Before 2002, Porsche had just two cars to sell its clients – the 911 and the Boxster. To save itself from bankruptcy, the automaker would need to expand its repertoire beyond sports cars and enter the luxury SUV market, a move deemed highly controversial by sports car loyalists and Porsche aficionados alike.
It’s a good thing that SUVs were (and still are) so popular because the Cayenne SUV was a resounding success and has continued to be so ever since. Today, there’s a Cayenne model for every type of driver, including plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and performance-focused models of both the traditional SUV and the newer “coupe” body style.
Even with so many competitors, the Porsche Cayenne lineup still managed to rise to the top of the heap and was voted as the Best Mid-Size Luxury SUV by a jury of over 20 automotive experts from all over Canada. Every single mid-size luxury SUV on sale to Canadians was considered, and this winner represents an overachieving, benchmark-setting vehicle we can confidently recommend to family and friends.
The Cayenne and Cayenne Coupe just received an extensive update for the 2024 model year, making it feel more like a new generation rather than a mid-cycle refresh. In typical Porsche fashion, exterior design changes are subtle, bordering on unnoticeable, with tweaks to many body panels (according to Porsche), the headlights, grille openings and rear light bar.
The bigger updates are mechanical and in the cabin. An all-new curved 12.6-inch driver display snagged from the Porsche Taycan complements the 12.3-inch centre display, and a 10.9-inch passenger display is available for the first time on the Cayenne. Mechanical changes include a new two-valve damping system and more power from all engine variants.
Since its inception, the Cayenne has been the luxury SUV benchmark, being one of the first to truly blend the worlds of sports-car-like handling with the off-road capability and practicality of a large SUV. This SUV can ford water crossings, climb sand dunes, and crawl through muddy trails with ease while still delivering a ride suitable for a luxury vehicle. When the road starts to twist and turn, the Cayenne shows off yet again with sharp steering, minimal body roll, and that same feeling of confidence you get from the brand’s sports cars.
Drivers have three different powertrains to choose from: a 3.0-litre single-turbo V6 in base models, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the Cayenne S, and E-Hybrid models that use the V6 combined with a 174-hp electric motor and a larger 25.9-kWh battery for increased battery-only range. All engines are paired with an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. There are also the range-topping models: the Cayenne Turbo GT, available only in coupe form, and the new Turbo E-Hybrid with a monstrous 729 hp, making it the most powerful Cayenne ever made.
With so much variety, there’s a Cayenne for every buyer, and this versatility is another reason our experts chose it as a winner.
In a review of the 2024 Porsche Cayenne we said: “The 2024 Porsche Cayenne remains an overachiever on the automotive landscape. The combination of all-condition capability with mind-bending performance is hard to fathom without experiencing it.”
There’s a large list of criteria that AutoTrader’s panel of experts consider when voting for a winner, including overall excellence, quality, engineering excellence, performance, design, and safety. And with so many excellent competitors like the Lexus RX, BMW X5, and Genesis GV80 (last year’s winner), voting for the best-in-class is a lot more complicated than it might seem on the surface.
The Porsche Cayenne displays excellence in engineering more than any other vehicle in its class and combines that with the best performance and quality, prerequisites for this vehicle class. Its extensive array of updates further emphasizes why the Cayenne is the winner in this hotly contested category.
The 2024 Porsche Cayenne starts at $89,900, while the E-Hybrid is priced from $104,800. Both move up in price quickly from there, depending on which of the numerous available options are picked. They aren’t cheap, but that age-old adage that “you get what you pay for” certainly holds true for the Cayenne.