Avg. Price Paid:$51,710 - $80,256
Original MSRP: $48,200 - $107,100
MPG: 15 City / 22 Hwy
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2012 Porsche Cayenne Review

Review Last Updated: 10/10/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Overall, reviewers love the way the 2012 Porsche Cayenne drives, but they’re not sure if its excellent handling will make up for its lack of standard features and expensive optional equipment.

There’s no doubt that test drivers think the 2012 Porsche Cayenne is one of the best-driving SUVs on the market .They think the optional engines provide wicked amounts of power and note that the top-of-the-line Turbo model can chase down traditional sports cars on a track. By most accounts, this is the luxury SUV to own if you consider yourself a driving enthusiast.

However, the Cayenne’s Porsche badge also gets it in trouble with automotive journalists. They tend to compare it with other Porsches, like the Panamera sedan and the iconic 911, but the Cayenne doesn’t usually come out on top. Though its base V6 engine is good enough for most commuters and around-town errand-runners, reviewers say the Cayenne lacks the punch-in-the-gut acceleration other Porsches have. Plus, the Cayenne’s standard interior features list also reflects some Porsche traditions that the auto press doesn’t appreciate. Its standard features list is depressingly short, and equipping a Cayenne with extras easily adds thousands to its bottom line.

If you’re considering a Porsche, you probably care about performance more than value. True to its German roots, testers say that’s exactly what you’ll get in the Cayenne.

Other Luxury SUVs to Consider

Another driver-oriented crossover SUV is the BMW X5. It comes in five trims, including a diesel trim, which many journalists pine for in the Cayenne. There’s even a high-performance X5 M, which has a monster engine with tons of horsepower, and standard all-wheel drive that can give the Cayenne Turbo a run for its money. Like most Porches, BMWs aren’t particularly known for their extensive standard features list or great value , but the X5’s trims are all less expensive than their Porsche Cayenne counterparts. The X5 M undercuts the Cayenne Turbo by about $20,000, and still packs more horsepower than the Porsche.

For a more reasonably-priced luxury SUV that still has sporting intentions, consider the Infiniti FX. It comes with lots of standard features that the Cayenne doesn’t, like a Bose sound system, rearview camera and push-button start, but its base price is significantly lower than the Cayenne’s. Many test drivers say the FX’s biggest flaw is that it’s geared toward performance, rather than comfort. Putting its stiff suspension in Sport mode can make the ride bumpy over rough pavement. If you’re looking for an isolated, smooth-as-butter ride, this Infiniti isn’t a great choice. But if you’re looking for an SUV with great handling and performance, lots of standard features and a competitive price, the Infiniti FX35 and FX50 are great alternatives to the Cayenne.

Details: Porsche Cayenne

The 2012 Porsche Cayenne comes in three trims: base Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. The Cayenne S Hybrid is reviewed separately, but all four models come standard with all-wheel drive. For 2012, the Cayenne gets an available blind spot warning system. The Turbo trim gets an optional package that increases the engine’s output by 40 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque, and its optional carbon ceramic brakes are a bit larger. See the full list of 2012 Porsche Cayenne specs.

  • "If you can live with modest cargo capability and an immodest price tag, it's definitely a top pick.” -- Edmunds
  • "The Porsche Cayenne remains problematic from a brand purist's point of view: it's too big, too mass-market, too similar to other products from the Volkswagen Group (in this sense, it's a harbinger of the future).  For the luxury SUV buyer unburdened by such philosophical concerns, however, the Cayenne is a compelling vehicle.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "… the Turbo's tab could fill a Louis Vuitton tote with Benjamins. And that bag doesn't even include a trick-or-treat jaunt down Accessory Street, a trip that can easily add five figures. Still, given the Turbo's breathtaking abilities on both the racetrack and the dirt track, it's a price that will have 911 Turbo owners convincing themselves, ‘Maybe it's time for me to move into an SUV.’” -- Motor Trend

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