Porsche Cayenne SUV
Porsche Cayenne SUV
- Drives like a sports car
- Spacious boot
- Badge appeal, build quality
- High running costs
- Styling won’t appeal to all
- Rear visibility is poor
"It's a practical 4x4, but the Porsche Cayenne has the performance of a fast and fun sports car."
Porsche may be better known for building sports cars, but its bestselling model is actually the Porsche Cayenne SUV.
Yes it's big and yes it's heavy, but the Cayenne actually drives very well and is probably more fun on-road than any other SUV. Take it off road – not something many people choose to do with their shiny new Porsche – and you’ll be surprised by just how capable the Cayenne is thanks to its grippy four-wheel drive system, which means it is also an excellent tow car for caravans or trailers.
The Cayenne is the most practical car Porsche has ever built. Its cabin is spacious, has lots of cubbyholes, and a massive boot. It may be pricy, but the Porsche is also well equipped and comes with kit such as climate control, cruise control and part leather seats as standard.
Porsche offers the Cayenne with diesel, petrol and hybrid engines, but it is the diesel that makes most sense to UK buyers because it is both economical and quite quick. The Turbo S model is fastest of all, and will give many sports cars a run for their money, but it is also expensive to buy and costly to run.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Expensive to run, insure, and service but with good used values
The Porsche Cayenne gets equipment such as stop-start technology, which saves fuel by turning the engine off when the Cayenne is stationary, but despite this it is still a big SUV and thus all models are expensive to run.
Even the more frugal diesel Cayenne can only manage 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 189g/km, which mean road tax will be £265 every year. The hybrid model can only manage economy of 34.4mpg, but worst of all is the very rapid Turbo S, which gets economy of just 24.6mpg and emissions that translate into top-band road tax of £500 per year. Maintenance and servicing costs are also likely to be very high.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable ride and spacious interior
The Porsche Cayenne is a comfortable car to travel long distances in, but models specced with larger alloy wheels have a firmer ride, and the big wheels also transmit more road noise into the interior. If you’re after the ultimate in comfort then you can opt for air suspension, although this is an expensive option on the basic models. Despite its upright stance, the Cayenne doesn’t suffer from too much wind noise, and all engines are quiet at speed.
In a tribute to its sports car roots, the Cayenne's dashboard is quite driver focussed and also has the classy feel you would expect of a premium model. The Porsche Cayenne GTS trim level, which gets figure-hugging sports seats, may be an acquired taste, though, thanks to their brightly coloured seatbelts and GTS logos.
Practicality & boot space
The most practical Porsche ever with a decent boot and lots of space
The Porsche Cayenne has a decent 670-litre boot with the rear seats in place, which grows to 1,780 litres with them down, although the boot floor is not completely flat. The rear seats can also slide backwards and forwards for more or less legroom, or a bigger load capacity. Unlike rivals such as the BMW X5 and Range Rover Sport, the Porsche is not available with seven seats.
The interior has a good number of cubbyholes, and there's a large glovebox, storage areas underneath the front armrest, plus cupholders. Opt for a can of puncture-repair foam, rather than a spare wheel, and the Cayenne also gets a large concealed space for valuables underneath the boot floor.
Reliability & safety
As with all Porsches, the Cayenne feels built to last
The Porsche Cayenne didn’t feature in our 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but as a manufacturer Porsche finished 13th out of 32 companies. It was marked down by owners for poor reliability, as well as representing poor value for money. Nonetheless, the Cayenne feels well built and Porsche has a reputation for building durable cars.
As a more upmarket car, the Porsche Cayenne has never been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but it is based on the Volkswagen Touareg, which scored the full five stars when it was evaluated. All Cayennes get electronic stability control, traction control, as well as front, side and curtain airbags. Porsches are also renowned for having very powerful brakes, for quick stopping from high speed.
Engines, drive & performance
Incredibly fun to drive for a car of this size and weight
The overriding feature of the Porsche Cayenne is its fun driving experience, which comes as a surprise when you consider how big it is. The steering is accurate, while body roll is kept to a minimum. All Cayennes are quite quick, but the basic petrol can feel ponderous and also costs lots to run. The diesel is a much better bet – feeling just as quick and being much more economical on fuel. Go for the Diesel S model and its more powerful engine gets the Porsche from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds.
The top-of-the-range Turbo S model can get from 0-62mph in a super-quick 4.5 seconds and goes on to a 175mph top speed, but the fuel dial moves down nearly as quickly, and you’ll need an extremely deep wallet to run it.
Price, value for money & options
Premium price tag, but feels very luxurious
First things first, the Cayenne is both expensive to buy and run, but its sought-after Porsche badge means the SUV has strong residuals, particularly for the diesels. The top-of-the-range Turbo and Turbo S models will lose their value quickest.
The high price also means all Cayennes come with good levels of equipment, including electrically adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, useful front and rear parking sensors, and cruise control. However, stray onto the options list for something like sat-nav, for example, and you’ll find that they do not come cheap, and it is incredibly easy to add thousands to the cost of your Cayenne.
What the others say
Leather trim, beautifully engineered switchgear and atmospheric cabin lighting all add to the sense of occasion. Our test car was fitted with upgraded leather and additional brushed aluminium trim, and buyers get a huge range of customisation options. However, even without dipping into the extras list, the Cayenne is a step ahead of the Infiniti and VW when it comes to quality.
The Cayenne handles brilliantly, it’s impressively refined and performance is sensational. The cabin looks and feels very classy and there’s plenty of space for five.
It's 180kgs lighter than the previous model, emits 26% less CO2 and burns up to 23% less fuel while producing more power and stronger performance. Then there's the addition of the hybrid Cayenne that promises to deliver the perfect marriage of power and efficiency. There is, however, a 4% price increase but Porsche says the extra equipment on offer equates to a 1% rise.
Astonishing. The level of grip it finds and the body control it displays mean that it’s actually quite a violent experience flinging a Cayenne turbo down the road. Turn-in is sharper and more instant than it has any right to be and there simply isn’t any roll.