Reviews

2015 Porsche Macan Walk Around

The Porsche Macan is about six-and-a-half-inches shorter than the Porsche Cayenne SUV, and nearly a foot shorter than the Porsche Panamera four-door sedan. It's also about three inches lower than the Cayenne and a couple of inches narrower.

From the front, the Macan's most distinctive feature is its giant front grille, which is taller and wider than that of the Cayenne. On the Macan S, the gaping mouth is flanked on either side by horizontal lines, including LED accent lights, and round fog lights below. Macan Turbos get a different LED accent light design and different fog lights, as well as a front diffuser. Both models use Porsche's signature slanted headlights and the familiar wraparound clamshell hood.

From the side, one can see the Porsche flyline, that gentle sloping curve that defines the silhouette of all Porsche vehicles. A distinct character line curves up from the front fender and runs the length of the vehicle above the door handles, ending at the top of the wraparound tail lamps. A side blade, borrowed from the Porsche 918, runs along the lower portion of the car beneath a sharp body crease. Macan S models have black side blades, while Turbo models get them in body-color. Wheel designs also vary between Macan S and Turbo models.

The rear design is very clean and simple, with wide wraparound tail lights, also borrowed from the 918. There isn't a grab handle for the liftgate; instead, a small button at the base of the rear window wiper serves as the trunk release (a power liftgate is standard on all models). Below, the Macan S gets a quad exhaust with rounded tailpipes, while the Turbo gets squared pipes.

Interior

Like all Porsches, the interior materials in the Macan are top-notch, with supple, soft-touch surfaces, with excellent fit and finish. Leather upholstery is standard, and Turbo models come with sport seats. As usual with Porsche, there are plenty of options for interior materials and colors.

Seating position is low for the typical SUV. Standard seats on the Macan S come with power adjustments, while the Turbo gets 18-way sport seats. The base seats aren't fancy, but we found then supportive and comfortable for both long freeway drives and demanding twisty roads. As expected, the Turbo's sport seats cradled us even better, especially on the technical turns of the Streets of Willow Raceway north of Los Angeles.

Analog gauges and a TFT display comprise the Macan's instrument cluster, all large and easy to see. The tachometer sits front and center, with white numbers on black background, with a gear indicator and big digital speed readout at the bottom. That's good, since the analog speedometer to the left is marked in hard-to-read 25-mph increments. To the right is a multifunction display that lets users choose from a variety of data, including navigation directions and vehicle diagnostics.

In the center is a standard 7-inch color display that shows map and infotainment information. Audio, phone and volume functions sit beneath the screen and are relatively intuitive.

As with other Porsches, the main barrage of switches is in center console, surrounding the shifter. Here you'll find climate control and driving settings, with upwards of 32 buttons, a stark contrast from the minimalist designs found in Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. And although Porsche's layout looks quite busy, functions are easy to access once you're familiar with them, unlike those one-button interfaces that require several steps to change a setting.

Audio systems begin with a single CD, 11 speakers and 235 watts of power, and we found it quite good. The optional Bose surround sound system, with 14 speakers and 585 watts, is loud and clear. It matches anything in most luxury cars.

Storage up front includes a pair of side-by-side cupholders in the center console, a moderately roomy center-console box, a fairly large glovebox, and good-sized door pockets.

In a segment where rear-seat comfort often fails compared to riding shotgun, the Porsche Macan is a pleasant exception. The same bucket-style contours cradle rear seat passengers nearly equally as well, although the center passenger doesn't get such luck; the fifth seat is flat and narrow, though that's typical for this kind of vehicle. Rear headroom and legroom is adequate for nearly all shapes and sizes, though official measurements weren't available as of this writing. In our testing, a six-footer fit just fine.

Cargo space measures 17.7 cubic feet with all seats in place, or up to 53 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. That's close to that of the Mercedes-Benz GLK, but less than the BMW X3. It falls far short of the Audi SQ5, however, which offers an impressive 29.1 cubic feet of space with the seats in place, up to 57.3 cubic feet with the seats down.

The biggest problem inside the Macan is rearward visibility. The back window is small, and rear headrests block most of the daylight opening. We had to fold the seats flat to get satisfactory visibility, but of course this option isn't very practical if you'll be driving the Macan with more than two people inside.

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