Motorist Car Buyer's Guide: Porsche Macan

Published by on . Updated on 30 Oct 2022
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Porsche purists were up in arms when the Cayenne was first launched, so you can just about imagine how they felt when the Macan was introduced.

Yes, unlike its sister brand in the Volkswagen-Audi Group, Lamborghini, Porsche does not have a history with SUVs. But with the launch of the Cayenne in 2002, its popularity and sales numbers helped to lift Porsche out of their financial troubles. 

With the Cayenne being a large luxury SUV, the Macan’s introduction in 2014 allowed Porsche to break into the compact luxury SUV market, allowing more buyers access to the brand.

Purists took greater offence and regarded it as further brand dilution, but the revenue generated by the Macan (and Cayenne) have provided Porsche the funds needed to continually develop its sportscar range. Plus, the numbers don’t lie, as sales data from 2021 showing the Macan as Porsche’s best selling model (with the Cayenne a close second). 

What is this?

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This is a 2020 Porsche Macan, the base model of the range. Prior to the 2021 facelift, the Macan range had four variants, the regular Macan, S, GTS and Turbo, each with increasing levels of power from three engines; a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four, a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6, and a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6.

Being the base Macan, it has a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four engine, the venerable EA888 from the Volkswagen Group (VAG). Here, it produces 250 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque, with the century sprint being accomplished in 6.7 seconds. Weight is on the higher side for a compact SUV, coming in at 1.8 tons.

For those who didn’t know, the Macan is built on the same platform as the Audi Q5. This has led to some remarks that the Macan isn’t “a true Porsche”. However, Porsche has gone to great lengths to inject as much Porsche DNA into what is a non-traditional model for them. While both the Q5 and Macan are front-engine and all-wheel drive, they are set up extremely differently.

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While the Audi has a more front-biased all-wheel drive system, the Porsche has a rear-biased system, which does result in a more exuberant driving characteristic. This is best seen on slippery surfaces, where the Q5’s front wheels would push and run wide under power, whereas the Macan is more willing to rotate and turn in under power.

Is it any good on the wallet?

That depends. Some owners have had more luck than others, so it has been a mixed bag. Let’s start with the good points first. Fuel economy isn’t as bad as one might expect, with Porsche claiming 11.2km/l. Owners have reported numbers averaging 10.5km/l, which isn’t too bad, although you can expect that number to tumble if you do a lot of city driving.

With a fuel tank capacity of 65 litres, range can be estimated to be about 680 kilometres, although it can be expected to clock higher mileage on extended expressway stints, just as long as you don’t keep the turbo spooling for too long.

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As for the not-so-good news, the Macan has been reported to have certain problems, with some being worse than others. Firstly, the water pump, especially those on Macans with the 2.0-litre engine, tend to fail around the 120,000 to 130,000 kilometre mark, although some have been reported to fail earlier, especially on older models with lower mileage.

Fortunately, being a mechanical water pump, it shouldn’t be too expensive a fix. If you notice whirring noises or leaks from the pump, have it replaced, or risk having your engine overheat when you least expect it. 

Another problem faced mostly by Macans with the 2.0-litre engine is a leaking thermostat housing. As the housing is made of plastic, and wasn’t designed too well, this causes the housing to suffer excessive and premature wear, causing coolant to leak out. While this problem typically occurs around 100,000 kilometres, it has been noted to take place earlier too.

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With all Macan engines having direct fuel injection, the cylinder walls and intake ports end up coated with an excessive build-up of carbon over time, which can result in rough idling, misfiring and power loss. For preventive maintenance, walnut blasting is recommended every 100,000km to clear out carbon deposits and to maintain the engine’s health.

Is it comfortable inside?

This unit has a completely black interior, with leather covering the doors, dashboard, steering wheel and the door inserts. The seats, front or back, are relatively comfortable, with the front seats having some bolstering to keep the driver and front passenger within the seat to some extent should aggressive driving be performed. 

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Legroom and headroom at the rear is quite decent, which should allow taller individuals slightly above 1.8 metres to fit in the rear seat comfortably. While three people can fit in the back, it is best left for two people of maximum comfort. 

Being a Porsche product, the centre console is laid out in the signature Porsche fashion as well, with multiple buttons for the car’s various functions being laid out vertically on both sides.

Buttons to control the HVAC system and the seating position are also positioned on the centre console, with two small digital screens to display the temperature of the air. The Macan has dual zone air-conditioning, as well as air vents in the rear for additional comfort. 

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The infotainment is Porsche’s own system, and overlaid with the company’s own skin. Unfortunately, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't available, but at least there is Bluetooth connectivity. 

Interestingly enough, there are physical knobs to adjust the volume and to tune the radio station, as well as hard buttons for various functions like music, navigation, car settings and phone access, on top of these functions being able to be accessed through the infotainment screen. 

The gauge cluster has two analogue gauges, and one digital screen in the shape of a gauge on the right side, which can display various functions like tyre pressure, trip computer and remaining range. The gauge cluster also places the tachometer front and centre, with the speedometer off to the left, just as Porsche does in all its other models.

Can it carry a lot of cargo?

With a boot capacity of 488 litres, it’s not the biggest boot, but it is fairly generous for a luxury compact SUV. Two golf bags should be able to fit in without issue, or two big pieces of luggage with space for several carry-on bags. 

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And there is no spare tyre here. If you have a flat, either use the tyre sealant or call for roadside assistance. 


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If we were to suggest the Audi Q5 as an alternative, that would've been too predictable. So how about another German SUV that comes in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive? The BMW X3 was available with a range of engine options, with the xDrive30i variant being the most comparable to the base Macan. Granted, it may not be as performance oriented as the Macan, but with spicier M versions, more performance is always available.

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If you want to sample something that doesn't take itself too seriously like the Germans, why not the Alfa Romeo Stelvio? Being the first SUV from the storied Italian brand, it is available with rear or all-wheel drive, and is slightly more powerful than the base Macan. Granted, Alfa Romeo doesn't have the greatest reputation for reliability, but when they produce a car that looks this good, you're almost willing to forgive them for it. 


Like it, love it or hate it, there's no denying that the Macan has become an integral part of Porsche's offerings, and will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. While Porsche at its core is still a sportscar brand, it is not able to sell enough 911s, Caymans or Boxsters to keep itself in rude financial health.

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Given the market's current appetite for anything and everything SUV or CUV, Porsche has to adapt to these market demands in order to generate the revenue needed to continue developing its sportscars. As much as the purists cry foul, there won't be any new Porsche 911s in the future if there isn't any money to develop them.

And yes, even though the Macan shares its platform with the Audi Q5, it chassis tuning is so distinct that it is basically a different car. And it feels like a different car too, with more nimble handling, being more than capable of aggressive corner entry, and a range of engines with varying power levels. 

In the most powerful variant, you'll get 434 horsepower and 550 Nm of torque from a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6. If you ask us, that amount of power is plenty for most people, let alone a compact luxury SUV. And should you feel the need for more power, there's no shortage of tuners specialising in VAG products, with a bump in horsepower just a mere software upgrade away.

If you are keen on getting a Porsche Macan as your next car, or any other used car for that matter, do take a look at our used car selection here for some of the best deals! 

Photo Credits: Lee Thern Yang (@TheBigSoup)

Read More: Motorist Car Buyer's Guide: Toyota Crown Athlete

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