Is The Fisker Ocean A Bad Car?

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - March 25, 2024
2024 Fisker Ocean

Fisker has been in the news a lot recently, as the automaker is currently looking at the end of its rope with reports indicating that the brand is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. The startup will be pausing production of its only vehicle on sale, the electric Ocean SUV, as it looks to realign its inventory levels amid major changes within the company. While it’s easy to form an opinion on Fisker and the Ocean SUV based on the company’s financial problems and numerous owner complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is the Ocean a bad vehicle?

Consumer Reports, which conducts some of the most extensive testing on vehicles of any automotive outlet, released its initial expert assessment on the 2023 Fisker Ocean recently. Unlike most outlets that have tested an Ocean, Consumer Reports purchased a 2023 Ultra model with a total cost (including the destination fee, MSRP, and major options) of $63,981. With the outlet conducting its testing on a model that it purchased, you know you’re going to get Consumer Reports’ unbiased view and the outlet didn’t hold back.

Poor Software

The first issue that Consumer Reports covers in its assessment of the 2023 Fisker Ocean is “incomplete software.” One of the outlet’s tenured automobile testers claimed that the Ocean “is the most incomplete car I’ve driven in my career, and that includes preproduction models.”

In the first two weeks that the outlet owned the vehicle, Consumer Reports found that the Ocean’s blind post monitoring and lane-keeping assist systems stopped working. Additionally, adaptive cruise control, which was listed as being included with the vehicle the organization ordered, was missing.

Consumer Reports noted that it was “inexcusable” for a vehicle with a price tag above $60,000 to not have a proximity key feature that allows owners to access the vehicle without having to press the keyfob. Additionally, the outlet noted numerous issues with the Ocean’s Bluetooth system. The Ocean would show a few different warning messages that stopped Bluetooth from connecting, while Bluetooth simply failed to recognize a phone at other times. Without Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or a traditional USB to connect one’s phone, the Ocean’s finicky Bluetooth system is all owners can rely on.

2024 Fisker Ocean Dashboard

Wonky Brakes

Consumer Reports found that the Ocean’s regenerative braking system was “poorly tuned and difficult to modulate,” which resulted in a nauseating ride. Annoyingly, the Ocean automatically engages its highest regen setting possible when the vehicle is turned on. Adjusting the Ocean’s regen setting requires a three-step process in the SUV’s infotainment system.

Another annoyance is the digital instrument cluster that pulsates blue when regenerative braking is active, red when the vehicle is accelerating, and flashes when the vehicle is coasting. Consumer Reports found the light show to be distracting when driving the Ocean.

While the Ocean doesn’t have a one-pedal driving feature like other EVs, the electric SUV is available with a “creep forward” setting that allows the vehicle to slowly creep forward when easing off the brake pedal. This feature can cause the Ocean to roll backward when on a hill, similar to a car with a manual transmission.

Consumer Reports also encountered a brake system malfunction light that disappeared after a day. The outlet reports that the Ocean occasionally felt like it “lost braking power if the driver hit a pothole or bump while coming to a stop.” Interestingly, this is the same issue that a few owners have complained about to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Nauseating and Jarring Ride Quality

On the road, the Ocean allowed large bumps to jostle passengers in the cabin, while the electric SUV also floated and wafted down the road. The result is a ride that’s both jarring and nauseating. Consumer Reports called the Ocean’s ride quality “the worst of both worlds.”

Gear Shifter Issues

During Consumer Reports’ time with the Ocean, the electric SUV displayed numerous gear shift error messages. The outlet reports that the warning would claim that the battery was too low to put the Ocean in gear, despite having a 50% charge. The shifter even put the vehicle into Park while the car was stopped in traffic on its own.

2024 Fisker Ocean Charging

Sketchy Power Delivery

While the Ocean that Consumer Reports purchased came with dual electric motors and all-wheel drive, the EV struggled to put its power down efficiently. The outlet claims that the EV accelerated lazily and only woke up when the driver depressed the throttle to roughly 75% of its full travel. At this point, the EV overwhelms the front tires, resulting in excessive wheel spin. The vehicle, to the outlet, felt like a turbocharged car from the ‘80s in the worst way possible.

Lackluster Interior Quality

The Fisker Ocean that Consumer Reports purchased suffered from numerous interior issues. The outlet found that the electric SUV suffered from a few rattles, comes with low-quality cloth upholstery that started to bunch up after a few days, and has an awkwardly placed door-close pull that can be hard to reach.

Good Luck Getting Support

Another major issue that Consumer Reports faced with their Fisker Ocean was delivery and support. When the Ocean was delivered, it “had a visible dent, a scratch, and no floor mats.” The individuals who dropped the vehicle off weren’t delivery specialists, but “two hired guns with a truck and a trailer.”

While most automakers would work quickly to fix the issues that the outlet found when their Ocean was delivered, the outlet had a lot of trouble getting a hold of Fisker. Fisker’s employees at its call center reportedly gave the outlet the incorrect information two times.

Clearly, Consumer Reports isn’t a huge fan of the Ocean. In its current state, the outlet claims that the electric SUV is like an undercooked pizza from a trendy, new restaurant. While shoppers may be looking to get the latest and greatest thing from an automaker, the issues Consumer Reports points out with the Ocean are a large reason why shoppers should steer clear from startups that sound too good to be true.

Pictured: 2024 Fisker Ocean

Source: Consumer Reports

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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