It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of SUVs. They’re big and cumbersome, and usually don’t offer anything substantially more than what’s already available on the usual body styles. But when Porsche rings you up to offer you a day with the Macan (or any of their cars, actually), you never say no.
Still, I went in thinking that I wasn’t going to like it. It was just another job that needed to be done, and I even thought I’d be returning the car early – but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
You see, the Macan is a car born out of necessity. In a world where everyone is buying SUVs, the Cayenne itself wasn’t going to cater to the wide range of buyers. The Macan simply had to exist, because there are people that want to buy it – it’d make no sense for Porsche to miss out on such a lucrative market segment. The fact that the Macan is now one of their top sellers tell you as much.
But despite being yet another SUV, the Macan still very much understands what it means to be a Porsche; it’s not a 911, but it still very much has the true Porsche essence. And thanks to its smaller size and lighter weight, it’s even more distilled than the Cayenne.
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You feel it from the moment you step inside the cabin. Everything in the Porsche Macan feels tactile and physical, from the steering feel, analogue rev counter, to even the turn indicator stalks, reminding you that even though it’s gained a few pounds, it’s still a proper driver’s car.
And it really is. Despite its taller ride height, The Macan will still crush the twisty backroads with more poise and confidence than some “sports” sedans.
The Macan doesn’t have any of the fancy 48V active body roll control systems on newer SUVs, but the ageing chassis along with the PASM suspensions still does wonders to contain its lean while tackling corners.
There’s a sense of agility to the steering, with the front end obediently tracking your every input on the steering wheel. Don’t expect coupe levels of sharpness, obviously, but Porsche clearly knows what they’re doing, and it shows.
But if you’re actually planning to take the SUV for weekend drives, though, maybe opt for one of the more powerful variants, instead of the base Macan that Porsche loaned us.
The 265 hp and 400 Nm outputs from the 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four underneath the bonnet is… fine, and the exhaust note sounds raspy enough to give you an extra dose of adrenaline, especially when it crackles and pops on gearshifts.
But when it comes to carving the Genting hills on the weekends, the tiny (by their standards) engine does lack the spice and sizzle you’d expect from a Porsche. You’d definitely be better off with the 2.9-litre V6 on the Macan S, or even better yet, the GTS.
With all that being said, though, the four-banger is still more than sufficient when all you’re doing is moving the family around different shopping malls, and the occasional highway road trips on the weekends. And really, if it’s good enough for a Volkswagen Golf R, it’s probably also good enough for a compact family SUV – even if its a performance-focused one.
Paired to the seven-speed PDK gearbox, the powertrain is punchy and nimble enough to make quick overtakes a breeze, while also remaining smooth and strain-free when cruising down the highways at high speeds – especially when you have everything set to the comfort mode. Just don’t expect the best fuel consumption figures, especially if you have a lead foot.
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On the highways is also where you’ll truly have the time to indulge in the Porsche Macan’s luxurious interior, which gets a big upgrade as part of the latest 2022 facelift. The bank of buttons on the centre console has been swapped out with touch-sensitive ones, which helps make the cabin feel and look a lot more modern than before – that is, until the gloss black surface is caked in fingerprints and scratches.
I’m usually not the biggest fan of touch sensitive buttons, but Porsche at least had the foresight to keep the physical switchgears for the temperature and entertainment controls, so they’ll get a pass here. The touch-sensitive buttons also require a solid press to activate, so there’s no need to worry about accidentally activating the heated seats on a hot day.
And when it comes to the things you’d expect from an SUV, the Macan also excels, too. There’s enough space in the rear seats for three adults despite the slightly sloping roofline, and the boot space – while not segment leading – should also be more than enough for your weekend grocery runs. You can always fold the rear seats down for larger items, anyway.
It may be an SUV, and it might only have four cylinders, but the Macan doesn’t feel any less of a Porsche. I guess all that’s left now is for me to finally warm up to the idea of SUVs…
Porsche Macan, as tested:
|Engine||1,984 cc; turbocharged inline-four, petrol|
|Transmission||Seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic|
|Max horsepower||265 hp|
|Max torque||400 Nm|
|0-100 km/h; Top speed||6.2 seconds; 232 km/h|
|Price (OTR, w/o insurance, inclusive of SST exemptions)||from RM433,154|