Newest doesn’t necessarily always mean best, a fact proven by the Porsche Macan, which has been voted by our team of more than 20 automotive experts from all over the country as the Best 2-Row Luxury SUV in the 2021 autoTRADER.ca Awards. Has it recently had a major redesign? No, that’s not due for another year or two. Significant powertrain updates? Nope. Big, flashy infotainment screens and gauges that span the entire dashboard? No, it doesn’t have those either. However, our panel is made of many driving enthusiasts who, like many Canadians, appreciate an engaging commute.
After considering the merits of every single vehicle in the segment, our experts’ votes prioritized on-road enjoyment and interior refinement, which is where the Macan continues to excel. It provides a driving experience that Porsche owners have come to expect, while offering a back seat and some ground clearance. Performance meets practicality.
Part of that appeal comes from the fact that the Macan’s pricing is relatively attainable: it’s the only vehicle in Porsche Canada’s lineup that has a starting price of less than $60,000. For someone who has familial obligations or additional cargo needs who grew up with posters of 911s hanging on the bedroom wall, the Macan provides an entry point into the highly aspirational German brand.
Granted, that’s the base trim with a 248-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While the standard seven-speed PDK transmission undoubtedly helps with amping up the experience, many drivers will want to go bigger. Additional engine options range from the S grade’s 348-hp turbo V6 to the Turbo’s 434-hp twin-turbo iteration, which tops out the price list at $96,500, giving buyers some flexibility for budget and performance. It’s important to note, though, that Porsche’s option list is extensive, and very few buyers leave the dealership having paid anything close to the MSRP.
Canadians will particularly appreciate the available air suspension. This feature adds the ability to raise and lower the Macan with the touch of a button, making it easy to go from clearing snow drifts to enjoying spirited Sunday drives on nice roads.
In a first drive review of the Macan S after its most recent round of updates, autoTRADER.ca’s Tom Sedens said that the interior is befitting of a Porsche with “world-class materials and detailing, combined with stellar fit and finish.” And since this vehicle is designed to offer a balance of performance and comfort, he added that the large panoramic roof with its powered sunshade “really opens up the interior and makes for a bright, airy space for all passengers.”
And, of course, the driving dynamics are key. The optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system helps the Macan absorb even the roughest patches of Canada’s winter-ravaged roads while maintaining complete control and comfort. Sedens said he felt this system and other suspension updates led the Macan to ride “even better than the last Macan” and added that “the steering is beautifully weighted, turn-in is sharp, and the Macan stays flat and corners like a champ.”
Unlike other Porsche models, the Macan hasn’t yet received the haptic button updates to the centre stack, which means that most functions are controlled through hard buttons. While a single control panel certainly looks pretty, there are plenty of drivers who find grids of labelled buttons easier to navigate, so this could perhaps be an advantage by some prospective owners. At the top of the stack, a 10.9-inch touchscreen is large and user-friendly without being overbearing or cumbersome. Apple CarPlay functionality is an option, but Android owners should note that Android Auto is still not available. Safety features such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control are available as optional equipment.
The Macan bested a long list of finalists in this highly competitive segment, one of the most crowded and hotly contested in the luxury market. Our panel deemed it superior to the Audi Q5, BMW’s X3/X4 and X5/X6 variants, the Lexus RX, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, and the Volvo XC60. A luxury SUV should offer a carefully weighted combination of everyday usability and utilitarianism, refined design and finishes, and breathtaking performance. On those points, the Porsche Macan clearly stands out.