Home » The Fisker Ocean Is Way Better Than You Think It Is

The Fisker Ocean Is Way Better Than You Think It Is

Fiskerocean Firstlook Top (1)
ADVERTISEMENT

You’ve probably read all sorts of negative reviews about the Fisker Ocean — the electric, Land Rover Evoque-ish-looking SUV by Henrik Fisker’s startup “Fisker Inc.” In December, Road & Track wrote that the “2024 Fisker Ocean EV Is Not Ready,” and more recently, YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee called the vehicle “the Worst Car [he’s] Ever Reviewed” But I just drove a production-spec model purchased by a private party, and you know what? It’s actually pretty good! Not perfect, of course, but really novel and cool and fun to drive. And I say that as someone who’s driven some of the best EVs out there.

When I watched the Fisker Ocean leave the delivery truck just outside of Galpin Ford, it was hard to keep an open mind. As beautiful as the blue, loaded-to-the-hilt vehicle looked as it backed down the ramp, I couldn’t get the headlines out of my head. You see, Fisker has been dragged through the mud for a while now, especially lately.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

[Full Disclosure: Son of a bitch! Part of me wishes I had found the Fisker Ocean to be a steaming pile. Not only would this article have clicked for days, but you’d actually have believed me. Now I have to somehow convince you that this vehicle, which has clearly had some issues as many outlets have pointed out, and which was built by a company that Autopian cofounder Beau has a financial interest in, is actually good. But it is! It’s not a bottle fly, which is to say that it is nowhere near a steaming pile! -DT].

The latest headlines (including our own) are dire, with Fisker getting a noncompliance warning from the New York Stock Exchange due to the fledgling automaker’s stock trading at under $1 for 30 consecutive trading days. Plus there’s talk of layoffs and delays of future models:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 7.06.06 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

Add to that all the syndication of that singular Marques Brownlee review, and it paints a rough picture of the brand.

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 7.05.09 Am

And just today, CNN wrote one of the scariest headlines about the company: “EV maker Fisker says it may go out of business.

So things are a bit rough at Fisker, which is why I wasn’t expecting much as the Ocean rolled into the Galpin Ford parking lot.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Autopian (@theautopian)

ADVERTISEMENT

But then I got up close, and I have to say: The Fisker Ocean feels special. And I know that’s a vague thing to say, but car buying is often an emotional decision, and that feeling that a vehicle has a little something different — a spark — is often what it takes to win someone over. The Fisker has that.

The Fisker Ocean Feels Special, In Part Due To Styling And Fun Features

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.07.09 Am

Look at those wacky three-spoke wheels, and those turqouis calipers, and those ridiculously thin taillights, and those turn signals up on the D-pillar, and those pop-out door handles. Check out the aero features around the rear glass to get the airflow to “taper” as it separates from the car’s tail.

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.23.20 Am

Up front, the Ocean has a bit of a gaping mouth, but I’m into it. I like the floating Fisker badge on the hood, and I really like the way the front end lights up at night:

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.23.43 Am

Inside, the Ocean feels and looks cool. The understated split-suede (Alcantara) seats are cushy, the glass “SolarSky” power roof is odd but fun, the huge screen is high-res (but a bit slow), the tilted-up dual wireless charging pads are nifty, and most of the materials feel like they’re good quality.

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.45.18 Am

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.47.25 Am

(Quick Note: As much as I liked Beau’s black interior, I’d have preferred this available white one):

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 12.12.34 Pm Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 12.12.49 Pm

Plus, there are fun features that you don’t find elsewhere in the industry, like this tray that juts out of the dash just ahead of the passenger. You can see it just to the right of the big screen here, which is displaying a legitimately cool 360-view of the car:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.48.51 Am

And there’s even a tray for the driver:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 10.50.08 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

Not to mention, that huge screen spins from vertical to horizontal, the rear seats have power recliners, and I could go on and on about the fun interior features, but it’s best to just show you this clip:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by David Tracy (@davidntracy)

I Enjoyed Driving The Ocean

I drove the Ocean about 100 miles in both stop-and-go and highway conditions, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Sure, sometimes I’d get some kind of collision warning fault (I’m still not entirely sure what that was), and I did wish I had a physical button to change radio stations, but I liked the the HVAC controls at the base of the screen, I liked the screen resolution itself, and more importantly I just liked the way the car drove.

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.16.39 Am

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.20.46 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

The Ocean has three drive modes. There’s Earth:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.22.19 Am

There’s Fun:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.22.31 Am

And there’s Hyper:

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.22.05 Am

Scrolling through those three drive modes is simple and intuitive; you just hit the inboard-most button on the right side of the steering wheel, and you’ll see the mode pop up in the elegant little screen that one can see perfectly between the left and right spokes of the steering wheel while driving straight. Here I am in “Fun” mode:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.13.46 Am

You don’t have to be in “Fun” to have fun, because all three modes let you blast the Ocean out of the hole with vigor. Obviously, Hyper mode really increases pedal sensitivity, but no matter what, the car will tear your face off if you rest the rightmost pedal against the floorboard. The “One” model that I was driving had the 468 horsepower dual-motor setup (564 when in “boost”) that promises zero to 60mph in about four seconds and a range of 360 miles (thanks to a 113 kWh battery).

I don’t think I ever used boost, and I was still thrilled by the car’s acceleration. I found the ride and overall NVH performance on the highway to be decent, the handing was not something I really tested too much given that this is a crossover but it was fine, the compact size made the vehicle a joy to navigate through tight LA streets, and overall I was just delighted by the car’s overall vibe.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Ocean Isn’t Perfect

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.46.52 Am

The car wasn’t perfect, for sure. I noticed a bit of a gap in the trim at the car’s beltline, and noted how easy it was to open that gap up (see above)

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.48.10 AmScreen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.47.46 Am

I also have to mention the sun visors, which may be the worst in the entire auto industry. They fold in half, and then lean forward, which is counter to what most folks are used to. That I don’t mind; what I do mind is the tiny mirror with a fabric flap that drops down and sits flat, and even worse is the fact that the mirror doesn’t telescope when it’s detached from the headliner trim. I had the sun beaming off the side of my head as I drove north on the 405; that’s such a silly problem to have in a $70,000+ machine. (Note: I drove the highest “One” trim. Some Oceans can be had for about $40,000-ish, though with less range and front-wheel drive. -DT].

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.48.39 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

The Ocean also has a bit of a storage problem, too. There’s no frunk, there’s no glovebox [Update: Actually, there are two under the front seats, though they’re small and hard to see into. -DT], and the center console has two issues: 1. There’s a tray constantly taking up space inside. And 2. It’s been trimmed in order to give the rear center passenger more legroom, resulting in a very shallow bin:

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.49.04 AmScreen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.49.14 Am

To be sure, there’s good storage at the back of the car, but as a front passenger, where do I put all my stuff? I have the pockets in the doors, a tiny bit of space in the center console, and that’s it.

Screen Shot 2024 03 02 At 9.31.26 Am

There is that storage space under the wireless chargers, so this isn’t that big of an issue. I’d just like a little more closable, easily-accessible storage, as I find it always helps to really clean up a cabin.

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.48.52 Am

I also had issues with the key fob, which should be the easiest thing to get to work given that the technology is from the 1980s, but alas, the car sometimes struggled to lock and unlock. [Ed Note: I’m told you have to wait a few seconds after clicking “unlock” for the car to “wake up,” after which you can click the unlock button. Or you can use the fob as NFC over the door handle and it’ll open right up. -DT]. 

I Like The Fisker Ocean

Screen Shot 2024 03 01 At 11.57.15 Am

I only spent a few hours behind the wheel of the Ocean, and there were a few issues related to the advanced driver-assist features, the screen was a little slow, there were some fit and finish issues, the fob needs work, I wish the car had more storage, and the visors are pathetic.

But many of these are teething issues, and plenty can likely be fixed over-the-air. What’s most important is that Fisker not only seems to have the fundamentals down, but the brand has built a car that stands out — it feels special, and that’s a difficult thing to pull off. Would I drive an Ocean everyday? Absolutely. It’s comfortable, it feels cutting-edge, it’s beautifully designed, and it’s just the right size. (And I’m not the only one who thinks that. InsideEVs’ story “Fisker Ocean Owners Love The Cars. Just Not The Bugs” talks about how much owners like the car. Reddit threads like this one make clear that there are plenty of fans. And my friend Kristen Lee from Motor Trend seems to agree with many of my above thoughts). Obviously, I can’t really make a full assessment until I’ve driven the car for a long while and experienced all the bugs folks are seeing, but based on what I experienced, the car makes me excited for what Fisker plans to build next, though based on current news, it’s possible they’re not going to get that chance.

ADVERTISEMENT

After having driven the Ocean, I can say with sincerity: That would be a shame.

 

Relatedbar

Fisker Dropped A $29,900 EV Crossover, A Pickup, And A Four-Door Convertible Yesterday And I’ll Be Damned If They Don’t Look Pretty Good

The Fisker Alaska Could Be A Budget $45,500 Rivian With Ideal Cowboy Hat Storage

You Know That Fisker Ocean Electric Crossover That Nobody In Their Right Mind Thought Of As An Off-Roader? Well, Fisker Went Berserk And Announced The Ocean ‘Force E’

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
88 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Keith Brittain
Keith Brittain
28 days ago

The video is basically unwatchable to me. I am getting ~30second ads for every 10 seconds of video. I have The Autopian white-listed in the ad-blockers I have running to be supportive, but this seems terrible.

Xpumpx
Xpumpx
1 month ago

whats under the hood look like if there is no frunk?

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago

Great article! The only thing I like about Fisker are the names: Ocean is great and Alaska is awesome…great names

Top Dead Center
Top Dead Center
1 month ago

I do want these guys to succeed but their financial situation is pretty dire… In their earnings call there was commentary from Fisker about not being a going concern…

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 month ago

My issue is that as an SUV, this is supposed to be a people hauler. And as you said, storage is an issue. That cannot be fixed easily until they do a redesign. This should have been an easy thing for them, but somehow they were too focused on the other parts of the car and forgot the second part of this simple description (“move people….and their things”) of an SUV.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

Those exposed iron seat rails, the rear passengers can hurt their feet on, looks like something out of the cheapest 2005 Toyota.

The Karma was hideous like some kind of strange Zagato designed Maserati prototype, but at least it didn’t look like anything else. This looks like any other car, just with some silly features added to it. So no thanks (if I could afford one)

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
1 month ago

People need to stop giving Henrik money… he had some good car designs in the early 2000s, but that’s it. He failed with the Karma, and thought “Me big boy, me start another car company… again”. He really is like a modern day John Delorean, but with less technical expertise.

I did actually want Henrik and the new Fisker to succeed…then…I saw the (extreme) nepotism on the C-suite.

The Ocean isn’t revolutionary in any way, which is fine if it came from a company that already has an established dealer/service/customer network. But who wants to roll the dice on this car? It’s kinda the same situation as VinFast…

I can’t believe it, but fucking INEOS is more likely to succeed vs. Fisker for being a new OEM. I’m seeing INEOS Grendierierierss (dumb fucking name) on the road here…

I have seen ZERO Fiskers…

BentleyBoy
BentleyBoy
1 month ago

A lot of nice touches but I feel some of the features could be better served long term by good old manual type solutions (looking at you screen motor, rear seat recline motor etc. (full disclosure I own an early Tesla model S with those wonderful door handles). Lack of upfront easily accessible storage would give me pause as well as the sun visor design. I hope they make it and get a chance to improve/refine their products.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

That c-pillar is just a steaming pile of bad stylistic decisions. Why? Because someones kid thought it would be cool? That’s the sad truth about these ego driven start ups. Someones kid gets a say as long as the boss gets a lay.

Also, can we be done with the effin’ honeycomb plastic grills already?

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

I sat in a Fisker Ocean at the Toronto Auto Show recently and I thought it was quite nice and was interesting to sit in. But the real question remains whether they’ll survive and how well it will hold up over time.

I am hoping they do survive particularly since these are assembled by a Canadian company (Magna).

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Oh David, you are such an optimistic, king good hearted person I’m surprised you didn’t look at that beautiful blue Fisker and call it purple through the lenses of your rose colored glasses. I actually like what I see but:
1. Maybe a car delivered to a huge car dealership owner with stock might get the second over after the once over.
2. White interior is NEVER the answer.
3. When rating this highly does it come in above a postal jeep? Which you love, or a Jeep XJ, A Valiant UTE OR an I3?
Just saying your bar of excellence might be some people’s bar of time to trade in.
4 the little nice features seem to be add a $10 feature charge another $1,000 or in BOAT lingo Bust Out Another Thousand. Nothing seems exceptional or unique and taking a risk of $70,000 on a car marquee that might not be able to provide support isn’t many people’s idea of car buying. Beau does have a gambling side to him doesn’t he?
Fisker may have cried Wolf to often to succeed now that they have a really nice car.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

Maybe it’s better designed and assembled than a Vinfast and definitely more attractive inside than a Tesla bur it’s still nothing I want.
I have spent decades driving low and mid trim cars and fail to see the value of “luxury” and also fail to see the value of electric when I often drive where there are no chargers. Give me a plug in hybrid of my Mazda CX-5 and I will be happy.
Also I am disappointed I can no longer joke of Fisker cats and Pinarello bikes as “my Karma ran over my Dogma”.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

and fail to see the value of “luxury””

I would argue that if a product has a high level of ‘value’, then it’s not ‘luxury’. A luxury product is all about charging more to get exclusivity as well as delivering something way in excess of what is needed.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

The definition of “luxury” has shifted since the 60s or 70s. I consider a Rover P5 an excellent example of old school luxury, well made nicely trimmed and built to last. A Mercedes W123 is similar, somewhat spartan but built to last. Modern cars seem to define luxury as exotic upholstery and lots of gadgets. My in-laws’ Audi Q3 compared to my Mazda CX-5 is a good example. The Audi has nice upholstery, power seats, XM Radio and fuzzy appliques on the seat belt buckles to deaden sound. It also needed $3000 in work and 4 or 5 warranty repairs in the last 7 years. I don’t have fancy seats but I have only bought tires and a battery in 7 years. I know some people want a “prestige” brand or an expensive car to signal wealth but I see cars as tools bought to do the job.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

but I see cars as tools bought to do the job.”

Which is also to say that you’re not a luxury vehicle buyer.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

I’ll own that, I might buy a Porsche 911, but not a Cayenne because a 911 is a legendary drive and a Cayenne isn’t

88
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x