Given a choice of SUVs and a budget to match, wouldn’t an offering from one of the world’s great sports car manufacturers be a logical choice? The Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is a superbly engineered vehicle with all the advantages of a Porsche and none of the disadvantages of an SUV.
It has a shared motor in the corporate umbrella, the excellent supercharged V-6 (see Audi S4) producing 333hp and coupled to a 47hp electric motor and powertrain for a total rating of 380hp and 428ft lbs of torque coupled to an 8 speed automatic transmission. Keep in mind this is combined with a 550lb weight loss from a redesign with lightweight materials versus the first generation.
The hybrid system is flawless. The most noticeable aspect is when the tachometer drops to zero when the engine shuts off and it is in pure electric mode. It feels like it is gliding at that point. The resuming start-up of the engine is transparent unlike others that stutter and shake.
Acceleration is more than adequate and feels quick at highway speeds. The adjustable ride is nearly perfect over all surfaces. The e-power mode has it staying longer in battery-only running. Stop-n-go traffic or waiting for a parking space wastes gas so this is a useful feature.
The sport mode tightens up the suspension, engine and transmission characteristics. One cool aspect is with the 8-speed automatic, a numerical display always displays what gear is engaged, rather than just showing “D”.
Rated at 20mpg city and 24mpg highway, the real-world mileage in the owner’s suburban cycle is 25mpg and 27mpg on the highway loaded with a passenger, luggage and two sets of golf clubs. Here is a case of an underrated mileage rating. Owners will really enjoy getting 600 miles to a tank of gas.
The interior is stylishly designed with sculpted door handles and ventilation bezels. The massive sunroof is like a targa top with an automatic retractable sunshade. The redundant navigation and information summarized on the dashboard in front of the driver s especially appreciated.
Excellent cargo capacity is enhance further with fold-down rear seats a separate center section for cargo pass-through. Accessing the rear hatch, the automatic open/close function also is opening-height adjustable for variances in driver’s reach.
The seats are so comfortable with perforated leather, great support and of course, heated. They may be the best I’ve ever sat in, lacking only the cooling option.
Only two aspects are disliked by the owner. First, the desire to lower the steering wheel to accommodate a lower seating position. Second, the rear cargo cover fits and operates nicely but it is difficult to remove. Both a minor but leave it to Porsche to listen to their owners and make improvements.
Xenon adaptive lights adjust for inclines and declines. Also, a clever separate bulb integrated into the headlights is for side illumination. And the washers do a stellar job, including the on the front fenders. See the slideshow for a view.
The mirrors fold inward and have a modern design all their own. And something a lot of luxury and sports cars don’t have, is finished brake calipers. A nice touch.
A hybrid SUV that lives up to the hype with excellent mileage combined with good power is an appealing package. Add the pedigree and engineering expertise of one of the most accomplished sports car manufacturers on the globe and its arguably one of the finest multi-purpose vehicles on the road.