In-depth reviews

Porsche Cayenne hybrid review

The Porsche Cayenne hybrid is a notch above its rivals in terms of driver reward, but we’d like to see lower CO2 emissions

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£72,560 - £144,930
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Class-leading interior
  • Outstanding cruiser
  • Lots of technology

Cons

  • Inconsistent brake feel
  • Rival PHEVs are greener
  • Not as practical as some rivals
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid24-27 miles69-91mpg71-92g/km

Although the original Porsche Cayenne shocked the motoring world when it was launched in 2003, as an SUV released by a manufacturer better known for sports cars, it was in many ways ahead of its time. SUVs are now all the rage, and with the Cayenne an established household name, Porsche continues to keep the model competitive by offering a plug-in hybrid option, known as the E-Hybrid.

The latest Cayenne E-Hybrid is one of many premium plug-in hybrid SUVs, with its rivals including the BMW X5 xDrive45e, Audi Q7 TFSI e and Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 – all of which are capable of longer pure-electric driving ranges and can achieve better fuel economy. The Cayenne E-Hybrid can only offer up to 91mpg and 27 miles of electric range from its 14kWh battery – and once the battery runs out, you’ll see the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine return closer to 30mpg.

But fuel efficiency is unlikely to be the reason you’re looking at the Cayenne E-Hybrid. So while it may not be the most efficient plug-in SUV, the Cayenne E-Hybrid is probably the best of the bunch to drive, and living with it on a day-to-day basis comes with a certain lustre. Plus, as long as you remember to plug in regularly, you’ll enjoy remarkably low fuel costs when you consider that you’re running about in a 456bhp, prestige 4x4.

Charging will take around six hours from a normal domestic plug socket, while a dedicated charger of 3.6kW or more will do it in four. Pay a bit extra to up the fastest charging speed from 3.6kW to 7.2kW, and you’ll see your charging time drop to around two hours from a fast enough home wallbox or public charger.

Acceleration is properly gut-churning, which you would expect with the 456bhp and 700Nm of torque on tap in the E-Hybrid. Even a mid-range prod of the throttle rather than a full-bore standing start is impressive, and there’s also some of the trademark Porsche handling ability – just perhaps not as much as you might hope for. However, an even more powerful Turbo S E-Hybrid is available, too.

Certainly, the steering response is predictable and accurate, but it doesn’t offer as much feedback as you might expect. Meanwhile, the brake pedal response is inconsistent and often hard to judge for a smooth stop due to the unusually intrusive regenerative braking technology.

Practicality could seem rather below par if you consider the strictly five-seat Cayenne next to rivals like the similarly priced (yet bigger) seven-seat Volvo XC90 T8. But as long as you’re not fussed about the lack of a seven-seat option, then the Cayenne E-Hybrid offers masses of space and luxury for rear passengers, plus a huge boot.

It's a shame, however, that there’s no dedicated cable storage, so if you want to take the cables with you then you’re stuck with having a chunky bag in the boot. Even so, the Cayenne has always been more about prestige and performance than outright practicality. Although it does offer more practicality than the coupe version of the Cayenne, which is also available in plug-in hybrid form.

Overall, if you’re in the market for a sports SUV then the Cayenne E-Hybrid feels like having your cake and eating it, guilt free. Keen drivers might be disappointed that the steering isn’t more textural and the brake feel more intuitive, but otherwise the financial and environmental benefits come at little or no compromise to the slick drive and addictive performance. The slightly more modern BMW X5 xDrive45e does offer a more useful electric range of up to 54 miles and can achieve over 200mpg, however.

If the even more nimble-feeling, even quicker all-electric Jaguar I-Pace isn't for you, then the Cayenne E-Hybrid is certainly the next best performance SUV with electric running. For a more detailed look at the car, check out the rest of our in-depth review...

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