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Porsche's Cayenne E-Hybrid is the company's 'just right' SUV

The “just right” SUV from the German automaker.
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The Porsche Cayenne lineup is getting crowded. There are the gasoline engine-only versions and now two hybrids. The high-end electrified Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is a sports car masquerading as an SUV. But if you're looking for the less dramatic power boost and some good eco feelings, there's the Cayenne E-Hybrid.

Gallery: 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive | 8 Photos

The "regular" Cayenne E-Hybrid starts at $79,900 is far from regular. The gas engine and electric motor pump out a more than respectable 455 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. As with all of Porsche's hybrid models, the company line is that these electrified vehicles are a move to increase power on their vehicles, but there are still some eco-benefits. But to be honest, if you're in the market for a Cayenne, you want the Porsche experience.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid delivers that without the very large price tag of the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid (which starts at $161,900). That vehicle is amazing, but it's probably too much for most people especially as a daily driver. With the Cayenne E-Hybrid on the road, the power is more than enough to keep folks happy. It's a rocket on onramps and passing slower vehicles is a breeze thanks to the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine and electric motor.

2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive

Also, the steering and suspension are spectacular. Even with a battery pack added to the Cayenne, Porsche is still delivering one of the best if not the best handling SUVs on the market. It's less twitchy than the Turbo S E-Hybrid which makes a far better alternative for cruising around town. The vehicle is available standard with the automaker's Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) or the smoother optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) system. That second add-on brings with it rear-wheel steering that makes short work of tight parking lots and makes quick cornering more enjoyable.

Oh, also that dynamic chassis control means the actual ride isn't ruffled by potholes and ruts in the road. It's a smooth ride in a German luxury vehicle.

That lavishness extends to the interior which is comfortable with the usual Porsche utilitarian flourishes. The steering wheel has the typical controls but also has the round Sport Chrono Package mode control. A quick twist changes the characteristics of the vehicle from sport to hybrid to EV only mode.

In EV only mode the range doesn't yet have an EPA blessing. But I'm guessing it'll be about low to mid-20s and the real-world range will probably be about 18 miles. It's enough to cruise around town without enabling the gas engine. It can be charged via a level 2 charger or better yet, while in sport mode. It's a reminder that Porsche sees these electrified drivetrains as a power enhancer not so much an eco-play. But you can wring out some green feelings between blasting down the freeway.

For those freeway commutes, Porsches driver's assistance features are nearly on par with offerings from BMW and Mercedes. The adaptive cruise control is great and can adjust itself to account for road conditions including slowing down for sharp turns. Lane-keep assist works well on straightaways and even moderately tight curves, but like most other cars on the market, sharp corners can trip it up.

2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive

The infotainment system is quick and easy to use thanks to the customizable home screen layout. Just pick your favorite options places them on the home screen and you're good to. I didn't notice any latency during use and the additional hardware buttons for the main features of the infotainment system are always a welcome way to quickly launch an option.

The center console near the shifter is littered with climate controls, volume and suspension controls. It looks cool, but because it's smoked glass, you can see the options you didn't pay for right under the surface. So that's kind of a bummer, especially when a friend gets in and wants to launch something you don't have.

Fortunately, passengers will be distracted by how comfortable the Cayenne E-Hybrid is and how fast it goes. Even without the twin-turbo of it's much more expensive sibling. For the driver, the Cayenne E-Hybrid is a fun SUV that has more than enough power for 99 percent of the population while still retaining its ability to comfortably cruise around time. It's the Goldilocks Cayenne -- it's just right.

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