The 2011 Porsche Cayenne ranks 9 out of 17 Luxury Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 50 published reviews and test drives of the Porsche Cayenne, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.The Porsche Cayenne is an SUV for those who would rather be driving a sports car. It's a luxurious, sexy and powerful alternative to a minivan or the ho-hum SUVs that make up the luxury midsize pack -- and now there’s even a hybrid model for drivers concerned about fuel economy or the environment.Think the Cayenne is too good to be true? For some, it is. Unless you're rolling in money, the Cayenne's steep sticker price is quite a wake-up call. At $46,700, the Cayenne's base price might seem like a steal for the Porsche name -- but it can skyrocket to more than $100,000 depending on trim (and if you opt for the super-powerful Turbo model, that’s even before you add options). Plus, the all-new S Hybrid starts at $67,700, which makes it the most expensive hybrid SUV on the market.
Of course, for that cash you're getting genuine Porsche performance, status and style with the practicality of an SUV. PLus, if you go for the hybrid, test drivers say it sacrifices surprisingly little in the way of performance for its gas/electric powertrain."Perhaps most important is that the Cayenne S Hybrid still largely felt like a Porsche,” says Motor Trend. “Granted, the Cayenne isn't the sportiest member of the Porsche range, but it does offer a level of precision, feel, and driver gratification that is lacking in many other luxury SUVs." The hybrid model isn’t the only big news for the Cayenne. Porsche has redesigned all Cayenne models with updated styling, more power, and even better fuel economy. The new model has a sleeker exterior design, but it’s actually larger than the previous model. That means more cargo space and room for rear-seat passengers -- a plus for families. The Cayenne has also shaved about 400 pounds off its curb weight, which makes it more agile and fuel-efficient overall.
Other Luxury SUVs to Consider
The Cayenne's biggest shortfall is definitely its price. While competitors can't match its sheer power, there are a few that might be perfectly acceptable for buyers who just want a plush daily driver.Anyone considering the Cayenne should also look at the Volkswagen Touareg. Since the two are platform-mates, the Touareg's mechanics are identical to the base Cayenne. The VW has also been redesigned for 2011 and costs considerably less than the Porsche. It starts at around $5,700 less than the Cayenne. The Touareg Hybrid, which is also virtually identical to the Cayenne S Hybrid, starts at around $51,000 -- considerably less than the Cayenne Hybrid’s base price of $67,700. If you can live without the Porsche name and higher end engines, the Touareg is undoubtedly a better value. If you’re looking at a luxury hybrid, also consider the new Mercedes ML450 Hybrid, which starts at $55,000 and still costs considerably less than the Cayenne S Hybrid. Though it can't match the Cayenne's sporty ride, it costs less and comes with the same high level of prestige and refinement. But again, a Benz doesn’t provide the same level of sporty cachet as a Porsche.