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Just finished my test drive today - gosh the car is STUNNING! So beautiful in person!  While the car has come a long long way, it still does need to be polished around the edges.  Of the two EcoSport demo cars they had (one white, one black, both monotone black interiors), the black car broke down twice (computer glitch they think, but they actually had to physically unplug the battery to do a hard reboot!) and the white car had a faulty trunk sensor.  I also heard that one of the 6 demo vehicles they had flown in (shown in the photos on flickr) broke down during one of the employee test drivers!  As you read my quick responses to all the forum questions, you'll see what I mean.  I'll post some photos and video soon.

QUESTIONS
1.      Has the exhaust noise been corrected to an acceptable degree?
Yes and no. When I drove the car in Sport mode, the ICE was VERY loud in the cabin.  It sounded like someone turned on the AC full blast.  It was especially loud on acceleration.  The battery range was down to 12 miles or so.  Then I road in the car again.  Battery was at about 30 miles range charge and I could not hear the engine - it was not noticeable at all then.  The Fisker engineers on site said that the engine had to work harder when the battery was nearly drained, and that's why the engine noise was louder in the earlier test drive compared to my second drive.  Apparently though, the engine noise was reduced more than 50% compared to what the automag reviewers experienced back in February.


2.      Is the interior fit and finish up to luxury car standards?
Depends on your threshold.  Finishes are much improved from the concepts/pre-production cars.  But a few small things - the rattle in the rear passenger seat, the sun visor, the rear reading lights - do seem a little on the cheap side.  But make no mistake - most of the car is top notch.

3.      Are interior controls ergonomic?
I guess

4.      Does the car have Homelink?
Yes

5.      Is production trunk space sufficient?
I would say no - much smaller than the pre-production model and smaller than first concept car I saw in 2009.  You can fit maybe 1 medium/large golf bag, and that's it.

6.      Is the internal nav system state of the art?
Graphics didn't look all that impressive on the GPS - just average

7.      Does it understeer or oversteer around corners?
Cornering was flat - didn't really test the limits of the handling given the finite time and nature of the test drive

8.      Is the 0-60 time really what Fisker claims?
The acceleration is very linear, but you don't feel like you are really in an ultra fast car.  Its fast - feels as fast as a BMW 3 or Audi Q5 (benchmarks I've personally driven) - doesn't feel as fast as an Aston or the Panamera

9.      How does it perform going up steep hills?
Didn't test this

10.     Does the A/C crank out enough cold to work in a Texas summer?
AC worked well - was loud when fully cranked up

11.     How does the stereo system sound?
Stereo sounds solid and full.  Not Bang & Olufsen, but still solid.  Apparently its Fisker branded (although developed by a third party, Fisker wouldn't say who)

12.     Does the heater crank out enough heat to work in a Colorado winter?
Not tested

13.     How large is the gas tank? (I've never received an answer)
9.5 gallons

14.     When can we expect the home charging systems to be available?
Not sure

15.     What should we expect from the auto insurance industry? (Farmers continues to say they haven't a clue)
They didn't have any information on insurance yet

16.     I think they've publicly stated the gas tank is 9 or 9.5 gallons.
Yes

17.      Are the sun visor and lights still flimsy? If so, why!?!?
Yes - who knows

18.     How loud is the car internally when in Stealth and Sport Mode?
Stealth is pretty quiet.  You can faintly hear the tron sound from inside the car.  In Sport mode, results are mixed.  If battery is halfway or more charged, Sport mode is actually very nice.  If battery is low, the ICE is SUPER LOUD and distracting from the inside - sounds like an AC blowing at full thrust / lawnmower on steroids.

19.     How comfortable are the seats?
Front seats are fine and ergonomic - there are two programmable memory driver settings that are determined by which FOB is used.  Back seats have a great amount of legroom - more than I remember than the pre-production and concepts cars for sure.

20.     Does the car have that "new car" smell?
It sure does

21.     Is the LCD dash easy to read in sunlight?
Drove the car early afternoon and it was perfetly legible

22.     How responsive is the haptic display
Sometimes it lagged and you'd have to wait to switch from AC to Radio.  Other times it was snappy - hopefully this isn't an issue of underpowered hardware and just a software thing they can fix


23.      How does one sync or connect their iPod or iPhone with the car?
In the middle console, there's a compartment that you open and it was a Mic in jack and a USB connector

24.     How is driver forward and rear visibility?
Pretty good - you can easily see the end of the hood

25.      How does the solar roof and internal cooling work when the car is parked? (Remember it is meant to keep the cabin cool when the car is off/parked)
It is automatic and the AC and radio and reading lights are all powered by the solar roof (not the battery), or so the customer rep from Fisker told me

26.     Is there an alarm feature/option for the car?
Car comes with an alarm - horn sounds like a normal car horn

27.     iPhone app for the car?
Fisker said they're still examining this as an option, but right now all focus is on getting the car ready for customers

28.     Which side is the gas and which side is the electric plug inlet?
I forgot

29.      Does the cabin light fade when doors close like other premium cars or does it just discretely shut on/off?
The car I was in had the reading lights and visor lights disabled (either that or they malfunctioned) - Fisker engineer on site said that the lights do fade in/out 

30.     Does the sound system have speed-sensitive volume control (e.g. what Audis, Merc' have to compensate for louder ambient noise while driving at higher speeds)?
Currently it does not but Fisker is thinking of adding this

31.      Is the steering wheel cumbersome to hold/use? (Looks too thick and has tons of buttons!)
It's actually not nearly as clumsy as I initially thought.  

32.      Do the doors sound solid when being closed? Earlier models lacked the "solid" or sturdy sound often found in the Lexus or BMWs
Yes - sounds very solid.

33.     Is there a spare tire? How big
No spare tire - instead they have a tire kit underneath the trunk - A spare tire for 22' would not be practical

34.      On the sides of the car, which dimple is the exhaust and which is the speaker?
Exhaust is the lowest dimple.  The speaker is the one right above it.

35.      Does the car drive the same in Sport mode as it does in Stealth mode?
Stealth is very nice to use - and actually feels faster IMO

36.     Does the "Miles Left" indicator get reduced by the length of the test drive or does it go down faster than the actual miles driven?
Just like most new cars that predict range, it varies by terrain (lower when going uphill, higher range when going downhill etc)

37.     What does the transition from Stealth to Sport feel like?
The car doesn't jerk or anything physically noticeable.  The big difference was sound - you definitely could hear it chime in when the battery is low and you flip to Sport mode.  But like I said earlier, when I drove in the car a second time, the battery was more than half charged, so in Sport mode, you couldn't even hear a difference switching from Stealth to Sport.  Bizarre, but true.  When you test drive it, check this out and see if you can recreate the same circumstances.

38.     How easy is it to use the touch screen controls for radio, A/C, etc?
Touchscreen is fine.  The haptic feedback is much less forceful compared to concept/pre-production car.  You could almost hardly sense the haptic feedback.

39.     Does it come with a pair of Serengeti sunglasses?
Hah.  Didn't ask.

40.     Can the charging cycle be programmed to start and stop at certain times to take advantage of "car charging" rates that will be offered by various utilities?
Not sure

41.     Are there limitations in washing the car, e.g. can it go through an automatice Car Wash (Tire Width is usually the limitation here)
There ARE limitations.  Do NOT put the car through any automotice car wash that uses any abrasive rags or buffers.  The main concern they have is for the glass on the solar roof which, when scratch, may create a hot spot ultimately causing the glass to break.

42. Do the side mirrors fold when the car is locked?
No.

43. What's the legroom like in the back seat?
It was AWESOME - very spacious for two 6' guys

44. How well does the bluetooth audio work for phone calls?
Didn't test

45. When will a pdf version of the owner's manual be available on-line for those who have orders?
Apparently the owners manual is still being drafted/refined, that's why it hasn't yet been released to depositors or posted on the website

46. What tools, if any are included in the trunk kit?
A tire kit to fix flat tire

47. Do the tires have a lug-nut lock?
A what?

48. How often is service recommended for the ICE?
Periodically - didn't have any guidelines just yet

49. What is the recommended service interval for the car itself?
Car is bumper to bumper warranty for 50 months / 50K miles

50. Is touch-up paint available for tiny dings?
Didn't ask

51. Seeing as there are so few dealerships. If I breakdown somewhere are there other places that I can get serviced without voiding my 50 month/50,000 mile warranty? Obviously, nobody is going to know how to work on the electric part, but if the Ecotec engine has problems can i get it looked at by a GM dealership?
NO!!!! You call the Fisker1 hotline and they will tow the car to the nearest dealership.  If that is very far from the breakdown location, they tow the car to a nearby mechanic and send one of their "4 flying Fisker mechanics" to fix the car.

52. What is the availability of repair parts going to be in the beginning? If I get a "lemon" am I going to be waiting for 6 months to get a part, i.e. if one of my electric motors craps out?
Didn't ask

53. How much does the car weigh?
Just over 5,000lbs !!!!

54. What are those dots on the front bumper?
Proximity sensors and rear view camera

55. What does the "Fisker Sound" sound like? My understanding is that there will be a stealth-mode only 'tron-like' sound pumped from the front and/or rear external speakers. Can you hear this from within the car? Does the pitch change with direction, speed or accelleration? At what point does it cut off?
Tront sound - you can hear it faintly from inside the car.  It does increase frequency as you accelerate.  I believe it turns off at 30mph

56. I've variously heard reports of some sort of "burst mode" for accelleration which allows you to temporarily exceed the stated 125mph limit. Is this true? If so, how does it work and what are the penalties for using it? (I know, good luck testing this one on your initial test drive  )
Don't know

57. Is there a backup camera? If so, does it superimpose projections about where the car is heading, or where it will fit like several other luxury marques do?
There is a backup camera

58. What is shift from stealth to sport and vice versa like?  Can you do it while moving?
Its seamless with the only caveat being the sound of the ICE in some circumstances.  You can do it while moving or standing still

59. How are the various braking modes? Can you change while in motion or braking?
Yes - three modes, Stealth, Sport and Hill.  Hill mode was the highest in regenerative braking generation.

60.  Is there a CD player?
No

61. Where is the aux input?
In the central console between driver and passenger seat.  You have to open the center arm rest and there is an aux input jack and USB


Miscellaneous things:
- Behind the moustache grille is black styrofoam - unsure its purpose but it looked a little cheap.  Same kind of styrofoam you see in packaged electronics like your TV.
- Of the two demo cars, the white one's trunk sensor malfunctioned and kept telling the driver that the trunk was open when it was indeed closed.  In the black car, when I drove it, I had a "Park not allowed" error which did not allow the car to move.  We had to reboot the car 3 times and it finally worked.  It happened again to the third driver after me, and they had to unplug the battery and let the car sit for a bit before it worked again.
- The interior reading lights and visor lights didn't work - not sure why, but for some reason they were either disabled or not connected.
- Battery meter on the display incorrectly showed the total range (293 miles) not the battery range (i.e. the Battery range earlier said e.g. 30 miles and below it it said Total Range 293 miles.  Then halfway into the driving, it said 293 for both battery and total range)
- The turning signal sounds like a pre-recorded mp3 that is just looped - it doesn't sound polished and clean (and it also is very rapid, rather than some other cars' sounds like the Audi)
- Cup holders are REALLY small - noticeably smaller than the concept ones - I wonder what kind of cups/glasses can fit in them (smaller diameter, and shallower).  
- The PRNDL pyramid isn't black - its now transparent glass
- The display in the promo shots shows a black screen with colored text - this model had a white LCD with colored text
- The haptic display lagged a little when switching from air conditioning to radio
- Stereo was reasonably full and crisp
- AC and stereo are apparently powered by the solar roof not the battery according to the engineer 
- I was told that 1 of the 6 cars they received (you'll notice that six cars in the flickr page for Fisker) broke down during the employee test drive 
- The trunk is noticeably smaller than the concept and pre-production models - not as deep or tall
- Sitting in the rear seat, I could hear a rattle from the window - almost like there was a loose part of the window didn't fully reach the door seal 
- Paddles are a little hard to click - they seemed to stick a couple of times
 

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Thank you for the extensive review. After reading all your remarks the overall impression is not a positive one. Is that correct? Or are you still positive about the car?
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the awesome info. The breakdowns and the "VERY" loud ICE noise do concern me quite a bit. Being that my car doesn't go into production until mid-September I'm fairly confident they'll have fixed the common breakdown issues by then, but the ICE noise makes me very nervous. Just how bad was it, really? Is it the kind of noise that everyone nearby is going to stare at you wondering if your car is about to explode? Or is it just a nuisance since Stealth mode is so quiet?

-Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dutch said:
Thank you for the extensive review. After reading all your remarks the overall impression is not a positive one. Is that correct? Or are you still positive about the car?
I am still very positive on the car, but just hoping they address all of these issues in the next month. I suppose these things are to be expected from a startup - they dont have all the people or processes to QA the car to the same extent as say BMW or Audi so there are bound to be some rough edges initially. Most dealers get their demo cars in a month, so I will definitely plan on a thorough follow up drive.[hr]
brian said:
Wow! Thanks for all the awesome info. The breakdowns and the "VERY" loud ICE noise do concern me quite a bit. Being that my car doesn't go into production until mid-September I'm fairly confident they'll have fixed the common breakdown issues by then, but the ICE noise makes me very nervous. Just how bad was it, really? Is it the kind of noise that everyone nearby is going to stare at you wondering if your car is about to explode? Or is it just a nuisance since Stealth mode is so quiet?

-Brian

Well, it was erratic. On my first drive, inside the car, it sounds like the AC is on full blast and when you mash the accelerator it sounds like a rachety lawnmower. When I was outside the car, you could definitely hear the fan blowing hard. In my second drive (in the same car mind you), there was none of that.
 

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@SoCalGuy: Thank you for an extremely thorough and well-written review. I think that these 6 cars are the same ones that the press drove back in February and that have been making the car show circuit since then and modifications would have been limited to software upgrades rather than new components. I would hope that actual production cars would get both component upgrades and software revisions.

The most alarming comment for me was the software glitches (who knew Fisker was using Windows95 in their cars?). Now we know why they have been pushing back the delivery dates. They really need to address those before they deliver any production cars to anyone.

And 5000+ pounds? WTF? Are they using depleted Uranium for the chasis? My ex-military HMMWV weighs in less than that. You probably need the whole 400 HP just to parallel park.

Thanks again, this is very useful. We will try to add in any missing info and supplement with photos and video if possible as we get our chances at the wheel of the same cars.

-- Fab.
 

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28. Which side is the gas and which side is the electric plug inlet?
Electric plug inlet on the left, gas on the right (after looking at a lot of pictures with opened lids)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here are the video clips I took:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?nomobile=1&user=HomesOPalosVerdes
 

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Thank you for all of the information and the videos too.

Have you thought of any "I wish I had thought to ask" ideas? If you think of anything as you reflect on your test drive please post them here or in the Test Drive Planning thread and I'm sure someone will find out for you during their test drive.
 

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Dutch said:
28. Which side is the gas and which side is the electric plug inlet?
Electric plug inlet on the left, gas on the right (after looking at a lot of pictures with opened lids)
Just a guess, but I think the idea is that you are more likely to see you car is plugged in when you are getting in the car if the plug is on the driver's side. This would reduce the chance of driving off without unplugging the car first.

-- Fab.
 

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SoCalGuy,

I'm the one who started the test drive list back on another thread, so I really do want to thank you for a thorough review and setting the bar so high for the rest of us. Hopefully, others will do the same as their test drives occur. Also, thanks to all for contributing to the list.

As someone else mentioned in this thread, it looks like QA/QC on these cars was questionable, and that's very concerning. Actually, your report of problems (albeit minor problems) is surprising. After all of this time, it would seem that Fisker would be hypersensitive to the quality issue. Word of mouth will make or break the brand over the long term, and quality problems (even minor ones) leave a bad taste.

No doubt the car is beautiful, but it also has to exhibit the quality one expects in a $100K+ car.

I'll be VERY interested to hear other test drive reports.

SoFla[hr]
Fabulist said:
Dutch said:
28. Which side is the gas and which side is the electric plug inlet?
Electric plug inlet on the left, gas on the right (after looking at a lot of pictures with opened lids)
Just a guess, but I think the idea is that you are more likely to see you car is plugged in when you are getting in the car if the plug is on the driver's side. This would reduce the chance of driving off without unplugging the car first.

-- Fab.
Have to believe the internal circuity recognizes that the charging plug is inserted and will not allow the car to be moved until the plug is removed. If that's not the case, it's a major mistake on Fisker's part.
 

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Thanks for the extensive info.

On the rear seats, the car used for trade shows in April were not so spacious in the rear, main problem was you could not park your feet under the front seat as there was no room. Seats went pretty much to the floor, guess due to the electric motors than control the seat.
Do you know if this is still the case?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
jeroen said:
Thanks for the extensive info.

On the rear seats, the car used for trade shows in April were not so spacious in the rear, main problem was you could not park your feet under the front seat as there was no room. Seats went pretty much to the floor, guess due to the electric motors than control the seat.
Do you know if this is still the case?
I can't recall specifically but I do know that the back felt more spacious than I recall in any of the pre-production models the last 2 years.
 

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I guess the big question I want to know is this: at the end of the day, how do you rate the car? B+? A-? Did it meet your expectations?

-Brian
 

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brian said:
I guess the big question I want to know is this: at the end of the day, how do you rate the car? B+? A-? Did it meet your expectations?

-Brian
Or to put more bluntly, would you spend $100K+ of your hard-earned money to buy one?

-- Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Fabulist said:
brian said:
I guess the big question I want to know is this: at the end of the day, how do you rate the car? B+? A-? Did it meet your expectations?

-Brian
Or to put more bluntly, would you spend $100K+ of your hard-earned money to buy one?

-- Fab.
I would rate it a B or 7.5/10. I still have my doubts, more so now than before, but I'm still leaning tirades buying it. I'm deferring final decision to my next test drive with the demo cars in August.
 

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The small trunk space must be caused by the two electric motors sitting underneath (and the 22 inch wheels). I think Fisker has recognized that for some people, especially those for whom the Karma is their only car, this means a no-go. And that must be why the introduction of the Shooting Brake-version (being presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in September) has been moved forward at the expense of the Sunset.
 

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SoCalGuy said:
I would rate it a B or 7.5/10. I still have my doubts, more so now than before, but I'm still leaning tirades buying it. I'm deferring final decision to my next test drive with the demo cars in August.
Freudian slip? :dodgy: Or Apple Autocorrect?

-- Fab
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Fabulist said:
SoCalGuy said:
I would rate it a B or 7.5/10. I still have my doubts, more so now than before, but I'm still leaning tirades buying it. I'm deferring final decision to my next test drive with the demo cars in August.
Freudian slip? :dodgy: Or Apple Autocorrect?

-- Fab

Haha. The latter!
[hr]
Dutch said:
The small trunk space must be caused by the two electric motors sitting underneath (and the 22 inch wheels). I think Fisker has recognized that for some people, especially those for whom the Karma is their only car, this means a no-go. And that must be why the introduction of the Sporting Brake-version (being presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in September) has been moved forward at the expense of the Sunset.
I heard from a source that the September unveiling will be of a Karma platform that "the Europeans will love" - that made me think maybe it was a Karma with diesel range extender, but somehow I doubt that. By Sporting Brake, do you mean Shooting Brake (ie hatchback)?
 

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[quote= 


.
- Of the two demo cars, the white one's trunk sensor malfunctioned and kept telling the driver that the trunk was open when it was indeed closed.  In the black car, when I drove it, I had a "Park not allowed" error which did not allow the car to move.  We had to reboot the car 3 times and it finally worked.  It happened again to the third driver after me, and they had to unplug the battery and let the car sit for a bit before it worked again.[/quo

How difficult was it to unplug the battery for reboot? Could this be done under the hood or did they have to go under the car? I'm just wondering if this is something I could do if necessary or if it takes a Tech?
 

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BillyO said:
  . - Of the two demo cars said:
Well the first two reboots was a "soft" reboot - you turn off the car by pushing the start/stop button. If the car isn't turned on within 1-2 minutes, it automatically does a full shutdown and if you wait a couple of minutes, then press Start again, it boots up (takes a couple minutes). The third reboot the tech popped open the hood and physically disconnected the battery.
 
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