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2019 Cayenne

Though purists scoffed when Porsche first released its Cayenne SUV, the luxury 'ute quickly became one the of the German automaker's best-selling (and most profitable) models. Now in its third generation, the Cayenne offers the handling, comfort, and family-friendly size that made the original a hit in a lighter package with greater power, more tech, and available hybrid power.

Life aboard

With a posh interior inspired by the Panamera sedan, the Cayenne boasts a driver-oriented cabin with a long, sloping center console. Porsche made every part of the interior with quality materials; the Cayenne isn't cheap but at least you get what you pay for.

There's a 12.3-inch touch screen for the infotainment system. It groups the car's audio, navigation, and connectivity functions into a single unit. There's not much of a learning curve involved because everything is logically laid out. We were impressed by the screen's resolution, too.

Trunk space checks in at 27.1 cubic feet with five passengers on board or 60.3 cubes with the rear seats folded flat. Note the extra hardware in the hybrid model lowers those figures to 22 and 56, respectively.

Meet the Cayennes

Porsche currently offers four variants of the Cayenne named base, E-Hybrid, S, and Turbo, respectively.

The base Cayenne comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 335 horsepower between 5,300 and 6,400 rpm and 332 pound-feet of torque from 1,340 to 5,300 rpm. The six-cylinder spins the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, a setup the base Cayenne shares with every other model in the line-up. The spring from zero to 60 mph takes 5.9 seconds.

Next up in the trim hierarchy is the Cayenne E-Hybrid. It teams the base Cayenne's 335-horsepower V6 with an electric motor linked to a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to deliver a total output of 455 horsepower. Porsche promises a 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph.

Stepping up to the Cayenne S adds a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 rated at 434 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The extra power lowers the Cayenne's zero-to-60-mph time to 4.9 seconds.

Finally, the top-spec Cayenne Turbo boasts a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with a mighty 541 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque on tap. Expect to see the speedometer display 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds.

Standard and optional equipment

The base Cayenne comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, steel springs, black brake calipers, an electronic parking brake, an automatic rear hatch, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay compatibility, a 10-speaker sound system, parking sensors on both ends, LED headlights, cruise control, keyless entry and start, a digital instrument cluster, a 20" collapsible spare tire, two-zone climate control, a manually-dimming rear-view mirror, and a manually-adjustable multi-function steering wheel.

In typical Porsche fashion, the list of options is longer than Infinite Jest.

The list includes every color that's not white or black, a full catalog of alloy wheels ranging from 19" to 22", full leather upholstery, 14-way power front seats with a memory function, sport seats, a panoramic roof, tinted tail lights, soft close doors, a towing package, high gloss black roof rails, rear-wheel steering, an air suspension, black or silver tailpipes, a compass on the dashboard, truffle brown seatbelts, ambient lighting, and heated seats, among others.

There are also several option packages to choose from, including the SportDesign package, the Offroad package, and the Sport Chrono package.

Porsche's InnoDrive technology, which is an evolution of cruise control that analyses navigation data to "see" about two miles ahead of the car, is also offered at an extra cost. The system knows when there's a bend in the road it needs to slow down for or when there's a hill it needs to accelerate for.

Occupant safety

The Cayenne comes standard with dual front, front knee, front thorax, front side, rear side, and curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Driving aids like lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, auto-dimming door mirrors, and a head-up display are all found on the list of options.

Key competitors

The Porsche Cayenne competes in a growing segment of the market. Its rivals include the Maserati Levante, Land Rover's Range Rover Sport, the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the BMW X5, and the Audi Q7.