Used Porsche Cayenne review: 2003-2012
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When famed sportscar maker Porsche entered the SUV market with the Cayenne in 2003 many thought it could be the end of the marque. Doubters said Porsche 911 was the purest model in the German marque’s range and that diluting it could ruin the Porsche image. Yet, in many countries the Porsche Cayenne outsells the 911 and the pure sportscar’s sales certainly haven’t suffered.
Porsche deliberately gave the Cayenne a family resemblance to the 911. Some have described it as looking like a 911 on steroids, saying the stylists have simply added 250 millimetres to the underfloor of a 911. We have to say that the design of the original Cayenne isn’t one of our favourites and it’s interesting to see the Series 2, launched in Australia in July 2010, has taken a different direction in style.
The Cayenne Series 2 is larger than the original model, particularly in the back seat which provides comfortable space for two adults. The backrest can be adjusted for rake to further let you tailor your space. Luggage space is slightly more voluminous than before and can be significantly increased by sliding the back seat forwards to create extra length. Up to 160 mm of seat travel is available.
Rather than pour huge amounts of money into the all-new Cayenne, Porsche collaborated with Volkswagen and Audi, so the Cayenne, Touareg and Q7 share some out-of-sight components. Unlike the other members of the team, who aimed for quality on-road cruisers with some off-road ability, Porsche leaned very much in the sports wagon direction. This big Porsche SUV has on-road dynamics that defy the bulk of this large wagon.
The Porsche Cayenne S Series 2 no longer tries to be a full-on off-road vehicle; it doesn't have a two-speed transfer case to provide low range for extreme driving. That, and others changes have resulted in a mass reduction of about 12 per cent which not only makes it slightly nimbler, but also lowers fuel consumption and emissions.
Cayenne was launched in Australia in June 2003 with a 4.5-litre petrol V8 in either naturally aspirated or turbocharged format. Even more power, 383 instead of 331 kW, arrived in a special version of this engine, called the Turbo S, in February 2006.
New designs of V8s with a capacity of 4.8 litres were introduced in April 2007, again as turbo and non-turbo engines. A 3.6-litre petrol V6 became optional at the same time, though it doesn’t provide the exhilaration of the V8s it does have enough performance to suit some owners.
A V6 turbo-diesel displacing 3.0 litres joined the range in April 2009. With plenty of torque, up to 550 Nm, it performs well and turbo lag isn’t too bad. Naturally fuel consumption is lower than on the the petrol V8s.
An interesting hybrid option is offered in the Series 2 Cayenne S. This uses a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine and an electric motor. However, the Cayenne S hybrid costs significantly more than the equivalent Cayenne S in petrol format – and uses more fuel than the Cayenne turbo-diesel.
The great majority of Australian imports have a six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Some six-speed manuals were brought in, but these haven’t been big sellers and may prove unpopular when you come to trade up.
Porsche has had a presence in Australia for many decades and runs an efficient dealer network. These focus on major population centres so if you have any problems out back o’ Bourke you might have to get the Cayenne trailered back to the big smoke. Not a cheap exercise.
Many Cayennes will have been serviced by these Porsche dealers strictly by the book. We recommend these as used vehicles; you will probably be asked to pay more, but it’s money well spent. Follow this up by keeping to the same servicing routine and you will benefit at trade-up time.
Insurance charges are higher than average, but not outrageously so considering the type of buyers attracted to Porsche Cayennes. You will find quite a difference on quotes so it’s worth shopping around. As always make sure you do accurate comparisons between companies.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the interior for signs of rough usage, particularly in the back where bored kids can do a lot of damage. Make sure the engine starts easily and settles into a steady idle almost immediately. The diesel isn’t quite as good as the petrol unit, but isn’t far behind them.
The Porsche Cayenne has more off-road ability than you would expect, but few will have been bush bashing. If you do come across a used Porsche Cayenne that’s been on more than dirt roads it’s probably best to pass it up.
Few Cayennes are used as heavy-duty towing vehicles, but if you inspect one for sale at a horse riding school, or similar, it might pay to ask a few questions.
Cayennes with V6 engines were recalled in 2008 because of a possible fuel line problem that could lead to a fire. Check the problem has been rectified by talking to the seller. Or click on www.porschecars.com.au.
Repairs can be expensive so make sure to get a quote on even apparently insignificant problems.
CAR BUYING TIP
Sporting SUVs are likely to be driven harder than those bought as kid carters and probably have greatly accelerated wear rates as a result.
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