Review: Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017)

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Refined with sports-car like handling. Great performance. Low emissions from hybrid version. Stylish and high-class cabin. Frugal diesel.

Hybrid not as good to drive as the rest of the engines.

Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017): At A Glance

While Porsche may be best known for its high performance sports cars, the original Porsche Cayenne is actually the firm's best selling model ever. The combination of 4x4 practicality with the handling of a Porsche, seems to have found plenty of fans. This second generation Porsche Cayenne builds on that with improvements all round, most notably in the cabin which has an even more upmarket appearance.

It's also lighter than the original model which has benefits for handling and efficiency. Fuel economy has improved by around 20 per cent and the impressively refined V6 diesel model can return up to 41.5mpg according to the official figures, so it's no surprise that it's the most popular choice.

The handling is a revelation too. Despite weighing in at two tonnes, the Porsche Cayenne feels like a two-seater sports car from behind the wheel with great control and superb agility. Despite this, it rides very well, providing impressive long distance comfort.

Naturally this is combined with a sophisticated interior which is a big step up from the previous model. It's influenced by the four-door Panamera which means lots of buttons. It may not the be the most modern design, but the quality and finish are both excellent

But the big news is the introduction of a Hybrid model which makes its debut in the Cayenne. This offers the high performance you'd expect of a supercharged Porsche but with low CO2 emissions and good economy. Unfortunately, it's not as enjoyable to drive as the other models - including the diesel - and feels a little lacklustre at times.

The pinnacle of the range is the monstrous Turbo S which manages to cover 0-62mph in a mere 4.1 seconds. It's thunderously quick with an exhaust note to match but it's also thirsty with a claimed 24.6mpg while a £120,000 price tag means it's a rare sight.

The Cayenne is simply the best handling 4x4 on the market. It's not an especially cheap car to buy, while the long list of pricey options can easily add thousands onto the price, but no other 4x4 comes anywhere near when it comes to delivering the all round package of agility, performance and practicality.

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2015 Road Test

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What does a Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017) cost?

Contract hire from £765.01 per month

Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4846–4926 mm
Width 1939–2165 mm
Height 1673–1708 mm
Wheelbase 2895 mm

Full specifications

While the exterior of the second Cayenne may look familiar compared to the original, the interior is totally different. It's clear this is an area where Porsche has focussed on in order to help it stand out from the competition and it's been a huge success. It has a truly distinctive feel and thanks to the sheer number of colours, trims and finishes available it's possible to have a near bespoke cabin.

The design and layout are influenced by the Porsche Panamera and the most noticeable feature is the high-placed, wide central console. This helps give the Cayenne a far more cockpit-like feel than before so you feel surrounded by all the main controls and switches.

Rather than have a dial-based control system for the main functions (like Audi and BMW), Porsche instead has individual buttons for each function. This means the design isn't as clean as other premium 4x4s, but it's in keeping with the sports car feel and as all the buttons are clearly labelled, it's easy to work out what each does.

It certainly has a modern and sophisticated feel, helped by features such as the thick polished metal air vents and door handles. This continues on the centre console, while the stitched leather on the dash top and doors is wonderfully tactile. It truly stands out from other premium cabins and gives the Porsche a real edge over German alternatives - only the Range Rover Sport can match it.

All cars come with eight-way electrically adjustable front seats and electric adjustment on the steering column, so even the tallest and shortest driver's can find the perfect driving position. The supple leather seats are supremely comfortable, yet have plenty of enveloping support at the sides and underneath. The raised height also gives a good view out and although rear visibility is a little awkward, both front and rear parking sensors come as standard.

And it's not just in the front where occupants are treated well. Those in the back get plenty of leg room and the same design of cosseting leather seats. Compared to the previous Cayenne, this model is marginally longer and this has benefits for both passenger space, along with a larger boot - now 1780 litres overall.

Equipment from launch (May 2010):

Standard model

Every Cayenne comes with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox (except the 3.6 V6 petrol which has a six-speed manual), 18-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, a 100-litre fuel tank, Porsche Traction Management, leather interior, front and rear parking sensors, eight-way electrically adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, audio system with seven-inch touchscreen, vehicle tracking system and a Porsche Driving Experience at Silverstone.

Cayenne Turbo

Adds air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management, sat nav (part of the Porsche Communication Management), three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, Bose audio system, heated seats and metallic paint.

Child seats that fit a Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017) like to drive?

It may be a large 4x4 but from behind the wheel, the Cayenne feels like a proper Porsche sports car. The steering is precise and although it could perhaps do with a little more feel, it's more than you'd expect from an 'off-roader' - push it into a corner and it shows incredible poise and agility for what is a two-tonne vehicle.

The standard suspension set-up is mightily effective too, especially when it comes to preventing body roll in corners, yet it's still comfortable. True, it's noticeable firmer than other 4x4s, but it's impressively forgiving and deals well with rough surfaces.

In fact, although this is a performance off-roader, it's amazingly refined and even at Autobahn speeds, there's minimal intrusion from wind or road noise. This same quality feel translates to the engines too, from the entry-level models up to the sublime Turbo S.

The 'base' model is a 3.6-litre V6 petrol with 300PS (the only version to come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard rather than the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic on the rest of the range), but most people choose the excellent 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel.

It may be the least powerful engine in the range with 240PS but thanks to 550Nm it's as quick as the V6 petrol from 0-62mph, taking 7.8 seconds. Porsche has also worked to reduced weight in the Cayenne which has benefits for both handling and economy. As a result, the diesel can return an average 38.2mpg with respectable CO2 emissions of 195g/km.

In 2014 the Cayenne D was improved with power upped to 262PS and torque boosted to 580Nm. This drops the 0-62mph time by half a second yet the most notable change is to economy with the claimed figure improving to 41.5mpg.

On the road the Cayenne D certainly doesn't feel like the poor relation in the family. In fact, its effortless ability to gain pace, plus a deep engine note make it the perfect engine for this Porsche, especially when it comes to long distance motorway driving.

But the big talking point of the second Cayenne is the introduction of the Hybrid model. This uses a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine combined with an electric motor, which together produce 380PS and 580Nm of torque.

It's identical to the system that's used in the Volkswagen Touareg and certainly delivers on performance with a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. Of course the real benefits are CO2 emissions of 193g/km and economy of 34.4mpg.

However, while it's quick from a standstill, in everyday driving the Hybrid is somewhat disappointing. It has to be worked quite hard to get decent pace and often needs to provoked, which then results in high revs where the engine sounds a little strained rather than sporty. However, the technology used is still very clever. At low speeds the electric motor propels the car - in a quite eerie silence - up to 37mph, while if you want quicker acceleration, the electric motor and the engine work together to give extra boost.

In 2015 this was replaced by the E-Hybrid. It’s the cleanest engine in the range, emitting just 79g/km of CO2 – so it’s free to tax. Official economy is 69.2mpg and there’s a range of around 22 miles as a pure electric vehicle. Yet, despite the car’s green credentials it is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in a Boxster worrying 5.9 seconds. Top speed is 151mph.

Performance is good even in pure-electric mode, with enough pace to happily cruise at motorway speeds. If you want to be particularly kind to the planet, or if you’re driving in a busy town it is possible to force the car to run as a purely electric vehicle, though the engine will still cut in if you shove the accelerator pedal hard enough.

But the real star of the Cayenne show is the sublime Turbo S version. It carries a hefty price tag, even compared to the rest of the range, but it's also a very different beast.

Powered by an monstrous 4.8-litre V8, it sounds immense on start up which is just a hint to its enormous performance. The big unit develops 570PS and 800Nm of torque but the figures on paper only tell half the story. 

It really is an intoxicating car to drive with thunderous performance and a great, throaty engine note. From a standstill it will hit 62mph in just 4.1 seconds and the sheer acceleration is lightning fast, making it a genuinely great sports car.

The Cayenne Turbo S also comes with air suspension and Porsche Active Suspension Management as standard. This is an adaptive system with different suspension settings - normal, comfort and sport - which stiffen or soften the suspension accordingly.

The standard setting is good enough for everyday driving but if you're indulging in more enthusiastic cornering you can opt for the sport mode which firms things up considerably - although it does feel a little too harsh. There is also a separate sport button which makes both the steering and throttle more responsive plus alters the shifts of the automatic gearbox.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Cayenne 3.0 Tiptronic 31 mpg 6.2 s 209 g/km
Cayenne 3.6 25 mpg 7.5 s 263 g/km
Cayenne 3.6 Tiptronic 29–31 mpg 7.7–7.8 s 215–236 g/km
Cayenne 4.0 Turbo Tiptronic 24 mpg 4.1 s 272 g/km
Cayenne Diesel 39–43 mpg 7.3–7.6 s 179–189 g/km
Cayenne GTS 26–29 mpg 5.2–5.7 s 234–251 g/km
Cayenne S 27–30 mpg 5.5–5.9 s 229–245 g/km
Cayenne S 2.9 Tiptronic 30 mpg 5.2 s 213 g/km
Cayenne S Diesel 34–35 mpg 5.4–5.7 s 209–218 g/km
Cayenne S E-Hybrid 86–88 mpg 5.0–5.9 s 72–79 g/km
Cayenne S Hybrid 34 mpg 6.5 s 193 g/km
Cayenne Turbo 25–25 mpg 4.1–4.7 s 267–270 g/km
Cayenne Turbo S 25 mpg 4.5 s 270 g/km

Real MPG average for a Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

16–44 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Porsche Cayenne (2010 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Should I get a petrol or diesel SUV?

Should I get a petrol or diesel Porsche Cayenne? Will a diesel be hit with bigger taxes from the Government? I do 15,000 miles a year.
A second-hand Porsche Cayenne is going to be expensive to run, no matter what fuel it uses. Will there be more taxes for diesel cars in the future? Possibly. But they will be small fry compared to the huge running costs of a high performance, petrol-powered 2.5 tonne SUV.
Answered by Dan Powell
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