Originally published February 27, 2015

Review by Jonathan Yarkony and Jacob Black, photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Lining up competitors for a comparison is never an exact science. Segment lines blur, vehicles cross over established lines, and brands sometimes float somewhere between mainstream and premium spaces in ways that are hard to pin down. One such outlier is the Porsche Macan.

It is compact in size, similar to the Audi Q5 or BMW X3, but pricing quickly outstrips those, and only Audi’s SQ5 can match the Macan for power in that segment. Well, the SQ5 had its shot, and was found a practical fallback to the more desirable, refined and performance oriented Macan.

Price wise, the Macan plays in the sandbox with the Range Rover Sport, X5, MDX, QX70 (nee FX), but those are all nominally larger vehicles.

In spirit, the Macan is a family-friendly crossover from one of the most dedicated sporting brands on the planet. In that vein, we went looking for equivalent performance.

Although a full size smaller, it’s hard to ignore a pint-sized hatchback bearing the AMG letter, one of the few badges to earn as devoted a following and performance credentials as Porsche. BMW’s M has nothing in this practical ass-hauler space. However, Mercedes-Benz’s (or is it Mercedes-AMG yet?) GLA 45 AMG is a grown up luxury-badged STI hatch that is also in its own little extreme all-weather performance and modest practicality corner of the automotive spectrum.

Did someone say extreme all-weather performance and modest practicality? Volvo seems to have finally captured lightning in a bottle with their full Polestar V60 Wagon, earning rave reviews here, elsewhere and even snagging AJAC’s Best New Performance Car over $50K for 2015 (topping the Mustang GT and Challenger Hellcat, no less). Previously, in a Sport Sedan Comparison, Volvo’s first stab at hardcore performance in the S60 T6 AWD R-Design with Polestar engine tune left us wanting and struggled to keep up as an all-around performance package despite the power and Rebel Blue paint. After only a brief drive at TestFest, it was clear that Polestar had delivered the goods. This thing does not disappoint.

So who will carry the day, the crossover cat with the Porsche pedigree? The pint-sized German über-hatch? The Swedish Unimoose?

Or maybe these were all just nebulous excuses for us to take these three hot wagons out for a rip in the snow. We can neither confirm nor deny the validity of any such rumours.

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