Although diesel-powered cars are becoming less of an oddity in the U.S., they are still relatively rare in the sport-utility segment. The Porsche Cayenne clatters a bit at start up and idle but otherwise drives like a gas-powered vehicle. Acceleration is less explosive than in the Cayenne S and GTS but it still gets to 60 mph in a respectable 7.2 seconds. Acceleration is most impressive from a stop and all-wheel drive prevents embarrassing tire squealing off the line.
The Cayenne gets shockingly good fuel economy for a 4800-pound vehicle. Its EPA ratings with putting it neck-and-neck with the VW Touareg diesel and surpassing the BMW X5 xdrive35d. The Cayenne feels heavier from behind the wheel than the diesel-powered VW and BMW but I found ingress, egress, and cargo loading far easier in the slightly lower Cayenne, even with the adjustable suspension set to normal. The small rear door restricts access to the back seat but it's no worse than in the BMW X5.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
The Cayenne remains a Cayenne with its newly available diesel engine, which is to say, it's still one of the best-driving SUVs on the market. What's not to like, really? You get strong, linear acceleration, fantastic range, and close to 30 mpg on the highway if you take it easy on the accelerator pedal, and there's only the faintest diesel thrum to remind you that there's a different sort of engine under the hood. Steering is light but precise. Aside from the powertrain, I like the excellent visibility afforded by the big side windows and relatively thin roof pillars.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor