2004 Porsche Cayenne

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$42,900

starting MSRP

2004 Porsche Cayenne

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Superlative handling
  • Abundant Turbo power
  • Comfortable, supportive seats
  • Porsche reputation for sport
  • Premium luxury fittings of Turbo

The bad:

  • Price, especially the Turbo
  • Automatic-transmission hesitation
  • Fuel economy
  • Occasional rattles and squeaks
  • Some wind noise

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Porsche Cayenne trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Low-range AWD gearing
  • Bi-turbo V-8
  • Tiptronic transmission
  • Offroad capability
  • Seat-mounted and side-curtain airbags

2004 Porsche Cayenne review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Ritzy Porsche Cayenne SUV is cool, but not hot

German sports-car maker Porsche drew heavy criticism from purists last year when it introduced the brand’s first-ever sport utility vehicle, a close cousin to the Volkswagen Touareg dubbed Cayenne.

But the Cayenne has boosted the Stuttgart, Germany-based company’s fortunes, especially in SUV-crazed North America, where the “off-road” Porsche competes with high-priced machinery such as the Mercedes-Benz G500 and the Range Rover.

We tested a 2004 Cayenne S with a base price of $55,900 and more than $10,000 in options, including leather upholstery and air suspension.

The bottom line: $67,970 — which puts this Porsche out of the reach of all but the most affluent consumers.

HE: I think I’m in the minority of people who not only like the Cayenne, but also think Porsche did a good job in designing an SUV that actually looks like a Porsche. On the other hand, Volkswagen, with the Touareg, did a better job of building an SUV that is not only a demon off-road, but looks and feels like a luxury product that’s also just right for everyday driving chores. For the money, I prefer the Touareg. But if you’ve gotta have a Porsche the Cayenne is not a bad choice.

SHE: Sorry, I can’t warm up to the Cayenne. And I’m even less inclined to fall for it after reading the ludicrous Porsche ads touting the 450-horsepower turbo version of the Cayenne as the perfect vehicle for people who need to get diapers in a hurry. Sounds like the fantasy of an ad writer who has neither children nor brains. The Cayenne is not a good compromise vehicle for a sports car-loving dad and a school-car pooling mom. It’s not a good SUV choice for families. It’s too nice on the interior to handle the ravages of the toddler set and it’s just not flexible enough for growing families — especially with the lack of a third row.

HE: That diaper line was totally tongue-in-cheek, Ms. Serious. The Cayenne isn’t exactly about family transportation. That’ll have to wait for the new four-seater Porsche that’s supposedly in the pipeline. And I’m surprised that you totally missed the real target female audience, what the New York Times called the “affluent oppressed” — those women “with everything and yet not nearly enough.”

SHE: My grandmother would call that particular demographic “spoiled rotten.”

HE: But you have to admit that the Cayenne provides a brawny, feature-laden package with great performance for people with a lot of money who love the Porsche brand, but don’t want to compromise on space or functionality.

SHE: I’ll admit that the cabin of the Cayenne is pretty slick, with shiny metal controls and optional stone/steel leather upholstery. The driver is outfitted with a steering wheel that has push button transmission controls that let you shift manually, in addition to audio controls. The rear-seat passengers are well cared for, with a storage console, cupholders, vents and temperature controls. In the cargo hold, you get power outlets, cargo hooks and a tonneau cover to hide packages. Oddly, the audio controls on the instrument panel have too-tiny buttons, a puzzling design, given that the Cayenne, like all others Porsches, is really aimed at men.

HE: The buff magazines have all raved about the 450-horsepower turbo engine, but the standard twin-cam 4.5-liter V-8 in the Cayenne S that we tested is no slouch. It makes 340 horsepower, and packs a pretty good wallop in a vehicle this heavy.

SHE: You can talk about power all day, but I give Porsche credit for loading up the Cayenne with an impressive list of standard safety features. You get everything from stability control, which helps to keep you from fish-tailing on slippery roads, to dual side curtain air bags that protect all the outboard occupants. Porsche has done a superior job in the Cayenne of providing enough equipment to keep o pants safe and secure.

HE: I still have a few beefs. As good as the engine is, there is still some noticeable throttle lag, and the fuel economy is dismal — 14 miles per gallon in city driving and 18 on the highway. And Porsche-philes may be disappointed by the truck-like handling. But, hey, this is an SUV, right? So what’s not to like?

SHE: They may have to coin a new buzz phrase for guys who are attracted to this vehicle — the affluent obsessed.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S

Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive, five-passenger sport-utility vehicle

Price: Base, $56,665; as tested, $67,970

Engine:

EPA fuel economy: 14 mpg city/ 18 mpg highway

Key competitors: BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX56, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz G500, Mercedes-Benz ML500, Range Rover, Volkswagen Touareg

12-month insurance cost: $2,074

Where built: Germany

1: Includes $765 destination charge; 2: Estimated by AAA Michigan. Rates may vary depending on coverage and driving record.

Rating system: 1- unacceptable; 2- subpar; 3- acceptable; 4- above average; 5- world class

Anita’s rating: 3 out of 5

Likes: Comfy ride, with adjustable suspension settings. Good rear-seat controls. Great safety features, including stability control and side-curtain air bags for front and rear occupants. Surprisingly good visibility.

Dislikes: Not crazy about the bug-eyed styling. Optional leather seat package costs $3,200. Difficult to park in a tight space. Have to remove headrests to lower rear seat. Radio control buttons are too tiny.

Paul’s rating: 4 out of 5

Likes: Looks like a Porsche, at least on the outside. Lusty V-8. Extremely capable off-road — if you really want to take your Porsche off-road. Good headroom. Steering-wheel shift controls for automatic transmission.

Dislikes: Cabin is not as ritzy as VW Touareg. Noticeable throttle lag, especially when accelerating from rest. Mediocre fuel economy. Not enough rear-seat legroom. Porsche-philes may be disappointed by the truck-like handling.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value for the money 4.1
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

2.9

Cayenne S - Worst piece of junk I have owned

I bought this because it was the only SUV that could pull a 2 horse trailer and it would be fun to drive. This vehicle didn’t even make it to 100k miles and the engine seized on a below zero day in Minnesota !! The coolant tubes , a known issue for this car but not published at the time, broke and the engine seized ! No warning , and no support from Porsche in any way. The Wayzata dealership is horrible. What an embarrassment to Porsche . It is sick that a company like this does not stand behind their vehicle. The recall came out after my car was ruined and they don’t even pay anything to those that have a now junk car. My car was pampered and still looks like new, but it is a boat anchor. I can get about a thousand scrap, even though I had just spent $1000 on a new headlight ....

4.9

A beautiful beast of a car

I bought my second hand 2004 V6 3.2 Porsche Cayenne two years ago off eBay. An absolute bargain. It was a risk but what a great car this is. 165k miles on the clock but still reliable, comfortable, great performance and beats anyone off the lights. Fuel consumption is around 22 mpg so one of the downsides. Ideal for my family of five as so much room and the boot is very spacious. Love the look of it too, especially the front. Watch out for known problems like the boot will not stay open as the locking mechanism has broken, I’ve had problems with the air bag dashboard light but finally resolved by Porsche. Also original Sat Nav Isn’t working properly but apart from that is a great car. £80k luxury for a fraction of the price.

5.0

My Favorite Sporty SUV

My Favorite sporty SUV. Owned Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 and X6 at the same time. The best performance and most reliable vehicle hands down. I am Loyal Porsche fan!

See all 50 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Porsche
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
13 Years/124,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
2 years/unlimited miles after new-car limited warranty expires or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired
Powertrain
2 years/unlimited miles after new-car limited warranty expires or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired
Dealer certification required
111-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2012

Volkswagen Touareg

$43,375

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2003

Volkswagen New Beetle

$15,950

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2012

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid

$69,000

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