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Porsche Cayenne Wins SUV of the Year

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On: Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Cayenne Wins SUV of the Year

Well, this is just a slap in the face to anyone who prizes aesthetics in their vehicle—or has any taste whatsoever. Motor Trend announced today that it has chosen the ever-controversial-and-despised Cayenne as its 2011 Sport Utility of the Year. In a pool of 15 brand new SUVs, the Cayenne presented the best mix of engineering, safety, value, and design improvement.

Introduced just before the Geneva Motor Show, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne received some minor exterior revisions. The line also lost an average of 400 lbs. Porsche went with the same 300-hp 3.6-liter V6, 4.8-liter V8 and  500-hp twin-turbo 4.8-liter V8 engine options that the 2010 models used. The middle engine option equipped to the Cayenne S received a boost up to 400 horsepower.

Much more interesting than the small changes for the gas-fueled Cayenne models was the introduction of the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. Debuted at the New York Auto Show in late-March, the S Hybrid used a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and 47-hp electric motor to give it all-electric capabilities and cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.

Pricing for the 2011 Cayenne models is as follows: Cayenne $46,700, Cayenne S $63,700, Cayenne S Hybrid $67,700, and Cayenne Turbo $104,800. All models except the Cayenne S Hybrid are already available. The hybrid Cayenne will go on sale next month.

Motor Trend selected the Cayenne for a number of reasons. Editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie explains: "Each contender is evaluated against six criteria – Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function. With strong showings in the engineering and efficiency areas, an attractive exterior, a thoughtful interior design, a full roster of active and passive safety gear and a high value rating on its opening price, the Cayenne was quite obviously the winner. The fact that the Cayenne's driving experience eclipsed that of every other contender was just a bonus."

Factors that worked to the Cayenne's advantage in the competition included the four engine options, on-road grip and handling, direct-injection technology, the new interior, strong resale value, and a starting price of around $48,000. Clearly, dull, derivative looks and brand dilution didn't weigh in as factors.

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