KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 5/3/2013
As the "Porsche" badge would require, the 2014 Cayenne is arguably the sportiest SUV on the market, striking a truly unique compromise between performance and utility. Quick acceleration, lively handling and lots of pure driving pleasure characterize this family hauler. Unlike many performance-oriented luxury SUVs, the Porsche Cayenne is also a highly proficient off-roader, and it can tow as much as 7,716 pounds. Meanwhile, it comfortably accommodates up to five passengers and lots of gear. The 2014 lineup is comprised of seven unique trims, each with its own engine, including the fuel-efficient Cayenne Diesel and the ferocious 550-horsepower Turbo S. The BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class provide competition, but don't match the wide-ranging talents of the Porsche Cayenne.
You'll Like This Car If...
Despite a conservative shape, the 2014 Cayenne is all Porsche. It might be the ideal choice for any sports car enthusiast who needs the additional versatility and cargo space of an SUV.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Though the Cayenne's starting price is competitively low (under $50,000), adding even some basic equipment gets expensive quickly. If you need to carry more than five passengers, look at the 3-row Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Audi Q7 or Infiniti JX (renamed the QX60 for 2014).
What's New for 2014
Since the high-efficiency diesel variant joined the Cayenne family last year, and the top-of-the-line, 550-horsepower Turbo S went on sale recently, there are no substantive changes for 2014. The Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus becomes an option across the line.
Compared to its predecessor, and to most any other performance-oriented SUV on the market, the current, 2nd-generation Cayenne is remarkably Porsche-like in the way it translates driver input into action. Its ability to leap from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 175 mph puts the Cayenne Turbo S at the top of the performance-SUV heap. But even in base form, the Cayenne outfitted with a manual transmission is hardly a performance slouch. The Cayenne S Hybrid also delivers impressive performance, though in normal traffic conditions, it can suffer some of the brake and throttle quirks typical of many hybrid vehicles. Our favorite member of the group may be the Cayenne Diesel, which offers much of the same stirring performance of its gasoline-burning siblings while also delivering well over 30 mpg on the highway, according to our road test data.
PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING PLUS
Porsche's available PTV Plus torque-vectoring system sends a little extra thrust to the appropriate outside rear wheel when cornering, helping the Cayenne track truer to steering input. Combined with active suspension management and dynamic chassis control, PTV Plus helps the Cayenne respond like a lightweight sports car instead of an SUV.
CERAMIC COMPOSITE BRAKES
At nearly $9,000, the optional ceramic-composite brakes are brutally expensive. But shorter braking distances, better fade resistance, longer rotor life and boundless sex appeal are real benefits.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…