If it wasn’t for Porsche building SUVs there’s almost a certain chance the brand would be dead. It went from being a rather exclusive niche sports car brand, to selling tens of thousands of Cayenne models globally since its launch in 2002. It paved the way for family SUVs with badges you wouldn’t believe, I mean honestly, even Rolls Royce has had a crack. I’ve just spent a week in the smaller Porsche Macan, a model that is priced under $100,000.
What is it?
The base Macan shares its platform with the wider Volkswagen group, so the underpinnings are that of the Audi Q5. But it’s a very different car indeed. The bottom of the Macan range sees a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder under the bonnet combined with AWD.
It has five seats and is every bit a premium family SUV. But somehow, Porsche engineers reworked the donated platform so well, it drives like no other SUV in this category.
Behind the Wheel
The centre console could be mistaken for one from a 737. There are so many buttons, requiring a little car time to understand what does what. There’s also a stack of blank buttons, a reminder this ain’t no Macan S or Turbo.
The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is showcased via 10-inch touchscreen. But it lacks the lower screen found in higher-end models, or those found in recent Audis hence all the buttons.
The instrument cluster has black intersecting round dials with a circular high-resolution 4.8-inch colour display to the right.
But there’s nothing better than jumping in an SUV and grabbing a thick Porsche steering wheel. Despite just 185kW up front, the Macan can still hustle along very well, dashing to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds. The Macan Turbo, for perspective, can do it in 4.5 seconds.
But it’s the lush ride but acute ability to nail corners that impressed me the most. The test car I drove lacked any suspension trickery, there was no adaptive air suspension or the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PSM). The fact it could be thrown around like the best of hot hatches, without any cheat systems, that says a lot.
Plus, that refined ride still soaked up all but the worst imperfections, the standard 19-inch wheels probably helped with that. The Macan is almost remarkably composed on dirt, far more so than I was going to find out. But on a dusty section near my home it treated the flat, rutted track with distain.
The 7-speed automatic is as slick a box I’ve seen, the tacho needle flicks back in forth with lighting accuracy during shifts.
This is a five-seat SUV with a massive boot that drives like no other in its class, simple as that.
The 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder produces 185kW and 252Nm of torque, not something you’d normally boast about buy hey you’ve got the badge. The 7-speed automatic includes paddle shifters, that you actually want to use from time to time.
There is a Sport button to liven up throttle and gear shifts but disappointingly the exhaust note is hardly audible. However, there is a $5,050 sports exhaust system, I’d be ticking that box.
Apple CarPlay comes as standard, as does digital radio. The stock 10 speaker, 150-watt system isn’t amazing. Probably because there’s a $2,470 Bose Surround Sound System available with 14 loudspeakers including subwoofer, 14 amplifier channels and a total output of 665 watts.
The reversing camera has surround view but no cross-traffic alert. Other safety features include lane departure warning and cruise control (non-adaptive). But remarkably there is no Autonomous Emergencey Braking (AEB) as standard. There is a $2410 safety pack you can pay for, but I’m just not comfortable at all with that.
The Macan starts from $81,400 before on-roads. Our test car reached $91,510 after a $3,790 panoramic sunroof was added, $1,990 worth of metallic paint, $1,690 for keyless entry, $990 for seat heating, $650 for power steering plus, $550 for the standard leather interior and $450 for an exterior Aluminium exterior package.
Fuel economy is rated at 8.9L/100km, I averaged 10.4L/100km. It has a decent 75-litre fuel tank. Porsche offers a 1 year / 15000km service interval, 3-year paint interval and 3-year warranty.
Why would you buy one?
For the badge and owning the leader in compact SUV dynamics.
This is a fantastic vehicle that’s ultra-comfortable and ultra-capable. It opens up a gap in the market for people who never thought they’d be able to own a Porsche. It’s an 8.1 out of 10 from me.