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Long-Term Update 8: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

11 Months and 22,910 Miles

Scott Evans
May 15, 2012
Photographers: Motor Trend Staff
A few updates ago, I noted that the Cayenne's hybrid drivetrain was rather clunky in heavy traffic that has you constantly on and off the throttle. Not to worry, I said, Porsche has a software update out that should take care of it. I've since had it installed under warranty, and the results are in.
Photo 2/11   |   2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Rear
And they're not much to talk about, I'm afraid. The service, billed as "Re-programming Tiptronic, front-end electronics and high-voltage power electronics control units" and a companion update to the instrument cluster programming further refined power delivery in normal driving (something I never had a problem with) and even made the Cayenne feel a little quicker. As for low speeds and traffic jams, though, the update didn't seem to do much. I've noticed the bucking less often, but it hasn't diminished in severity as I'd hoped.
While that's disappointing, I'm finding other Cayenne quirks that once bothered me fading the longer I drive it. I've never liked Porsche's push-pull paddle shifters and I was initially frustrated that proper paddles aren't even an option on the Cayenne, until I realized I'd never actually used them in our long-termer. Part of it is this is an SUV and despite being a Porsche I just don't find myself flinging it at corners on any regular basis. The other part is that Porsche's transmission logic has gotten so good that Sport mode is almost always in the gear I would've manually selected when I would've selected it. Rarely do I find I would've timed a shift differently. It's really impressive, even in an SUV.
I've also gotten used to the left-hand ignition. Yes, Porschephiles, I know why it's there and while I may be a sucker for nostalgia, to most people it's just silly. It's also something you just get used to, like the pale yellow paint. Porsche calls it "Sand Yellow," while most people I talk to just call it bad. It really doesn't bother me anymore and it's certainly hard to lose in a parking lot. In fact, it's a nice change from the usual sea of beige and silver on our roads.
Photo 9/11   |   2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Engine
Things I'm not ready to forgive yet include a lack of passive keyless entry, which really oughta come standard on a $93,000 car when I can get as an option on cars one-third the price. The lack of a clock in the dash and the infotainment screen (except in a few buried menus, of which there are far too many) is a source of constant annoyance for passengers (the driver gets one in the instrument cluster display). While I like the look of the rear spoiler, its steep rake makes cleaning the top of the rear window a pain.
Photo 10/11   |   2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Front View
These are, of course, small gripes. Yes, they're annoying, but none affect the driveability of the vehicle nor are they deal-breakers. Some can even be fixed with the proper application of dollars. The fact that these are the only things I have to complain about should tell you something about how good this car is overall.
Photo 11/11   |   2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Front Profile

Our Car
Service life 11 months/22,910 miles
Average fuel economy 19.8 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.98 lb/mi
Energy consumption 170 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $370.55 (1 x oil change, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0



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