They say that compact crossovers are the next best thing for automakers, and seeing the strong success of most entries, I don’t dispute this claim. Porsche’s Macan has been around for the better part of seven years, and has been a smash hit with Canadians. This year marks a refresh for the sporty ute, so we were eager to see what the updates have brought. We snagged the keys to a 2022 Porsche Macan with the base powertrain and a series of options to evaluate just how good it is.
The reality is, the Macan has consistently remained one of my favourite crossovers on the market ever since its debut. Its styling is quintessentially Porsche, and the size is just right for the majority of young urban people or even small families. It’s not compromised in any way, and Porsche offers a number of trim levels and powertrain upgrades to make it appealing to a vast array of buyers – all the way from this base model starting at $58,500 all the way up to the hottest Macan Turbo.
Updates to the latest model include subtle tweaks to the front and rear ends, most notably a light bar that goes across the entire rear – this is a handsome feature and really does help the Macan stand out, especially on the roads at night. The proportions of this little Porsche are just right, and despite the raked rear end, still leave plenty of space for cargo. New wheel designs set things off nicely, and in Porsche fashion, plenty of rim options are available. The Gentian Blue paint on our test unit is a stunning departure from the usual sea of grey, and plenty of other actual colours are available.
Stepping inside, our Macan tester was upholstered in a combination of black and Mojave Beige leather. Visually everything is very nice, and the wide 10.9-inch touchscreen housing the latest version of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is responsive and capable of handling Apple CarPlay wirelessly. The seats are comfortable, driving position most excellent, and all controls are well within reach. Accommodations in the rear are more than adequate for two average-sized adults.
While quality is also at the top of the segment, the Macan’s interior has one fatal flaw. The vast majority of controls on the center console surrounding the gear selector are touch-sensitive with haptic feedback. There are no hard buttons like there were in the outgoing model, making it difficult to rely on muscle memory for things like climate control, drive modes, or heated/ventilated seat controls. It requires an additional step that could cause unnecessary distraction while driving.
Hustling the lowest-priced Porsche in the lineup is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s shared with other applications in the Volkswagen Audi Group. Here it outputs 261 horsepower at 6,500RPM and a healthy 296 lb-ft. at 1,800. Mated to a seven-speed version of Porsche’s brilliant PDK dual-clutch transmission, the Macan actually feels substantially more powerful than it is. It’s quick on its feet and makes child’s play of highway runs. Torque is plentiful nearly right off the line, and the transmission snaps off shifts very quickly.
It does nothing to hide the fact that it’s a crossover, but the Macan is a very competent handler. There’s decent heft to the steering, response is crisp, and despite this being the base suspension setup, body roll is at an absolute minimum. The way it drives is one of the Macan’s strongest personality traits. Driven back to back, the otherwise-sharp BMW X3 feels sloppy and over-sprung. If you step up in the Macan food chain, the GTS and Turbo models are even more scalpel-like, and the Porsche DNA becomes more evident.
We observed a very reasonable 10.4L/100km over a 400-kilometer test of the Macan, which is just about right for a premium compact crossover. We’ve seen similar numbers in four-cylinder examples of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, though the fuel-sipping six-cylinder in the X3 M40i is capable of matching it as well, without any effort. The Macan requires 91-octane premium fuel, just like every single one of its rivals.
The Macan starts at $58,500 for this base 2.0-liter example, though it’s very easy to option one up pretty heavily. Our tester included premium Gentian Blue Metallic paint ($900) and was equipped with 20-inch wheels ($3,370). The $5,770 Premium Plus Package is just about a requirement, as it adds things like a panoramic roof, LED headlights, 14-way powered front seats with ventilation, heated rear seats, and Bose surround sound. Additional options were the Porsche crest embossed in the headrests ($660), ParkAssist ($440), and Surround View ($1,360). All in all, the $71,500 price tag isn’t quite as high as it could be.
That said, for $71,500, you’re still in four-cylinder territory of rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Audi Q5, albeit all of these will be very well equipped. The Macan offers more driving engagement, better looks, and quite frankly, much superior overall quality. Honorary mention goes to the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, which comes closest for buyers who care how well their crossover drives. While still offered at a premium price point, the 2022 Porsche Macan is a true delight to live with and remains at the top of our recommendation list within this segment.