Porsche Cayenne 3.6 V6: Back to basics

When the Cayenne was first launched, nobody expected Porsche to come up with an SUV-class in its line-up. I mean, the Cayman’s and 911 Carrera’s were undoubtedly too sporty for us to phantom the potential introduction of a bulkier, heavier, and more family friendly brother called the Cayenne.

But surprisingly, it attracted more positive vibes over negative feelings. Now, the latest revision of the Cayenne proves to be even more comfortable and stylish.

It looks a little out of context, no?

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Admittedly, the Cayenne doesn’t appeal to most on first glance. It’s huge – something we wouldn’t associate most Porsches to be. The headlight assemblies stand out a tad awkwardly on such a massive built.

But these aside, the Cayenne actually was a hit here in the local market. It does appeal to family and home makers who need the extra space, comfort (and of course, luxury) to ferry kids and groceries around.

The latest Cayenne does away with the curves that were originally boasted on the first edition. Porsche’s designers have now tapered down its curves to portray a more aggressive stance compared to its predecessors.

Does it still have as many controls as before in the interior?

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Well, let’s just say that it’s a Porsche trademark to pamper you with as many functions as they can think of for customization and functionality. When we first drove the Macan, we found the number of switches overwhelming – I mean, a whole 20 over switches just for climate controls?

With that in mind, let’s just say that the Cayenne has a tad more buttons compared to the Macan. But you probably wouldn’t have an issue accessing the buttons, with all of them placed within reach of the driver.

For an entry-level model, what features does it have?

Tech geeks would undoubtedly be disappointed that the base model Cayenne comes with the bare minimum. Yes, you get the standard features such as keyless entry, keyless start, and auto-start/stop in the bid to be more environmentally friendly.

But you’ll soon realise that the base model doesn’t have many of the more popular features such as a reverse camera (or even a Surround Camera – for a car this size). It doesn’t even come with navigation – which renders your Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment module in the middle rather useless.

We thought the Macan felt a little plasticky – how does the Cayenne stack up to it?

Yes, the Macan did have a couple of areas that made us feel a little disappointed. The Cayenne offers a whole new wrapping and appearance – it provides the upscale and luxurious look one would expect from an upmarket marque such as Porsche.

From the therapeutic clicks of the switches and buttons to the plush leather wrapped hand grips by the front seats, you do feel much more comfortable and safe in the Cayenne than some other SUVs.

Can it sit adults comfortably behind? What about luggage space?

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Notably because the Cayenne is categorized as a full-fledged SUV, the ride tends to be a little cushiony – meaning to say rear passengers extremely prone to motion sickness may feel a little uncomfortable, thanks to the sensitive damping.

But if you could put it past your mind, the Cayenne feels posh and extremely comfortable at the rear. Leg room is aplenty, with sufficient space for a full backpack even with an adult’s legs in the way.

Porsche also offers you the option of knocking down the rear seat, expanding your already huge boot space (of originally 670 litres) to a whopping 1,780 litres. We did attempt to fit 14 full-sized cartons into the rear of the car. And we’re glad to say it was a resounding success.

It’s huge. Does it drive as nimbly as the Macan?

We hate to disappoint, but it doesn’t. It is, extremely enjoyable to drive around, though. The Cayenne doesn’t feel as bulky as it looks, and maneuvering it around the congested streets of Orchard Road was a relative breeze compared to other SUVs.

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Below the hood sits a 3,598 cc plant, churning out 300 horses and 400 Nm of torque. Being the entry-level Cayenne in the line-up, you wouldn’t expect this car to be split fast when accelerating from the lights, or during your attempts to overtake.

But what was wonderful about the drive was the seamless engagement of gears and delivery of power from mid-range speeds to the high-end of the speedometer. It still does roll a little around corners (given its size), but it provides an extremely comfortable (and fast) ride once you get past the initial drag.

For those who prefer that extra growl from your Cayenne, activating Sport mode deepens the exhaust note. We have to admit that less the speed, we thought that the growl of the exhaust was extremely pleasant to the ears for something this size and class.

And oh, did we also mention that this performed a tad better than other SUVs we brought off-roading with?

So, it’s a decent SUV to have. But is it worth it?

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Now that’s subjective. With a price tag of close to $300,000 now, nothing seems worth it in Singapore. But price tags aside, it is important to note that this is one upscale machine fixed with an upmarket badge.

It may look bulky, it may lack a myriad of technological features and gadgets you could get on any other continental SUVs, and it may drink a little more than what was promised by any dealer or brochures out there.

But if you’re headed back to the basics, looking out for something comfortable and extremely well-built to ferry the family or kids around, coupled with loads of space, the Cayenne may just be a good choice for you.

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