The Cayenne might offend the Porsche purists, but there’s no denying it’s one of the best-handling SUVs out there – that said, it’s pricey and doesn’t have seven seats
Its slick styling is matched by an upmarket interior that’s filled with plush leather, metal and wood trims. All models get comfy electrically adjustable seats and there’s loads of headroom – even if you’re over six-foot tall.
Less impressive is the rather mediocre infotainment system. The Cayenne’s seven-inch touchscreen looks a little small compared to Audi’s futuristic 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit and it’s nowhere near as easy to use as BMW’s intuitive iDrive setup. You do get Apple CarPlay smartphone integration as standard, however, but you’ll have to pay £336 for DAB digital radio across the range – which seems a bit mean.
The Cayenne’s cubby holes aren’t exactly generous either. The door pockets and glove box are fairly roomy but the small tray under the central armrest will struggle to hold a large smartphone.
Thankfully, there’s enough head and knee room in the back for two six-foot tall adults to get fairly comfortable. Carrying three abreast is slightly more cramped, however – the central seat’s thin and there’s a large lump in the rear floor.
You’ll have no trouble carrying loads of luggage in the Cayenne’s 670-litre boot. It can’t quite match the cavernous 770-litre Audi Q7 but it’s bigger than the BMW X5 and Range Rover’s load bays and will have no trouble swallowing a bulky baby stroller or a few sets of golf clubs.
Need to carry passengers and some long luggage at once? The rear seats fold down in a handy three-way (40:20:40) split and the boot grows to a capacious 1,780 litres with all three seats folded away. There’s no load lip to lift bulky items over but the slight step behind the back seats can make it tricky to slide heavy boxes up behind the front seats.
The latest Cayenne’s put on a much sharper suit than its rather pug-faced predecessors and feels even better to drive, too. It's one of the most grin-inducing large SUVs on sale
You can get the Cayenne with a choice of seven engines, ranging from a frugal E-Hybrid model to the raucous Turbo S powered by a 570hp V8. If you spend most time around town, pick the standard S version – it’ll return around 20mpg (compared to Porsche’s claimed 28.8mpg) and is both smoother and quieter than the two diesel models.
Spend more time on the motorway? The entry-level diesel will be more suitable. It’ll accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just over seven seconds – so it’s no slouch – but it’ll return around 30mpg in normal driving.
Whichever model you pick, it’s worth paying £2,475 for the upgraded air suspension system if you want a floating-on-air ride. It’ll soften the blow of large potholes and helps make the Cayenne feel as comfortable as it is sporty.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Cayenne, but its comprehensive range of safety kit will help make sure it’s one of the safest large SUVs on sale. It’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a luxurious family car that’s more sporty than its Audi and BMW compatriots.