2017 Porsche Cayenne

2017 Porsche Cayenne SUV Review

Want a sport-focused crossover with do-it-all capability? The Cayenne is a top choice.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

The 2017 Porsche Cayenne is both sporty and indulgent, and its comprehensive lineup ranges from a green-cred plug-in hybrid to a sports-car-beating all-star with a turbo V8. Park a Cayenne in your garage and you could be convinced that it's the best all-around crossover on the market.

Regardless of where you start in the Cayenne line — be it the 300-horsepower base model or 570-hp Turbo S — there is no shortage of options to equip and customize it to your liking. You've got close to 20 wheel choices alone, plus a dozen leather interior arrangements and numerous trim accents such as aluminum, carbon fiber, imitation suede or even more leather. Porsche offers an adjustable air suspension, electronically controlled dampers and active anti-roll bars that endow the Cayenne with physics-defying levels of handling.

Now, is the Cayenne vice-free? No. There are several optional features that should probably be standard from a utility standpoint. And although there is indeed a useful amount of passenger and cargo space, most similarly priced rivals outdo it. The E-Hybrid model is also so frustrating to drive that we would not recommend it. But with so much else to like from the 2017 Cayenne lineup, it is very much worthy of your consideration.



what's new

The 2017 Cayenne gets Porsche's latest (PCM 4.0) touchscreen infotainment system on every trim level, improving functionality. Limited Edition Cayenne and Cayenne S E-Hybrid Platinum models also join the range, bringing the trim level count up to eight. The Cayenne Diesel has been discontinued due to the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.

we recommend

Let's start with what we wouldn't recommend: the E-Hybrid. Inconsistent reactions from the gas and brake pedal are constant sources of frustration. We would avoid it. Otherwise, take your pick. From a performance and price perspective, the Cayenne S is probably the sweet spot and we would recommend getting the Porsche Connect Plus and Sport packages, as well as the adaptive cruise control system that includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Porsche Cayenne is a five-passenger midsize SUV available in an usually high number of trim levels: Cayenne, S, S E-Hybrid, GTS, Turbo and Turbo S. Each of these have different engines and a consequent increase in performance, although they do typically include a few extra features beyond what the trim below provides. For 2017 there are also two limited-edition models: the Cayenne Platinum and Cayenne S E-Hybrid Platinum. All come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Standard feature highlights for the base Cayenne include a 3.6-liter V6 (300 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque), 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, a power tailgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, partial leather upholstery, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat (with slide and recline), a 7-inch central touchscreen, a navigation system, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker audio system.

The Cayenne S upgrades to a 3.6-liter turbocharged V6 (420 hp, 406 lb-ft) plus 19-inch wheels, speed-sensitive variable steering effort (Power Steering Plus), a power-adjustable steering wheel, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, and driver-seat memory settings.

The Cayenne S E-Hybrid has a special hybrid-electric powertrain that features a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor that together produce 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. It also includes adaptive suspension dampers (PASM), Porsche Car Connect with E-Mobility (provides remote access to important hybrid features via a smartphone app), a 3.6-kilowatt onboard charger (a 7.2-kW charger is available) and an energy management display in the instrument cluster.

When you pick the Cayenne GTS you're back with a regular powertrain, in this case a more powerful version of the S engine good for 440 hp and 443 lb-ft. It also gets a variety of additional performance-enhancing elements that include 20-inch wheels, a specially tuned adjustable air suspension, larger high-performance brakes, front sport seats, partial simulated-suede upholstery and headliner, and unique exterior styling elements.

The Cayenne Turbo adds to the Cayenne S equipment a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 (520 hp, 553 lb-ft), adaptive LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, a full leather interior, upgraded front seats, heated rear outboard sport seats, and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.

The range-topping Cayenne Turbo S adds an even more powerful version of the Turbo V8 (570 hp, 590 lb-ft) plus 21-inch wheels, two-tone leather upholstery, carbon-fiber interior trim and the Sport Chrono package with dash-mounted timer. It also includes handling upgrades such as active anti-roll bars (PDCC), brake torque-vectoring and electronic-locking rear differential (PTV Plus) and ultra high-performance carbon-ceramic brakes.

The two Platinum Edition models adds a selection of popular options plus exclusive 20-inch wheels and special exterior trim. The E-Hybrid version also includes an auxiliary climate system that allows preheating or precooling of the cabin before occupants enter

Many features that come standard on upper trim levels can be ordered as stand-alone options. Indeed, like other Porsches, the Cayenne is one of the most customizable vehicles you can buy.

Then you've got even more choice from a dizzying options list. It starts with four main packages — Sport, Porsche Connect Plus, Premium and Premium Package Plus — and then goes to a huge list of standalone choices. All serve to enhance the Cayenne's performance, technology and audio, comfort, safety, and exterior and interior style. For a price, of course.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S (turbo 3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD). Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Cayenne since there have been no significant changes since then.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking5.0 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

5.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort5.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use5.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out5.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space2.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The 2017 Porsche Cayenne S isn't the sportiest trim available from Porsche, but it provides a surprisingly high level of on-road performance, even by sedan standards. Combine this with a good tow rating plus off-road competence, and you end up with a surprisingly versatile SUV.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Motivating more than two-and-a-half tons of vehicle to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds is a tall order, but the Cayenne S does so without breaking a sweat. At full throttle, the all-wheel-drive Cayenne launches from a standstill without drama.

braking

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The Cayenne S needed just 106 feet to stop from 60 mph in our tests, which is better than many dedicated sports cars with summer tires.

steering

edmunds rating
The steering response and feel are about as good as it gets in a SUV. The reduced assist (heavier steering feel) in Sport and Sport Plus modes is suitable for enthusiastic driving, while Comfort mode provides effortless parking-lot and around-town maneuvering.

handling

edmunds rating
The Cayenne's handling is impressive in a vehicle of this size. Although it had a nose-heavy attitude around the long, sustained arc of our skid pad test, the Cayenne S handles real-world driving amazingly well.

drivability

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This is an easy SUV to drive overall, but leaving stoplights can take longer than expected due to a slight delay from both the eight-speed automatic transmission and the engine. The auto start-stop system isn't intrusive unless driving in very heavy traffic.

comfort

edmunds rating
The 2017 Cayenne S combines a quiet cabin with seating that preserves comfort for long-distance cruising and still offers excellent support for more dynamic driving. The optional adjustable air suspension is key in this area, offering varied height and ride-comfort settings.

seat comfort

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Several front seat designs are available, but they mostly differ in the number of adjustments, including those for the bolsters. All are superb in terms of long-distance and cornering support. The rear bench is split 40/20/40 for improved comfort and versatility.

ride comfort

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On the softest suspension setting of three available (Comfort), the Cayenne's underlying sporting nature can still be discerned. The ride isn't harsh in the least, but if you're expecting pillow-like comfort, look elsewhere.

noise & vibration

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The Cayenne's cabin is quiet at all times and keeps wind and road noise to a minimum. A low-frequency engine/exhaust note at idle is a little louder than expected, especially given the Cayenne's lack of a burly exhaust sound at full throttle.

interior

edmunds rating
Porsche does interiors well. The 2017 Cayenne's cabin layout is highly intuitive and well insulated, and it has excellent fit and finish. Whether you spend your time commuting or taking long road trips, the Cayenne provides a fast-moving sanctuary of comfort from the world outside.

ease of use

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Like Apple's iPhone, the Cayenne's controls and switchgear require little instruction and effort to use. The number of buttons may be dizzying at first glance, but the layout is thoughtful and quickly becomes second nature.

getting in/getting out

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The door openings are typical for an SUV, opening to nearly 90 degrees. The seat cushions have more aggressive lateral bolstering than in most rivals (even in the back), but the adjustable air suspension option allows for low step-in and loading heights.

driving position

With so many available adjustments, the Cayenne's many seating options should all provide a better driving position than can be achieved in most other vehicles. A low-slung, 911-like seating position it's not, but you'll definitely feel in control and part of the car.

roominess

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Headroom is abundant, as is shoulder and hip room for the front passengers. The high center console reduces some open cabin air space, but it isn't a hindrance. In back, rear legroom is adequate, but not much more.

visibility

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The door-mounted side mirrors provide a clearer view out the windows (compared to the more typical mounting next to the roof pillar), but the mirrors themselves are small. The optional Lane Change Assist is pretty much a necessity.

quality

edmunds rating
Build quality is something at which Porsche consistently excels, and the Cayenne is no exception. The interior design is thoughtful and functional, with high-quality materials and tight fit. Everything is finished to an elegant standard.

utility

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Does the Cayenne offer more utility than other Porsches and other vehicles similar performance? Yes. However, for an SUV of its size and weight, its utility disappoints. Similarly priced rivals are almost all better in this regard.

small-item storage

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With its high center console packed with buttons, there really isn't much opportunity for small item storage beyond the smallish under-armrest bin and glovebox. At least the door pockets are of a fair size.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The Cayenne concedes considerable cargo room to its competition, with 24 cubic feet with the seats raised and 63 cubic feet with them folded. That's about what you can expect from compact luxury SUVs (though it is a fair bit more room than the Macan has).

technology

The Porsche Cayenne offers most of the infotainment and safety tech expected at this price range. Note we said "offers" because most of it is optional. Features such as a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and forward collision warning are often standard these days on far cheaper cars.

audio & navigation

The Cayenne gets a jolt for 2017 with Porsche's new touchscreen interface. It's quicker to respond, easier to use, less prone to fingerprints and can be equipped with Apple CarPlay. Pretty good for the segment, though, you may prefer the functionality of rival systems.

driver aids

Essentially all driving aids are optional: a rearview camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control (includes forward collision warning with auto-brake). Some of this should be standard at this price.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.