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Did You Know the Karma Revero Uses the Chevy Cobalt SS Engine?

The Fisker Karma was reborn a couple of years ago as the Karma Revero. It’s pretty much the exact same car as it was when it was a Fisker, but it’s a new brand that’s under new ownership selling this lovely plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, which is now built here in the U.S.

But there’s a fact about the Karma Revero that I didn’t know until very recently. I always knew that the Karma was a PHEV, but I never gave any thought to what gas engine it uses as its “range extender.” Of course, I assumed it was outsourced, since I was pretty sure Karma doesn’t build its own engines. The answer surprised me, and it may surprise you: it’s the General Motors Ecotec LNF engine, the same turbocharged inline four that powered the Chevy Cobalt SS.

Now, the Chevy Cobalt SS was a fine little performance car in its day, but isn’t that an odd candidate to source an engine for a high-end luxury sport sedan? The Revero has a starting MSRP of $130,000, which, until now, I thought sounded about right for its high level of luxury. However, now I’m not so sure about the value of the Revero, considering it uses the same engine as a Saturn from a decade ago, as this engine also saw duty in the Saturn Sky Red Line.

You might think it’s some revised, higher-performance version of the GM engine, kind of like how Lotus retools Toyota engines, but nope. It has the exact same specs — 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque — as the GM cars it was in back in the day. Granted, the added electric powertrain boosts those stats to numbers more befitting of an expensive luxury hybrid — but it still would be nice to see the gas engine improved upon in some way. This engine in the Karma made a little more sense back when it was the Fisker Karma in 2012 — but 2012 was already seven years ago, and now the engine just seems outdated.

Karma knows this, and it has a new model on the way: the Revero GT. The Revero GT does away with the old GM engine and replaces it with the same turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gas engine that acts as a range extender for the BMW i8. This is an engine that makes performance numbers surprisingly similar to that of the aforementioned GM engine. The Revero GT claims a total 536 hp compared to the non-GT’s 403 hp, and the GT model also has an all-electric range of 80 miles versus the regular Revero’s range of 50 miles. The GT has a 0-to-60 time that’s almost a full second faster, and the two cars have an identical top speed of 125 mph.

All of this to say: If you’re in the market for a green luxury sport sedan with a 6-figure price tag, the Revero GT is only $5,000 more than the regular Revero and on paper, it appears to be well worth the slight price bump. It’s cheaper than a BMW i8, and it has a back seat! Normally, I’m not enough of a snob to be too good for a Chevy Cobalt engine, but if I were spending more than $100 grand on a car, I think I would be. Find a Karma Revero for sale

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  1. The engine powers an electric generator when the batteries run out, it doesn’t propel the car in conjunction with the “added electric powertrain.” This is a very weak take, but you get my click. 

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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