The Porsche Cayenne got a total overhaul for 2019. This redesign left the luxury mid-size SUV all but unchanged on the outside — but with new engine options and a fresh interior, the driving experience in the Cayenne is totally new. The third-generation Cayenne competes with the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, but outstanding performance specs really put it in a league of its own when it comes to the ride. However, even a luxury SUV needs to be more than that. Many of the Cayenne’s competitors feature more standard safety features and more user-friendly multimedia systems — all for lighter price tags.
If you’re in the market for a Cayenne and want the total rundown, follow the related link above for our full review by Cars.com’s Brian Wong. For the quick rundown of what we like (and what’s lacking) about the 2019 Porsche Cayenne, read on.
Things We Like
1. Great Base Engine
The Cayenne’s standard turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is actually pretty impressive for a base engine. It puts out 335 horsepower and 332 pounds-feet of torque and is mated to a Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard. The powertrain adds power smoothly, and the transmission does what you want when you want — holding onto gears in corners when it’s pushed to its limits and backing down from shifts quickly. Sport and Sport Plus driving modes add to the performance feel.
2. Turbo Is Even Better
If the base specs don’t seem like enough for you, stepping up to the turbo version should give you a true performance SUV experience. Under the hood sits a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that puts out a whopping 541 hp and 568 pounds-feet of torque; it’s mated to the same eight-speed transmission as the base model. With the optional Sport Chrono Package, this thing will go 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, Porsche says. And even if you’re not pushing it to its limits, the power of the engine is apparent and speed piles on quickly.
For a heavy, high-riding SUV, one would expect the ride to be somewhat choppy, but that’s not true in the Cayenne’s case. Instead, the ride is firm, and a bumpy gravel roads won’t leave you totally rocked. And with controlled, predictable body roll, the Cayenne takes corners like a dream.
4. Calm Cabin
The five-seat interior of this mid-size SUV is actually comfortable enough for five occupants. The backseat passengers get their own vents in the B-pillars, and behind the second row is increased cargo room — up 3.5 cubic feet to 27.2 cubic feet versus 2018.
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Things We Don’t
1. Multimedia Missteps
A new multimedia touchscreen — the same as the one in the new Panamera — sits on the redesigned center console and is easy on the eyes … but that’s about it. The 12.3-inch touchscreen has a quick response time, but it still takes far too long to perform even simple tasks. Changing the radio station, for instance, requires flipping through multiple menu screens. Syncing your phone up to the multimedia system might also be an issue as Android Auto is absent from the Cayenne; only Apple CarPlay is available.
2. Center Console Controls
The touch panel on the center console doesn’t work as well as it looks, either. So as not to activate functions by an accidental touch, turning on any of the controls takes a rather firm press down. The high-shine surface sounds great in theory, but it’s reflective like a mirror when the sun shines in just right, and it’s a host for dust and fingerprints.
3. Safety Not So Standard
Not many safety features are standard on the Cayenne, which starts at $66,750 (including a $1,050 destination charge). For that price, you’ll get forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors and a backup camera. But for any additional features — including a blind spot warning system, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control or a 360-degree camera system — you’ll have to shell out extra whether for the individual options or a combined safety package.
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