Premium midsize SUV; Built in Slovakia
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $28,800 – $108,900*


2011 Porsche Cayenne Front


2011 Porsche Cayenne Rear


2011 Porsche Cayenne Interior


2011 Porsche Cayenne Front-2

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (except Hybrid)
  • Price
  • Ride (Turbo)

While nobody will confuse the Cayenne with one of Porsche’s legendary 911s, this SUV offers a driving experience closer to that sports car than you might think. The optional Torque Vectoring Plus turns this already-capable wagon’s handling up by an order of magnitude. The Hybrid model is slick in operation, with minimal compromise to this vehicle’s delightful dynamics. As with most Porsches, sky-high pricing when new, particularly for the Turbo, blunted Cayenne’s value. Used-car prices also are on the hefty side. Stick with a modestly-equipped S or Hybrid for the best blend of practicality and performance.

Overview

Redesigned for 2011, the Porsche Cayenne earned freshened styling along with more power, plus the brand’s first gas/electric hybrid model. Porsche’s SUV shared elements of its basic design with the Volkswagen Touareg. Cayenne differed in styling and powertrains. Base, S, Turbo, and S Hybrid models were available. Base Cayennes held a new 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine. S and Turbo versions got 4.8-liter V8 engines with 400 and 500 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed manual transmission was standard on the Base model. Available on that model and standard on all others was an eight-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity was 7,716 pounds. All Cayennes had all-wheel drive and a locking center differential; low-range gearing was no longer available.

The Cayenne S Hybrid contained a supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 engine that paired with a battery-powered electric motor for 380 horsepower total. The hybrid system allowed Cayenne to run on one or both of its power sources, to balance acceleration and fuel economy. No plug-in charging was ever necessary. The S Hybrid also used an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features included all-disc antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system with rollover sensors, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags. Rear airbags were optional. A navigation system was available, too. Standard on the Turbo and optional on the Base and S was an adjustable air suspension. Also standard on the Turbo and optional for the Base and S was Porsche Active Suspension Management, which automatically adjusted suspension damping based on road conditions. Available on all models except the Hybrid was Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which worked by variably spreading out drive forces between the rear wheels. That system made changes based on steering angle and speed, the position of the gas pedal, yaw rate (angular velocity), and vehicle speed. It could apply the brakes slightly on the inner rear wheel in a fast turn, in order to enhance stability and traction. Blind-spot alert and adaptive cruise control also were optional. Midsize Cayenne competitors included the BMW X5, Infiniti FX, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Yearly Updates

2012 Cayenne
The 2012 Porsche Cayenne saw few changes.
2013 Cayenne
The 2013 Cayenne offered a first-time U.S.-market turbodiesel version and a revived GTS model, plus assorted detail interior changes (such as addition of an analog clock atop the dashboard).
2014 Cayenne
The bog news for 2014 was the addition of a Turbo S variant with 550 horsepower.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

Four distinct engines have been available for the Cayenne. Base models had a 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6. A 400-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8 went into the S model, while the new-for 2013 GTS model had a version of this engine rated at 420 horsepower. The Turbo held a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 that generated 500 horsepower, and the new-for-2014 Turbo S received tweaks that raised output to 550 horsepower. Base Cayennes had a standard six-speed manual transmission, but an eight-speed automatic was standard on all others and available for the Base Cayenne. The Cayenne S Hybrid contained a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, which mated with a battery-powered electric motor for 380 horsepower total. The new-for 2013 Diesel model ran a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 good for 240 horsepower.

Turbodiesel dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 406
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

20/29

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/219
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
8-speed automatic
15/22
16/23
Supercharged dohc V6/electric
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 380
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 427
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

20/24

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 400
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 369
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

16/22

Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 500
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 516
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

15/22

15.9

Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 550
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 553
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

14/20

Road Test

V8 or Hybrid, Cayenne’s acceleration ranges from quick to downright ferocious. Porsche’s 0-60 mph estimates were: 5.6 seconds for the S, 4.4 for the Turbo, and 6.1 for the S Hybrid. Those times feel credible. Throttle response on the S and Turbo is immediate, and the eight-speed automatic operates in rapid-fire mode. While it’s a traditional automatic, it shifts nearly as quickly as a dual-clutch automated manual. After a barely perceptible delay, the S Hybrid takes off with better-than-expected dispatch. Credit Porsche for pairing the Hybrid with a traditional automatic gearbox, rather than the more-conventional continuously variable transmission (CVT). The electric-to-gas transition is about the smoothest you’ll find.

Fuel economy is nothing to exclaim about, except for the Hybrid. In Consumer Guide testing, a Turbo averaged 15.9 mpg in an even mix of city/highway driving. All Cayenne models require premium-grade gas.

Ride quality varies by model. S and Hybrid models with the standard 18-inch wheels exhibit car-like control and smoothness. Turbos with standard 19-inch wheels ride firmer than other models, but they never lose composure, at least with the adjustable suspension in its Normal setting. Sport mode makes the ride too brittle, while Comfort allows lots of unpleasant wallowing and rocking. These conditions are exacerbated with the optional 21-inch wheels.

As for the handling side, Cayenne is one of the, if not the, most car-like SUVs on the road. Cayenne’s standard all-wheel drive provides reassuring grip, and steering feel is excellent. Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus provides a noticeable handling benefit, with enhanced stability and less body lean in fast turns. Braking is strong and secure.

S and Hybrid models are quiet and refined. With their standard 18-inch wheels, coarse-surface tire thrum is not an issue. The Turbo’s engine produces a noticeable roar, but sounds great. Its 19-inch tires are a bit louder than the 18s on lesser models. Wind rush is well controlled across the board.

Cayenne’s control scheme mirrors that of Porsche’s Panamera hatchback. While most vehicles in this segment use joystick controllers linked to a dashboard screen to perform the myriad adjustments now common in luxury cars, Porsche’s setup employs individual buttons and a touchscreen display. It actually goes a bit too far, in our view, marred by an excessive number of buttons. What they all do takes time to master, because they’re not logically grouped. Performing some audio adjustments via the touchscreen also takes time, because you often have to drill through several menus to get to the features you want. Materials and assembly quality are first-rate across the board. Optional full leather, if installed, includes a leather-wrapped dashboard that makes the cabin look and feel even more classy.

Front-seat headroom and legroom are generous. A wide range of seat travel in nearly all directions means drivers of just about any size can find a comfortable position. A tilt/telescopic steering wheel has been standard; power operation was available, but not standard. Entry and exit can be tricky, because you have to climb over the prominent lower-seat bolsters. Visibility is good, but thick roof pillars partially obstruct views to the rear corners.

The latest Cayenne has more rear legroom than its predecessor. Six-footers should be pleasantly comfortable. Three adults can squeeze in back for short trips. Rear entry/exit benefit from a low step-in height.

Cayenne’s cargo area offers class-competitive space, with rear seatbacks that fold flat. Under-floor storage ranges from minuscule in conventional models, to non-existent in the Hybrid. Interior storage consists of an average-size glovebox, center console, and door pockets.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S

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.

Performance

Acceleration - 8
80%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 67

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
114 190.8 76.3 67.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
62.9 22.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
NA NA NA NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Not tested 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

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

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

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: A brake-fluid low warning light may come on due to a faulty brake-fluid reservoir and sensor. (2011-12)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant leaks may develop after thermostat replacement due to the lube used on the O-rings. (2011)
Suspension problems
Description: Anti roll bar can leak hydraulic fluid because a sealing ring was damaged during assembly. (2013)
Headlights
Description: The headlamp assemblies may come loose and there was a campaign to repair them. (2011-12)
None
Description: Cylinder head that does not meet specifications can cause long-term durability issues. (2014)
Transmission problems
Description: A batch of defective gear selectors allow too much play and may not correctly lock in place. (2013)
Accessory belt
Description: Accessory drive belt may fail due to improper handling during service for the thermostat under a recall. (2011-12)

Recall History

2011-12 Cayenne
Description: Certain 2011 and 2012 model Porsche Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid, and Cayenne Turbo vehicles made between March 8, 2010 and January 31, 2012 may have headlights that come loose and detach from the vehicle’s front fender.
2011-12 Cayenne S Hybrid
Description: Certain 2011 and 2012 model Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid vehicles made between April 26, 2011 and August 2, 2012 may have leaky fuel injection systems.
2012 Cayenne Turbo
Description: Turbine wheel of the turbocharger may fracture and damage the turbine shaft, potentially pulling oil into the exhaust system.
2013-14 Cayenne
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 model Porsche Cayenne variants made between May 27, 2013 and July 10, 2013 may have fuel gauges and remaining fuel range displays that overstate how much fuel remains in the tank.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

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.