Car Reviews

2020 Porsche Macan review

Porsche’s most affordable model has been recently updated to tackle new rivals…we just had to see what Stuttgart’s smallest SUV offers. 

IN A NUTSHELL: A sporty feeling SUV and there’s value here for a Porsche, but the base model Macan lacks the athleticism and features of its sibling variants.

THE GOOD: Really smooth engine, good interior packaging, genuine sporty handling.

THE BAD: Lacks some expected equipment, the options are costly.

What is the Porsche Macan?

Porsche unleashed its Macan in 2014 as a supplementary SUV option to its blockbuster Cayenne. It also introduced the first four-cylinder engine in a Porsche since the Porsche 968 in 1995, a much different car to the Macan. Since then, this first-generation Macan has been picking up sales with an attractive price tag and recently received an update, nipping and tucking its face and rear with some changes inside too.

What does the Porsche Macan cost and what do you get?

The base Macan is priced from $81,800 plus on-road costs. Some of the equipment on the standard inclusions list are new four-pointed LED headlights, 19-inch alloys, automatic headlights and wipers, three-zone climate control, tinted windows, leather interior trim, electric seats, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, 360-degree surround-view cameras and lane departure warning.

Our test vehicle’s price hit $103,520 plus on-roads thanks to the following optional extras:

  • 20-inch – $5,990
  • Panoramic sunroof – $3,370
  • Black leather partial leather seats – $3,250
  • LED dynamic lighting system – $2,270
  • Metallic paint – $2,000
  • Tinted LED taillights – $1,600
  • Keyless entry and start – $1,470
  • Lane change assist – $1,220
  • Power steering plus – $550

What’s the Porsche Macan interior like?

As the smallest SUV on Porsche’s showroom, the cabin is a little snugger feeling than the Cayenne, which lends it a sporty ambience with the Porsche-design steering wheel and bolstered seats inside. But what it misses out to on that the larger SUV has is that the new Cayenne is a generation ahead in terms of what tech is laid out across the dash. However, this Cayenne has a nice 10.9-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and a crisp, clear resolution that’s easy to read in bright sunlight. The head unit is connected to a 10-speaker, 150-watt sound system that offers good definition and punch, even though a better system can be added on.

For the driver is a tight-feeling steering wheel that’s mostly shared with the new 992 Porsche 911. Behind that is a traditional-looking Porsche binnacle cluster with real analogue dials rather than a digital dash, and a small 4.2-inch LCD screen for displaying information like fuel consumption and maps.

All passengers sit on comfortable seats, our up-specced partial leather pews looking quite distinct and offering good support. The electric adjustment comes via 14-way movement which gives a tremendous amount of room to move and the driving position is really good for a sporty setup, if that’s what you like. They also have a memory function for two set positions, though heated seats are optional in the base Macan.

The triple-zone climate control means the front and rear can be adjusted independent of each other, and the air conditioning system includes a particle/pollen filter with active carbon filter and air quality sensor. There’s also an AC MAX button for when you jump in on steaming-hot days and a humidity sensor.

Other mod-cons include two front USB ports, two rear-seat USB ports, and one 12v socket front with another in the boot.

How much space is there in the Porsche Macan?

While there’s enough room in the cabin for four adults it’s not as open feeling as the Cayenne. Around the cabin are some storage options and smarts, like an air-con cooled glovebox and an adjustable console armrest (forwards and backwards). There are clothes hooks on the B-pillars too.

In the back is a 500-litre boot, which is a reasonable size for lugging sports bags or going away on a trip. The tailgate has an automatic electric opening function and underneath the boot floor is an 18-inch space-saver spare (or a 19-inch when the car is equipped with 20-inch alloys).

What engine is in the Porsche Macan?

While the S and GTS have gutsy V6 turbo engines, this entry-level Macan has a milder four-cylinder petrol motor. The 2.0-litre turbo is athletic enough, and a measure more energetic than ‘usual family SUVs’ so, if you’re trading up, you’ll appreciate how smooth it is and that’s there’s a little extra pep underfoot.

On paper, Porsche states the Macan’s 2.0L engine produces 185kW of power at 5000rpm and 370Nm of torque between 1600-4500rpm through its seven-speed auto, which is plenty for getting to the shops and around town. It feels a little underdone for the push-you-into-the-seat feeling you get from just about every Porsche on the market though, so if you value grunt, we’d recommend looking at the Macan S (review here) with its larger 3.0-litre V6 turbo.

That said, the Macan will move from a standstill to 100km/h in 6.7-seconds and claims a reasonable 8.9L/100km on the combined cycle.

Is the Porsche Macan good to drive?

This is an all-wheel drive like all Macans (there are no front-wheelers here), and it reacts quickly to ensure instant grip regardless of weather and conditions. An electronic differential helps optimise traction too, so you can have some fun punting between corners.

And despite being an entry-level model, you still get all of the great-minds-engineering that went into the chassis, which is a derivative of the VW Group’s MQB platform that also underpins the Audi Q5. Upfront is multi-link suspension, with a trapezoidal-link rear setup that deals with lateral forces confidently and feels safe on mid-corner bumps. The steel springs offer good compliance, though the base model misses out on Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) unless you stump up $2430, or $5520 for air suspension. On the larger 20-inch alloys, the passive suspension setup is a bit firm on sharp bumps and corrugated road surfaces, however, road noise is well dampened, despite the wide 265mm front, 295mm rear tyres rolling underneath. And naturally, they contribute to the great grip on offer.

Added to the balance of cost savings for the base model are smaller diameter disc brakes (345/30 front, 330/22 rear) that fade quicker and don’t offer the initial bite of the S and GTS, though are entirely up to the task of dealing with a spirited drive and give the average consumer more affordable servicing costs. 

All this equates to a 1795kg kerb mass, the lightest of the three Macan models, though it has the lowest towing capacity at 2000kg braked (it’s 2400kg for the S and GTS). There’s also an off-road mode and 205mm ground clearance, though not many will take this offroad.

Around town, it’s nimble and easy to drive, with a good-size footprint for an SUV and equipment such as the birdseye view camera making parking simpler.

How safe is the Porsche Macan?

The Macan has six airbags and the usual suite of stability control, marketed as Porsche Stability Management (PSM). There are also tyre pressure sensors and a multi-collision braking system that automatically applies the brakes after an initial impact to minimise or eliminate further impacts.

However, autonomous emergency braking (or AEB) is not available on the Macan, which is a decent oversight in a market segment that typically fits it standard. Blind-spot monitoring also costs extra ($1390) as is radar cruise control ($2410), the latter bringing some mild braking assistance in an emergency.

The best of the standard active safety systems is lane departure warning, which can alert you if you the car wanders from its lane.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the value?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?

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2020 Porsche Macan pricing and spec

Price $81,800 plus on-road costs Warranty 3 years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety Not rated Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo Power 185kW at 5000rpm  Torque 370Nm at 5400-6400rpm Transmission 7-speed auto Drive Four-wheel drive Dimensions 4696mm (L), 1923mm (W), 1624mm (H), 2807mm (WB) Ground Clearance 205mm (steel springs), 230mm (air suspension) Kerb Weight 1795kg Angles 16.9/18.5 degrees (approach, steel/air suspension), 23.6/25.3 degrees (departure, steel/air), 16.9/18.8 degrees (rampover, steel/air) Towing 2000kg Towball Download 140kg Boot Space 500L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 65L Thirst 8.9L/100km

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the dream
the dream
3 years ago

It’s nice to see Porsche still charges enough to buy the badge cachet but actually backs it up with some performance. I actually like the look of the Macan over Cayenne. td

3 years ago

Hi, have you reviewe d the GTS? Interested in performance differences

Alex Rae

Alex Rae