2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Episode 3651
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

We all know that car makers are on a mission to increase fuel economy in all of their vehicles, mostly because of ever-stiffening regulations.  Well increasingly, PHEVs are the hot ticket to get that done.  Even Porsche is not immune to this, having applied the plug-in treatment to the Panamera sedan back in 2014.  But now they’re getting much more serious, and what better vehicle to showcase that ultimate eco-performance in, than the Cayenne.   

Yes, it’s all about the utilities in the luxury market these days; so this 2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid will almost assuredly drum up its fair share of attention. 

Now, some might still look at a plug-in hybrid utility as a bit silly, perhaps even a waste of money; but keep in mind these vehicles are mostly designed for a European market that aims to do away with the internal combustion engine in major cities. 

So, obviously there’s a market for people who want to maintain their current level of posh transportation, yet have the benefits of an EV when necessary.  

Powertrain stats begin with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 delivering 333-horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque on its own.  Add in a 70kW electric motor, and output climbs to 416-horsepower and 435 lb-ft. of torque. 

The 10.8kWh battery allows for 14-miles of EV-only driving at speeds up to 78 miles-per-hour.  

Both an 8-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive are standard.

Like the best of plug-ins that we’ve sampled, the Cayenne delivers seamless operation; requiring you to keep an eye on the tach or power meters if you care where the power is coming from. 

You can be certain that Porsche wants to preserve their performance image at all costs, so this Cayenne is indeed very fast; especially when the battery is full and boost mode is available, a bit less so without battery assistance. 

At the track, with all systems full-go, we hit 60 in just 5.4-seconds.  That’s almost two seconds quicker than the no longer available Cayenne turbo diesel. 

There’s a decent amount of torque at launch, and it builds even more as you get rolling.  Shifts were not PDK-quick, but efficient enough to keep the gears coming, as we finished out the ¼-mile in 13.9-seconds at 103 miles-per-hour.

And as spirited as that is, it gets even better when you start throwing curves at it.  Through the cones, we found little to no over or understeer; just great balance and point-and-shoot precision, with virtually no body roll to upset things, despite pushing 5,200-lbs of curb weight. 

Steering is quick, and sure it could use a little more feel; but no matter how hard we pushed this Cayenne, it seemed to be begging us for more. 

Porsche likes to differentiate their plug-ins with Acid Green brake calipers, and little else.  And while they tend to look cool accompanying a silver or black vehicle, most thought they clashed with our Cayenne’s Mahogany Metallic livery. 

That aside, the Cayenne’s form really hasn’t changed all that much in its 14-years on the streets.  There are still plenty of 911 design cues, combined with a sleek profile that fully portrays its performance potential.

The interior is busy, but well laid out as always.  There are unique gauges and drive mode setup, but otherwise things are mostly the same throughout the rest of the space.   

Available Platinum trim adds Apple CarPlay, illuminated door sills, upgraded Bose audio, heated front seats, and Alcantara trim among other things, though surprisingly…still no back-up camera.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-Combined when operated in gasoline only mode; and climb to 46-Combined when EV driving is added in.  Our loop was an EV-free one; still we managed 23.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium. 

There’s a great Energy Impact Score of just 9.5-barrels of annual oil use, accompanied by 4.3-tons of CO2 emissions. 

Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s start at $79,750, almost 20-grand over a base Cayenne; but a Platinum Edition with much more content is available for only a bit more at $82,650.

We can surely appreciate the effort and engineering that went into creating the 2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.  But really, at this time, at least in this market, like a lot of other luxury plug-ins, it remains a niche vehicle built for boasting your ecodentials more than being a must-have vehicle. 

In our eyes, it needs a much bigger battery, with much more EV range, for it to truly make sense here.  Ah, but it still drives like a Porsche.  And after all, that may be more than enough reason for this clean-rolling piece of engineering excellence.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.0-liter V6
  • Horsepower: 333
  • Torque: 325 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 103 mph
  • EPA: 22-Combined gas only mode / 46-Combined with EV
  • Energy Impact: 19.5 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 4.3 tons/yr
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

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2023 Mazda3 2
2023 Mazda3 5
2023 Mazda3 3
2023 Mazda3 4
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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined