If you're looking for a luxurious and sporty SUV, the 2019 Porsche Cayenne is likely your best bet. While it is no 911 or Boxster, the Cayenne is still retains the driving dynamics that Porsche is known for while blended with the convenience and ride height of an SUV, sacrificing little in the pursuit. That performance is backed up with as much luxury as you're willing to pay for and legendary Porsche build quality that manages to make all other cars somehow feel lacking.

Best Value

Cayenne trims are only there to give you a choice of how fast you want to go. As much as we'd love to have the insane 550-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that comes in the Cayenne Turbo, most customers will be very well served with the mid-grade Cayenne S and its 440-hp twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6. The Cayenne S also offers a standard panoramic sunroof, which adds some nice natural light to the cabin.

Like most Porsches, the Cayenne can be configured in an almost infinite number of permutations, and if Porsche could make having a driver's seat an option, they probably would. You can nearly double the price of the vehicle if you aren't careful. Keeping that in mind, we'd spring for the Premium Plus Package which is pricey, but adds a bunch of very desirable extras like 14-way power ventilated front seats, heaters for the front and rear seats, four-zone automatic climate control, a Bose sound system, adaptive LED headlights, and lane change assist. The premium interiors look very nice, but we'd save some coin by going with the standard interior in Black/Mojave Beige. The Cayenne's performance packages and options are all very tempting, but they're also very expensive. We'd stick with just the adaptive air suspension and the Sport Chrono Package, which make the SUV even faster while giving you additional driving modes to suit your moods.

For individual options, we're tempted by the soft-close doors, which add an element of luxury you never knew you needed. In the same vein, the thermally and noise insulated glass goes a long way in making you feel coddled. There's so much else we'd love to add to our hypothetical Cayenne, but this is the "Best Value" section after all, and we're trying to keep it somewhat reasonable.

  • Model: 2019 Porsche Cayenne S
  • Engine: 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6
  • Output: 440 hp / 406 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: Not Yet Rated
  • Options: Premium Plus Package ($7,330, 14-way Power Seat with Memory Package, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, four-Zone automatic climate control, LED adaptive headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, Bose audio system, lane change assist, keyless entry, ambient lighting), Standard Interior in Black/Mojave Beige ($390), Soft Close Doors ($780), Adaptive Air Suspension incl. Porsche Active Suspension Management ($2,170), Sport Chrono Package ($1,130, stopwatch, additional driving modes, launch control, expansion of Porsche Stability Management), Thermally & Noise Insulated Glass ($1,130).
  • Base Price: $83,950 (including a $1,050 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $96,880

Performance

Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne is a force to be reckoned with in all guises. Even the base trim, which is equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 with a single turbocharger puts out 340 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque that allows the SUV to accelerate as fast as most hot hatches. Step up to the Cayenne S and it gets truly fast with 440 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque due to an additional turbocharger, giving it a zero-to-60 time of less than five seconds. The Cayenne Turbo's twin-turbo V8 gets that time down below four seconds, making it one of the fastest SUVs currently available. Heck, it's even faster than a Corvette sports car.

Beyond being fast in a straight line, the Cayenne is surprisingly agile. The SUV handles excellently and rides very smoothly, with very little body lean in the corners. The Cayenne's abilities can expand even further provided you spend the money on the appropriate options, like torque vectoring, rear wheel steering, and the off-road package. There's even a towing package that allows the Cayenne to tow up to 7,700 pounds, which is plenty to haul your 911 to the track for your local Porsche Club of America track day.

Style

The Cayenne is all new for 2019, but if you hadn't been paying attention you may not have noticed. In typical Porsche fashion, the new Cayenne is very similar looking to the old one, with a few flourishes to keep it looking modern. Inside, the Cayenne is completely revamped, with less bulky switch gear and blank switches, and a simpler but great looking dashboard arrangement. The build quality of the Cayenne is top notch, and everything is very well thought out.

Everything inside is very nicely refined straight from the factory, although Porsche gives you approximately a billion options to configure it the way you want. Interiors can be clad in leather, Alcantara, aluminum, or wood, painted to match the color of your exterior or painted to not match the color of your exterior. All of the standard luxury accoutrements you can find in any other vehicle are available, but you'll have to pay for the privilege for most of them. You can end up spending almost $60,000 in options if you go wild, which is enough to buy a matching Porsche Cayman sports car. Even without the options, the Cayenne is very comfortable and spacious.

The Best and Worst Things

The Cayenne's biggest strength is the vehicle's performance capabilities. This is an SUV that can be as fast as most sports cars out there, but it still offers the size and practicality many people today want. When properly equipped, the Cayenne can take corners in a way that seems to defy physics, and the engines available are all sweet revving and full of power.

The Cayenne also suffers from the same issues that plague all Porsches: almost everything is a standalone option. This can add up quickly if you aren't that good at math, to the point of doubling the price of the base model.

Right For? Wrong For?

Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne is an absolutely perfect companion to a 911, Boxster, or Cayman for the essential two-Porsche garage. It'll allow for an appropriate amount of practicality without sacrificing too much of that Porsche essence found in the sports car that sleeps next to it. That was really the point of the Cayenne in the first place; it's a Porsche for people who need more than what their 911 can offer.

Despite how good the Cayenne is at almost everything it does, it can be much pricier than the standard luxury SUV. Those not as interested in driving who still want to be coddled in luxury will probably be wasting money on the Cayenne's sporting chops. Instead, these people may be better off with the Range Rover Velar or Volvo XC90.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne may be all new, but it's still one of the best – if not the best – luxury SUV you can buy. The performance credentials of the Cayenne outclasses nearly every other SUV in the world, and the interior is absolutely luxurious. While it may be able to get expensive very quickly, it's still the absolute best choice if you need a vehicle that's more practical than your 911.