Reviewers are generally smitten with the 2012 Porsche Cayenne, which they say delivers the best driving dynamics of any midsize SUV and provides luxury in spades. As far as luxury SUVs go, the Cayenne hits all the check boxes with a bevy of available high-tech options, a finely detailed interior and unique looks. Following a redesign for the 2011 model year, the 2012 Cayenne carries on essentially unchanged save for the availability of a new blind-spot warning system and some available performance upgrades for the Cayenne Turbo. For a complete picture of reviewer feedback on the Cayenne, visit our report on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne (Base MSRP: $47,700 to $106,000).
Some reviewers complain that the Cayenne's ride is too stiff for normal driving conditions and that it does not have a strong reputation for reliability. While there's no question that the Cayenne delivers a boatload of luxury features, the various trim levels and options can rocket prices well into six-figure territory.
Drivers seeking a proven blend of luxury and performance at a lower price should take a long look at the 2012 Acura MDX. It's less exotic, but is renowned for its handling and delivers excellent everyday utility.
The Porsche Cayenne is offered with a range of engines, including a 3.6-liter V6 making 300 horsepower, a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 and a 500-horsepower 4.8-liter turbo V8. There's also a Cayenne Hybrid, which uses a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in addition to its battery-powered hybrid drive system for a total output of 380 horsepower. A six-speed manual is available on the base V6 model; otherwise, all Cayennes have an eight-speed automatic transmission.
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
V6 manual: 15 mpg city / 22 highway / 17 combined
V6 auto: 16 mpg city / 23 highway / 19 combined
V8 auto: 16 mpg city / 22 highway / 18 combined
V8 turbo auto: 15 mpg city / 22 highway / 17 combined
V6 hybrid: 20 mpg city / 24 highway / 21 combined
Estimates assume the use of premium-grade gasoline. As if to illustrate just how well modern automatic transmissions can be programmed to maximize fuel efficiency, the Cayenne Turbo has identical EPA fuel economy estimates as the Cayenne with the base V6 and a stick shift, despite making full 200-horsepower more. Realistically, you're unlikely to ever come across a manual-shift Cayenne unless you explicitly order one. Dealers are far more likely to stock automatics.
NHTSA Safety Ratings:
Front Impact: Not tested
Side Impact: Not tested
Rollover Resistance: Not tested
Overall: Not tested
IIHS Safety Ratings:
Front Offset Impact: Not tested
Side Impact: Not tested
Roof Strength: Not tested
As it does for every new model, Edmunds.com provides a detailed synopsis of the 2012 Cayenne's features and hands-on feedback of how it is to drive.
Review: 2012 Porsche Cayenne, Editors of Edmunds.com
The Porsche Cayenne was all new in 2011, so changes to the 2012 model are limited to larger optional carbon ceramic brakes and a new blind-spot warning system.
Review: 2011 Porsche Cayenne, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, May 2012
The 2012 Porsche Cayenne should return anywhere from 17 to 21 mpg in overall driving, depending on trim level and powertrain, according to EPA estimates.
Review: 2012 Porsche Cayenne, U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency