Porsche Cayenne: Third generation model boasts performance, safety and convenience features

One Porsche model been a consistent top seller for over 15 years. But it isn't a Porsche sports car. It's the SUV that took the car world by storm when it first came along: the Cayenne.

Back in 2003, a lot of people were scratching their heads at such a vehicle. But that first Cayenne was an immediate hit with buyers. Now, the new third-generation Cayenne is here for 2019. Updated for the times with every imaginable performance, safety and convenience feature available. Oh, you'll pay for them, however. While a base Cayenne starts in the $65,000 range, the turbocharged Cayenne S that I tested, sprinkled with some option packages, checked in at just over $100,000.

But people have been willing to pay for a Porsche with practicality. It's often been the best-selling vehicle in Porsche's lineup, only being eclipsed last year by the smaller Macan model.

The original Porsche Cayenne came out long before the current trend of premium SUVs. And if you're a car company that's playing in that segment, the earlier you came up with one of these, the better off you are today.

While not the same exact type of vehicle, Lexus recently took the wraps off their revised RX model, a premium SUV that's been around for over 20 years. There are only minor revisions to the exterior styling for 2020, but it gets a big technology makeover inside.

"We pioneered the segment of crossover luxury utilities, and we've become the benchmark, and everybody measures themselves against us," Lisa Materazzo, Lexus' vice president of marketing, said at the RX350 reveal in Los Angeles.

But while the Lexus RX is very nice and a top seller all its own, it's targeted at a different kind of luxury buyer.

The Porsche Cayenne is for someone who'd love a sports car, and wants that kind of driving experience, but as a practical family car. For those who crave the Porsche mystique in an SUV, the Cayenne continues on a roll. A roll it's now been on for quite some time.
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