As an avid sports car enthusiast, I feel like I’m overly critical of many SUV options. For me, an SUV has to offer something more than practicality to earn a spot in my driveway. As much as I enjoyed daily driving a Lotus Elise, it was far from the most practical thing, and it left me in tough situations on a pretty consistent basis. There really isn’t anything that compares to daily driving an exotic car, but at the end of the day, it’s important to at least have one practical car — which we did not. I set out to find the most affordable SUV I could find that set itself apart from the world of SUVs, and I discovered that a used Porsche Cayenne was exactly what I was looking for.
Used Porsche Cayenne’s are surprisingly affordable
It might not be the Lamborghini Urus I had always hoped to see sitting in my driveway, but the styling of the Cayenne is still striking and beautiful — after all, it is a Porsche. I had started my search with the BMW X4 and BMW X6 but after all of my negative experiences with BMW reliability and my constant desire to buy cars that are in less than ideal condition, I had decided to try something new. It was a short leap from the Macan, which I had loved for its rounded roofline and small stature, to the Cayenne, and that was because of how surprisingly affordable used Cayennes turned out to be.
The first generation of the Cayenne was the most affordable, but I decided to let myself pick out a second-generation Cayenne for the more modern styling and updated features. I found that most of the Cayennes on the market was priced for less than $25,000 in good condition and with reasonable mileage for their age. For such a reasonable price, I was able to look for higher trim levels and ended up settling on the Cayenne S Hybrid. The outside of the car has nice body lines and a stylish front end, but the interior is where this car really shines.
The Cayenne S Hybrid and other trims
When I imagined buying a car for less than $20,000 I expected to get a base model, high mileage Porsche that would inevitably end up needing repairs, but I was surprised to find that wasn’t the case. I found a fully-optioned Cayenne S Hybrid for an out-the-door $18,000 and that wasn’t an anomaly. Like other high-end luxury brands, the Porsche Cayenne depreciated like crazy, and for a car that was originally $106,000 with all of the options — which you can check using an online Porsche VIN check website — my new dream SUV was less than a new Toyota Camry, at the age of 9 years old.
As a daily driver, my 2011 Porsche Cayenne has turned out to be truly exceptional. After my own unconventional testing, and truly enjoying the comfortable ride quality of the luxury air suspension, I discovered I could take the car over a speed bump at 45mph without feeling so much as a gentle nudge — not that I recommend it. The back seats are surprisingly spacious, ideal for traveling with friends and family, and there was enough room in the trunk for plenty of groceries.
What I was the most surprised with, however, was that I wasn’t miserable driving the Cayenne — even after the honeymoon phase was over. The hybrid drive train and sport mode gave the car just as much power as I could hope for in a full-sized SUV, and even though it won’t compare to driving a genuine sports car, it’s still pretty darn close for a full-sized luxury SUV.