I am a fan of German cars in general and was looking for a BMW X5 when I stumble upon the Cayenne. I never thought I could afford one, but I found this one and after test driving it, bought it on the spot. What a great SUV, drives like a car, and the performance in normal mode is good, until you press that "Sport" button and it changes completely. Extremely happy with it. HIGHLY recommend it.
Mine is the Cayene S, which is one step up from the base model I used to own. The base model of this vehicle handles well, but has the get up and go of a golf cart. The Cayene S model and the even fancier ones such as the S Turbo all have the acceleration of a muscle car or more, and handle like a finely tuned race car. Mine takes corners like they weren't even there. The ride is a little stiff, which is necessary to handle like it does, but not too bad. I have ridden in it for over 15 hours at a stretch without feeling too stiff at the end. It has hauled five adults for hours at a time without anyone complaining very much about being uncomfortable. The engine has performed flawlessly. Maintainence is not cheap. An oil change can cost up to $170 at a dealership, or as little as $75 at a place like Carmax. In any city there are only a limited number of places which can work on a Porsche. In the whole Kansas City Metro area, for instance there are only four such places. Gas mileage is better than my Ford F-150. I have taken a Cayene off-roading, but a couple of items in the drive train are a little vulnerable to damage by rocks (I learned the hard way), clearance is only around 8 inches, and there is definitely a limit to how deep the water can be that you drive into. That said, it is AWD and it handles gravel roads and off-roading better than any AWD pickup. In ice and snow it shows off it's German engineering as if it was made specifically to drive in that environment. As with most German cars I've been around, the plastic body detailing is frail and breaks or falls off easily. The electrical system works, but can be quirky. There is no MP3 plug, but there is a multi CD changer and the sound system is awesome (too good for the lowly sound of MP3s, don't 'cha know). It is a very quiet ride. The navigation system is VERY different than most, but it works just fine most of the time. When you turn right or left, side lights come on to illuminate where you are going. The parking / pedestrian sensors work well. The automatic back hatch is very helpful. It's the best sports car / SUV cross I've ever driven. The pricier AMG Mercedes SUV is the only other vehicle in the Cayene's class.
This car is everything I thought it would be. The ride is smooth and comfortable, the interior is quiet and the motor has plenty of oomph. The only minor issue I have is the requirement for 91 Octane gas, but it has been getting around 19 MPH driving in city which isn't bad for an SUV.