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.
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."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."
Photos copyright ©2010 Michael Harley / AOL
[Source: Motor Trend]
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.