2018 Porsche Cayenne

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MSRP: $60,600 - 161,600

2018 Porsche Cayenne Review

Thanks to its unmatched performance and luxurious, refined interior, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne sits in the top tier of the luxury midsize SUV class.

8.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 9.3
Interior: 8.3
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

 

  • Potent optional engines
  • Sharp handling
  • Handsome, well-built interior
  • Quiet, comfortable ride

 

 

  • Small cargo hold
  • Abundant buttons and knobs can be overwhelming
  • Starting price and options are more expensive than most

 

Is the Porsche Cayenne a Good SUV?

The Porsche Cayenne is a marvelous luxury midsize SUV. The base engine has plenty of power for daily driving, and authoritative V6 and V8 engines take things up a notch with superior power and acceleration. This 2-row SUV also has sharp steering and dynamic handling, while still maintaining a comfortable ride.

Should I Buy the Porsche Cayenne?

If you're looking for the spaciousness and higher ride height of a midsize SUV mixed with the agility and power of a sports car, the Porsche Cayenne should be on your short list. Horsepower ranges from 300 to 570. Add-ons like active air suspension and launch control make for a more thrilling ride.

While the Cayenne has many admirable traits, it's also one of the more expensive options in the luxury midsize SUV class. There are many well-built luxury SUVs with starting prices that don't cross the $60,000 threshold. Two models that cost less and still deliver sporty performance are the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5. If you're looking for a more luxurious cabin and advanced technology, you'll want to take a look at the Volvo XC90.

Compare the Cayenne, X5, and Q7 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Porsche Cayenne?

Porsche made no major changes to the Cayenne for 2018, so you can likely save money by shopping for a very similar used model (especially since high-end vehicles like this depreciate rather quickly). The 2017 Cayenne offers some technological improvements over 2016 and earlier models, which makes it a better bet. The Porsche Communication Management system (PCM) was upgraded to allow for smartphonelike gestures on the touch screen, making it easier to use. This model year also received voice-activated navigation, 3D navigation rendering in some areas, and smartphone connectivity through Apple CarPlay. You may find diesel versions of the Cayenne, but those will be limited to models from 2016 and earlier. These models are affected by issues related to the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Porsche Cayenne. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for information on incentives of used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Porsche Cayenne »

We Did the Research for You: 52 Reviews Analyzed

No need to hassle with countless websites to find out if you should buy the new Porsche Cayenne. We have all the information you need in our comprehensive 2018 Porsche Cayenne review. Evaluations from more than 50 reviews are included in our overview, along with concrete data such as fuel economy ratings, expected reliability, interior dimensions, and performance specs. This 2018 Porsche Cayenne review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2011 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, our goal is to help make your buying decision easier by providing you with straightforward, unbiased information. To remain unbiased, we use a third party for our advertising and don't accept pricey gifts or trips from car companies. Our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined, and we’ve been ranking and reviewing cars since 2007.

How Much Does the Porsche Cayenne Cost?

The Cayenne is one of the most expensive luxury midsize SUVs you can buy. Its starting price of $60,600 is about $10,000 above average for this class, though rivals like the Maserati Levante and Land Rover Range Rover Sport cost more.

In addition to the base model, Porsche offers this SUV in five other trim levels: the Platinum Edition ($66,700), the Cayenne S ($77,400), the GTS ($98,600), the Turbo ($118,100), and the Turbo S ($161,600). Pricing for the Cayenne E-Hybrid, which we review separately, starts at $79,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

Porsche Cayenne Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Porsche Cayenne or Land Rover Range Rover?

Like the Porsche, the Land Rover Range Rover has a top-notch interior, a powerful engine lineup, and a smooth ride. The main difference between these two is the type of performance they deliver and how much cargo space they provide. The Range Rover has excellent off-road chops, while the Porsche Cayenne feels most at home on paved roads. You also get more cargo space in the Range Rover, which is part of the luxury large SUV class. It provides 71.1 cubic feet of overall cargo space compared to the Cayenne's 62.9 cubic feet (except in Turbo and Turbo S models). There's also a long-wheelbase Range Rover model that surpasses 80 cubic feet. The Range Rover and its extra space come at a steep price that’s at least $25,000 higher than the Cayenne. Unless off-road prowess and cargo space are priorities, the Porsche is the one to go for.

Which Is Better: Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5?

For more cargo or passenger space than the Cayenne delivers, check out the BMW X5. Compared to the Cayenne, the X5 has a higher max cargo capacity by 13.8 cubic feet, which is enough room for roughly 10 extra bags of groceries. The BMW also has an optional third row that increases seating to seven, though the extra seats aren’t spacious. However, having the third row doesn't dampen the X5's power or handling. Though the X5 has more space, the Cayenne has stronger acceleration and more power. While the Cayenne comes standard with all-wheel drive, the X5 offers it as an option. The BMW's extra cargo room, lower price, and better predicted reliability rating make it the SUV to pick – that is, unless you want the superior performance of the Porsche.

Which Is Better: Porsche Cayenne or Porsche Macan?

The Porsche Macan closely matches the Cayenne's interior refinement and agility. Its starting price of $47,800 is almost $13,000 lower than the Cayenne’s. However, the Macan has less passenger and cargo space than the Cayenne. If you can't compromise on space, you're better off with the Cayenne. Otherwise, the Macan is a great value compared to the Cayenne.

Compare the Cayenne, Range Rover, and Macan »

Cayenne Interior

How Many People Does the Cayenne Seat?

You won't have much trouble finding a comfortable seating position in the five-person Cayenne, whether you are occupying one of the well-cushioned front seats or lounging in the back on the rear seats that slide and recline. Leather-trimmed seats are standard, and you can build a swankier ride by checking off options like 18-way power-adjustable sport seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and two-tone designs.

Cayenne and Car Seats

You can easily fit two child seats in the back of the Cayenne, thanks in part to its ample legroom and sliding-and-reclining rear seats. There are two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors, and all of the LATCH hardware is clearly marked and user-friendly. The only issue comes from installing a rear-facing convertible seat with a large base, which doesn't fit as well.

Cayenne Interior Quality

The interior of the Cayenne is handsome, with high-grade materials and a solid build quality. It isn't quite as opulent as some. For example, the Mercedes-Benz GLE can be outfitted with massaging front seats, Nappa leather upholstery, and a cabin air purification system. That said, there are still plenty of refined materials to select from, including carbon fiber trimmings, aluminum accents, and wood inlays made of natural olive or yachting mahogany.

Cayenne Cargo Space

Behind the rear seats, the Cayenne has one of the smallest cargo holds among luxury midsize SUVs. Its 23.6 cubic feet of space is too small for a set of full-grown Golden Retrievers; it’s closer to the average size of a luxury compact SUV. You can expand the cargo area to 62.9 cubic feet by laying the back seat down, and the standard power liftgate makes loading easier when your hands are full.

Cayenne Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Cayenne's infotainment system comes with the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) interface, a fairly intuitive system. Its touch screen is responsive, though at 7 inches, it’s a bit small in comparison to the BMW X5's 10.2-inch screen. Crowding around all sides of the gear selector are numerous buttons and dials. Some find this layout overwhelming and distracting, but others note that once you find frequently used controls, you don't have to rely on the touch screen to change settings. Other standard equipment includes navigation, a USB port, and Bluetooth. A selection of high-end sound system and entertainment upgrades is available.

Read more about interior »

Cayenne Performance

Cayenne Engine: Uplevel Engines Are Best

If you're buying a Porsche SUV for its performance, then you'll probably want to skip over the entry-level engine. There's nothing wrong with the base V6 engine, it just doesn't deliver the same brawn as the other options. The Cayenne S is a superb midlevel choice. Its V6 engine comes with twin turbochargers and a 420-horsepower rating. At the top of the mountain are the Turbo and Turbo S models. These use a V8 engine to crank out 520 horsepower and 570 horsepower, respectively.

Cayenne Gas Mileage: From Average to Gluttonous

The downside of the Cayenne's upgraded engines is their thirst for fuel. You'll get about 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway from the V6 engines, which is close to the average fuel economy for an SUV this size. Gas mileage for the V8 engines drops to 14 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway.

Cayenne Ride and Handling: Outstanding in Its Class

Handling is where the Cayenne really stands apart from its peers. The sharp steering, controlled handling, and sporty suspension system make this SUV thrilling to drive, and standard all-wheel drive adds extra grip. It's also effortless to maneuver and has a smooth ride quality, both of which make it easy to live with as a daily driver or road trip vehicle.

Read more about performance »

Cayenne Reliability

Is the Porsche Cayenne Reliable?

The 2018 Cayenne has an average predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Porsche Cayenne Warranty

The 2018 Cayenne comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, which is typical coverage for this class.

Read more about reliability »

Cayenne Safety

Cayenne Crash Test Results

The Porsche Cayenne, like many other high-end vehicles, has not undergone crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its lack of a safety rating has no bearing on whether or not this is a safe SUV, however.

Cayenne Safety Features

No advanced safety features come standard in the Porsche Cayenne, which is a bit surprising given its price and luxury category. There are numerous driver assistance features available, though, including adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a surround-view camera, and emergency brake assist.

Read more about safety »

Which Porsche Cayenne Model Is Right for Me?

There are six different trim levels for 2018: base Cayenne, Platinum Edition, S, GTS, Turbo, and Turbo S. As you move up in trim level (and price), a few extra features get added. But the biggest difference between the Cayenne models is what's under the hood. Engines range from the base model's 300-horsepower V6 to the Turbo S model's 570-horsepower V8. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard in every trim. The lengthy options list includes advanced safety features, a multitude of interior finishes, lots of entertainment add-ons, and a few performance enhancements, so you can outfit your new Porsche exactly the way you want.

If you're seeking a satisfying blend of performance and opulence, we recommend the Cayenne S. Its V6 engine features twin turbochargers (along with other performance upgrades) and is rated at 420 horsepower. It's not the most potent Cayenne in the paddock, but with its $77,400 sticker price, it's more attainable for most shoppers than the six-figure-plus price tags attached to the V8 models.

Porsche Cayenne

Retail prices for the base Cayenne start at $60,600. Standard equipment includes a 3.6-liter V6 engine, dual-zone climate control, leather-trimmed seats, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a power liftgate.

Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition

The Cayenne Platinum Edition comes with the base V6 engine, Alcantara leather seating inserts, heated front seats, a 14-speaker Bose premium audio system, 20-inch wheels, and front and rear parking sensors. Pricing starts at $66,700.

Porsche Cayenne S

The Porsche Cayenne S starts at $77,400. It adds a 420-horsepower twin-turbocharged engine and a moonroof.

Porsche Cayenne GTS

The Cayenne GTS ($98,600) comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6, though its engine is tuned to 440 horsepower. It features the Sport Design package (featuring special body panels), an active air suspension system, Alcantara interior trimmings, and 20-inch wheels.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Starting at $118,100, the Cayenne Turbo is equipped with a 520-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 engine.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

The Cayenne Turbo S tunes the Turbo’s V8 to churn out 570 horsepower. Pricing for this top-end model starts at $161,600.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

See 2018 Porsche Cayenne specs and trims »

The Final Call

The invigorating experience you get behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne is like no other. Step up to one of the twin-turbocharged V6 or robust V8 models, and off-the-line acceleration becomes electrifying, as does top speed. The sharp handling may be second nature for a sports car, but it's especially impressive from a vehicle this size. Rounding out the Cayenne's splendid overall package is a refined interior and an abundance of available upgrades.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2018 Porsche Cayenne is one of those vehicles that has a broad range of appeal. On one hand, it's an SUV that is focused on performance, yet it's very luxurious and easy to live with on an everyday basis." -- Edmunds
  • "What We Like Impressive power and handling; high-quality interiors; fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid option; sports-car performance in an SUV. What We Don't Extensive options list quickly escalates already elevated base price; offers practical but not as voluminous options as other SUVs; punishing fuel economy in high-powered gas versions." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "You'll Like This Car If... The 2017 Porsche's Cayenne doesn't just get you there. It's more than just a car. It's an experience involving all your senses and, if used correctly, your adrenal glands. It's an SUV that combines performance, style, luxury and cutting-edge technology into possibly the most functional driver's car of all time. You May Not Like This Car If... The Porsche Cayenne remains exclusive because of its price, high even by Trump standards. The 7-passenger Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 can coddle your family for half the money. Even the Cayenne's German rivals, such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, although less sporting, will give you change back." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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