by Michael Butler
It seems like Porsche can't put a wrong foot forward: It builds some of the best driver's cars in the world, and for some time now has also built some of the best luxury SUVs. The Porsche Cayenne was the one to start it all and is widely considered to be the best performing luxury SUV out there. As if that's not enough, Porsche also offers its Cayenne in hybrid form, and trust us, it might be green, but it's fast as hell. Under the hood of the E-Hybrid lies a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and an electric hybrid motor that develops a combined 455 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. That's good enough for a 0-60 mph sprint of only 4.7 seconds. The Turbo S variant gets a twin-turbo V8 engine and hybrid system that is good for a massive 670 hp and a top speed of 183 mph. The E-Hybrid range isn't only about the performance, they are also highly capable cruisers, practical family cars, and rather capable off-road. The 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid goes up against the likes of the Range Rover Hybrid and the Volvo XC90 Hybrid.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid shares a number of updates with the rest of the range, including a lower curb weight, despite the addition of more standard features such as LED headlights, and Porsche active suspension dampers. The E-Hybrid now also features a staggered wheel size, standard 4D chassis control, and a standard onboard 3.6 kW charger.
See trim levels and configurations:
The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid gets a new and powerfully designed front end with standard LED headlights. The side profile is a sleek one and ends off with a subtle roof spoiler. The E-Hybrid rolls on a set of standard 19-inch wheels, but Porsche now offers, for the first time, a set of 22-inch wheels. Exterior features include rear privacy glass, power-folding mirrors, a powered rear hatch, as well as twin single-tube tailpipes. The Turbo S features quad exhaust exits.
The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid is classified as a mid-size luxury SUV and measures in with a total length of 193.7 inches. It is 78.1 inches wide (86.4 with mirrors extended) and rolls on a 114-inch wheelbase. With the extra weight of the hybrid system included, the E-Hybrid weighs in at 5,164 pounds.
Don't let the name E-Hybrid fool you into thinking that these cars are slow; they're anything but. Under the hood of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid lies a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. This setup is supplemented by an electric motor with 134 hp on tap, which means a total power output of 455 hp and a massive 516 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo S model on the other hand gets a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter engine and electric hybrid system that produces a total of 670 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque This power gets sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic. In a straight line, the Cayenne E-Hybrid will sprint to sixty in only 4.7 seconds, and continue to a top speed of 157 mph. In all-electric mode, it can reach 83 mph. The Cayenne E-Hybrid feels fast in any situation, and there's always enough grunt to get it going and keep it there. The Turbo S E-Hybrid will get to sixty in under four seconds, and with the Sport Chrono Package fitted, it will do the sprint in 3.6 seconds to be exact. To put it simply, the Turbo S feels absolutely insane in a straight line.
The Cayenne platform is known throughout the motoring community as one of the best handling SUVs out there. Porsche has managed to create a car that balances road comfort with surprisingly sharp handling dynamics, and we think they hit the nail on the head with this one. The E-Hybrid might weigh an absolutely catastrophic 474 to 582 pounds heavier than its gas-only siblings, but that does not detract from its drivability. Turn the steering wheel and be rewarded with sharp response times and good feedback. When throwing the E-Hybrid through some tight corners, the weight can be felt, but the AWD system always keeps things in check. Corner exit speeds are phenomenal, thanks to the extra power offered by the electric motor.
In the world of high-performance luxury SUVs, the term 'gas mileage' doesn't mean much. Manufacturers tend to focus on performance first, but the new trend in hybridization means that we can have our cake and eat it. The 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid is one such example: the EPA rates that this speedy SUV will manage a combined figure of 21 mpg on the gas engine, and 41 MPGe on the electric system. With a 19.8-gallon fuel tank on board, the Cayenne should see a maximum range of around 416 miles. The 14.1 kWh battery pack can be fully recharged in only 2.3 hours when using a 230-volt, 32 amp connection, and the optional 7.2 kW onboard charger.
When it comes to interior space, the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid sits close to the top of the class. Its cabin is decked out in premium materials, and, as is to be expected from Porsche, everything reeks of quality and professional workmanship. Visibility out the front is good, but the sloping rear limits rearward visibility. The driver sits high, but the driving position is good and can be adjusted to suit most drivers' needs. When it comes to the seats, Porsche offers the front occupants a set of supportive bucket seats that are covered in sumptuous leather. The Cayenne E-Hybrid offers enough space to seat five adults comfortably, and taller passengers should find that there is more than enough space to accommodate long legs and lofty heads.
Yes, the Cayenne E-Hybrid is a luxury car through and through, but it is also a practical family transporter and will spend a lot of its time picking up and dropping off kids from private school and horse riding lessons, so it needs to offer a decent amount of trunk and cargo space. Thankfully it does: behind the rear seats, you get 22.7 cubic feet of space, and with the rear seats folded, you get 56.8 cubic feet. Small-item storage includes a center console storage bin, glove box, two front, and rear cupholders and a bottle holder in each door.
Porsche is known for being stingy with standard equipment, and we find that the 2020 E-Hybrid does lack some of the features you'd expect to find in a car at this price level. What you do get is standard two-zone climate control, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, park assist with front and rear sensors, cruise control, as well as keyless access and push-button start, HomeLink, and a multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters. If you're looking for anything more than that, you'll have to go through the options list. The Premium Package is a good place to start, as it adds a panoramic roof, heated front seating, lane change assist, and 14-way power-adjustable seats amongst others.
Every luxury SUV deserves a banging sound system. The standard system found in the Cayenne E-Hybrid does a respectable job and includes standard features such as online navigation with voice control, Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay, and wireless internet access. SiriusXM radio with a three-month trial is also included. The standard sound system consists of ten speakers with a total power output of 150 watts, but a Bose surround sound system is also on offer. The overall experience here is good; the infotainment system is easy to navigate and is responsive; we just wish Porsche included Android Auto in the package.
The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid has been recalled once due to failure to warn the driver of worn brake pads. Certain Cayenne cars were also recalled in 2019 for a faulty reverse camera display. Porsche will cover the 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes drivetrain and roadside assistance for the same period or distance, a 12-year corrosion warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on hybrid parts.
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid has not been tested by either the NHTSA or IIHS, so no info is available on how safe it actually is, but Porsche is a trusted manufacturer, and the Cayenne should keep its occupants as safe as any of the class leaders. Standard safety gear on offer is an eight airbag system with dual front knee airbags, cruise control, front collision warning, and brake assist, as well as ParkAssist with front and rear sensors. The assistance package adds features such as a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, and lane-keep assist.
The Porsche Cayenne range of SUVs are well known for their excellent performance, handling dynamics and refined interiors, and the E-Hybrid merely adds efficiency on top of that. The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid doesn't lose out on performance because of its green image; in fact, it gets a boost in performance, with that electric motor coming to the party in a big way: 663 lb-ft of torque under your right foot in the Turbo S is seriously fun. Not only is it fast in a straight line, but it also handles well. We consider the Porsche Cayenne family of SUVs to be some of the best handling cars on the road, SUV or not. When it comes to the interior, the Cayenne does not disappoint either: the build quality is up there with the best, but we can't help but question the lack of features that we would consider essential at this price range. Porsche might be stingy with the features, but the overall package is still so good that we wouldn't mind paying extra for stuff like lane-keep assist and heated front seats.
To get behind the wheel of a 2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, you'll have to fork over $81,100, which does not include tax, registration, and a delivery fee of $1,350. Fully kitted, the E-Hybrid will set you back over $160,000; double the original asking price. In comparison, the Range Rover Hybrid will cost you $95,950, and the Volvo XC90 Hybrid $67,000. The high-performance Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid will set you back an eye-watering $161,900 which will creep closer to the $200k mark when the options boxes are ticked.
There are two models to choose from, and Porsche offers a long list of standard features to keep the imagination busy. The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid costs nearly double the price of the standard hybrid and is the top-performing car in the Cayenne range. We'll stick with the capable, and much less expensive E-Hybrid. If we were building a Cayenne E-Hybrid, we would start off with one in Quartzite Grey Metallic with 21-inch Spyder design wheels. On the inside, we would go for the black leather interior and get the adaptive 18-way power-adjustable seats with heating. In terms of optional packages, we would get the Premium Package, which adds features such as a panoramic roof, lane change assist, as well as ambient lighting and a Bose surround sound system. When all is said and done, our Cayenne E-Hybrid will end up with an asking price of $93,970.
Even the mighty Range Rover can't stop the green wave from breaking over the SUV range. The iconic SUV is now also available as a hybrid, and we're not even mad. Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine mated to an electric motor for a combined power output of 398 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The exterior of the Range Rover Hybrid is as handsome as ever, and there are no telltale signs that it's a tree-hugging softy. So besides the green power plant, what does the Range Rover Hybrid do well? Firstly the interior is as plush and pleasant as always: the choice of materials is top-notch, and the entire space feels upmarket and worthy of the asking price. Off-road the Hybrid is still a force to be reckoned with, and on the road, it's a capable cruiser with excellent ride quality. Unfortunately, the gas mileage figures aren't as impressive and are coupled with long charging times. Its four-cylinder engine can't keep up either. We would stick with the Porsche.
Volvo has been in the luxury SUV game for years and builds some of the most refined and capable machines on the road. The XC90 Hybrid is Volvo's entry into the mid-size hybrid SUV market and is as comfortable as it is economical. Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter twin-charged engine and electric motor system that develops a combined 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. That's enough power to get you into some serious trouble in a Volvo SUV. We adore the versatile seating arrangement and peerless cabin quality; Volvo has really outdone itself here. Power delivery from the small-capacity engine is impressive, and we appreciate the comprehensive list of safety features. The driving experience is not as entertaining as that of the Porsche, and the electric-only range is limited, but at a much lower price of $67,000, the XC90 Hybrid is well worth looking at.