The Porsche Cayenne is the flagship Porsche luxury SUV available in three different generations starting almost 20 years ago now. The 1st generation of the Cayenne is now a relatively old car which means that it requires a more thorough inspection if you are interested in buying one.
This is not to say that the 2nd generation of the Cayenne is without fault because it also comes with a few mentionable issues. Overall, the later 3rd generation Cayenne models are the best ones to get, both from a technology and the reliability aspect.
The worst model years of the Porsche Cayenne are undoubtedly the 2004 and the 2011 models as these two are riddles with quite a few expensive and stressful issues. However, if you take proper care of your Cayenne and you don’t go for a silly high mileage example, you should be able to enjoy even the 2004 and the 2011 models.
The best Cayenne model years are the later models from each model generation. This means that the best 1st gen Cayenne models are the 2009 and later models, the best 2nd gen Cayenne models are the 2017 ones and the best third-gen Cayenne models are the current ones, the 2021/2022 models.
2004 Cayenne models – One of the most problematic Porsche models ever
Nowadays Porsche is known for making reliable and long-lasting models and it seems like all the world’s leading reliability charts and surveys tend to agree with that. This was not always the case as the early 2000s Porsches are known to be more problematic, both because of old age and because Porsche struggled at that time.
This was also the time when Porsche came out with the 1st generation of the Porsche Cayenne. It’s not to say that these early Porsche Cayenne models are really bad, it’s mostly because they are expensive to repair. The most common issues with 2004 Cayenne models are down to coolant issues, drivetrain issues, and electrical issues.
The problem here is that they often cost upwards of a few thousand dollars to fix which is not something you want from a car that costs a few thousand dollars in the first place. This means that there is quite a bit of chance that a 1st gen Cayenne becomes an insurance write-off, even for some relatively minor issues.
As such, it is best to just avoid these as this is not something you want to deal with. A cheap Porsche is an illusion as there is no such thing as a cheap Porsche, maybe in a video game.
2011 Porsche Cayenne – An even more problematic Porsche Cayenne model
The second generation of the Porsche Cayenne was introduced in 2011 and it introduced quite a few mentionable upgrades that include a better-looking interior and exterior design, better and more efficient engines, and an overall upgrade in sophistication, technology, and luxury.
However, with so many upgrades came many potential issues, especially with the very first 2nd gen models, the 2011 models. The 2011 Cayenne is likely the most questionable Cayenne you can buy because it is often plagued by terminal engine issues that Porsche seems to ignore for the most part.
There were instances where people complained that even low-mileage examples end up with dead engines, premature tire and brake wear, cooling issues. The aforementioned engine failure is the greatest possible issue out of all Porsche Cayenne generations out there, so be sure to avoid the 2011 models.
That’s not to say that all the 1st and 2nd generation Cayenne models are bad because they are not. Many first, second and third generation Cayenne models are superior and we are going to list them in the next paragraph.
Best Porsche Cayenne generations you should consider
Not all Porsche Cayenne models are made equal as the later models out of all three generations seem to be the least problematic ones out of the bunch. The best 1st gen Cayenne models are the post-facelift ones, more specifically the 2009 and the 2010 models because they are the most sorted out from the factory.
It’s more or less the same story with the second generation of the Porsche Cayenne as the post-facelift 2017 models are the best ones to buy. These 2017 Porsche Cayenne models are arguably the sweet spot right now as they are not as expensive as third-gen models, but they are modern and desirable.
The best Porsche Cayenne models overall are the very latest ones, the 2021 and 2022 model years because they are the newest, most advanced, and most exciting ones, especially the brand-new Turbo GT and hybrid models.
Should I buy a Porsche Cayenne?
The answer to this question is highly subjective as most people that tend to buy the Cayenne are drawn to it for a few distinct reasons. The first one is because it is a Porsche SUV that looks and feels nice, at least the 2nd and the 3rd generations do.
The second reason is that they are desirable cars that look good, perform well, are luxurious, and are filled with high-quality materials and well-engineered engines. All in all, if you want a Cayenne, you should buy it, but only if you are fully aware of what it takes to maintain and own such a car.
Is the Porsche Cayenne the best Porsche luxury car?
The title of the best Porsche luxury car is disputed heavily between the Panamera sedan and the Cayenne. Some people deem the Panamera to be the best, most amazing, and most jaw-dropping Porsche luxury car while others deem it bloated-looking and fairly impractical.
The Cayenne is a more reasonable decision as it offers all the SUV benefits while also being dynamic, luxurious, and a lot more desirable. As such, it’s safe to say that the Cayenne is indeed the staple Porsche luxury car.
Is the Porsche Macan better than the Porsche Cayenne?
The Porsche Macan is the entry-level Porsche SUV that is both smaller and less powerful than the Cayenne. The Cayenne is also a more desirable and better-looking SUV because it is more expensive and is offered with more engines.
The Macan is indeed a nice car, but the Cayenne is a lot better. However, the next generation of the Macan is soon to be released and it is likely going to introduce the next generation of Porsche design, so stay tuned for the new Macan as this might even change with the next-gen Macan.