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Porsche Cayenne Reliability

The Porsche that saved Porsche.

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BYThe Drive Staff/ LAST UPDATED ON March 8, 2022
Porsche Cayenne Reliability

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. 

Looking for a New Porsche Cayenne? Look No Further than Carvana

If you're looking for a new Porsche Cayenne, or new to you Porsche Cayenne, look no further than Carvana. One of the best new and used car websites around, you're sure to find your next car with Carvana. Click here to start searching.

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

Complaints: 0 

2019

Complaints: 7

2018

Complaints: 4

2017

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

Looking for a New Porsche Cayenne? Look No Further than Carvana

If you're looking for a new Porsche Cayenne, or new to you Porsche Cayenne, look no further than Carvana. One of the best new and used car websites around, you're sure to find your next car with Carvana. Click here to start searching.

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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.

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