3. Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid: Plug it in, Porsche Style
Base price: $78,195
EPA fuel-economy rating: 47 MPGe
If any green-leaning crossover is going to challenge Tesla’s Model X for juiced-up excitement, it’s this plug-in-hybrid version of Porsche’s midsize crossover. Boasting design and driving manners that could come only from this maker of renowned German sports cars, Cayenne — in any iteration — is a benchmark high-performance SUV. With a net 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque from a blend of supercharged V-6 and an electric motor, the S e-Hybrid does 0-60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, just 0.2 second slower than the 420-horse, gas-only Cayenne S.
That its 47 MPGe is more than double the city-highway-combined rating of the conventional S is all the more impressive. So is its ability to travel an initial 14 miles on electricity alone and, via the driver-selected E-Charge mode, to generate additional range on the move by using the engine to replenish the battery. The full plug-in charge takes about three hours with the standard charger
, less with the optional unit. And E-Power mode lets you choose to parcel out electric propulsion for optimal efficiency, namely in stop-and-go driving – though battery power alone will take this premium five-seater to 78 mph. All Cayenne virtues are present: standard awd, impeccable composure and construction, and options that can add tens of thousands to the price. The e-Hybrid’s 47 MPGe, incidentally, also doubles the city-highway-combined rating of the far slower Cayenne Diesel. But parent-company Volkswagen
’s emissions-cheating scandal has shelved the Diesel. So for environmentally sensitive enthusiasts this is your Cayenne.