The Porsche Cayenne is the company’s range of mid-sized crossover Sports Utility Vehicles made with a luxury feel.
This lineup featured a new V8 engine since its last appearance in 1995 and was one of the company’s first off-road vehicles since the 1950s. The car was initially manufactured in 2002 but did not hit stores in North America until.
The Porsche Cayenne has had many great years, featuring three generations of solid and dependable vehicles targeted towards small families. The car has been highly praised for its reliability and performance.
Still, some years have not been kind to the series. To help separate these years, I will talk about the best and worst years for Porsche Cayenne.
Best Years for Porsche Cayenne:
Worst Years for Porsche Cayenne:
Apart from ranking these years according to my research, I will also mention the common problems in the lineup, along with some common questions, so make sure to read the article in its entirety.
List Of The Best Years For The Porsche Cayenne: What Years To Buy
The best years of the Porsche Cayenne offer a true luxury experience with great performance and no issues at all.
#1 Best Year: 2017 Porsche Cayenne
The 2017 Porsche Cayenne features amazing acceleration, smooth handling, great ride quality, and can be driven off-road.
This alone would be great, but the wide array of customization options and amazing interior make this a great car that deserves to be in first place on this list.
This year brought six different trims into the market, which featured amazing quality and performance. Select models were packaged with the company’s twin-turbo 4.8L V8 Turbo S engine, which can push up to 570 hp.
The standard 3.6L V6 is also pretty good, capable of getting 300 hp out, which offers great performance packed with the 8-speed automatic transmission.
This is all amplified by amazing features such as power heated mirrors, power lift gates, navigation systems, and remote keyless entry, all available as standard.
#2 Best Year: 2009 Porsche Cayenne
I am placing the 2009 Porsche Cayenne in second place because it features the best reliability score of the series.
Available in 5 different trims, this model featured the same restyle for the previous year but had standard 4WD and had the engine choice of the V6, V8 & twin-turbo V8.
The turbo’s performance was just staggering, with the GTS model getting a 405 hp V8 engine which sounds and feels amazing. Overall it is an extremely fun car and reliable.
#3 Best Year: 2018 Porsche Cayenne
Similar to the 2017 model, the 2018 Porsche Cayenne is a solid entry on this list, featuring six different trims and the same great acceleration, smooth handling, and ride quality as its predecessor.
I am placing this particular model in 3rd place because it featured no significant changes at all, making it virtually the same as the 2017 model.
This would be a bad thing, but fortunately, the 2017 Porsche Cayenne is a great SUV so having the same great quality carried over isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
#4 Best Year: 2019 Porsche Cayenne
Moving forward another year, you get the 2019 Porsche Cayenne which took a step down from the trend of the previous two years and only gave three different trims to the public.
This, along with certain standard features locked behind a paywall, dropped the model to 4th place on this list.
Despite the few downgrades, the model drove quite well, even in its base trim, having taut suspensions, comfortable seats, fine stability, and a large panoramic moon roof to further create a fun riding experience.
#5 Best Year: 2020 Porsche Cayenne
The reason why I am placing the 2020 Porsche Cayenne at 5th place is that despite the solid performance of the vehicles, the year featured coupe versions of the car which were slapped with four doors, given a trendy look and a hefty price tag, all when there are more dependable coupe models made the company itself.
The coupe versions did, however, offer more standard performance gear, a glass roof, a sleeker roofline, and comfortable backseats, all at the natural cost of less cargo space.
The company was fairly late to this trend as many competitors had already done this.
#6 Best Year: 2008 Porsche Cayenne
Taking a step back from all the recent models and going back to simpler times, the 2008 Porsche Cayenne set the stage for the 2009 model, known for its reliability and success.
This year featured the same standard features and performance but brought only four different trims. What’s worse is that this model had poor fuel economy, which would be fixed in the later model but would drop its reputation.
These few shortcomings are why I decided to place the model in 6th place.
#7 Best Year: 2003 Porsche Cayenne
Taking the last place on this list is the 2003 Porsche Cayenne, the first model of the series.
As is to be expected, the first model usually has some issues, which is the reason why the 2003 model gets last place, but these issues were nothing too major, only a few complaints from the NHTSA and a recall, which is why the model gets to be in the best years.
The model was strong, fast, precise, and powerful—all of this set the tone for future models of the lineup.
List Of The Worst Years For The Porsche Cayenne: What Years To Avoid
Despite a good reputation, there have been some years where the models have had some problems.
Here are some of those years below:
#1 Worst Year: 2011 Porsche Cayenne
On top of this list of worst years, I am putting the 2011 model of the Porsche Cayenne. This is because this model had quite a few problems that the users faced.
There were several complaints regarding the engine, the windshield and windows, the cooling system, and safety equipment. The most common problems were related to the vehicle’s engine.
The engine, in some cases, had a habit of dying while driving. This problem was caused mainly due to thermostat failure. Other than this, the valves in the car’s engine were quite noisy, which can ruin the driving experience.
As mentioned before, there was a problem with the cooling system of the vehicle, which would cause the engine to overheat.
#2 Worst Year: 2004 Porsche Cayenne
In second place on this list is the 2004 Porsche Cayenne. This model had fewer problems than the later 2011 model, which is why I have placed it below it.
However, there were still some glaring issues with this model, like the car’s cooling system and drivetrain problems. The former problem being quite a severe one was the source of most of the complaints that this model received.
This problem also caused the engine to overheat, most of the time to the point that the vehicle would need to be turned off.
#3 Worst Year: 2006 Porsche Cayenne
I am placing the 2006 Porsche Cayenne at 3rd place because this model had almost identical issues to the 2004 model. This model had an engine overheating problem, which was linked to the vehicle’s cooling system.
The car also faced issues related to its body and paint, which aren’t as problematic as the engine overheating but are annoying in their own right. This model comes below it in this list because it received fewer complaints than the 2004 model did.
#4 Worst Year: 2012 Porsche Cayenne
Taking the number 4 spot on this list is the 2012 model of the Porsche Cayenne, which only had one problem, and that was related to the drivetrain of the vehicle. Almost all of the complaints received were related to issues with the transfer case.
This part of the vehicle is not something that you can get repaired. Instead, you need to replace it, which can be quite expensive. Most of the complaints mentioned this problem occurring immediately after the warranty period.
#5 Worst Year: 2013 Porsche Cayenne
The 2013 model of the Porsche Cayenne comes in at the fifth spot on this list because this model, much like its predecessor, did not receive many complaints. It even fixed the major issue that the 2012 model had received complaints about.
However, this model brought back one of the old problems with this car: the overheating of the vehicle’s engine due to issues with the car’s cooling system. There were other problems related to the brakes where the ABS would not function properly.
#6 Worst Year: 2016 Porsche Cayenne
On second last place on this list is the 2016 Porsche Cayenne. This model had an annoying problem with its transmission system.
It is so low on this list because the problem is not that serious, and the number of complaints received regarding it was also minimal.
The transmission system had a habit of making some really loud noises. Although no apparent problem could be seen upon inspection, the problem would persist.
Other than that, there were a very small number of complaints related to some interior accessories.
#7 Worst Year: 2014 Porsche Cayenne
Taking the last spot on this list is the 2014 Porsche Cayenne which I placed here because of the small number of complaints the model received regarding a problem related to the windows and windshield of the vehicle.
The seals on some cars were not done properly, which caused wind noise while driving and water to leak in during rain. Luckily, however, this is a quite inexpensive problem and easy to fix, which is why it gets last place.
Otherwise, it is yet another solid vehicle in the lineup.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Porsche Cayenne?
While having a lot of good models available in the lineup, the Porsche Cayenne had many different models which were plagued with different yet common issues.
I will be discussing these issues here below:
1. Dead Engine
Mostly common in the 2011 Porsche Cayenne, around the 50,000-mile mark, the vehicle’s engine would start to seize, and drivers would start seeing their check engine light before hearing a loud noise and the eventual shutting down of the engine itself.
Owners had to replace the engine’s camshafts along with the bolts, sometimes the entire engine, with their own money as the company did not take responsibility for the common issue.
2. Coolant Line Problems
Various models of the Porsche Cayenne used plastic coolant lines inside the engine, which was a very bad design choice as the lines would melt inside the engine once it reached high temperatures.
This led to coolant leaking, starter damage, engine failure, and various safety concerns. This issue led to a lawsuit where most plaintiffs were owners of models between 2011 and 2019, which is cause for concern.
3. Transfer Case Issues
Many vehicle owners have reported problems related to the transfer case around 73,000 miles, which is around the middle of the car’s lifespan and just reasonable enough to be outside of warranty.
The worst part about this problem is that there are no repairs for the transfer case, which means that owners must have it replaced completely, which is no cheap task.
4. Transmission Issues
Transmission Issues are fairly common in cars. It is the same for the Porsche Cayenne, where many vehicle owners experienced heavy downshift by the transmission, which a loud clunking sound would often accompany.
This issue was caused by the physical failure of the valve body inside of the transmission itself. With later transmissions getting more complex, this issue would get more difficult to fix.
5. Noise Issues
Many models of the Porsche Cayenne suffered from different issues, which resulted in the model being excessively noisy and annoying.
Driveshaft issues would cause acceleration to have a clunking sound. Sometimes the transmission would have a defect that would result in grinding noise.
Other times, the windows seals would be compromised, which would result in air sound inside the cabin. This noise would come from various components, such as the climate control fan, which would blow and become excessively noisy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is Panamera Better Than Cayenne?
The Porsche Panamera has a much smaller size and a lighter body, allowing it to have a slightly higher performance than the Porsche Cayenne but at the cost of more cargo space.
Despite the smaller size, the Porsche Panamera matches the interior comfortability and room of the Cayenne. Both have similar features and active safety features, which put the Porsche Panamera in a much better position than the Porsche Cayenne.
What Is better; Porsche Cayenne Or Range Rover?
The Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover both have similar interior features but differ because the Range Rover can support up to 7 seats, while the Porsche Cayenne has a max of 5.
The Cayenne is longer and wider yet has less cargo volume and fuel tank size. It has higher horsepower but lacks in mileage, despite being more expensive. Overall, I’d say the Range Rover has the Porsche Cayenne beat.
Q3. Is The Porsche Cayenne Expensive To Maintain?
The Porsche Cayenne is a luxury SUV. Hearing that and knowing it is a German should let you know that maintaining this car is no cheap task.
During the first ten years of its service alone, the Porsche Cayenne should cost you around $20,552, which surpasses the industry average by $5,092, which is a lot more expensive than other cars.
The 60% chance of requiring a major repair during this time also does the lineup no favors.
Q4. How Many Miles Does The Porsche Cayenne Last?
The Porsche Cayenne is built to last and offers a long lifespan which allows it to travel at least 200,000 miles on average before being uneconomical to drive.
This is but the average as if you put in the work and make sure that the car gets regular maintenance and is not pushed to its limits, it can easily get a boost of 50,000 miles, allowing it to be driven for 13-15 years.
Q5. Is The Porsche Cayenne Good In Snow?
The Porsche Cayenne has been equipped with the latest and greatest in technology to help it perform adequately in snowy conditions. Not only in snowy conditions, but the Porsche Cayenne is a great off-road vehicle in general.
Having a heavy body, it has a lot of traction, and the 4-wheel drive boosts the grip and stability of the vehicle. The vehicle also has 6.6 inches of ground clearance, which helps in snow traversal.
The Porsche Cayenne is an extraordinary vehicle that features a luxury interior and feels great performance and reliability, making it a great choice if you are looking for an SUV.
Select years of the lineup are available in Coupe body styles that also increase the range of choice you can have.
When it comes to the best and worst years for Porsche Cayenne; the 2017 model ranks as the best overall, while the 2011 model is the worst due to its list of problems.
Now that you know all of this and the various issues surrounding the lineup, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the model perfect for you.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to creating an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.