The wraps are off. The winner has been revealed. The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is the 2011 Motor Trend Sport Utility of the Year. While trying to deflect possible critics of their choice, editors at Motor Trend pointed out that the Cayenne was up for the same award back in 2003 and it fell on its bumper, so to speak. But they said that they had many reasons to select the 2011 version of the Cayenne this time.
First, Motor Trend liked the fact that Porsche offers a choice of five powertrains with the car -- the 3.6 liter, 300 horsepower V6 with a six speed manual transmission; a supercharged 3.0 liter gas/electric hybrid that generates a combined 380 horsepower with a fuel economy rating of 21 mpg in the city/25 mpg on the highway; and two 4.8 liter V-8 engines, one featuring twin turbochargers and can generate 500 horsepower and the other creating 400 horsepower.
The editors at MT also liked the fact that the Cayenne weighs 400 pounds less than its previous incarnation with some engineering trickery. The car no longer carries a two speed transfer case. It has been swapped out for an active all-wheel-drive system with an electronic multiplate clutch that engages the front axle on demand. And the car has an off-road mode that enhances the electronic control logic of the traction, transmission, and chassis systems when the driver wants to go off-road. And there is a standard hill-descent control and optional air springs for extra ground clearance.
The MT staff also liked the exterior -- calling it sleeker, tauter, prettier and tidier than last year's model. Inside, they were wowed by the roomier passenger space and the ability that the driver has to tailor the information he or she gets from the center stack screen and the ability to reconfigure the gauge cluster display.
Base price of the vehicle is $47,675. But you can always spend more if you got it with a wide array of options that takes the price all the way up to $168,000.