• Oct 19th 2010 at 9:57AM
  • 36
2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo – Click above for high-res image gallery

Motor Trend has announced its pick for Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year, and the honor has fallen on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne. The fact that the Porsche has received the award is not necessarily a surprise, it's how the award was announced. M/T decided to eschew the standard required wait time for readers to find out via its monthly magazine. The announcement was made at 12:01am via social media juggernaut, Facebook and they've since followed up the Facebook notification with a proper article on its website.

According to Angus MacKenzie, Editor-In-Chief, the Porsche Cayenne was top notch across the criteria board. M/T uses six key points to evaluate its contenders; 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."
For a reminder of how we felt about the 2011 Porsche Cayenne, check out Michael Harley's First Drive feature on the Turbo and subsequent writeup of the V6. For more insight into Motor Trend's decision, take a look at video highlighting the editors' deliberation process and a video of the winning Cayenne itself right after the jump.

Photos copyright ©2010 Michael Harley / AOL

[Source: Motor Trend]

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Winner Announced Live on Facebook, a First for the Industry

El Segundo, Calif. (October 19, 2010) – Motor Trend, the world's automotive authority on cars, trucks and SUVs, announced today the Porsche Cayenne has been named winner of the 2011 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year Award®.

The announcement was made live via Motor Trend's Facebook page – a first for the Motor Trend brand and the latest step in its multi-media strategy – representing an innovative approach for an industry traditionally focused on mainstream media for breaking news.

The second generation version of the German manufacturer's popular luxury sport/utility vehicle, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne represents an evolution in concept and design rather than an outright overhaul. Not only are the Cayenne's technical advancements compelling, but its increased fuel efficiency, high value rating, improved interior and exterior design features, result in an unbeatable combination of performance and capability.

"Our Sport/Utility of the Year evaluation is not a comparison test," said Angus MacKenzie Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "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."

Every year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend meets to determine the field of contenders for the Sport/Utility of the Year Award. In a week-long process that includes the full complement of Motor Trend performance tests, track-based ride and handling evaluations, and driving on a real-world loop that includes freeway, regular two-lane highway, and a loose-surface track, the contenders are then evaluated against these criteria:

· Advancement in Design: The editors agreed that the Cayenne took a leap forward with a sleeker, tidier exterior design, as well as a stylish and roomy interior, complete with a versatile center stacked screen, a user-friendly reconfigurable gauge cluster display and improved functionality, courtesy of parts sharing from the Panamera.

· Engineering Excellence: The editors felt that the technical advancements made to the second generation Cayenne were compelling – the initial lineup of two engines has expanded to five powertrains. The V-6s include a 300hp, 3.6-liter that can be paired with a six speed manual and a supercharged 3.0 liter gas-electric hybrid that cranks out 380hp and keeps fuel efficiency high. The naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 develops 400hp, while the twin-turbo V-8 has an impressive 500hp. Though 2.0in longer and 0.4in wider than the previous model, the new Cayenne is 400lb lighter, an impressive achievement in a vehicle segment where weight increases have been the norm with every model change.

· Efficiency: With EPA fuel economy ratings of 21mpg city/25 highway, the Cayenne Hybrid's efficiency is very good for a vehicle of this size and capability. All Cayenne engines feature direct injection; all automatic transmissions get eight ratios; and an auto-stop feature on all models turns the engine off when stopped, to improve real-world efficiency, if not EPA figures.

· Safety: Editors noticed the Cayenne's ability to shed speed and carve corners with ease. Running standard steel brakes, the Cayenne Turbo stopped from 60mph in 107 feet – shorter than any other base SUV tested, while the S stopped at 113 feet. The car's uncanny handling was achieved through its active anti-roll bars system and torque-vectoring rear axle, both of which, along with ceramic brakes, are available on any Cayenne model.

· Value: The Cayenne has a wide base-pricing, with models ranging in price from $47,675 - $105,775. The median-grade Cayenne S runs at $64,675 to start, $79,160 with additional features such as active suspension management, dynamic bi-Xenon headlights, navigation and a Bose sound system. While not the cheapest Cayenne, Porsche's strong retained values mean the cost of ownership of the Cayenne S is very reasonable compared with other luxury SUVs and crossovers.

· Performance of Intended Function: The judges agreed the Porsche Cayenne was a multi-talented crossover vehicle that drove like a Porsche on the road, yet with its height adjustable suspension and computer-controlled four-wheel drive system, was almost as capable as a genuine off-road SUV.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This new Porsche is a noticeable improvement over the last Cayenne but I did not think it was to the level of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

      NOT an insult to Porsche but MT did vote the Renault Alliance COTY once.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can see the appeal of the new one but I actually liked the old Cayenne better. There's something about the new shape, especially the back, that just doesn't work for me.

        That's just the exterior however. I've never driven one but I'm sure the mechanicals are fantastic for an SUV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even worse. They voted for the Chevy Vega and AMC Pacer for COY!!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think the new GC has made quite as many leaps as you might think, certainly not as many as the Cayenne has made it seems.

        I like the new GC(and own a WJ myself), but Jeep hasn't fully given us everything they've got yet. They still owe us an 8spd auto(which is coming) as well as an SRT-8 version(which is coming as well). Unfortunately, MT had to test with what is available now, not coming soon.

        The new transmission will help out greatly across the board while the SRT-8 will help to round out the model line.

        MT even lambasted the 5spd auto and named it as a prime reason for the Jeep not doing better. They've increased the refinement of the Grand Cherokee a lot, but not everywhere it counts(at least not yet). The 5spd(in the face of 6-8spds from others) as well as increased weight didn't conspire to give the GC stellar fuel economy or performance either which was another notch.

        Funny that they tested the Hemi version at 0-60 in 7.5sec. My WJ, with 125 less hp manages 0-60 faster(MT tested a '99 Limited at 7.2sec), I didn't see that coming. Surely the 8spd auto will help the acceleration as well.

        Doesn't hurt that the Cayenne offers multiple engine choices as well from a decent V6(VR6) to a V8, TTV8, a hybrid, and even a diesel(though not here).

        I think this section from the Cayenne story sums it up nicely,

        - "Further surprises awaited us on the off-road course, where the S model's broad eight-speed gearing and off-road-mode throttle mapping permitted us to maintain a snail's pace with no tire slippage up and down a steep and rutted silt-and-gravel hill on the same footwear that generated those big handling numbers. This prompted even "real SUV" booster and Truck Trend editor Harwood to observe "It's amazing that you can get this combination of performance and capability in one package -- it tows over 7700 pounds, is capable off-road, and handles like a Porsche in twists and turns." -


        That's no small feat either. Reading through the handling section of their story, the Cayenne managed to set records for handling and braking.

        quote - "Anybody can hustle a hefty hulk up to speed with a big-horse engine, but these Porsches earn their crests in the way they shed speed and carve corners. Running standard steel brakes (ceramic ones are available for $8150-$8840), the Turbo stopped from 60 mph in 107 feet -- shorter than any stock SUV we've tested, while the S stopped fifth shortest at 113 feet. Both provide plenty of reassuring pedal feel.

        Spin the steering wheel and the news gets even better, as our Cayenne S' 0.91g lateral cling outcornered everything we'd ever classified as an SUV except the new Turbo, which manages 0.95g. The Turbo trumped all 'utes in the figure eight as well, laying down a 24.8-second, 0.81g run. That's Corvette Z06/Lamborghini Murcielago territory!" -

        I see the Cayenne's win as sort of like the GT-R's win a few years back in the COTY. Yes it's more expensive, but it truly raises the bar in comparison to its competition. Nice thing is, I guess we can expect similar things from its cheaper VW brother, the Touareg.
      • 4 Years Ago
      yeah, as if nobody has expected this result.
      • 4 Years Ago
      how much does it cost???

      right... it's a fine vehicle, surely. but if MT was smart, they would have picked an SUV that middle class people can afford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The fact that the Porsche has received the award is not necessarily a surprise..."

      Really AB? I think most people would have chosen the JGC as their favorite for MT SUV of the Year winner.

      I also have to laugh at MT... they sooo badly like to pretend that they are "cool and hip." It's like seeing some 50 year old guy trying to connect with the younger generation by using their slang or listening to their music, but no matter what, it invariably turns into a lame, and usually sad attempt at trying to stay relavent in a changing world. Stop trying to be what you are not.

      One of the reasons that most of us car enthusiasts love Clarkson and the Top Gear crew is because they DON'T trying to pretend to be contemporary. If anything, they are quite against all the flash-in-the-pan trendy things. MT... not so much, which makes them look like a damn joke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes really...it's no surprise that M/T picked the Porsche.

        We didn't say WE would've picked it..
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was at the Porsche dealership a few months ago and I was looking at one of these and it looks smaller than the previous one.
      I don't know if it is or if the new design just makes it look so, but I did not like it.
      The interior is nice.
      I really like the new Infiniti QX56 though and the price is pretty good.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Motor trend got this all wrong...It should have been the grand cherokee. Lets see this overpriced soccer mom birthdefect of a vehicle go off road with a GC. Nuff said.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually....it's blogs that are the mecca of worthless opinion.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oops....should have been a reply to Simplecar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a nice vehicle. I'm still surprised at how effective the V6 is. That's a lot of hustle!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree that the Grand Cherokee should have won.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Obviously Motor Trends drivers have never driven the BMW X5 with its superior handling, comfort, tracking, speed and presentability. I didnt buy the BMW X5, I adopted it . GranMaKat
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cayenne is a nice vehicle but in my opinion, the new Grand Cherokee should have won. The grand cherokee fully maxed out with EVERYTHING(including heated/cooled seats, steering wheel, blind spot monitoring etc.) is not even 48k ( the cayennes base price). Oh well... I think both cars are great.
      • 4 Years Ago
      MEMO TO MT:

      Thanks for making SUVOTY even more irrelevant than it normally is.
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