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Porsche Cayenne 2019 review: family test


When you want a Porsche, but don't have the lifestyle for a sports car. When you want a Porsche but you have kids. When you want a Porsche but can't afford the sports car. When you want a Porsche but a sports car isn't practical. When you want a Porsche but, but, but...

This Porsche Cayenne gives you a glimpse into the life of an actual Porsche owner, with some added space and practicality.

The Cayenne is at the base of the range and is a large five-seat SUV, competing with cars like the BMW X5 and the Range Rover Sport. It starts at $116,300 (before on-road costs) and the extras can add another $20K+ to the final price.

Here's how it did over a week of driving my family of four around town.

What does it look like?

As good as you'd expect a Porsche SUV to look. There is a low, lean front edge with the Porsche badge clearly on display, and a sleek elegant body that curves downwards at the back.

It's as sophisticated as you'd want it to be with a touch of sportiness thrown in. Oh, and expensive. It looks expensive. Which is exactly how it should look.

  • The Porsche Cayenne looks as good as you’d expect a Porsche SUV to look. (image: Dean McCartney) The Porsche Cayenne looks as good as you’d expect a Porsche SUV to look. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It's as sophisticated as you’d want it to be with a touch of sportiness thrown in. (image: Dean McCartney) It's as sophisticated as you’d want it to be with a touch of sportiness thrown in. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It has a sleek elegant body that curves downwards at the back. (image: Dean McCartney) It has a sleek elegant body that curves downwards at the back. (image: Dean McCartney)

Inside is quite luxurious, with leather everywhere you look. On the dash, the doors, on the seats, which are also super comfortable, on the steering wheel, on the gear stick.

It's all about the leather which has a variety of finishes. Pebble finish for hard wearing areas, perforated leather for the centre of the seats and smooth leather accents for the steering wheel and to add extra luxury where it's not going to wear too hard.

The centre console is in a high gloss black and there's a completely digitalised touchscreen and touch panel below the screen.

  • Inside is quite luxurious, with leather everywhere you look. (image: Dean McCartney) Inside is quite luxurious, with leather everywhere you look. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • There's leather on the dash, the doors, on the seats, which are also super comfortable, on the steering wheel, on the gear stick. (image: Dean McCartney) There's leather on the dash, the doors, on the seats, which are also super comfortable, on the steering wheel, on the gear stick. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • Everything is of high quality and you won’t feel like you’re not in a Porsche. You are, just the SUV version. (image: Dean McCartney) Everything is of high quality and you won’t feel like you’re not in a Porsche. You are, just the SUV version. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • In the front it’s airy and breezy, open and large. (image: Dean McCartney) In the front it’s airy and breezy, open and large. (image: Dean McCartney)

This particular Porsche had a panoramic sunroof optioned in ($4490) which has a dark window tint on it so you can keep it open even when the sun is high in the sky.

Everything is of high quality and you won't feel like you're not in a Porsche. You are, just the SUV version.

This Porsche Cayenne starts at $116,300, and with all of the extras added, including 'Cayenne Exclusive Design' wheels for $7660. (image: Dean McCartney) This Porsche Cayenne starts at $116,300, and with all of the extras added, including 'Cayenne Exclusive Design' wheels for $7660. (image: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

It's got a powerful engine - a 3.0-litre V6 turbo - so you won't have any trouble with cruising along highways, overtaking cars or getting up hills even with a full load in the boot.

Put your foot down on the accelerator and feel the car go, a nod to its sports car origins.

It's not as agile as a sports car of course, and is heavier, so there is that to contend with while driving. But it is all smooth sailing, you can barely feel a bump and it handles beautifully.

It's got a powerful engine - a 3.0-litre V6 turbo. (image: Dean McCartney) It's got a powerful engine - a 3.0-litre V6 turbo. (image: Dean McCartney)

The steering is close to the best I have felt on an SUV thanks to the 'Power Steering Plus' option ($650), it does feel like you're driving a much smaller car when you turn the wheel.

That makes parking extremely easy, so even though the Cayenne is quite bulky and big and I really felt the size of the car this week, the steering is so easy that as long as you have a park to fit the car, it will slide in.

Of course, there's a very clear high definition reverse parking camera which also gives a front end view and a 360-degree view, so that helps, too.

There's a large turning circle but that's to be expected in this size car.

How spacious is it?

It is r-o-o-m-y. So big that I thought there'd be an extra two seats in the back, but the sloping boot wouldn't allow for it, really.

In the front it's airy and breezy, open and large. There's a load of leg and head space even with a sunroof, for me and my taller husband to be completely comfortable.

The back has loads of room and my two young girls were positively swinging around the back seat before I managed to get seat belts on them.

I could sit back there with about 30cm of room between my knees and the seat in front. (image: Dean McCartney) I could sit back there with about 30cm of room between my knees and the seat in front. (image: Dean McCartney)

I could sit back there with about 30cm of room between my knees and the seat in front, so taller adults and teenagers will have enough space in the rear even for long journeys.

You can also fit a third child seat in the middle, I did it with two booster seats and a baby capsule.

The boot is large as well, but a strange shape. So 770 litres sounds like it will fit a big load and it does - a bulky pram, groceries and sporting equipment go fine in there.

However, the sloping tailgate stopped me from stacking boxes to the roof and I had to fit some inside the car. A very minor observation as it's not often I have to transport boxes around!

How easy is it to use every day?

The front seats are automated, as is the sunroof, there are shift paddles on the wheel if you don't want to extend a hand to the gearshift and the volume control is a cool silver barrel that rolls easily under the fingers.

I was surprised by a few things, though - on this bottom-of-the-range model you actually have to press the button on the key to open the doors, rather than a keyless entry.

770 litres sounds like it will fit a big load and it does - a bulky pram, groceries and sporting equipment go fine in there. (image: Dean McCartney) 770 litres sounds like it will fit a big load and it does - a bulky pram, groceries and sporting equipment go fine in there. (image: Dean McCartney)

You also have to put the electric park brake on and off yourself. Two things I didn't think I'd have to do in a Porsche.

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot for keys and a phone, a centre storage bin and bottle holders in each door that actually hold your bottle nicely.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest and a pocket on the back of the front seats, plus their own air vents.

How safe is it?

It's fitted with airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side airbags and side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers - which earns a big tick from this family reviewer, not enough cars have side airbags for rear passengers.

Advanced safety equipment includes auto emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and parking assist and it has two ISOFIX points plus three top tethers for kids' car seats.

It has two ISOFIX points plus three top tethers for kids’ car seats. (image: Dean McCartney) It has two ISOFIX points plus three top tethers for kids’ car seats. (image: Dean McCartney)

What's the tech like?

Technology is either the Porsche operated system or Apple CarPlay, there is no Android Auto option but you can still use the car's multimedia and connect via Bluetooth for sat nav and to stream music and make calls.

The digitalised centre console panel is easy to use but mind your palms, it's very sensitive and you'll change settings even if you brush your palm over it accidentally. The sound is great in the Porsche Cayenne, turn the volume up and enjoy it.

How much does it cost to own?

This Porsche Cayenne starts at $116,300, and with all of the extras added, including 'Cayenne Exclusive Design' wheels for $7660, the total, before on-road costs, came to $139,060.

Fuel consumption is quite high, at 9.2L/100km.

It's covered by Porsche's three year/unlimited km warranty with paint covered for the same period, and a 12-year (unlimited km) anti-corrosion warranty.


The Wrap

The Porsche Cayenne is a pleasure to drive and we had a wonderful, luxury-filled week with my family enjoying every minute. There is loads of space, it looks amazing, feels great to drive and makes you feel special while in it.

The only thing I would change is choosing the E-Hybrid version because fuel consumption is quite high and with all this talk about energy usage it's something we should be considering.

I gave it a family rating of 8.5 out of 10 and my children gave it a nine - they loved it on sight.

Likes

Looks fantastic
Great to drive
Loads of space

Dislikes

High fuel consumption

Scores

Nedahl:

4.3

The Kids:

4.5

$115,900

Based on new car retail price

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