Back in 2004, Porsche did something that, at the time, was unthinkable. It began selling an SUV called the Cayenne. Such a major departure from tradition was a huge risk, but it paid off, and the Cayenne quickly became the best-selling car in Porsche’s lineup.
Compared to most other luxury SUVs at the time, the Cayenne wasn’t necessarily quicker or more luxurious. But it was a comfortable cruiser that proved popular with buyers.
Today you can pick up a first-generation Cayenne in all its Porsche glory thanks to depreciation, just that it’s still not cheap. The URA tax bill on a 2004 cayenne is more than Shs50 million. Thing is on the used car market, the Porsche is a loved car. Let’s find out why focusing on the first generation that started it all in 2004.
What makes a Porsche a Porsche? Well it’s easy to see Porsche in the Cayenne. The family resemblance is obvious in the Cayenne’s headlights and grille work, which closely resemble those on the Porsche 911 many of us saw only in old torn up car magazines.
In size, Cayenne most closely matches Volkswagen’s Touareg, which is no surprise, given that the two cars were developed jointly by Porsche and VW.
As a result of this cooperation, Cayenne and Touareg bodies are built at the same plants and do share some parts naturally. But make no mistake the Touareg is no Cayenne by any means.
The Porsche to me is one SUV that has aged well. Cayenne is not a small car making it longer and more in your face than the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class of the time.
The Cayenne is not as richly appointed as say a Range Rover, but it’s not supposed to be. The emphasis here is sporting flair, rather than traditional luxury. That said, in deliberate effort not to agitate the already blazed Porsche purists upset with an SUV with a Porsche badge, the company went with a simplistic yet functional and very Porsche-like interior. Everything is made with high grade materials and screwed together to last generations. Cayenne accommodates five adults in reasonable comfort. The rear seat is well countered, with excellent headroom and decent legroom, even when the front seats are well back in their travel range. There are a few quirks like the ignition key being on the left rather than the right
Engine and Driving Dynamics
The Cayenne is fast, satisfying and, even in the things it does least efficiently, utterly competent. It stops with more energy and precision than any SUV you could name at the time. This car comes with a variety of engines from the base 3.2 Litre V6 to the extremely powerful 4.5 Litre V8 with two turbos bolted on. Yes the V6 is a solid performer, although it’s the V8 engines that begin to separate Cayenne from others in the SUV pack.
Because it was designed to be the Porsche of SUVs, the suspension is quite stiff and you might feel all the humps and bumps in a manner you may not appreciate in comparison to what you paid for it. The exhaust sound in the cayenne is designed to bring out the race driver in you.
With average cost of Shs60-80m, one thing that’s certain is that a Cayenne, like many high-end cars, will be expensive to maintain. The closest dealership for Porsche is in Nairobi so you either have to have a maintenance fund or are technically inclined and can work with preventive maintenance. The Cayenne is a capable car and no doubt an attractive proposition for drivers looking for something with the practicality of an SUV with the performance of a Porsche. A used Cayenne should be a rewarding car to own if you can stomach the pricey maintenance and repair costs and the low resale value.