Premium midsize SUV; Built in Germany
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $14,000 – $32,500*

2006 Porsche Cayenne

2006 Porsche Cayenne

2006 Porsche Cayenne

2006 Porsche Cayenne

  • Acceleration (V8)
  • Build quality
  • Cargo room
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Quietness
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride (w/20-inch wheels)

Cayenne impresses for Porsche-worthy road manners, engineering and solidity, and off-road manners. New or used, it’s far from cheap, and the V8 versions’ sometimes-ragged power delivery is very un-Porsche. The Cayenne V6 lacks the expected Porsche punch. Unless you simply must have a 450-hp SUV, a V6 or V8 Touareg should satisfy as much–and save money, new or secondhand. Shop the competition, too.


During the 2003 model year, Porsche reached beyond its line of legendary sports cars to enter the sport-utility vehicle arena. Built with unibody construction, the new Cayenne shared its basic design with Volkswagen’s soon-to-arrive Touareg. Porsche’s version was more expensive, however, and had its own design and selection of engines.

Available in two forms, the 4.5-liter V8 engine worked with a six-speed automatic transmission that included manual-shift capability via a console lever or steering-wheel buttons. In the Cayenne S, the basic V8 generated 340 horsepower. Output jumped to 450 hp in the Turbo edition. Unlike Volkswagen’s Touareg, the Cayenne lacked the option of a diesel engine. Cayenne’s all-wheel-drive system was designed for off-road use. It included low-range gearing along with a locking center differential.

Antilock braking and antiskid/traction control were standard. Standard on the Turbo and optional for the S model, a self-leveling air suspension offered six driver-selectable heights, topped by 10.7 inches of off-road ground clearance. Towing capacity was 7716 pounds. Leather upholstery and 18-inch wheels were standard, but 19- and 20-inch wheels were optional. Cayenne liftgates had separate-opening glass. Standard in the Turbo and optional for the S model were a heated steering wheel and seats, steering-linked bi-xenon headlamps, a navigation system, and an obstacle warning system. Porsche’s competition included the BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, and Infiniti FX.

Yearly Updates

2004 Cayenne
A V6 version joined the two V8 Cayennes in 2004. Borrowed from Volkswagen, the 3.2-liter V6 developed 247 horsepower, driving a six-speed automatic transmission.
2005 Cayenne
Porsche gave buyers the choice of a manual gearbox for 2005, but only for the V6 Cayenne. The six-speed manual transmission included the Porsche Drive-Off Assistant, designed to hold the brakes on inclines until the clutch was engaged. Exterior trim was revised this year, and a rearview camera became available. Also newly optional were satellite radio, black exterior trim (instead of silver), and a SportDesign package with flared side sills and deeper under-bumper fascias.
2006 Cayenne
A new option became available for 2006, the ability to warm the Cayenne’s interior without running the engine. This independent interior pre-heating and pre-ventilating system included a 24-hour programmable timer. Porsche sat out the 2007 model year, awaiting the arrival of a redesigned 2008 Cayenne.
2007 Cayenne
This is no model-year 2007 Cayenne.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

Initially, the Cayenne came only with a 4.5-liter V8 engine, either normally aspirated or turbocharged, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Porsche added a V6 choice in 2004, and made a manual transmission available for the V6 a year later.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/195
Engine HP 247
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 229
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.5/275
Engine HP 340
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 310
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.5/275
Engine HP 450
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 457-460
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Road Test

No Cayenne V6 has been tested, but with automatic it should match the 9.2-second 0-60 mph acceleration achieved in a similar Volkswagen Touareg. Expect a bit quicker performance with manual shift. Both V8s feel strong, but annoy with nonlinear power delivery. The S needs a heavy throttle foot for maximum zip. Porsche’s Turbo responds with less-than-expected power in some situations, but more than needed in others. Porsche pegged the S model at around 7.0 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph; the Turbo, about 5.5 seconds.

Fuel economy is a sore point. A test Turbo averaged 14.8 mpg. Test V6 Touaregs logged 12.5 to 15.1 mpg. All engines require premium-grade gasoline.

Taut always, the Cayenne suspension delivers the best ride with standard 18-inch tires. Short sidewalls on 19s and 20s mean poor bump absorption. Even so, only sharp potholes produce jarring. The air suspension firms progressively through Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes. Some unwanted rebounding occurs in Comfort mode, while Sport jiggles on even gentle ripples.

Communicative steering is accompanied by unerring grip, even in bumpy turns, and excellent directional stability. Constant power feed of 38-percent front and 62-percent rear delivers high-performance-sedan feel. Brakes could be called arresting, though a test Turbo’s squeaked upon application. Summer tires have been standard, so winter traction is questionable. In snowy regions, we recommend use of all-season tires, available through Porsche dealers. Cayennes can be impressive off-road on available all-terrain tires.

Little wind rush is noticeable below 80 mph. Appropriate exhaust growl appears, plus a hint of whistle on Turbos. Cayenne’s 20-inch tires are noisy on all but smooth surfaces.

Loaded with buttons, the dashboard conveys plenty of information, but pre-drive familiarization is required. The gauge cluster is “busy” with six analog dials and various digital readouts. Small audio buttons contrast with simple toggles for climate, suspension, and transfer-case adjustments. The cabin’s mix of leather, wood, and aluminum is classy but not opulent.

Front occupants get adequate headroom and generous seat travel. Lateral support is excellent, though seat bottoms may pinch some physiques. Forward visibility is great. Large outside mirrors are helpful, but headrests and a narrow rear window obstruct rearward views. Slight step-up into the cabin is needed, but otherwise riders enjoy no-fuss entry/exit. Optional proximity keyless entry needlessly complicates locking and unlocking.

Adequate rear headroom is accompanied by good leg and foot space. The back cushion is supportive, but too firm for some testers. Doors open wide, but passengers practically need to twist their ankles to clear doorframes while exiting.

With the rear seat up, cargo space is good but not expansive for an SUV. Split 60/40, that seat folds flat for plenty of space, but you must first flip the cushions, then remove and stow headrests. Separate-opening tailgate glass requires an awkward reach into the cargo bay. Cabin storage is adequate. No spare tire is included, unless the original owner specified a space-saver tire or bought an outside tire mount.


Model Tested: 2005 Cayenne S w/18-inch wheels

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 4

Total: 58


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.4 188.2 75.9 66.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
62.5 26.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.8 40.6 35.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Water leak
Description: Water leaks, including leaving the windows open in the rain can cause corrosion in the wiring running under the foot well. (2003-05)
Description: The vehicle may seem to lag when the accelerator is pressed if the driver is also pressing the brake (two-footed driving) and computer can be reprogrammed to eliminate this behavior. (2003-06)
Description: There may a thumping noise when decelerating after a brief acceleration due to the transfer case differential lock requiring reprogramming. (2003-06)

Recall History

2003 Cayenne S, Turbo
Description: If ground connection between spiral ring of tank filler neck and connecting pipe is inadequate, flow of fuel during refueling could create electrostatic charge, which could discharge and spark.
2003-04 Cayenne S, Turbo
Description: Rear seatbelt latch bolt may be insufficiently riveted, and could fail to properly restrain occupant in crash.
2003-04 Cayenne S, Turbo
Description: Main wiring harness may be incorrectly routed, which could result in failure of various electrical systems or, in extreme cases, in fire beneath instrument panel.
2003-04 Cayenne S, Turbo
Description: Driver’s seat frame may not have been adequately welded and could break in a crash.
2003-04 Cayenne S, Turbo
Description: Gross Vehicle Weight and Axle Weight Ratings may be missing from certification label.
2003-05 Cayenne
Description: Rear seatbelts may not go into automatic locking retractor mode for installation of child restraints, causing those restraints to be improperly secured.
2004 Cayenne
Description: Transfer case on certain vehicles could allow oil pump rotation, resulting in oil starvation to internal gears; could result in fractured housing and other malfunctions.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.