Porsche Macan Review
The Porsche Macan is a practical, roomy SUV that’s also quick and fun-to-drive. A smart-looking infotainment screen is standard, but basic models look plasticky inside
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The Porsche Macan could well give you the best of all worlds, with its sharp handling, grippy chassis, rapid pace and roominess in a sharp-looking SUV bodystyle.
Imagine Anthony Joshua taking on Usain Bolt and winning and you’ve got some idea of the Macan’s blend of talents.
In 2018 the Macan got a facelift that included minor styling revisions on the outside and a significant infotainment upgrade on the inside. The diesel engine was also dropped and new autonomous driving aids added.
While you’ll need to be a Porsche Macan geek to spot the new model from the outside, it’s clear as day from the inside thanks to the massive 10.9-inch central infotainment screen. It has an eye-catching glassy appearance when switched off and pretty, high-definition graphics when it’s on.
The rest of the cabin doesn’t feel quite so modern though, with a centre console that’s awash with buttons. Basic models feel a little dark and plasticky – although you can solve this by specifying expensive metal or carbon fibre trims. Either way, an Audi Q5’s has a more contemporary design and feels a touch better built.
You get less room in the back than in a Mercedes GLC or a Volvo XC60, but the Macan can still happily accommodate two tall adults in the rear and there are enough storage cubbies to keep the cabin neat and tidy.
The boot is also pretty practical, it has room for a set of suitcases with space left over to squeeze in some soft bags – though other SUVs have even more room. Fold away the back seats and the Macan will happily swallow an adult’s mountain bike with both its wheels attached.
The Macan’s smaller, smarter and even better to drive than the bigger Cayenne – just don’t expect its options list to be any more affordable…
It’s only when you get out on the road that the Macan reveals its trump card – it’s an SUV that drives like a Porsche. Quick steering gives it the responses of a regular SUV on a caffeine hit and, because the front tyres grip hard into the Tarmac, you can exploit this added agility.
If you want the Porsche Macan to be as entertaining in a straight line, then you’ll want the Macan S. Its six-cylinder, 354hp 3.0-litre engine has a tuneful rasp and performance that’ll keep most hot hatches honest. The 245hp 2.0-litre petrol model is the cheapest to run (there are no diesels in the range) but its engine – which is also used on the Golf GTI – feels flat in the heavier Porsche.
The downside of the Porsche’s sporty drive is that it can’t iron out a bumpy road as well as a similarly specified Mercedes GLC. That said, comfort has been improved for 2018 thanks to the arrival of tech that means the Porsche can drive itself on the motorway and on congested roads, so long as you keep your hands on the wheel.
So the Porsche Macan remains great to drive even if other SUVs have the measure of it in terms of comfort and practicality.
The Porsche Macan has lots of head and legroom in the front seats, but taller people will struggle to get into the rear seats and could well not have enough headroom.
All Macans come with an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and six-way adjustable passenger’s seat as standard so you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable – even if you’re over six-foot tall. Unfortunately, you’ll have to fork out for the optional 14-way adjustable seats if you want additional lumbar support to help stave off back ache on long journeys.
There’s plenty of headroom in the front too, despite the Macan’s sporty sloping roofline – but a slight bulge in the driver’s footwell means there’s not much space to stretch out if you have large feet.
There’s much less rear leg room in the Macan than you get in an Audi Q5 and your six-foot-tall friends will be left wanting for headroom, too. Carrying three abreast is more comfortable in a Volvo XC60 and a large central tunnel means there isn’t much room for your centre passenger’s feet.
The back doors don’t open particularly wide and their openings are quite narrow, so climbing in the back can prove tricky for tall passengers. Fitting a bulky child seat will also prove difficult but at least the Isofix anchor points are clearly marked and come with handy flip-up covers instead of easy-to-lose removable caps.
Unfortunately there aren’t any large cubby holes dotted around the Macan’s cabin. The door bins are too small to hold a one-litre bottle and the glovebox isn’t particularly generous either. The two cupholders sandwiched between the front seats are reasonably wide, but you’ll struggle for somewhere to put anything bigger than a medium-sized cup of coffee.
You’ll find a reasonably deep storage bin under the central armrest, however. It’s big enough to store a few phones and comes with a USB socket to keep them charged, too. There’s a 12V socket under a plastic cover in the centre console to keep other large devices topped-up, too.
You can fit 500 litres of luggage in the Macan’s boot with all five seats in place – 50 litres less than in the Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC. That’s still big enough for a baby stroller and some soft bags or a few sets of golf clubs though. There’s no annoying boot lip to lift heavy luggage over and the boot’s square shape makes it easy to pack full of suitcases, cardboard boxes and the like.
The rear seats fold in a handy three-way (40:20:40) split so you can carry long luggage and two rear passengers at once. There aren’t any handy seat release catches in the boot, however, so you’ll have to lean forwards to flip them down yourself.
With the rear seats out of the way you’ll have 1,500 litres of space to fill. It’s big enough to carry a bike without removing its wheels but 50 litres less than an Audi Q5 and 100 less than both the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. The Macan’s boot is completely flat with the rear seats folded so it’s a breeze to slide heavy boxes up behind the front seats. There are a few handy tether points in the floor but you won’t find some shopping hooks to stop your groceries rolling around.
There’s a 12V socket by the boot so you can charge a few devices on the move and you’ll find a sizeable storage compartment under the boot floor. It’s just about deep enough to hold a bicycle helmet and a few small soft bags or hide a couple of valuables safely out of sight.
The Porsche Macan is about as fun to drive as it’s possible for a high-riding SUV to be, but the standard suspension feels a tad bumpy at slow speeds.
The Macan is now available with a choice of three petrol engines.
The standard Macan – with a 245hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – will be best if you spend most time in town. It’s not quite as smooth as the 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol model and it feels slower than its official 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds suggests. That said, it’s cheaper to run with fuel economy of 27.7mpg compared with the 3.0-litre car’s 26.4mpg.
The 354hp 3.0-litre Macan S seems more befitting of a car with a Porsche badge. It gets from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds, so you have plenty of power in reserve for overtaking, and it feels more urgent than the 2.0-litre car at higher speeds. The six-cylinder engine also has a charismatic howl that you can fully unlock by specifying the optional sports exhaust.
The Macan GTS has a turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine up front, developing 380hp. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds (or 4.7 seconds with the Sport Chrono Pack fitted) and hit a top speed of 162mph.
But if that’s just a bit too tame, there’s also the Macan Turbo, which has the same 2.9-litre V6 turbocharged engine, this time producing 440hp. The 0-62mph sprint is dispensed with in 4.5 seconds (4.3s with the Sport Chrono Pack) and top speed is 168mph.
All models come with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard. The former makes light work of heavy traffic and long journeys while four-wheel drive helps maximise grip on slippery surfaces – handy if you live somewhere that’s regularly affected by harsh winters.
When it comes to having fun on a country road, the Macan sets a benchmark that other SUVs this size have yet to match.
Powerful brakes mean you can push on on country roads with confidence and the quick, accurate steering helps you guide the Macan into corners, knowing that you’ll get plenty of warning when the front tyres start to run out of grip.
Even through a series of bends, the car’s firm suspension stops body lean from getting out of hand. It’s not quite as comfortable over bumps as a regular Audi Q5 – especially if you choose the huge 21-inch wheels – but it’s not enough of a problem that you should bother going for the optional air suspension. This makes the car feel a touch detached from the road surface.
If relaxing cruising is what you’re after, you’ll be better off spending your money on the Macan’s new optional autonomous driving aids. They include active cruise control that’ll accelerate and brake for you on the motorway and traffic jam assist, which can do that as well as steering the Macan in nose-to-tail traffic. It’s worth noting that the Macan had a five-star NCAP safety rating even before this clever kit was offered.
At lower speeds in town, the Macan’s raised seating position gives you a clear view out over the road ahead but its large door mirror housings create sizeable blind spots at junctions and roundabouts.
Parking is made relatively stress-free by the standard front and rear parking sensors. You can get a 360-degree camera fitted for even greater peace of mind or – if you’re especially worried about tall kerbs damaging your nice alloy wheels – just let the optional park assist steer the car into spaces for you.
The Porsche Macan’s cabin looks great and feels plush, but if you want to make it look even better you’ll need to spend a wedge of cash on expensive options