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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Eight
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Eight
August 9, 2003
Cruising with Jay Leno
Hot Rod Power Tour
Paint Protection Film
Brake Pad Tech
Porsche Cayenne
Porter Cable Buffer
Coming Next Issue
Fernandez Racing
CPO Nightmares
Hot Lap: Strong Strut
Lotus Elise Preview

Porsche Cayenne: Hot Pepper, continued.

Cayenne Engine

Cayenne Interior

Porsche Cayenne storage area

Inside, we found the Cayenne to be fairly quiet, with just a hint of road noise finding its way into the cabin. Controls for everything from the turn signals to the climate control were positioned within easy reach, and after becoming familiar with the dash board's geography, everything felt normal and "in place." The leather seats were nicely upholstered, as was the steering wheel. The Cayenne doesn't have much cargo room but none of the smaller sport utes do so we can't fault it there.

The view through the Pepper's windshield is decent, but Editor-In-Chief Steve Litscher and Publisher Charlie Romero both commented that they felt a little "boxed in." Both are over 6'2" so the rake of the windshield meant that they were often looking through the tinted portion of the Cayenne's windshield - again, it wasn't a severe inconvenience, but it was becoming more and more obvious that the ergonomics of the Cayenne were designed with the female sex in mind.

Litscher's log book notes, "This would be a great fit for my wife," while Romero notes, "I found myself with my head leaning to the right. Body position is as uncomfortable as a Grand Cherokee."

Now for the final taste test - would any of our staff buy one of these? Both Romero and Litscher say "maybe." Excerpts from Romero's test log include, "I'm leaning towards the Lexus LX470. The Lexus V8 doesn't have as much power as the Cayenne but then again I won't have people pulling up next to me asking to race. That said, if I were to buy the Cayenne I would be more likely buy the Turbo because my Porsche SUV would have to have power and the Cayenne S just doesn't have enough. One final note is the safety factor. It will be a while before we know how the Cayenne fares in accident and crash test reports, but the German manufacturers usually fare pretty well. I look forward to the test reports." Romero then goes on to say "As someone who receives dozens of emails a week from folks looking for purchasing advice I still can't recommend the Cayenne. For now at least, I'll continue to recommend the Lexus and Mercedes."

Litscher writes, "The Cayenne seems to be confused. It doesn't really excel at any one thing, and it seems to flounder-about when asked to do a little more than it's capable of. I said it before, and I'll say it again - this thing was designed from the ground up to sustain Porsche's independence. Not that that's a bad thing, but trying to be all things to all people results in an identity crisis. If I'm shelling out 70-large, I want something that's going to keep my interest for more than a few weeks."

Executive Editor Alan Riley writes, "I liked the Cayenne, but prefer the aggressive look and feel of BMW's X5 4.6is. The jury is still out on whether Porsche will better BMW's reliability record with the X5. In the Cayenne's favor, dealers appear to be willing in most parts of the country to aggressively discount Porsche's new SUV. Part of that willingness may be due to their large inventory - a dealer local to me appears to have at least 50 new Cayennes on hand."

Ultimately, we need more time with the Cayenne to really get a good feel for it and perhaps the Turbo would have left us with a better feeling. Regardless of the powertrain, manufacturers learned a long time ago that a performance name alone will not sell SUVs, just ask Lamborghini. In the overcrowded sport utility market it takes more than a namesake to establish credibility. Unlike the luxury sports car market, sport utility vehicles are sold on features and price first and the badge second.

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