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2022 Porsche Macan Review: The Base Model Is Just Fine

It might have a four-cylinder engine, but don't discount the entry-level Macan.

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Emme Hall
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Emme Hall

Editor / Cars

I love 2-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, 7-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.

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With a starting price of $56,250 (including $1,350 for destination), the Macan is the least expensive way to park a Porsche in your driveway. That price tag gets you the entry-level, four-cylinder Macan, and I'm happy to report that even in in base form, Porsche's compact SUV totally delivers.

2022 Porsche Macan
8.0

2022 Porsche Macan

MSRP

Like

  • Sharp handling
  • Looks great
  • Porsche's least-expensive model

Don't like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Less cargo space than competitors
  • Lacks standard driver-assistance tech

For 2022, the Macan gets a slightly revised look, but it remains a handsome SUV. LED lights are standard across the board, and the front and rear bumpers are a little different than before. Some wheel choices are new, too, with rollers as big as 21 inches in diameter on offer.

Inside, the Macan has a backlit center console, similar to what Porsche offers in the Cayenne and Panamera. Also on hand is a 10.9-inch touchscreen running the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system, though, curiously, it's not the most up-to-date version of PCM. Sure, the system overall is quite responsive, but the menu structure is somewhat complicated and there's no Android Auto compatibility. Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard, at least, though a charging pad costs $270.

2022 Porsche Macan: Go for the Base

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Overall, the Macan's interior isn't any bigger or smaller than before, and the cargo area is actually one of the most compact in this class. Porsche says you'll get just 17.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, compared with 25.8 cubic feet in the Audi Q5 and nearly 29 cubic feet in the BMW X3 and Genesis GV70. However, fold the seat backs flat and the Macan has 52.9 cubic feet of space, which isn't too bad.

Thankfully, the Macan's performance makes up for any cabin shortcomings. The 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine is small but mighty. It pushes out 261 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque -- increases of 13 hp and 22 lb-ft over the 2021 Macan 2.0T. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and with launch control activated -- part of the optional Sport Chrono package -- Porsche says this Macan will scoot to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Not bad for a base model.

2022 Porsche Macan
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2022 Porsche Macan

The Macan's multimedia system still doesn't support Android Auto.

Emme Hall/CNET

Sport Chrono is just one of many options you can add to the base Macan, and I think it's a worthwhile upgrade. This $1,220 add-on gets you an Individual drive mode where you can set your own parameters for the powertrain and chassis, as well as the Sport Response button which puts the Macan on full boil for 20 seconds -- perfect for passing slowpokes on the highway.

Still, even in Porsche's preset modes, the Macan is a joy. The steering is light and direct -- though maybe a little too light for my liking -- and I love how in Sport Plus mode, the transmission will hang out close to redline and downshift under braking. Even with the 2.0-liter engine, the Macan has a lot of verve.

This SUV is great while toddling around town, too. The turbo engine delivers power smoothly and the transmission's shifts are never jerky. The suspension is nicely tuned, letting no pothole disturb my cool and collected experience. But it's not all perfect. If driver-assistance features are on your must-have list, prepare to open thy wallet. Lane-change assist is $700, lane-keeping assist is $800 and a surround-view camera is $1,200.

2022 Porsche Macan
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2022 Porsche Macan

The Macan might be less efficient than its rivals, but it's way more fun to drive.

Emme Hall/CNET

However, the Macan's worst foible might be its fuel economy. The EPA gives this compact SUV a rating of 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. During a week of testing, I'm seeing 22.8 mpg, but checking the competition, the Macan looks like a gas guzzler. An Audi Q5 with its 2.0-liter turbo engine gets 29 mpg highway, and four-cylinder versions of the BMW X3, Genesis GV70, Mercedes-Benz GLC300 and Volvo XC60 get 28 mpg. And the Macan costs at least $10,000 more than all of those competitors. Ouch.

But while it might not be a value proposition, once the road turns twisty, no small SUV handles like the Macan. Sharp and sporty, but practical as well, the four-cylinder Macan is a true Porsche at heart.

2022 Porsche Macan
8.0

2022 Porsche Macan

MSRP

Score Breakdown

Performance 8Features 7Design 8Media 7

Specs

See full specs Engine 4 Cylinder Engine, TurbochargedDrivetrain All Wheel DriveMPG 21 MPGPassenger Capacity 5Body Type Crossovers, SUVs