Before the turn of the millennium, “Porsche SUV” would have been an oxymoron, but since 2002, Porsche has built vehicles for people looking for driving fun with SUV practicality. The smaller and sportier Macan is a good looking vehicle that has retained its classic styling since its inception. Having driven Porsche sports cars for decades, I’m not going to suggest that a Macan drives like a true Porsche sports car. That said, if you need an SUV, but want one that’s relatively fun to drive, the Macan may be the answer.
From a practical standpoint, the Macan offers everything one expects in an SUV, including seating for five, all-wheel drive, ground clearance and generous cargo carrying capacity. Of course, being a Porsche, it also offers some luxury features such as Bose surround sound, 14-way power seats with memory, a panoramic sunroof over the front and rear seats and dual zone automatic climate control.
The interior and dash are familiar to Porsche fans and include three round gauges: a large analog tachometer with digital speedometer, a speedometer and a digital display to the right. The media and other screen functions are relatively easy to use once one learns the basics. The thick leather wrapped steering wheel tilts and telescopes manually. Though the rear seats are probably better suited for two rather than three people, there’s pretty generous legroom for a smaller SUV. Behind the 40/20/40 folding rear seat, there’s a decent sized cargo area with minimal under floor storage, though cargo height is restricted by the slope of the electrically operated rear hatch.
Driving the Macan can be as exciting or sublime as you choose. Puttering around town, you can put the transmission in automatic, the suspension in normal and drive it like any comfortable SUV. Get it on a back road, put it in sport or sport plus mode, grab the communicative steering wheel and all of a sudden you’re reminded why it has that iconic Porsche crest on the hood. Power from the 261 horsepower 2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine is adequate, but not overwhelming. The T (touring) version tested had an upgraded suspension that allowed it to handle pretty well on a twisty back road. I can say that for an SUV, it does handle remarkably well in a high performance driving situation.
For everyday driving, driver aids include lane change assist, rear parking assist with a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control and Porsche hill control. A particularly nice feature is the bird’s eye view cameras that allow you to see 360 degrees around the vehicle, which comes in very handy in tight parking and garage situations. Typically strong Porsche brakes are appreciated in all types of driving. As a smaller SUV, the Macan offers the utility and practicality of an SUV, but is still smaller, lighter and more nimble than a larger, lumbering mid- or large-sized SUV.
Available in a variety of trim levels, the T model tested was particularly attractive due to its purist, sporty nature and the a multitude of features that would be optional on other models. For those wanting or needing more power, a 6-cylinder turbo version is also available, but no manual transmission is offered.
According to James Drake, general manager at Porsche St. Louis, “The Macan is designed from the ground up to as close to a sports car as you will find in an SUV, with crisp handling that appeals to purists. It also benefits from a timeless design.
- Base: $64,500 including delivery
- As driven with options: $73,900
- 19 city
- 25 highway
- Front engine; all-wheel-drive
- 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo engine
- 261 horsepower, 295 lb/ft. torque
- 7-speed PDK automatic transmission
Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.