Porsche Macan SUV review
“The Porsche Macan looks great, drives fantastically for an SUV and is even quite capable off-road”
- The best SUV to drive
- Spacious inside
- Hugely refined
- Pricey to buy
- High running costs
- Options are expensive
After the launch of the extremely successful Porsche Cayenne SUV way back in 2002, it’s a little surprising that Porsche waited 12 years before launching the smaller Macan. Thankfully, it delivers the same fusion of luxury and driver appeal in a smaller, less expensive package.
It was updated in 2018 and then again in 2021, to bring the latest 911 and Taycan styling touches to the Macan, plus infotainment upgrades inside. The Macan is only available with petrol engines after the diesel models were withdrawn in 2018, and an all-electric Macan is also on the horizon. The arrival of a Macan T model in 2022 makes a performance-focused version more attainable, but still costs well over £50,000.
Since its arrival in 2014, the Macan has proven a worthy adversary to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX, beating all three for driver involvement, and while it’s not quite as adept as the Range Rover Evoque off-road, the Macan will easily get most people where they need to go – and quickly.
The 2018 updates didn’t alter the Macan formula too much; the biggest change was Porsche's decision to drop the diesel model. Its place as the most economical variant in the range has now been assumed by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces 261bhp. It's closely related to that found under the bonnet of the Volkswagen Golf GTI. In 2021 the Macan's 3.6-litre Turbo engine was dropped from the range, with the GTS effectively replacing it. It’s fitted with a V6 turbocharged petrol engine that’s smaller in capacity, but delivers the same impressive performance.
Introduced in 2022, the Macan T is a newcomer with the 2.0-litre petrol, but a darkened theme for its exterior trim and new suspension settings for keen handling. The Macan S is fitted with a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. It produces 375bhp – enough for 0-62mph acceleration in 4.6 seconds; significantly faster than any Range Rover Evoque.
With 434bhp, the GTS boasts a 0-62mph acceleration time of 4.5 seconds, making the Macan not only fast for an SUV, but quicker than many sports cars. Even more importantly, the Macan has handling exciting enough to outshine many well-sorted sports saloons as well.
Despite being fairly squat for an SUV, the Macan hides a roomy interior with enough space for a driver and three adult passengers along with their luggage. It’s well screwed-together too, even if the dashboard styling is very conservative.
Along with its 10.9-inch touchscreen, the facelifted Macan is fitted with a new centre console with haptic touch surfaces replacing traditional buttons, and it shares the GT Sports steering wheel seen in the latest Porsche 911.
The Macan GTS was reintroduced to the range after the 2019 facelift. For several years it represented a happy middle ground in the Macan line-up, with lots of performance kit, a lower price and greater everyday comfort than the full-on Turbo, but for 2021 it moved to the top of the line-up with a price tag from £66,000 before options. The GTS features a 10mm lower ride height, and 21-inch alloy wheels and a different styling treatment, with black detailing adorning various parts of the bodywork, giving it a sporty yet distinctly subtle look.
Compact yet surprisingly accommodating, the Porsche Macan is a more usable daily driver than you might expect, with a broad offering of many steps between hot hatch and sports car humbling power. Be careful when choosing from the options list, though: it’s very long and expensive. Most drivers should be more than satisfied with the sublime handling of the standard Macan, but for the ultimate small SUV, look no further than the GTS.