At the start there were 15 of the world’s newest and best sport/utility vehicles poised to battle for the 2011 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year title and the famed Motor Trend calipers. When the dust settled, there was one – the 2011 Porsche Cayenne.
The announcement was made live via Motor Trend’s Facebook page. Porsche Cars North America shared the news through Porsche on Twitter and on Porsche’s Facebook page.
As with every year, Motor Trend’s editors rigorously tested all 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year contenders to determine which sport/utility vehicle (SUV) would top this year’s list.
“Our Sport/Utility of the Year evaluation is not a comparison test,” said Angus MacKenzie, Motor Trend editor-in-chief. “Each contender is evaluated against six criteria – Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function. With strong showings in the engineering and efficiency areas, an attractive exterior, a thoughtful interior design, a full roster of active and passive safety gear and a high value rating on its opening price, the Cayenne was quite obviously the winner. The fact that the Cayenne’s driving experience eclipsed that of every other contender was just a bonus.”
In the final judging the editors praised the Cayenne lineup for offering: four engine choices with Direct Fuel Injection as standard; an eight-speed automatic; an average weight reduction of 400 lbs; a sleeker, Panamera-inspired interior; an Auto Start/Stop function as standard equipment; safety by way of on-road handling and grip that is better than any SUV; outstanding brakes; user-friendly and intuitive controls; strong resale value; and prices starting at just under $48,000, which is right in the heart of the large SUV market.
“Without a doubt, winning Motor Trend’s 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year® award is a crowning achievement for Porsche in light of what we tried to do with the new Cayenne,” said Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America Inc. “Porsche wanted to deliver more Porsche qualities – more performance, more comfort and a new-yet-evolutionary look – and make it more fuel efficient. We hit the mark, and the Motor Trend editors recognized this. Thank you, Motor Trend.”
The North American Cayenne lineup includes four 2011 models: the Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid and Cayenne Turbo. Engines include a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 in the Cayenne, a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 in the Cayenne S, a 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 coupled with a 47-horsepower electric motor in the Cayenne S Hybrid, and a 500-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 in the Cayenne Turbo.
EPA fuel economy figures range from 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway for the Cayenne Turbo to an impressive 21 city/25 highway for the Cayenne S Hybrid. None are subject to a gas-guzzler tax.
The Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo SUV models are on sale now, and the Cayenne S Hybrid will be in dealer showrooms in November. The MSRPs (excluding destination charges) are as follows: Cayenne, $46,700; Cayenne S, $63,700; Cayenne S Hybrid, $67,700; and Cayenne Turbo, $104,800.