This is the least expensive new Porsche you can buy, but – strangely – it’s also one the brand’s best cars. And that’s not even the most remarkable thing about the basic Macan; somehow, despite its age, it’s still a top contender in the luxury SUV arena. It was introduced way back in 2014, spruced up in 2018, and now it’s getting another makeover for 2022.
Why has Porsche let its best-seller get so long in the tooth? If spy-photos and rumours are correct, it’s because the company is keeping the current Macan around while it readies an all-new all-electric version, which could arrive next year. So, if you don’t need a new SUV right now, bear that in mind.
While the Macan is the least expensive Porsche, it’s no bargain. The 2022 model starts at $58,500, but the modestly optioned four-cylinder SUV you see here costs $71,500 before taxes and fees. The price reflects a premium over BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes to have that golden Porsche crest on the hood. Annoyingly though, the Macan is really good.
It’s also the cornerstone of the company’s hugely profitable product portfolio. Porsche Canada sold a record-breaking 9,141 new vehicles last year, and more than one-third of them were Macan SUVs. It’s the gateway into the cult of Porsche.
For 2022, the Macan soldiers on with minor styling tweaks and a revised cabin. The new steering wheel and centre console are ripped from Porsche’s flagship 911 sports car. The shiny black surface of the console hides touch-sensitive buttons, which, happily, you can use while wearing gloves. The design leaves little space for storage up front, and picks up dirt and fingerprints too easily, but it keeps the cabin looking modern.
In fact, the only area in which the updated 2022 Macan really shows its age is under the hood. You can get your choice of four- or six-cylinder gasoline engines, but there’s no plug-in hybrid on offer, which is a shame in 2022.
The turbocharged four-cylinder motor in the entry-level Macan is nothing special; it gets the job done with 261 horsepower. The motor feels sluggish initially, until you hit the button labelled ‘Sport’ on the centre console. Then the SUV wakes up and scoots forward more like a Porsche should.
Straight line performance won’t impress anybody, but the way this Macan tackles corners is exceptional. Don’t expect it to drive like an SUV. You sit up high, but the Porsche’s taught suspension resists body-roll and rides over bad roads more like a hot hatchback. Even this entry-level model is precise, eager and effortlessly composed, whipping around an on-ramp.
The ride isn’t uncomfortable, but it could certainly be softer and more forgiving – especially given the way people actually use compact SUVs – but then the Macan would lose some of its Porsche-ness, some of that handling prowess that makes it feel so good to drive.
You pay for the Macan’s handling prowess in everyday practicality. It’s smaller, with less rear-seat space and cargo capacity than many newer rivals.
Despite those compromises, the Macan’s handling and sheer desirability make it a top contender in the crowded compact luxury SUV field. That said, you may want to hold off on buying one because there’s an all-electric version coming soon. Given how impressive Porsche’s first all-electric car – the Taycan – was, we have high hopes for the company’s sophomore effort.
2022 Porsche Macan
- Base price/as tested: $58,500 / $71,500
- Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo
- Transmission/drive: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic / all-wheel drive
- Fuel economy (litres/100 kilometres): 12.4 city, 9.3 highway
- Alternatives: Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Genesis GV70, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque, Tesla Model Y
It’s almost indistinguishable from last year’s Macan, but wait, there are 16 different interior trims to choose from and 19 different wheel options. Nineteen! That’s the kind of customization we like to see, but, because this is Porsche, prices are silly. (A $6,000 set of wheels on an $58,500 SUV is like putting truffles on a burger, tasty perhaps, but a bit of a waste.) Spray from the big wheels gets the car dirty quickly too.
Unless you dip into the options list, it doesn’t feel especially luxurious. Average-sized adults will feel cramped in the back, with knees against the front seats. The panoramic glass roof is lovely, but cuts into the limited rear headroom.
The four-cylinder is peppy enough in sport mode – 0-100 kilometres an hour in 6.4 seconds ain’t bad – that you could be happy without the V6. It’s a shame there’s no hybrid option though, because fuel economy isn’t good; our tester averaged 12.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Adaptive air suspension is a pricey $3,140 option that would likely make the Macan cushier for everyday driving.
Driver assists like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control are optional extras. The 10.9-inch touch screen is clear and intuitive and the voice control even does a decent job of inputting addresses into the navigation. There aren’t many physical controls though, so you need to touch the screen a lot.
The rakish roofline cuts into the trunk space. The Macan’s 488-litre capacity is 62-litres less than you get in the BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC.
An interior upgrade ensures the 2022 Porsche Macan is still a top contender, but consider waiting for the all-electric version.
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