Though its instrument panel, trim, and interior materials have been improved tremendously, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne has a five-passenger package that's mostly unchanged—that is, it's a little smaller inside than you might expect from a vehicle with such heft and exterior dimensions.
Interior space has improved in the process, though. The slightly longer wheelbase brings an extra couple inches of legroom, and the backseat now slides fore and aft more than six inches, with the seatback adjustable for rake. The seatback still doesn't fold completely flat, though it provides plenty of space for a small piece of furniture, a bike, or snowboards. Front seats are excellent and supportive across the model line, and the driving position is quite good, with a beltline that doesn't feel as excessively high as in some utility vehicles.
The Hybrid model doesn't make any significant sacrifices for packaging or space, as the battery is stored just under the cargo floor where the spare tire would otherwise be.
We strongly recommend the Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM) air-suspension system, along with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). Together, these systems allow great ride quality while firming up in milliseconds when needed; there's also a choice between Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes, affecting the suspension, as well as throttle, transmission, and more. Our only complaint is that, even with this system, there's more head-toss (side-to-side motion) than is typical for the class when off-roading.
It's worth pointing out that while other automakers have phased in complicated screen-based interfaces for navigation, sound, and even climate control in some cases, Porsche has kept the screen to the bare minimum and retains separate buttons for most functions. While a few shoppers might like the elegant look afforded by BMW's iDrive or Audi's MMI, most will appreciate the individual buttons.