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. The 2018 updates brought the latest 911 and Panamera styling touches to the Macan, plus infotainment upgrades inside. The Macan is only available with petrol engines after the diesel models were withdrawn in the same year.
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 242bhp. It's closely related to that found under the bonnet of the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Macan Turbo also underwent significant changes in late 2019, getting a smaller V6 turbocharged petrol engine but delivering the same impressive performance.
Step up to the Macan S and the 2.0-litre engine makes way for a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. It produces 349bhp - enough for 0-62mph acceleration in 5.3 seconds respectively.
While the above models are already significantly faster than any Range Rover Evoque, the Macan doesn’t stop there, because the range-topping Turbo model has a 2.9-litre V6 with 434bhp as standard. It 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.
The Macan S gets plenty of kit, including racey Alcantara upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control and a powered hatchback. The Macan GTS was reintroduced to the range after the 2019 facelift. It represents 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. The GTS features a 15mm lower ride height, and 20-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.
The range-topping Macan Turbo gets LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels and new brake discs with a tungsten carbide coating to reduce wear and brake dust.
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 Turbo.