Pop quiz: What's a Porsche and a Peterbilt have in common? In the case of the Cayenne, it's a diesel engine that feels as if it could pull a house.
And yes, you just read the words "Porsche" and "diesel" in the same sentence. We'll understand if this takes you by surprise. After all, Porsches -- even SUV Porsches -- have long been associated with high speed, nimble handling and svelte design. Diesel engines, in contrast, are often equated with smoky tailpipes, raucous noise, and use in the kind of vehicles whose design appears inspired by a box. Well for those who haven't heard, today's diesels are totally different. And so is this Porsche, which recently arrived in the U.S. for the 2013 model year.
To get you up to speed on the first point, today's diesel engines are cleaner, quieter and just strikingly better than their oil-burning ancestors of the '80s. Thank advanced technology and increased environmental awareness. Regarding the second point, the Porsche Cayenne Diesel remains a Porsche, meaning it's quick, agile and as gorgeous as any other Cayenne since its main differentiator is what's under the hood.
Improved fuel economy is one of the biggest motivators for buying any diesel-powered passenger vehicle, and this sleek Porsche is no exception. To put it succinctly, diesel fuel has more energy density and their engines operate more efficiency than gasoline models, which adds up to markedly improved fuel economy. In the case of the Cayenne, the diesel V6 engine boasts an EPA highway rating of 29 mpg, vs. a 23 mpg best from a gasoline V6 Cayenne. (Gasoline V8-powered Cayennes, meanwhile, have lower digits in the mpg department but also lower times in the 0-60 mph one.)
And the good news doesn't stop there. Over days in a 2014 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, I easily bested its EPA-rated figures. In highway driving, I was averaging around 33 mpg. That would be impressive in a family sedan, never mind an all-wheel-drive SUV that tips the scale at nearly 4,800 pounds. For that you can thank the heart of this Porsche: a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel that makes 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.
This car is cleaned/detailed between each use. Is perfect for wine tasting or just exploring Sonoma County.