2018 Porsche Cayenne reader test team review

What Car? readers get an early look at Porsche's all-new Cayenne. But what do they make of this sporty SUV?...

2018 Porsche Cayenne reader test team review

Readers examining the new Porsche Cayenne

Porsche will always be inextricable from the 911. But it isn’t this storied sports car that makes the company one of the world’s most profitable car makers; it’s the Macan and Cayenne SUVs.

The larger of the pair is entering its third era. The new Cayenne has the manifesto of being faster, better to drive, more practical and plusher than its already very accomplished predecessor.

To achieve this, it’s based on a larger yet lighter chassis and all variants are more potent. The entry-level model gets a 335bhp petrol V6, the S a 434bhp turbo V6 and the Turbo a 542bhp turbo V8. A 456bhp plug-in hybrid is also available and diesels are on their way.

We invited our readers to Porsche’s UK offices to see what they make of the new Cayenne.

**Read our comprehensive Porsche Cayenne review

**Get a great deal on a Porsche Cayenne with What Car? New Car Buying

Jon Elliott

Jon Elliott

Age: 54 Job: Management consultant Drives: BMW X5

“Porsche has sporting DNA, so owning a car from the brand would be interesting, but I need an SUV because I require a lot of boot space.

“Around the time I bought my X5, I test-drove the old Cayenne, but there were just so many buttons on its dashboard; I couldn’t get my head around it.

“Thankfully, this new model is much cleaner inside, with a dashboard very much like the latest Porsche Panamera’s.

“The acid test will be when you’re driving, though. It’s great that the touch-sensitive controls on the centre console give haptic feedback, but I’m not sure the touchscreen will be as easy to use as the rotary controller in my X5.

“I’m keen to drive this car to see how it performs. To be honest, 0-60mph times and power figures are fairly academic. It’s the handling that interests me: what the steering is like and the speeds at which the car can take corners.

“This Cayenne’s looks are an evolution. The car is lower than its predecessor, only by a small amount, but it makes a difference.

“The front has echoes of the 911, and the back looks much better now, with a full-width light bar.”

Rating: Rated 4 out of 5

Alasdair Gibson

Alasdair Gibson

Age: 65 Job: Project director Drives: Tesla Model S

“The practicality of an SUV combined with the racing heritage of the Porsche brand is what attracts me to the Cayenne.

“The car is stunning. Its exterior design looks much better thought through than the old car’s. The Cayenne has really progressed since the original of 2002, and it’s clear that SUVs are no longer a sideline to Porsche.

“However, the interior is a little disappointing. While the quality of the build and materials is fantastic, I’m disappointed that the buttons have been removed from the centre console.

“There are so many controls now that everything has to be on digital displays, so it feels a bit unfinished. That said, the new touchscreen is a big step forward.

“This car’s Burmester ‘3D’ stereo is brilliant; its depth and range are amazing. It’s a shame that it’s a £4200 option, though.

“The boot is a bit of a let-down, because I could only get my golf clubs in if I put them diagonally.

“In the spec that I’d want, the Cayenne would cost around £80k. When a fully loaded Skoda Kodiaq is some £50k cheaper, I do wonder if Porsche can justify such a premium – although I would be very proud to own one.”

Rating: Rated 4 out of 5

Phillip Wright

Phillip Wright

Age: 60 Job: Human resources specialist Drives: Porsche 911

“As a Porsche enthusiast, I like the Cayenne for two reasons. Firstly, it makes the company money to enable it to properly invest in the development of it sports cars. And secondly, it enables me to stay with Porsche for my practical everyday car.

“This Cayenne isn’t ugly, but it isn’t beautiful, either. That said, it’s better than a lot of its rivals; the Bentley Bentayga, for example, has looks even its mother would struggle to love.

“The myriad of buttons in the old Cayenne made adjusting the air suspension and driving modes rather clunky. But the new touch-sensitive controls are appealing, as are the digital instrument display and the crisp, responsive touchscreen.

“In the Cayenne range, the S, with its 434bhp petrol turbo V6, looks like the sweet spot to me. It has a 0-62mph time of 5.2sec, and any higher performance in an SUV would worry me.

“The button on the steering wheel that activates Sport mode for 20 seconds is great for when you need a quick overtake.

“So, this Cayenne would provide the performance, practicality and pride of ownership that I want.”

Rating: Rated 5 out of 5

Colin Courtney

Colin Courtney

Age: 66 Job: Civil engineer Drives: Range Rover Evoque

“My car is four years old now, so I’m looking for a new SUV.

“The Porsche Macan interested me, but it’s a bit too small. I regularly go camping, so I need lots of boot space – something the Cayenne has oceans of.

“The Cayenne is a beautiful beast; I love its sleek lines. Lots of SUVs, especially the larger ones, are quite boxy, but not so here.

“I’m 6ft 2in tall, yet I have plenty of head room in the front and enough leg room in the rear.

“The dashboard is luxurious and not too complicated – at least until you press the starter button. I like the larger (12.3in) infotainment touchscreen, because the larger it is, the less you have to concentrate on it.

“The main concerns for me are this car’s running costs and emissions – the latter because environmental sustainability is very important to me. The hybrid model therefore appeals in principle.

“I like good performance, but I’m not taken by 0-60mph times.

“Porsche’s brand image is one of the biggest benefits of this car over my Range Rover; it’s in a different league in terms of the engine and mechanicals.”

Rating: Rated 4 out of 5