I Think I Like SUVs…
For the longest time I never appreciated, or really even enjoyed driving SUVs. I always felt like they compromised too many things in the pursuit of too many things. And for a long time, I was right. SUVs of the 90’s were, for the most part, just lazily reengineered trucks. But they had space for a whole family, so they sold. So, with a bar set so low and a need for interior room, SUVs stayed pretty terrible for years.
Even when Mercedes, Audi, and BMW jumped into the ring, I still felt like they were half-hearted attempts at making something utilitarian, fun. Recently, however, I’ve had to reevaluate my views on SUVs. With a endlessly expanding line of SUVs of different sizes and shapes saturating the market, I have found myself driving them more often, and worse… starting to enjoy them.
Now, I have always loved Range Rovers. They have always managed to feel special while being capable off-roaders and providing class-leading luxury. Granted, they did have one unavoidable issue: catastrophic unreliability–something they have finally overcome. But for those of us who need the extra space and versatility, but still want the feel of a sports car, there are a few good options out there, but only one great option. The Porsche Macan.
When most people think of Porsches, performance seems like a given, but that’s never how the larger Cayenne felt to me. Sure the Cayenne Turbo was nauseatingly fast in a straight line, but it was heavy, and while they incredibly nice in their own way, they just were not the sporty SUV that Porsche hyped up. The Macan, however, feels like a perfect blend of performance and year-round versatility.
It may be smaller than its older brother, but I’m 6’ tall and fit comfortably in the back. Though, it’s the driver’s seat where I’d rather be. From the moment you enter the Macan, you instantly know you are in a Porsche, and that alone just feels special. There are several trim levels to choose from, and a slew of options to configure each vehicle. Personally, I like the “mid-range” 340 HP Macan S. It’s got plenty of power to get the adrenaline going, but because it’s not as “rare” as the Macan Turbo, you can find a preowned one for incredible prices.
Driving the Macan around town almost makes you forget you’re in a performance vehicle, as the Macan’s cabin is quiet and the ride is remarkably smooth, even on Denver roads. But once you find that first open corner, that’s when the Porsche engineering reminds you that the Germans know how to have fun. The torque-vectoring-techno-wizardry operating behind the scenes is there to keep you from flying off the road, but it doesn’t take away from the feel of the car and feedback from the road. You can hear the back tires begin to screech as they fight with physics. And while you know you are in a mid-sized SUV, everything happening as you drive suggests that you are in a curb-scraping sports car–something undeniable as you struggle to keep your face attached to your head as you transition from one turn to the next.
And because of all that technological magic, you can drive the car like a rental, with no fear of any consequences. The Macan just instills that level of confidence. It’s an SUV that does what you need everyday, and what you want on the days you need some adventure. It’s even great in the snow. Honestly, the only real downside to the Macan is the frustration of having to drive the same speed as everyone else coming back down I70 in the snow.
If what you want is a sports car, but need something practical, the Macan sure feels like a no-brainer. Plus, it’s a Porsche. Sure, parts can be on the pricier side, but the build quality is industry leading. If you have any doubts about that, next time you go for a drive, just look around; you can’t go far without seeing a 15 year old 911 or Boxster still zipping around.