Whether you pronounce it “Porsh” or the technically correct “Por-schuh”, there is no questioning that Porsche is one of the most iconic sports car manufacturers.
Known for exceptional design and performance, a Porsche will always turn heads for good reason and their range of SUVs are no exception.
Porsche surprised the world with the launch of its first SUV, the midsize Cayenne, in 2002. Today, sports car manufacturers like Lamborghini and Aston Martin also have their own SUVs (with Ferrari recently unveiling their “Purosangue” SUV), but there’s no disputing the drive and style of the Porsche original.
Now in its second generation, the Cayenne has been joined by its smaller counterpart, the Porsche Macan. Debuting in 2015, the Macan is a more compact offering compared to the size of the original Cayenne and has since become one the brands most popular models.
So, which is right for you? Both offer the style, performance and features one can expect from Porsche. However, with the initial key differences being size and sticker prize, what else sets these two vehicles apart? Let’s take a look at how the two SUVs compare across in different aspects.
The Porsche Macan is a compact luxury SUV and is thus smaller than the midsize Cayenne. Besides offering more space inside, the Cayenne also comes with a bigger engine by default and offers more standard features. It’s also offered as a plug-in hybrid, whereas the Macan is not.
The base model Macan starts at $52,100 and comes with a 7-speed automatic transmission powered by a 2.0-litre Turbo Inline-4 Gas engine.
Initially, this is a more attractive price point than the Cayenne, which comes in at $67,500 for the base model. However, the Cayenne starts with a 3.0-litre Turbo V6 Gas with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
It’s worth noting these are the base models and with the many functional and cosmetic extras available, the price can easily increase by a few thousand dollars.
Initially the Macan takes the lead with a more attractive price whilst still boasting a decent engine. However, you get what you pay for with Cayenne – an SUV with more punch, more space and a more modern interior.
Whilst both models showcase the typical understated interior elegance that has set Porsche apart for years, the Cayenne has had the most recent update in its interior design.
Sporting a modern update on the classic styling of the Macan, the Cayenne has had a digital facelift. The new driver information center has an analog speedometer with digital displays either side, a large infotainment screen with excellent connectivity and a center console sporting more digital features than buttons. All this gives the Cayenne a more updated feel that will stay in style for at least a few years.
Whereas the Macan, being stylish in its own right, reflects trends that are starting to fade. Its center console is busy with buttons and physical controls headed by a smaller infotainment center.
Stepping outside the car, the difference in exterior design is subtle. Both showcase the timeless Porsche curves that have set the brand apart for years. However, given the more compact nature of the Macan, it looks sleeker than the slightly bulkier Cayenne.
Packing a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 as standard puts the Porsche Cayenne in front from the start. Whilst the Macan’s 2.0-liter Turbo is powerful in its own right, it only produces 248 horsepower. This is dwarfed by the Cayenne’s impressive 335 horsepower, backed further by 332 lb-ft of torque (the smaller Macan only produces 273 lb-ft of torque).
Despite the difference in output, both drive more like a sports car than an SUV. The Cayenne and Macan both come as an all-wheel drive as standard, providing a smoother experience that keeps you grounded around sharper corners, improved all the more by responsive steering. The Macan edges the Cayenne here slightly, being smaller, it inevitably handles better.
Although the Macan definitely does the job as a daily driver, the larger Cayenne offers more space and is therefore better accommodating all round.
Both have 5 comfortable seats but the Cayenne has more space in both the front and back seats. The Cayenne also has a higher roof, providing more comfort for taller passengers. Being the larger of the two it’s also better for shoppers, with a cargo space of just over 27 cubic feet with the seats up. Fold the seats down and you’ll have 60.3 cubic feet to play with. The Macan is still spacious, offering 17.6 cubic feet with the seats up and 52.9 cubic feet with the seats down.
Each is equipped with multiple entries to the boot, including the comfort access feature – simply wave your foot under the car and voila!
Technology and Features
The Cayenne is the clear front runner in this aspect thanks to its modern updates. The digital controls and displays give the interior a contemporary feel with a sleek design. As touched on earlier, the Cayenne’s 12.3 inch touch screen infotainment system offers excellent connectivity, including Apple CarPlay, creating a smooth user experience. There is also the option to fit a DVD entertainment system in the back seat.
Whilst the Macan only offers Apple CarPlay as an extra cost feature, it does house the same 10 speaker audio system as the Cayenne as standard. The Macan’s infotainment system is also smaller at 10.9 inches, which is better expected in the compact SUV.
The base models of both the Macan and the Cayenne are fairly similar in their economy, however it is worth noting that neither are particularly fuel efficient. Given the Cayenne’s more powerful engine, the Macan does come out on top here – even if only slightly.
The Cayenne has been EPA-rated at a combined 20 mpg, getting 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The Macan however comes out with a combined 21 mpg, rating similar to the Cayenne on both city and highway scores. Meanwhile, the Cayenne E-Hybrid boasts a gas mileage that is two to three times as good.
Given the recent release date of both of these vehicles, both the Porsche Cayenne and Macan are yet to receive safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). They do however both feature a wide range of modern safety features with many extras available for both.
The Porsche Cayenne comes with 7 airbags as standard, whilst the Macan comes with 6.
When weighing up these two SUV’s, size really does matter. The more robust Cayenne brings more with it, thanks not only to its size, but also its price tag. It has a more updated interior, a more powerful engine as standard, and offers a larger variety of customizable features to really make the car your own.
However, it is worth noting that for value the Macan doesn’t leave much to be desired. What you might sacrifice in terms of power and space, you make up for in a nimbler SUV that really delivers on all fronts. It is more fuel efficient and offers almost all of the features one would expect from an SUV.
SUVs comparable to the Porsche Macan include the Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque, while SUVs comparable to the Porsche Cayenne are the Bentley Bentayga and Maserati Levante, and the slightly less luxurious Audi Q7 and BMW X5.