What Car? says...
Unlike most SUVs, the Porsche Macan is designed to appeal to keen drivers. In fact, it's aimed at buyers who've outgrown a Cayman but don’t want to give up the Porsche badge or the driving enjoyment that goes with it. Think of it as the best of both worlds – a car that's fun but also practical.
Since its introduction almost a decade ago, the Porsche Macan has become a huge seller for its maker. It's a smaller and more affordable option than the Stuttgart brand's other SUV, the Porsche Cayenne.
There's no electric version yet and no plug-in hybrid either, but the Macan is available with a choice of four or six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. Even the slowest model will scare hot hatches away from the lights, while the S and GTS versions can crack 0-62mph in less than five seconds.
While the Macan is getting rather long in the tooth, Porsche likes to fettle and hone its products over the course of their lives, and this model is no exception, with two major facelifts. The latest introduced tweaked exterior styling and a reworked interior with the aim of keeping the Macan competitive against rivals, namely the Audi SQ5 and hot versions of the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC.
So, is the Porsche Macan the best sports SUV on sale today? Read on over the next few pages of this review to find out more about how we rate its performance and interior quality, how practical it is, whether the running costs are reasonable and which version is best.
And although we can't help you get a discount on a new Porsche Macan, we can help you find the best price on many makes and models. Find out how much you can save by searching our free What Car? New Car Buying service.
More on the Porsche Macan
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The entry-level Porsche Macan and the Macan T are powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 261bhp. The T can officially do 0-62mph slightly quicker (6.2sec vs 6.4sec), but that's purely because it has a launch control function (part of the Sports Chrono Pack) fitted as standard. On the move, both build speed at the same rate and are quick enough for most buyers, with plenty of low-down grunt.
If you're a real power junkie, you'll want the Macan S or GTS. Both are powered by a 2.9-litre V6 – the S has 375bhp and the GTS 434bhp. They can hit 62mph from a standstill in well under five seconds, with the GTS managing it in an astonishing 4.3sec when using launch control. The V6 engines are far more muscular than the 2.0-litre and give the Macan proper sports SUV pace.
Whichever engine you choose, you get a brilliant seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (called PDK) as standard, although you can take manual control using the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
Suspension and ride comfort
The suspension set-up varies depending on which version you go for, but the Macan is a relatively sporty choice in all its guises. In short, don't expect ride comfort that will rival a Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
The Macan is far from a bone-shaker, though, especially if you avoid the largest (21in) wheels. Most models come with conventional steel springs, but we'd recommend getting the optional air suspension for best comfort, which is more expensive on some versions than others.
Air suspension comes as standard on the range-topping GTS, but it's a lowered version. If you want to, you can opt for the more comfort-oriented air suspension that's available on other versions of the Macan.
The Macan really shines here, even compared with other sharp-handling sports SUVs. That's thanks to its confidence-inspiring steering – which is beautifully weighted and precise – and minimal body lean for something so tall.
True, the Audi SQ5 has more front-end grip, but you’re much more aware of the rear axle receiving power when exiting corners in the Macan, and that makes it feel more fun. Although the margins aren't huge, the Macan T feels the most agile in the line-up, partly because it's slightly lighter than the larger-engined S and GTS, and also because its suspension setup is 15mm lower than the entry-level model and the S. The GTS has its own sport air suspension setup lowered by 10mm over the standard models.
For those who plan to take their Macan off the beaten track, there's an 'off road' button. When you press it, the car adjusts its traction control settings and gearbox (and sets the air suspension, if fitted, to its highest ride height) for optimal off-road handling. Hill-descent control is also standard, so the Macan can maintain a steady speed down steep, muddy hills. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is still far more capable off the beaten track, though.
Noise and vibration
For all its sportiness, the Macan is a pretty relaxing cruiser. The engines are hushed on the motorway and wind noise is well suppressed. That said, there is noticeable tyre roar at higher speeds – especially with 21in alloys – and on certain road surfaces you’ll also hear some suspension noise.
On the open road, the automatic gearbox is very slick, delivering near-imperceptible changes at precisely the right moment, although it can be a bit jerky at parking speeds. The well-judged brake pedal helps make the Macan easy to drive smoothly and contributes to its upmarket feel.
At higher revs, the V6 engines of the S and GTS sound much more appealing than the entry-level model’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, especially if you specify the optional sports exhaust, which the GTS gets as standard.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Porsche Macan has a height and reach adjustable steering wheel and an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, so it's easy to tailor your driving position. The seat will drop quite a bit to give you a pseudo sports-car feel, and the whole driving position feels more natural than in the Audi Q5. Of course, you can jack up the seat if you want a more commanding view.
It’s not all good news, though. You have to shell out if you want the 14-way seat option that brings adjustable lumbar support, or even more for the 18-way version. However, the T and GTS have more supportive seats than the entry-level model and the S, and with these none of our testers has complained about long-distance comfort.
The main air-con controls are easy enough to find and use, but some of the minor ones are operated using touch-sensitive buttons on the central console. The arrangement looks suitably modern but, because you can’t find them by feel in the way you might proper physical buttons, you have to take your eyes off the road for longer.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Macan offers reasonable forward visibility by sports SUV standards. Its windscreen pillars are no wider than most rivals' and, despite being comparatively raked back, they don't obscure your view too much at junctions and roundabouts. The fairly large door mirrors give you a good view behind when making lane changes on the motorway.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard on all models, as is a rear-view camera. They're a great help, because the high rear screen limits your view of what’s directly behind and it can be tricky to judge where the sloping bonnet ends.
A surround-view camera and a self-parking system can be optioned individually, which enables the Macan to steer itself into parking spaces. Standard LED headlights provide powerful illumination at night.
Sat nav and infotainment
All versions of the Macan have a 10.9in touchscreen and a 10-speaker, 150-watt sound system. A DAB radio, Bluetooth and sat-nav are also included.
Various online services are including, as well as Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring (so you can use your iPhone's apps on the screen), but disappointingly Android Auto isn't available. A 14-speaker Bose stereo is available as an option.
The screen is crisp and responds quickly when you touch it. However, the operating system takes some getting used to because there are so many menus, and some of the smaller icons are tricky to hit accurately when you're driving. We think rotary dial-controlled systems – such as the iDrive set-up in the BMW X3 – are safer and more user-friendly.
Porsche makes some of the finest interiors around, and it hasn’t cut corners with the Macan. The materials generally feel very high-quality and are well-assembled throughout, although the Audi Q5 is right up there too.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on optional leather upgrades to make the Macan feel worthy of its prestige badge (although there are plenty of opportunities to splash your cash on personalisation options throughout the interior). The standard leatherette and fabric upholstery should satisfy, although you can add Race-Tex (faux suede) on the roof lining, steering wheel and gear knob if you want a sportier ambience.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Despite the Porsche Macan’s sleek silhouette, there’s plenty of room in the front, and even very tall drivers won’t feel at all hemmed in.
There are two fixed cupholders just in front of the armrest, and under the armrest you'll find a cubby that houses two USB-C sockets. It’s the perfect place for stowing your phone, and you can specify a smartphone holder with wireless charging.
The door bins are a reasonable size, although you’ll still struggle to find anywhere to put a large bottle of water.
Still, six-footers will fit comfortably enough in the outer seats thanks to decent head room, and there’s plenty of storage room, plus a couple of cupholders in the centre armrest.
Seat folding and flexibility
The rear seats are split in a 40/20/40 arrangement, so you can fold down the narrower central section and slide through longer items, while still leaving room for two rear passengers.
What the Macan doesn’t provide is the facility to recline the rear backrests, or to slide the rear seats back and forth so you can prioritise either passenger leg room or boot space. You'll find these handy facilities in many rivals, including the Q5.
The Macan’s boot floor sits flush with its load lip, making loading a doddle. Some rivals, including the Q5 and X3, can swallow slightly more luggage, but the Macan's load bay is a useful square shape and we managed to slot eight carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf.
Useful touches include a hook to hang a shopping bag on and a recessed cubby with some netting, which is perfect for stopping bottles flying around. There’s a fair-sized storage area under the boot floor if you don’t specify the optional space-saver spare tyre. If you do, the wheel uses up virtually all that handy space.
You can open the powered tailgate either by pressing a button on the key fob or one hidden at the base of the rear windscreen wiper.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
All versions of the Macan are fairly expensive to buy compared with key rivals, including the Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC, plus, Porsche doesn’t normally do discounts. However, resale values are among the best in its class, helping to keep PCP finance deals surprisingly competitive. The entry-level Macan and the Macan T are likely to hold on to their value particularly well.
Servicing and insurance costs are slightly higher than those of many other sports SUVs and, with no diesel engine in the range, you won't get great fuel economy from any of the engines. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre only promises around 28mpg and that will drop to the low 20s when worked hard. In our experience, the V6-powered S and GTS are not much thirstier on a motorway run, but expect closer to 25mpg with a bit of town driving thrown in.
The Macan’s CO2 emissions are high, with all engines polluting enough to sit in the highest BIK tax band, so it's an expensive choice as a company car.
Equipment, options and extras
You get a reasonable amount kit on the entry-level Macan, including 19in alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, cruise control, part-leather seats (heated in the front), three-zone climate control, power-folding door mirrors and automatic lights and wipers.
If you go higher up the range, you get 20in alloys or, on the range-topping GTS, 21s. You also get a smaller steering wheel, which is heated on the Macan T.
Depending on the Macan you choose, there are various suspension set-ups available, either as standard or as an option (see Performance & drive).
Porsche as a brand didn't fare particularly well in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing in 25th place (out of 30 manufacturers) in the overall league table. However, Macan owners reported their cars to be remarkably reliable – it was one of the most dependable SUVs in the survey.
While Porsche’s three-year warranty looks merely average, it is at least an unlimited-mileage policy.
Safety and security
Euro NCAP appraised the Macan for safety when it was first launched back in 2014, but this was so long ago the rating it received is no longer considered valid. If it was retested today, it would achieve a poor overall grade because automatic emergency braking (AEB) isn't fitted as standard. Most new cars come with this important safety aid.
Every Macan does have six airbags, including head and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags that offer protection to both front and rear occupants. Lane-departure warning is also standard, while lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot monitoring are on the options list.
An alarm and immobiliser are fitted, and the security experts at Thatcham Research awarded the Macan high ratings for its ability to protect against being stolen or broken into.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Yes. Although Porsche finished a lacklustre 25th out of 30 brands in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey (2021), the Macan was one of its better performing models. It was the most reliable luxury SUV aged up to five years old, with an impressive 97.9% score. Read more here
The Porsche Macan currently relies on petrol engines with outputs of between 261bhp and 434bhp, but the next-generation Macan will be a fully electric car. The electric Macan is due to go on sale in 2023 and will be sold alongside the current model. There is no hybrid engine option. Read more about the Macan’s engines here
The Porsche Macan sounds and feels much more special if you go for one of the models with a six-cylinder engine, rather than the entry-level, four-cylinder car. We’re particularly keen on the GTS, but if you can’t stretch to that, the cheaper S is a very good alternative. Read more here
There’s a big price jump from the Porsche Macan S to the GTS, but then it does bring a lot of desirable extras, including 18-way powered seats with adjustable lumbar support, a sports exhaust, adaptive dampers, air suspension and a lowered ride height that improves handling. The GTS also produces 434bhp to the S’s 375bhp. Read more here
All Porsche Macans have a 10.9in infotainment touchscreen that responds quickly to prods and is well positioned. That said, it’s still more distracting to use while driving than the dial-operated iDrive system you get in the BMW X3. Read more here
The Porsche Macan’s boot is comparable with those of most rivals, offering 500 litres of space, which is enough to take eight carry-on suitcases. The rival Audi Q5 goes one better – literally – swallowing nine cases. Read more here
Porsches hold their value far better than most cars, and such is the desirability of the Macan that it is among the best performing cars the brand makes. Our residual values experts estimate a Macan will retain 65-70% of its value after three years/36,000 miles, with the entry-level models doing especially well; for comparison, a BMW X5 is estimated to retain 45-60% depending on spec. Read more here
|RRP price range||£55,675 - £73,975|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||3|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||25 - 28|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£3,952 / £5,306|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£7,903 / £10,612|