2009 Porsche Cayenne S new car reviews

Better than: VW Tiguan
But not as good as: VW Touraeg
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 43.13

Okay, we're finally getting used to the fact that Porsche makes an SUV. But don't think of it as a soccer taxi--the Cayenne is marketed as a sporty, fun-to-drive performance SUV that's still capable of real truck work. The 2008 model also improves on the horsepower and economy figures of the earlier models.

The 4.8-liter V8 emits a hint of a snarl upon startup, but that's about the end of the excitment from the driver's seat. The Cayenne is much better-suited to relaxed cruising or a trip to the mall. It provides a comfortable ride around town, and it's great on long highway trips if you can afford the gas.

The Cayenne S is rated to tow 7700 pounds, making it a suitable candidate for pulling your 911 to the track. The Cayenne makes much more sense as a towing vehicle than it does as a performance vehicle. It's not that the engine and suspension aren't capable, but even Porsche engineering can't make the Cayenne feel light on its feet.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Call me a recent Porsche convert, but I really enjoyed my time in the Cayenne. We took it on a drive through Central Florida, and the Cayenne did well on all kinds of terrain: highway, back roads, hard-packed dirt and something close to mud.

Could a lesser vehicle have done the same? Of course. But it wouldn't be a Porsche.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

I saw this Porsche minivan in our parking lot and I wondered who the jackass was. Then I realized it was a press car.

Sorry, but these machines scream Pompous Statushound as bad as anything on the road, including the Hummer H2.

I just don't see the purpose of this thing. It is small, expensive, thirsty, and it appeals to a mindset I find disgusting. Sure it can tow and corner better than a 5000 lb thing should, but are the owners of these really going to clip apexes on the way to buy their Prada handbags, and Todd Loafers?

Besides that I thought it was great.....kind of like a VW Toureg in drag!

Scott Lear Scott Lear

I can't see myself ever wanting to actually own one of these, but the engineering that goes into something like the Cayenne is pretty fascinating. Flat handling and big grip are odd when you're so high off the ground. It makes a great sound when you start it, too. It can tow quite a lot, but I don't think it could tow a list of the things I'd spend money on before I'd considering buying a Cayenne. It did help bring a Porsche V8 to the world, and if selling this thing helps Porsche build more proper sports cars, great.

The fact that the key is shaped like the truck it's for made me laugh, but that was only to keep me from crying.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
conedodger
conedodger New Reader
1/4/09 11:31 a.m.

I can't agree with Joe on this at all. My family needs something large enough to haul us (6) and our stuff. We occasionally do some light off-road driving. I tow my cars to the autocrosses and the track because they only seat two and I always have more than two of us that want to go. That calls for an SUV or a truck unless I am missing a vehicle that could do these same jobs. Added to that, I am a Porschephile. I own two 914's and an '84 Carrera. I want an SUV and frankly my '99 Supercharged 4Runner does just fine. My wife who gets mostly left out of the car activities wants a Cayenne S. I think a Cayenne S will meet my need for a vehicle that can haul all of us with our stuff and tow my tiny little race-fleet. The big plus for me though is that it includes my wife in my hobby. It is a vehicle that makes her part of the club that I am most active in. It makes her an enthusiast. She is a pretty simple gal. No Prada in sight. You are right, she will not be clipping any apexes on her way to her office. But I will... ;)

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/7/09 9:32 a.m.

Yeah, I guess I was a little harsh, and I do understand conedodger's point of getting his wife involved in the hobby. I can't say that I have any fondness for the Cayenne though. I'd rather use the money to buy the wife a mint 356 convertible. What wife wouldn't like a bathtub classic that will appreciate in value, and look great doing it?

ok.....I guess there are a ton of women (and men) who would rather have a modern, comfortable, SUV instead of an old classic car.

different strokes......

conedodger
conedodger New Reader
1/7/09 8:47 p.m.

You have to understand my wife Joe, she would love for ME to own a 356 cab but she would never drive it. She would just demand drives. She needs a car that says she is successful (according to her) as she is in business. She wants a ton of iron around her. She loves to ride with me on an autocross course but I doubt we could get her to drive. Her choice... I don't want her to do it because I want her to.

I see your points as well. It just works for me. I haven't caved in yet but I will, if I can talk her into a nice used one they have dropped nicely in price ;)

mblommel
mblommel Reader
1/26/09 7:52 p.m.

porsche truck... barf.

andrave
andrave Dork
6/4/09 9:50 a.m.

I can't afford one, but I think I look at everyone that drives one (much like I do those in H2's) as a pompous ass.

If I could afford one, though, I think I might view them differently.

My job requires me to drive on mountain roads in West Virginia on a weekly basis. Highway, two lane, one lane, etc. Through inclement weather and variable conditions. I'm a skiier, a kayaker, and a mountain biker. I tow a trailer to haul my ATV and camping gear around. I can only afford one vehicle. Right now I've got a Nissan Pathfinder, and its great, its comfortable, it tows well, and I can stow my gear in it or on top of it. A car just wouldn't work for me. I need an SUV. But it sure would be great to have a Porsche to nail the apexes of those mountain roads on sunny days, and fly past the log trucks on the straight stretches.

Hmm... maybe a Porsche SUV actually does have a place in this world.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Okay, we're finally getting used to the fact that Porsche makes an SUV. But don't think of it as a soccer taxi--the Cayenne is marketed as a sporty, fun-to-drive performance SUV that's still capable of real truck work. The 2008 model also improves on the horsepower and economy figures of the earlier models.

The 4.8-liter V8 emits a hint of a snarl upon startup, but that's about the end of the excitment from the driver's seat. The Cayenne is much better-suited to relaxed cruising or a trip to the mall. It provides a comfortable ride around town, and it's great on long highway trips if you can afford the gas.

The Cayenne S is rated to tow 7700 pounds, making it a suitable candidate for pulling your 911 to the track. The Cayenne makes much more sense as a towing vehicle than it does as a performance vehicle. It's not that the engine and suspension aren't capable, but even Porsche engineering can't make the Cayenne feel light on its feet.

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