The Fastest Hybrid in the World?

Form vs. function: choose one. It’s an unfortunate choice car manufacturers have been forced to make, seemingly forever. When the functional goal is fuel-efficiency, the resulting form often lacks a certain pizzazz. When the desired functions are speed and driving performance, the form is often sleek, aggressive and even…sexy.

The idea of combining the sexy form with both the speed and fuel-efficient functions seems less likely than a hug between a Hatfield and McCoy. But what if you didn’t have to choose?

This fantasy may become reality with the stylish Fisker Karma.

“Style? In a hybrid?”  Yes, and it has it in spades: Arching curves, muscular haunches and a menacing visage, the Fisker Karma looks more like an Italian V12 super-sedan than an environmentally conscious fuel sipper.

Boasting a price tag over $100,000, the Fisker Karma may be the most expensive hybrid on the market. That’s six times as expensive as the economical, eco-friendly Honda Insight hybrid at $18,200.  But do all those zeroes add up to a car that’s six times better? Consider these four points of comparison:

Miles per gallon

Running on electric only, the EPA rates the Fisker Karma at 85 mpg, which is the miles per gallon equivalent of an electric vehicle’s energy cost against internal combustion cars. You should know, however, that when it does need to recharge the batteries with its engine, the Karma’s mileage drops to the low-to-middle 30’s, which is slightly less than the Honda Insight Hybrid. The Honda Insight holds steady at 41 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway.

Acceleration ability

Considering its primary motivation is from electric motors, the Fisker Karma is shockingly quick, no pun intended.

Performance, however, is another story. Considering its primary motivation is from electric motors, the Fisker Karma is shockingly quick, no pun intended. It can boogie from 0-60 in under 6 seconds, which is amazing for a hybrid. By comparison, the Honda Insight takes a leisurely 10 seconds, which still isn’t bad, unless you have an impatient Mustang behind you.


Of course, at 5,300 pounds, the Fisker Karma isn’t exactly an athletic handler in the corners, but it turns eventually. The battery pack alone weighs 600 pounds. The Honda Insight weighs three quarters of a ton less and is a lot easier to parallel park. Aluminum helps keep the Insight svelte – it makes up the car’s front break calipers, wheels, rear break drums and most of its suspension.

Star power

Perhaps the biggest seller on whether or not you choose the Karma over the Insight is who can be seen behind the wheel of these fuel-efficient vehicles. Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber can all be seen behind the wheel of the prestigious auto.  Richard Dreyfuss and Dave Matthews are two celebs who seem to admire the practicality of the Honda Insight as a daily driver.

Certainly these two eco-friendly vehicles could not be more different. From design to cost to heft, there are pros and cons to owning either vehicle. It’s up to you to choose. But with the Fisker, the choice is no longer purely between form and function. You can have both…but you’ve got to pay for it.

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