Pros: One of the sharpest-handling midsize SUVs around; spectacular acceleration in V8 and Turbo models; impeccably finished interior; lots of high-tech features
Cons: Stiff ride gets worse with the available 21-inch wheels; copious fuel thirst; complicated, button-heavy control layout; sky-high prices
CG Says: Porsche’s midsize SUV gets a 550-horsepower Turbo S model for 2014. Not surprisingly, the literal “Porsche of SUVs” goes, stops, and handles more like a welterweight sports sedan than a burly wagon. But though few rivals come close to matching Cayenne’s on-road abilities, many offer superior ride comfort and/or off-road prowess and at least as much in the way of luxury features. Porsches appeal to serious drivers, so those folks will be most attracted to the rapid, tautly sprung V8 models. Other Cayennes are less awe-inspiring, but are still plenty quick and rather more frugal to own and operate. The S Hybrid is one of the most refined gas/electric vehicles of any kind. As with other Porsches, though, top-flight engineering and a platinum-grade brand image carry a high price–too high, in our view, unless you understand and value the “Porsche Way.” But if you can afford to indulge, Cayenne is a compelling alternative to usual-suspect premium SUVs, and more exclusive with it. We’d opt for a modestly equipped S or Hybrid as the best blend of practicality and performance.