Karma Revero has a lot going for it as a fun, comfortable, and engaging sedan. But even this doesn't warrant the whopping price tag when equally capable BMWs and Mercs are out there.
The combination hybrid powertrain under the hood of the Karma gets relatively decent mileage, but for a vehicle that is making a run at being green, it's not quite impressive enough. The 21.4 kWh lithium-ion battery is able to carry the hefty sedan over 37 miles without any help from the combustion engine, while the combined mileage of the powertrain is 60 MPGe. The four-cylinder engine gets 20 mpg in the combined cycle, and up to 9.5 gallons of premium unleaded gasoline can be stored in the tank. With both the electric motors and combustion engine working in concert, the Revero has a total range of around 240 miles. This is unlikely to blow any minds, especially when the all-electric Tesla Model S boasts an extra 100-mile range.
Charged using a standard household outlet (Level 1), the Karma Revero reaches full capacity in ten hours. A Level 2 charger gets the job done in three hours and 45 minutes, while fast DC charging can get the battery up to 80% capacity in just 24 minutes. The roof of the Revero hosts a panel of solar cells that are able to assist in the recharge of the battery at a rate of 200 watts.
Inside is where the Revero really shows itself to be a contender with its ultra-modern, high-class rivals. The cabin is decadently stylish, with genuine leather adorning just about every inch. You're unlikely to ever feel a hard or rough surface, and flawless construction means that external noises are almost completely suppressed. The tech is pretty upscale, too, with a large, pristine touchscreen interface for the infotainment and an even larger multi-configuration driver-information display. The controls are laid out well, with plenty of space across the large center console for all the extra buttons. While the new Karma may be a blast from the past, it looks quite futuristic.
There is only space for four within the cabin of the Karma Revero, thanks to the long center console that eats up what would be the middle rear seat. However, those four passengers are seated in the lap of luxury. The sloping roof can create some headroom issues for particularly tall passengers, but there is enough legroom to easily accommodate most adults. Getting in and out can be a little tricky, too. Once again, the low roofline means taller passengers will have to stoop when climbing in, and the narrow back doors certainly don't help matters. On the plus side, the front seats offer ten directions of power-adjustability, so it's easy for those up front to find a comfortable position or make room for those in the back. Both rows of seats come heated as standard, too.
The cabin of Revero comes upholstered in leather, no matter your personal preferences. However, there are a few color options, and you can upgrade to perforated leather, too. As standard, the single-tone leather comes in a color called Palisades, which is basically just black. The other standard option is Crystal Cove two-tone leather. For $900, the two-tone leather is also available in Coronado or Salt Creek, while Canyon tri-tone leather is offered for $1,200. The most extension option is the Sport two-tone perforated leather, once again, offered in Palisades. This time, though, the red is added to the black, and the cost is increased to $1,900.
You'll struggle to fit anything more than the bare essentials in the trunk of the Revero. Behind the rear seats, only 6.9 cubic feet. This is embarrassingly small compared to the 15 cubic feet you'll find behind the Tesla S's rear seats. A few grocery bags can be snugly packed in the Karma, but you'll probably end up stowing your golf clubs on the back seat. Be careful not to scuff the leather!
There is a modicum of small-item storage, too. The center console extends from the front dashboard all the way to the back of the cabin. Two cupholders are positioned in the front of the console, with another two in the back. But, there is only a storage compartment in the front. There is also a standard glove compartment, but the door pockets are rather narrow.
For the hefty asking price, the Karma Revero doesn't offer all that many features. But what it does offer is of pretty high quality. There is a crisp 12.3-inch driver-information display that can be configured in a variety of ways. Standard conveniences include keyless entry and push-button start, as well as cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls. Dual-zone climate control moderated cabin temperature, but heated front and rear seats add an extra level of comfort. The safety suite comprises a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and parking assist.
The infotainment suite is quite impressive, with a high-powered processor making the 10.2-inch touchscreen extremely quick and responsive. From here, users can operate the Bluetooth functionality, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and the on-board Wi-Fi. There is also AM/FM and Digital Radio, with all audio channeled through the eight-speaker sound system. Three USB ports provide charging points around the cabin. Like the Tesla, the Revero is a well-connected car and comes with Certicom cryptography to ensure data security over the internet.
As a relatively niche vehicle, the Karma Revero hasn't sold in high-enough volume to get a dependability rating, nor has it received any complaints. This word-of-mouth reputation for reliability is backed up by the fact that the vehicle has never been recalled. Perhaps a bit worrying, though, is the lack of a proper warranty plan. The Revero only receives a 60-month limited warranty, with no powertrain or hybrid component coverage. At this price bracket, this is more than a little disappointing. The first three years of scheduled maintenance are covered by Karma Automotive, at least.
While Wanxiang made sure that its revival of the Karma would meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, as set by the NHTSA, it never submitted the Revero for proper crash testing. As such, there is no safety rating for the hybrid sedan.
The Karma Revero comes with a relatively limited safety suite, but it does get all the essentials, such as ABS, EBD, traction and stability control, and eight airbags, including dual front, front knee, front side, and side curtain airbags. In terms of advanced driver-assistance features, it gets a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, parking assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
Up against stiff competition like the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid and the renowned Tesla Model S, the Karma Revero needs to do a lot more than just revive a stylish classic to remain competitive. Despite getting a pretty capable powertrain, with 403 hp and 981 lb-ft on tap, the Revero simply can't keep up with its more refined rivals.
It has the looks, that's for sure. And the interior is just the right amount of sporty blended with luxury. However, it lacks quite a few modern amenities, such as a more extensive driver-assistance suite. It does get smartphone integration, though, as well as internet access. But the eight-speaker sound system is a bit disappointing in such an expensive sedan.
Speaking of disappointments, the truly diminutive trunk means that the Revero will never be even remotely practical. That may not be something buyers of electronically assisted performance vehicles may care about, but the Panamera more than doubles this, and the Tesla S embarrasses both rivals.
For what we're being asked to pay, we just don't think that Karma Automotive has put enough effort into its revival of the Fisker Karma. Hopefully, the Revero GT planned for 2020 will make up for some of the original Revero's missteps.
While it may be based on the old Fisker Karma, the Karma Revero feels that it has made enough improvements to ask for a significantly higher starting price - around $17k more than a brand-new Fisker back in the day. At a starting MSRP of $130,000, the Revero is even pricier than a base-model Porsche Taycan, although it looks cheap compared to the high-performance models. There isn't much in the way of customization options for the Karma Revero, so you can expect to pay close to the starting price. This figure doesn't account for the $1,400 destination charge, though, nor tax, registration, or licensing. The hybrid sedan may qualify for tax rebates in certain states.
Only a single model makes up the Karma Revero' range'. Under the hood of the hybrid sedan is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with twin electric motors to develop a combined 403 hp and 981 lb-ft. This power is regulated by a single-speed automatic transmission and directed to the rear wheels only.
The Revero rides on 22-inch alloy wheels and comes equipped with automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, and a solar panel roof. The cabin comes appointed with plush leather, with ten-way heated front seats, and heated rear seats, too. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry, and push-button start are standard, too. There is a 12.3-inch multi-configuration driver-information display, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen interface for the infotainment. AM/FM Radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are all supported, while an eight-speaker sound system channels the audio. A rearview camera, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, parking assist, and forward collision warning comprise the safety suite.
There are absolutely no packages available to the Karma Revero, but there are a few ways to customize the sedan to your own tastes. These are all aesthetic options, though. For $900, you can swap out the black brake calipers for blue, red, yellow, silver, or orange calipers. The standard 22-inch Dune Twist Silver wheels can also be downsized to 21-inch wheels at no extra cost. Conversely, they can be upgraded to 22-inch Multi-spoke Forged Silver Wheels for $3,200. If all you want is a color change, then the silver can be swapped out for black chrome, at a cost of $800. Beyond that, body paint and the cabin color scheme can be altered, as mentioned in above.
The Karma Revero is offered in a single model with no extra options available. The only recommendations we could make are about how you choose to style your Revero. In terms of body paint, Corona Del Sol is particularly eye-catching, although Balboa Blue stands out in a more subtle way. The available 22-inch Multi-spoke Forged Silver wheels pair nicely with either paint, and create an almost solid appearance when spinning at high speed. Brake calipers aren't usually easily noticeable, but you can match your Corona Del Sol with Red calipers or contrasting Silver ones to draw some attention to your Brembo brakes. As for the interior, sport red is once again appealing with the two-tone Palisaded perforated leather, but the Salt Creek theme has some appeal, too. Perhaps it may suit the more reserved aesthetic of the Balboa Blue palette.
The leading name in electric vehicles, Tesla has several models on offer, but the Model S is perhaps the closest to the Karma Revero in terms of power and size. It's quite a bit lighter, though, maxing out at 4,971 lbs. In its standard guise, the Tesla has access to an estimated 534 hp and 557 lb-ft, but the S Performance boosts this up to a crazy 778 hp and 841 lb-ft. Like the Karma, Tesla sedans come with a single-speed automatic transmission, but they get an all-wheel drivetrain. The standard Model S gets an impressive 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, while the Performance variant does the sprint in a ludicrous 2.3 seconds, leaving the Revero in the dust. The Tesla also has a better overall range (with 391 miles for the Long Range Plus and 348 for Performance models, according to the manufacturer) using nothing but electric power. Add to this a high-tech, if not quite as opulent, cabin with plenty of standard features and a much lower price tag starting at $79,990, and it's not surprising that we give the Tesla S an almost perfect score.
Similarly priced to the Revero, the Porsche Panamera doesn't have quite as much power under the hood, maxing out at 330 hp and 327 lb-ft with the standard twin-turbo V6. Still, the Porsche easily bests the Revero in the 0-60 mph sprint, crossing the line in just 4.4 seconds, despite hauling the same amount of weight. Acceleration also feels more dynamic thanks to the eight-speed automatic transmission, and the Panamera gets an all-wheel drivetrain as standard. The Porsche also gets more than double the trunk space of the Karma, and one could argue that the cabin is more opulently appointed, too. It gets more modern tech than the revived Revero, and comes with more standard safety features. The 2020 Porsche Taycan may be worth waiting for, but if you're impatient, the Panamera E-Hybrid is still a better choice than the Karma Revero.
Check out some informative Karma Revero Sedan video reviews below.