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The Porsche Cayenne is a crossover SUV that reflects its legendary maker’s sports car pedigree inside and out. Are you considering buying and insuring a Cayenne? If so, read on to find out more about this midsize luxury vehicle before entering your zip code in the box to compare insurance rates. We’ll take a look at some of the Cayenne’s features and specs, as well as reviews, safety attributes and insurance considerations that affect the price you pay for insuring Porsche’s first and only SUV.
Venturing Beyond the Sports Car Niche
For half a century, Porsche has been known for its sports cars: the iconic 911 series, the Boxster and, most recently, the hardtop Cayman. Its reputation and branding is impeccable in this niche, so to many in the sports car world it was a surprise when Porsche introduced this midsize SUV in 2002 and commenced North American sales in 2003. However, the Cayenne has been a successful venture for the company, primarily because it feels more like driving a sports car than any other SUV on the market. Therefore, the would-be sports car driver with a family, pets, gear or the desire to do some off-road travel need look no further than the five-passenger Cayenne.
As usual, though, Porsche quality comes with a hefty price tag. The base model 3.6-liter Cayenne, a V6 300-horsepower all-wheel drive with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, starts at $47,700 for 2011. With automatic transmission, the starting price rises to $50,700. The 4.8-liter 400-horsepower V8 Cayenne S with automatic starts at $64,400. The Cayenne S also comes in a hybrid 6-cylinder 3.0-liter 380-horsepower version starting at $67,700. Porsche’s premier model, the Cayenne Turbo, is a 4.8-liter twin-turbo 8-cylinder that cranks out 500 horsepower at 6000 rpms with maximum torque of 516 pound-feet between 2250 and 4500 rpms. It has a maximum speed of 172 mph and 0-to-60 mph acceleration of 4.4 seconds. If this embodiment of true Porsche power appeals to you, be prepared for a starting price of $106,000.
Reviews and Comparisons
While the all-new 2011 Cayenne receives unbridled praise from most reviewers, car rankings that factor in value for money nonetheless have little cause to give it top billing. The US News list of top luxury midsize SUVs for 2011 ranks the Cayenne ninth out of seventeen even while praising its power, luxury, precision handling and a host of other attributes. The winner on their list is the Volkswagen Touareg. Originating from the same parent company, the Touareg and Cayenne share a platform and many parts, and the Touareg was also redesigned for 2011, including a similar hybrid version. The base Touareg starts at almost $7000 less than the Cayenne, and the Touareg hybrid starts at $17,000 less. The extra cost buys Porsche engine quality and, of course, the prestige of Porsche ownership. If these priorities aren’t worth it, the Touareg is waiting in the wings.
However, for many, the Porsche Cayenne is indeed worth every penny. Reviewers praise its engine power, agility and off-road capability, as well as the seamless transition between gas and electric engines on the new hybrid model. Road and Track calls it “the best-handling SUV money can buy,” and Consumer Guide cites its “thoroughbred handling” and “blazing acceleration” even while cautioning the high price tag.
Safety Features and Evaluations
Although Porsche sports cars come with standard safety features, with its SUV, Porsche enjoys the opportunity to fully embrace the emphasis on safety demanded by SUV consumers. Notable features include the Porsche Stability Management System, Brake Assist, Engine Drag Torque Control, torso side airbags, side curtain airbags, dual front airbags, head protection in front and back, a reinforced passenger cage, side door reinforcement, impact sensors, rollover detection, seatbelt pre-tensioners, LATCH child seat attachments and options for parking assist and a rear camera.
While Porsche’s attention to safety is reassuring, the Cayenne has not been evaluated by either of the two major safety rating agencies, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, its platform-mate the VW Touareg shares the same lightweight steel passenger cage intended to optimize impact protection. The Touareg is a “Top Safety Pick” of the IIHS, so it’s reasonable to extrapolate a similar if not higher standard for the Cayenne.
Insuring the Porsche Cayenne
The Cayenne’s safety features do bring down the average cost of insurance somewhat in comparison to Porsche’s sports cars, however, not to the point of parity with the Touareg, whose repair costs will be lower in most cases. The national average for a base Cayenne with average driver and coverage is between $1600 and $1700 per year, as compared to the Touareg at around $1500 per year. The Cayenne S averages closer to $1800, the Turbo $2100, and the Cayenne S Hybrid costs on average around $2230 per year.
These averages represent a ballpark starting point only. The rate you personally will be charged depends on the state and town you live in, driver age and driving record, annual mileage driven, credit history, multi-policy discounts, and any other factors the insurance industry deems statistically relevant. As an example of these variables in play, the base Cayenne averages under $1000 per year to insure in Vermont but costs $3000 in Montana. Vermont averages $500 more annually for the hybrid than for the conventional Cayenne S, whereas Maine premiums average only $100 more for the hybrid than for the regular Cayenne S.
With so many variables affecting the cost of insuring a Porsche Cayenne, it’s a good idea to compare quotes from many different insurers to get the best price and terms for your circumstances. Simply enter your zip code in the box to begin shopping for car insurance.