When you hear the brand name Porsche, it's highly unlikely your first though is of a luxury SUV. After all, Porsche is known for its sporty coupes, like the Porsche 911. However, Porsche wanted to expand its line (and its image), so the brand introduced the Porsche Cayenne in Europe in 2001 and for sale in North America for the 2003 model year. The Cayenne SUV was the first four-door Porsche, preceding even a sedan (which is now available: the Porsche Panamera). Many Porsche enthusiasts were confused and outraged by this new addition, and some critics felt the same way; however, the Cayenne has now proven its worth as a valuable addition to the Porsche line.
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Porsche added the Cayenne as a method to survival, as sports cars are the first to lose sales in dire economic times. With an SUV, Porsche would appeal to a larger audience and garner greater sales. The idea to craft an SUV instead of a sedan was due to America's overwhelming interest in the vehicle type, as well as the fact that two of Porsche's German rivals- BMW and Mercedes-Benz had recently added SUVs and the fact that Porsche owners usually owned two other vehicles- one being an SUV. As predicted, the Porsche Cayenne zoomed off production lines due to high demand.
This review will focus on the 2012 base model Porsche Cayenne SUV. Last year, the Cayenne received a complete redesign, so the 2012 model is much the same as the 2011 model, with a few small updates, including a new optional blind-spot warning system. Overall, this Porsche SUV boasts a powerful V8 engine, an expertly-crafted interior, tons of available options, and excellent handling. It comes in several different forms this year: the base (with a starting MSRP of $48,200), the Tiptronic trim (with a starting price of $51,200), the sporty S trim (with a starting price of $65,000), and a Turbo trim (with a starting price of $107,100). There's also a Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid model, which has a starting price of $69,000. The five-passenger Porsche Cayenne SUV comes with incredible standard features, which include: Bluetooth capability, a split-rear seat, a refrigerated glove compartment, leather seating, Cruise Control, a 12-speaker sound system, an anti-theft system, a HomeLink programmable garage door opener, and a Porsche Rear Seat Entertainment System. As far as fuel economy ratings go, the Cayenne achieves 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway.