2019 Porsche Cayenne Review: Flavor Without The HeatAugust 14, 2019
People have strong opinions about Porsche. “You need this trim, not that trim. It’s not a real Porsche with that engine. How could you possibly get that body style?” But here’s a dirty secret: a base Porsche is still a Porsche.
That’s been true with the 911 and it’s true with the latest Cayenne, too. While down on power compared to other variants, the 335-horsepower version of Stuttgart’s acclaimed SUV does 90 percent of what the S and Turbo variants do for a more reasonable price, all while offering a less aggressive character. At the same time, it’s available with broadly similar equipment and customization options.
Bless Porsche. Outfit it properly – an easy task – and the base Cayenne looks every bit like the more aggressive variants. And that’s all while benefiting from a redesign that makes this the most attractive Cayenne yet.
The overall face is broadly similar to last year’s model. That’s to say it’s attractive. The Panamera-inspired headlights aren’t dramatically different than the second-gen Cayenne, but the new fascia and its horizontal intakes are far more attractive. Uniform in height and with a smaller section of body color trim beneath, the Cayenne also bears a closer resemblance to the latest 911. That’s no bad thing.
But it’s out back where the third-generation Cayenne improves the most, ditching the blob-like taillights of yesteryear for units heavily inspired by the 911. With a light strip tying the two lamps together and also serving as home for the “PORSCHE” badging, the rear end of the 2019 Cayenne is the best of its many good angles.
In the cabin, the 2019 Cayenne takes heavy inspiration from the Panamera sedan with an all-glass layout dominated by a 12.3-inch touchscreen display in the center stack and twin 7.0-inch displays that flank a central tachometer and digital speedometer. Touch-capacitive controls on the tall central display complement the Cayenne’s modern interior design, while the upright, horizontal shape of the dash harkens back to classic Porsches in much the same way as the new 911’s dash does.
Our lightly optioned base Cayenne is a reassuring sign that you don’t need to go mad with Porsche’s wide catalog of options for trim and upholstery. Aside from optional black leather on the seats and dash (we recommend this $3,750 expenditure wholeheartedly), the base cabin with piano-black trim and high-quality plastics scattered throughout is plenty good. Save your pennies on interior decor, unless you absolutely can’t live without carbon-fiber or wood trim (you can, we promise).
Porsche offers two distinct seats in the Cayenne: Comfort (with both eight- and 14-way options) and Sport Seats Plus. With all due respect to Cayenne owners out there who have ordered the sportier, more expensive…