2021 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid review: the Swiss Army knife of Porsche

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When the Porsche Cayenne first appeared in the early 2000s, it ruffled so many feathers because a crossover wearing a Porsche Crest was allegedly blasphemous. After three generations, the Cayenne is still here and is one of the brand’s best-selling models along with the Panamera and Macan. This crossover broadened Porsche’s appeal to a wider range of consumers and proved that a high-driving four-door didn’t dilute its DNA. Electrified versions also joined the lineup and we got our hands on the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 2021. Simply put, this is one of the best all-round models in the current Porsche range and not just because it’s a crossover.

In typical Porsche fashion, the Cayenne’s exterior follows an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary direction over the course of its three generations. It has a clear relationship with the 911, Series 718, Panamera, Taycan and Macan. From rounded headlights to full-width LED taillights, the Porsche design language is there. Only this time around you find it in a vertical crossover with four doors and beefy fenders. If you’re looking for a sleek coupe-like utility vehicle, Porsche has you covered on that front too, with the Cayenne Coup√©, which is also offered with electrified powertrains and a 631hp Turbo GT model.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid 2021 brings you the best of all worlds. During our week with the crossover, we found that it’s right at home to do everything from an impromptu trip to Palm Springs, carve out our favorite streets, or casually drive around town in full electric mode. There is a sense of duality when driving the Cayenne E-Hybrid due to how complete it is. Leave the car in E-Power or Comfort mode and it will calmly cruise along the highway or city streets while pampering you. The available adaptive air suspension does a fantastic job absorbing road imperfections and keeping hard impacts out of the cockpit, isolating you from the outside world. The smooth power delivery from the plug-in hybrid powertrain is relaxed yet punchy, adding to its cool character.

That all changes when you put the Cayenne E-Hybrid into Sport or Sport Plus mode. The powertrain, which pairs a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with an electric motor, a 17.9 kWh battery and an eight-speed automatic transmission, brings assertiveness up to 11. This allows you to harness its combined power of 455PS and 516Nm of torque, resulting in effortless acceleration. Even with its empty weight of 2.5 tons, the Cayenne E-Hybrid moves without a foot when you put your foot down. The shifter is snappy and knows exactly what you want when you need it. Between the electric motor and the engine’s minimum turbo lag, the power delivery is perfect; put your foot down and get an immediate response.

In addition to the powertrain becoming livelier, the adaptive air suspension stiffens and lowers the Cayenne E-Hybrid to its lowest height. The result is a crossover that behaves like a sports sedan; there is little roll, allowing you to launch the Cayenne into corners with confidence. Our test car was also equipped with the optional rear wheel steering system, which allows it to rotate better by turning the wheels a few degrees in the opposite direction, tightening the turning radius and minimizing understeer. The sticky offset width of Pirelli P Zero rubber on 20-inch wheels offers generous levels of grip, amplifying the crossover’s lively driving dynamics. The trade-off, however, is tire noise; there is a good amount of it especially on uneven pavement. Regardless of which mode you are in, the Cayenne has some of the best steering in its segment. It’s fast, accurate, communicative, and well-thought-out, adding to the sporty feel of the crossover.

You can further customize the Cayenne thanks to the individual driving mode. Each of the four main driving modes can also be configured by selecting a different suspension for them. This means you can choose Sport or Sport Plus calibration and reduced ride height while keeping the powertrain in E-Power or Hybrid mode.

In all-electric mode, the EPA rates the Cayenne E-Hybrid at 17 miles. During our week with the car, we easily surpassed those estimates, consistently approaching 30 miles on a full charge. With a Level 2 AC charger, you can fully charge the battery in about four to five hours. A standard household outlet doubles the charging time, which means you’ll need to keep the car plugged in overnight. A full tank and a full charge allow the Cayenne E-Hybrid to reach 430 miles. The EPA rates the car as 20/22/21 mpg city / highway / combined when driven as a hybrid.

Adding to the multifaceted nature of the Cayenne is its luxurious interior. The fit and finish are great, everything you touch or use feels expensive. Little things like the knurled components for the infotainment controls elevate the experience and show how much attention to detail goes into the cabin. The choice of two-tone interior colors such as the black and red combination in our test car adds liveliness and character to the clean but simple layout.

If you need to use your Cayenne E-Hybrid for practical tasks, there is generous room for five passengers and their gear. Even with all the seats up, there’s plenty of room for weekend bags and bulky items. The stock 40/20/40 fold-down rear seats offer additional flexibility by allowing you to carry long items while maintaining seating for four. Fold the second row and you’ll have plenty of room for flat-pack furniture. There are also a surprising number of cubbies, which means you won’t be short of places to store water bottles and mobile devices.

Porsche’s latest infotainment system features a fast and responsive 12.3-inch touch screen. The layout is simple and you can reconfigure the tiles in the main menu. It also keeps menu shortcuts on the left side of the display so you can easily reach where you need it even with Apple CarPlay active. You can also opt for a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system with 710 watts. While it is clear and easy to customize, the unit could immerse the cabin better. If you’re an audiophile, get the 21-speaker high-end Burmester 3D system but be prepared to pay a hefty penny because it costs $ 7,000 on the Cayenne E-Hybrid.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid has a full range of driver assistance features with various collision avoidance technologies such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic warning, front automatic emergency braking and collision warning. stock front. They’ve worked subtly in the background, reducing the chances of you turning them off because they don’t get annoying or feel like they’re trying to take over the driving duties. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Jam Assistant are part of the Porsche InnoDrive option. This feature is also available as part of the care package, which also includes a surround camera, night vision and head-up display.

Personalization is a hallmark of every Porsche model and is no different with the Cayenne E-Hybrid. Pricing starts at $ 83,150 for the base model. Our test car, which came with the Premium package plus several autonomous options, was registered at $ 101,650. You can further customize the car with larger alloy wheels, fantastic two-tone upholstery, special finishes, contrasting colored seat belts and more. Going crazy with options, as you should know dear reader, will quickly raise the price of the Cayenne sticker.

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid is proof that a crossover expands the appeal of a brand. When done correctly to stay true to its identity and heritage, it can prove its courage and demonstrate that practicality and sportiness can coexist. This is what the Cayenne has been doing for three generations; a family-friendly midsize luxury crossover packed with Porsche DNA. The duality of its personality simply adds to the Cayenne’s appeal because the crossover is happy to drive casually or with panache. Adding electrification to the mix further reduces the trade-off due to its ability to run in EV mode. Simply put, the Cayenne is a Porsche in every sense, from the way it drives to the level of luxury and driving fun, only now it is wrapped in a practical package.

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