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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's just about the fastest 4x4 around, and surprisingly good off-road

Against It's very dear to buy and run

Verdict All the performance of a Porsche sports car in a 4x4, but very high bills to go with it

Go for… Cayenne S

Avoid… Cayenne Turbo

Porsche Cayenne 4x4
  • 1. The Cayenne handles more like a sports car than a 4x4, but it's still good off-road
  • 2. It may not have as much space as a BMW X5 or Range Rover Sport, but it's not far off
  • 3. We're yet to hear of any major problems, but it's worth checking that the air-con system hasn't given up
  • 4. Costs a small fortune to buy and run, so if you have to ask...
  • 5. The boot is a very impressive size
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Porsche Cayenne 4x4 full review with expert trade views

The Cayenne is a proper Porsche. It performs and handles more like a sports car than any other 4x4, with sharp steering and incredible composure and agility for such a big car.

Down a twisty road, you simply forget you're in a 4x4 rather than a performance car. Despite this impressive showing on-road, it's also very good off-road, although whether you'd really take such an expensive car into the wilds is another question. The only real complaint is a firm ride.

Even from the driver's seat, the car is designed to ape the 911. The view over the bonnet and the dials are all very much the same as in its supercar brother.

Where it differs from the 911 is that it's also quite practical. It may not have the same space as in a BMW X5 or Range Rover Sport, but it's not far off, and the boot is very impressive.

Trade view

John Owen

Even the 3.2 is thirsty and Turbo manages 15mpg. Oil company execs only

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Choosing between the various Cayennes is basically a case of picking fast, very fast or seriously fast. All are very well equipped, and even the, err, 'basic' 250bhp V6 version hits 60mph in just over nine seconds, which is mighty impressive for a car weighing over two tonnes.

However, this version arrived only in early 2004, almost a year after the S and Turbo versions, and is still comparatively rare as a used car. The easiest model to find - and the best, in our opinion - is the S. This has a 340bhp V8 petrol engine that makes the best of what the car has to offer, but without costing the earth.

The 450bhp Turbo at the top of the range has quite phenomenal performance and air suspension. However, it costs more than the others to run and the difference in price between it and even the S runs into the tens of thousands.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Easy to sell with the S as the best value model, Turbo still too pricey

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Yes, buying and running any Cayenne will be extremely expensive, but it's very much 'If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it' territory.

Just buying a Cayenne will be expensive, even if there are plenty of cars outside the Porsche network. In fact, this is virtually the most expensive way to buy a 4x4. BMW X5s are renowned for their high prices as used cars, yet the Cayenne is even more expensive.

The big bills won't stop there, either. Routine maintenance costs are much higher than for rivals from BMW and Mercedes, every Cayenne is in group 20 for insurance and you're unlikely to see more than 20mpg, even from the smallest engine. That's thirsty, even by 4x4 standards.

If you need unscheduled work, it's worse still. Warranty Direct says that Porsche labour rates are among the most expensive, and that almost no other brand has such high average repair bills.

Trade view

John Owen

Even the 3.2 is thirsty and Turbo manages 15mpg. Oil company execs only

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Cayenne is still a relatively young car, but Porsches only have a two-year warranty when three years is the norm. However, we're yet to hear of major problems; Warranty Direct says it has discovered of a few air-con failures, and some faults in the charging system, but little else.

There have been three recalls on the car, all affecting S and Turbo models built before the end of March 2003. The first was a result of part of the handbrake rubbing on the wiring loom, while the second concerned a potential fire in the fuel tank and the third was a result of possible problems with the front passenger seat.

Overall, as on other Porsches, we expect few problems as long as it is properly looked after. Owners who have posted reports online have given almost uniformly positive reviews, and Warranty Direct says that claim rates on Porsches are less frequent than on BMWs or Mercedes.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Easy to sell with the S as the best value model, Turbo still too pricey

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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