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Porsche Cayenne Reliability

The Porsche that saved Porsche.

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BY The Drive Staff / LAST UPDATED ON March 16, 2021

via Porsche

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When most people think of Porsche, they think of legendary cars like the 911, 959, Boxster and Cayman siblings, and some of the rarer supercars such as the Carrera GT and 918 Spyder. What they should think about is the Cayenne, the SUV that saved the company.

Risking financial collapse, Porsche’s executives saw the burgeoning SUV market and made a calculated decision to bring forth the Cayenne. Many saw it as watering down the brand’s illustrious history, but the gambit paid off and made the company millions, something that continues to this day.

Due to its success, Cayennes are now everywhere, with the company selling between 15,000-20,000 per year. And with such strong premium SUV sales figures, questions about its reliability have been brought up. To better understand Cayenne’s real-world reliability, The Drive has combed through the NHTSA, CarComplaints, as well as JD Power to determine what’s what and help you make a more informed purchasing decision.

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability

Short answer: you. The longer answer is a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

Porsche Cayenne Specs

Vehicle Type: SUV

Doors: 4

Engine options: 3.0 L Turbocharged V6, 2.9 L Twin-turbocharged V6, 4.0 L Twin-turbocharged V8, 3.0 L Audi turbocharged V6 + Electric motor, 4.0 L Audi-Porsche V8 Twin-turbo + Electric motor

Total internal combustion range: 474 miles

Total hybrid range: 450 miles

Is The Porsche Cayenne Reliable?

As detailed above, reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we can’t make a definitive statement that the Porsche Cayenne is reliable or unreliable. 

To better assess its reliability, however, we’ve assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. Let’s start with common problems, as told by comments listed in the Cayenne’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

The Cayenne’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the Cayenne’s issues throughout the years.

2021

Recall: NA

Complaints: 0

2020

Recall: Transmission Oil Pipe May Leak, No Visual Warning of Brake Pad Wear/FMVSS 135

Complaints: 0 

2019

Recall: No Visual Warning of Brake Pad Wear/FMVSS 135, Delayed Camera Display/FMVSS 111, Shock Absorbers May Loosen,Seat Belt May Not Restrain Occupant/FMVSS 209

Complaints: 7

2018

Recall: Incorrect Thread May Allow Ski Bag to Detach

Complaints: 4

2017

Recall: Incorrect Thread May Allow Ski Bag to Detach

Complaints: 3

Common Porsche Cayenne Problems and Repair Costs

As with other car brands, not all Cayenne models are built to the same exacting standards. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic Cayenne offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

2004 Model Year Plastic Coolant Lines Broke

Repair Costs: $3,500, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Absolutely a brilliant idea to run plastic coolant pipes through the center of an engine (between blocks)...because it DOESN'T get hot in that area and plastic can withstand those high temperatures. Great job, idiots at VW. I love how they will not acknowledge that there is a problem and refuse to do a recall. Yet they have an aluminum pipe kit to repair this problem, which cost me almost $5000 to take care of.

“Oh, and then, let's place the starter in the bay directly underneath these plastic pipes so that when they do crack and start to leak, the starter can take a bath in coolant.” 

2011 Model Year Engine Failure

Repair Costs: $2,300, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“The Cayenne S just hit its 5 year mark. The check engine light went on and there was a shuddering noise coming from the engine. After about 5 minutes of driving, it died on me. I was grateful that I at least made it to a safe place. The Cayenne S was towed to the dealer. The Porsche Service Rep was extremely helpful and offered to take this matter to Porsche, crossing fingers that Porsche takes ownership of this problem and covers the repair cost which is approximately $2300.”

Transfer Case Issues

Repair Costs: $5,000, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“I had Issues twice with the Transfer Case. Each Repair Cost over $5K. 1st time it broke we were out of the warranty by about 1K miles and now we are out of warranty by time.”

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

2021: 82/100

2020: 82/100

2019: 80/100

2018: 84/100

2017: 82/100

2016: 82/100

2015: 82/100

2014: 84/100

2013: 85/100

2012: 81/100

FAQs About the Porsche Cayenne

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: Is The Cayenne Expensive To Maintain?

A: They can be, though again, that depends on how you treat it, how the previous owner treated it, and if you’ve followed the Cayenne’s regularly scheduled maintenance. 

Q: Is a Cayenne High Maintenance?

A: No, but there is a regularly scheduled maintenance flow you need to follow.

Q: How Many Miles Does a Cayenne Last?

A: New cars are all designed to exceed 200,000 miles. However, individual mileage may vary based on, as stated above, how you treat your car.

Q: Are Repairs Expensive on the Cayenne?

A: As with all repairs, it depends on the part affected. If it’s deep within the engine, it could be quite expensive. If it’s a loose body panel, likely not. There is, however, what is affectionately called the Porsche Tax, which tends to raise the cost of repairs due to it being on a Porsche.

Video

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

<br>

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

Get a Free Quote

<br>

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

Get a Free Quote