The name Porsche conjures images of fun time behind the wheel. For me, that means tooling around in a friend's 1969 Porsche 912 on sunny Colorado afternoons with the top down. Of course, while many of us grow up dreaming about cruising winding roads in a roadster, reality ends up looking like squiring our kids and groceries around sprawling suburban streets in something with at least two rows of seats.
Like every other carmaker that wants to stay in business, Porsche has embraced the SUV. Indeed, the Macan was the Stuttgart-based OEM's best-selling model worldwide, with nearly 100,000 shifted in 2019. (The Cayenne was second, with 92,055 sold—we truly live in an SUV-ified world).
Launched in 2014, the Macan is still in its first generation, albeit with a modest makeover in 2019, the visuals of which are seen mostly in the interior and in new front and rear fascia. From a performance standpoint, last year's refresh made the front wheels a half-inch wider, added some new tires, and swapped out steel for aluminum in the forks that connect the front-axle carrier to the spring and damper. There is little change to the 2020 model.
If you want to get into a Macan on the cheap, the base configuration is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, which starts at $50,900. But those never show up in the press fleet. Our review model was the $59,400 Macan S—a 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 348hp (259kW) and 354lb-ft (480Nm) of torque. That powerplant will take you from zero to 60mph in 4.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono package, topping out at 157mph (253km/h). The engine is partnered with fully variable all-wheel drive and a seven-speed transmission. EPA says to expect 20mpg (11.76L/100km) overall—18mpg (13.06L/100km) in the city and 23mpg (10.23L/100km) on the highway. We got 18.7mpg (12.57L/100km) in a week of mixed, early-winter driving.
Based on my brief experience with the Cayenne E-Hybrid and the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid last summer, I was looking forward to a week with the Macan S, Porsche's subcompact SUV. The Cayenne was all kinds of fun, and it felt like a well-thought-out and coherent design. The Macan S… not so much.