If the Cayenne saved Porsche, the Macan consolidated its gains. SUVs print money for premium manufacturers, and you only have to have seen the Germans pivot to SUVs as their first major EV products to get the full force of what these types of cars mean.
The Macan held the distinction in Australia of being the first affordable Porsche, breaking well below $80,000 and nabbing yet more customers who had never thought, or ever dreamt, that they could take the wheel of one of Stuttgart's finest.
And with the sort of commercial and marketing nous few can manage, the fact it was basically an Audi Q5 largely passed unremarked. Possibly because the Q5 is pretty good to start with, but also because the Macan feels like a totally different car.
It's already time for a facelift, and in true Porsche style it's a hard one to spot. We've already driven the mid-spec S, but now it's time to get to grips with the base spec Macan.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10
The quickest way to pick the new Macan is to stare at its behind - the 992 911's (and Cayenne's) full-width light bar tells the tail (I am not sorry).
The quickest way to pick the new Macan is by the full-width light bar.
It looks tremendous at night and during the day looks like a sort of Jedi weapon in storage. Nifty. Apart from that, the new four-light headlight arrangement also seen on the Cayenne and the 992 is present and correct and most of the changes are details on the bumpers and sides.
The 2.0 features the new four-light headlight arrangement.
The rest of the car looks pretty much the same, including vaguely cheap-looking standard alloys on this base-spec car. And that's a good thing (except the alloys), because it looks like a sporty car, not a 911 on stilts or a lowered SUV.
The interior is still the traditional Porsche button explosion, and it's not as clean as the new Cayenne's layout. The aforementioned 992 steering wheel has made its way into the Macan and, unlike editor Flynn, I'm not a huge fan - it looks good, but it takes ages to get used to the way it feels in the hand and the chamfered edges grate a bit with me. The new screen installation looks terrific, though, and adds a splash of high-tech to the traditional feel.
The 992 steering wheel has made its way into the Macan.
As this is just a mid-life refresh, there isn't a lot of news for you. There are four cupholders and four bottle holders. There is nowhere to put your phone if you're using the cupholders, which is the sort of thing you'd think about fixing on your biggest-selling model.
Taller rear-seat passengers will find things a bit tight.
Rear-seat passengers will find things tight if they're approaching six feet tall. My 180cms just fit behind my driving position, my knees right on the hard plastic backing, so long trousers or knee guards would be in order. There is no other storage back, but the middle seat (which is uninhabitable due to the transmission tunnel and the Macan's slim hips) does fold down for boot access.
The boot starts at 500 litres.
The boot starts at 500 litres and stretches to 1500 litres with the seats down.
With the back seats down the boot stretches to 1500 litres.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
Your 2020 Macan starts with a modest price rise to $82,200 and includes 19-inch alloys, a ten-speaker stereo, three-zone climate control, front, side and reversing cameras, remote central locking, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, sat nav, LED headlights, powered everything including tailgate, auto headlights and wipers and a bright orange space-saver spare that looks too small.
The 2020 Macan includes 19-inch alloys.
Porsche's PCM media system is back and better than ever. The touchscreen is responsive and the sat nav is glorious when splayed out across the entire 10.9-inches. Annoyingly, Apple CarPlay in split screen isn't so great, making the targets a bit small to hit when you're driving.
There is the option to add on front seat heating for an additional cost.
My car had a few options; the $3790 panoramic roof, $1990 metallic paint, Entry&Drive (keyless entry and start), front seat heating ($990!), power steering plus ($650), standard leather interior ($550, and their name, not mine) and the aluminium exterior package ($450). All that took the price to $91,510. But I'd forgo a lot of this for a nicer set of wheels.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 8/10
The base model Macan loses two cylinders to the S, with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. It's the same engine as the car it replaces, with peak power of 185kW at 5000rpm and 370Nm of torque between 1600-4500rpm.
Power goes to all four wheels via the same seven-speed twin-clutch PDK transmission. It's still pretty quick, though, cracking the 100km/h sprint in 6.7 seconds. Not bad for a chunky, 1800kg car.
The base model Macan loses two cylinders to the S, with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.
You can lop 0.2 seconds off the benchmark sprint with the optional Chrono Package. There is also an off-road button but I can't imagine too many buyers press it.
If you have a braked trailer, you can tow up to 2000kg.
How much fuel does it consume? 8/10
My time with the car delivered a very reasonable 9.2L/100km against the 7.4L/100km claimed combined cycle figure. I say it's impressive because the throttle pedal spent a lot of time in close proximity to the carpet.
What's it like to drive? 8/10
Sports SUVs are everywhere and even Hyundai is throwing its hat in the ring with an N-Line Tucson and Kona. Perhaps one of the weirdest things about the SUV craze is buyers suddenly wanting the kind of chassis wagons and sedans delivered for years.
There's no doubt that Porsche could easily have gotten away with just slapping a new body on parent VW Group's MQB platform, said "ta-da!", and the Macan would have streaked off showroom floors. But that's not what happened, at least not the first part. The Macan is a very, very well-engineered sports SUV.
Before I climbed in I checked the tyres because I thought they were Nexens from a distance and, it turns out, they are. It wasn't a promising start (the only other Nexens I can remember weren't good), but all was forgiven as soon as I gave Macan some stick.
The Macan is a very well-engineered sports SUV.
The ultra-smooth 2.0-litre turbo is exactly as I remember it from the Audi A4 a few weeks ago - quiet and strong. I'd completely forgotten the base model was a four cylinder but was very pleased to find it was a smooth as the V6, if not as powerful.
The tyres, it turns out, are perfectly fine, hanging on for dear life around the corners without much in the way of protest. The all-wheel drive system is set for fun and delivers like pretty much nothing else at this price, and like absolutely nothing else in this segment that isn't either a lot more expensive and/or German.
The Macan rides remarkably well for its impressive abilities, too. Bombing around town I was expecting a bit of crash and bash, but it's quite serene if you're not in Sport mode, the only alternative mode you can select.
The Macan rides remarkably well for its impressive abilities.
The ride hangs in there in Sport, too, especially impressive when you're firing it down the fun stuff. Perhaps sticking with the standard wheels helps here, but I do wonder if it isn't worth getting more attractive rims.
The great thing about the Macan is that it feels so close and connected to the road. Part of that is the seating position - you sit really low in the Macan, down behind the wheel rather than just plonked in front of it.
Warranty & Safety Rating
3 years / unlimited km
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 7/10
The Macan has six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, reversing camera, around-view cameras and lane departure warning.
You'll notice the standard list is missing things like AEB, which is part of a $2410(!) active cruise package.
There are also three top-tether points and two ISOFIX anchorages.
EuroNCAP awarded the Macan a five-star rating in 2014, but there isn't an ANCAP rating.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 7/10
Like its premium rivals, Porsche offers a three-year warranty but it at least lets you drive as far as you like before the end of that period. You can also extend the warranty if you so wish.
You'll have to visit Porsche just once per year, or 15,000km, whichever comes first. That's not bad, but you won't have the peace of mind of either a pre-paid service plan or fixed-price servicing.
My reacquaintance with the Macan has certainly come at an opportune moment - the blink and you'll miss it update could have passed without mention or parade, but that would have meant I wouldn't have rediscovered just how good a car the Macan still is.
While the price is a bit stiff (plenty are happy to pay the premium for the Porsche crest), and total cost of ownership somewhat of a mystery, the Macan is a terrific all-rounder with a specific talent for making you smile.
My wife delivered the highest praise - "I could almost let you have one of these..."
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.
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