2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Porsche Canada

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Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2009 Porsche Cayenne V6

All riiiiiiight!!! A base-model Cayenne!!!

Now before the good readers of Inside Story scratch unattractive gouges into their respective scalps, one must remember that most press fleet vehicle selections tend to be the top juice, with equipment bordering on Big Kahuna. The Cayenne line is a special case, and downright rubber room, when you realize that the current range has the ability to practically double the standard horsepower, and triple the entry-level MSRP. The V6 version tends to be overlooked, especially in the shadow of the take-no-prisoners Turbo S. Here’s the thing; just how fast do you want/need to get to the Armoire Shack? While you ponder that, let’s hoof the skins on this week’s Cayenne tester, with an MSRP of $68,110. (Pricing shown does not reflect freight, taxes, or regional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack

If this is entry-level, why do I think that I’ve arrived? Fit and finish on the Cayenne is naturally superb, though there are a few omissions of note, such as no Auto setting for headlamps, a single CD audio head unit, and wireless phone interface switches that require an additional $950 Bluetooth interface to actually do anything. The column receives a manual tilt/telescope, with steering wheel-mounted multi-function controls. (By the way; that steering wheel is heated, and yes, you want one.)

2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6. Click image to enlarge

The information display is dead centre in the gauge cluster, with the expected digital speed read-out to accompany the traditional sweeper.

Wipers earn a rain sensor, with heated washer nozzles. The Spic and Span policy continues, with headlamp washers included with the Bi-Xenon lighting upgrade. The 6-speed Tiptronic automatic can receive manual inputs through the steering wheel-mounted shift controls, or the floor shifter’s manu-gate. Feeling racy, but lazy? Simply flick the ‘Sport’ switch, found to the rear of the shifter, and next to the all-wheel drive differential management.

HVAC controls are partially hidden by a roll-down door, flanked by separate temperature and fan controls for the driver and front passenger. Note the thick and rubbery grippers on the operator pedals. The driver’s door houses the window pod controls, power liftgate release with programmable height, and the power toggle for the remote heated exterior mirrors.

Cubbies!
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6. Click image to enlarge

The locking glovebox includes a coolbox dial, though the owner’s lit seems to be swallowing valuable snack space, even with a dedicated indent to hold the packet. The centre console has two separate storage compartments. The front console dual cupholder uses bladder-style cinchers, which are a little tight for both beverage insertion and removal. A dual cupholder tray slides out from the rear of the console for the second row bevvies.

The front door panels include respectable pockets, with smaller voids for the rear doors, where ashtrays are still all the rage. The front passenger seat hides a slide-out storage tray at floor level. The rear cargo area has a good-sized cubby on the driver’s side wall, hidden by a removable panel. Five 12-volt DC powerpoints exist from bow to stern. The rear centre armrest adds an additional low-height cubby.

The Overhead

Unfortunately, the base Cayenne doesn’t have a self-dimming interior rear-view mirror. The moonroof uses a dial-up knob to set the preferred opening, flanked by Homelink transmitter switches, and a sunglasses holder. The sunvisors are twinned on each side, with a dedicated frontal visor joined by a unit built for side shade. Dual vanity mirrors employ subtle perimeter lighting. Roof rails are countersunk into the sheet metal, with provisions for future racking systems.

Seat Treat

It’s a three-way driver positioning play, with each of the three memory settings adding in the chosen exterior mirror locations. If 12-way power positioning for both the driver and passenger doesn’t grab you, then warm up to five-position heat dials, found on top of the audio head unit trim. The Inside Story Comfort Dummy was all smiles about the rear seat position, with one of the most ample headroom clearances seen to date for SUVs.

Cargo Embargo

It’s nice to see a power liftgate included in the standard equipment list, which can be further customized to your preferred maximum opening. Cargo tether points are located at floor level, beneath the removable cargo liner. A removable cargo area cover is included. The rear centre armrest hides the ski bag portal, hidden by a Velcro leather-ish flap.

2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6. Click image to enlarge

Removing the rear head restraints to fold down the rear seatbacks is inconvenient. But once folded, the load floor is downright flat, with the seatbacks locking into place with the lower seat cushions.

Spare Care

The air in this spare is found mainly over there, to the left of the spare tire storage well. Putting it under pressure is the job of a removable air compressor and an inflation Wondergoo. Note the handy prop rod for the cargo area floor. Porsche will change that rubber biscuit for you, during the first four years or 80,000 kilometres.

The Mill

Plastic trimmings aside, the 3.6-litre 290-horsepower V6 is easily one of the most accessible powerplants to exist in a modern-day Porsche. (That room is quickly devoured once you step up to a V8 deriviative.)

2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6
2009 Porsche Cayenne V6. Click image to enlarge

Key fluid level checkpoints are well marked and accessible.

The Verdict

Auto scribes from across the globe were quick to jump on the Cayenne during its early days. Earning the title of “Slowest Production Porsche” was far from endearing. These days, the base Cayenne erases 100 km/h in about 7.5 seconds, which is downright Warp for most sport utilities. It’s also one of the few all-wheel drive ‘utes that can provide a six-speed manual gearbox, should you prefer. I would prefer, as some of my best Stuttgart experiences have come behind the wheel of base Caymans, Boxsters, and 911s. Porsches love to be milked for everything they’ve got. Turbos and thicker rims are hard to dismiss.

This much is true; every single last model knows how to sing. Lose that ridiculous rear seat head restraint storage system, and the base Cayenne would be a five-star performer, instead of this week’s four-star showing.

Next week: 2009 Audi A3 quattro

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