Modern Motoring: A first drive in the 2017 Porsche Macan

Photography by Rosemary DePear

For 2017, Porsche has continued the trend of luxury vehicles recently by making them attainable by the every-person consumer. Gone are the days of having to pull in a six-figure salary to get a luxury logo on your keychain. Infiniti’s QX30, Mercedes-Benz’s GLA, BMW’s X1 and so on are immediate examples.
Porsche has always occupied the upper echelon of luxury so when it was announced they released a base (I use that term lightly) Macan, their compact SUV, I saw it as a smart move to help get more folks into the famed brand with intentions of having them remain with the brand as their auto needs evolve.
Besides, it helps folks like me get into the Porsche brand and having more of your vehicles on the road and in the hands of the masses  is always a good thing.

For a “base model, you’re only paying $52,700 to jump into the Macan lineup and have the Porsche prestige, handling and excitement that accompanies it. If you start ticking off the option sheet, you’ll see that price rise and you may consider one of the other Macan offerings higher up the pricing scale.

Standard features include 8-way power and heated seats up front, a 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system (one of the best out there that reduces glare and sheen,) a rear view camera, park assist front and rear, 18” wheels, lane departure warning, a massive panoramic sunroof, plus a bunch of other goodies. Not too shabby for around $50K of upper luxury.

As an interesting side note, the Macan was almost called the Cajun, stemming from it being a smaller Cayenne, or Cayenne Junior, so using the first few letters from each word would’ve resulted in Cajun.
I’m ok with it being named the Indonesian word for tiger, though. 

Porsche opted for a smaller engine via a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine giving your right foot access to 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque. For those of you thinking that the most affordable Porsche means a drop in handling, precision and all out fun, you’d definitely be mistaken.
There’s still plenty of oomph and pep to be had with the Macan and it still gives you and yours a comfortable, enjoyable ride.
If you’re really about more power, the next step up is the Macan S which offers 340 horsepower but at a $6,500 lift in price. 
However, let’s get back to the Macan itself, where the 4 cylinder engine doesn’t disappoint. Through close to 600km of mixed driving, there wasn’t a dull moment or a “I wish I had more power to hit highway speeds” occurrences. City driving is, well, it’s Porsche-esque; comfort, luxury, a quiet cabin and oh-so smooth.

The interior is modern, clean and well laid out, with the exception of the plethora of buttons flanking the gearshift. It’s not my favourite aspect of Porsche’s designs however, with the glass touch sensitive design in the Panamera that eliminates the push buttons; perhaps it’ll find its way into other Porsche offerings.
Cargo space with the rear seats up is 500 litres and folded down, you’ll have 1,500 litres of space. While not the biggest in its class, the 40/20/40 split rear seats increase the versatility of the Macan for skiis, guitars and golf clubs.

 

Fuel efficiency via the 75 litre tank of premium fuel ring in at 11.6/9.3/10.6L/100 km city/highway/combined, which to me, is respectable and enough reason to stay in this model, seeing as the next model up, the Macan S’ 6-cylinder fuel ratings come in at 13.7 city and 10/4 highway.

Overall, Porsche has smartly reduced the barrier to entry with the most affordable Porsche offering in the Macan. No, it doesn’t come with navigation but that’s solved by connecting your smartphone via standard Bluetooth and having directions come out through the speakers (or if you have someone who’s willing to read a paper map) and aside from that, you’re not missing much from today’s modern luxury vehicle. 
Personally, I’d take the Macan in its simplest form with zero additional options because my needs (guitars and magazine boxes instead of children) are easily met, there’s a healthy amount of standard features,  It looks beautiful, it drives and handles in true Porsche form and it’s got most of what I would look for in an upper luxury small SUV/crossover.
We’ll find out soon enough road if Porsche’s strategy pays off by how many are seen on the road in the coming months. The price is right, the vehicle is impressive and the strong reputation will only help attract those who want to enter the luxury market.