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Used cars: how to buy a second-hand Porsche Cayenne

By Ben Barry (photography by Charlie Magee)

Used Cars

11 March 2013 09:00

Porsche's Cayenne is one of the world's best sporting SUVs. Plus, you can now own one from just £7000. Tempted? Read on for the spec lowdown.

Talk me through the Porsche Cayenne range

The Cayenne launched with the Turbo (444bhp and 466lb ft) and 4.5 V8 S (335bhp and 310lb ft) variants in 2002, both of which got the Tiptronic six-speed auto as standard, while the first ever Porsche V6 arrived in late 2003, with a six-speed manual gearbox and 247bhp and 228lb ft as standard – that’s not an awful lot to lug around in excess of two tonnes.

I know it's good on-road, but can I off-road my £7k Cayenne?

Yes, should you want to. Despite its sports-car leanings, the Porsche Cayenne is still more than capable of cutting it off-road – it’s not as good as a Land Rover Discovery, granted, but its abilities still far exceed whatever the vast majority of drivers can throw at it.

How low do Porsche Cayenne prices go?

Today you’ll pick up an early 2002 4.5-litre V8 from just £7k, while the earliest 3.2-litre V6s start at £10k. If you don’t do masses of miles, you might be tempted into an early Turbo for the same money, and it’s still a quick car a decade on, but you’ll be better off spending £15k to secure a good one. For extensive Cayenne buying advice, check out the full guide on our sister site, Parkers.co.uk.

Should I consider a diesel Cayenne?

Yes, if you're covering big miles, but you'll not find one for this bargain basement budget. You’ll need to fork out significantly more than you’ll save at the pumps: the 3.0-litre TDI didn’t arrive until 2009, and the very earliest oil-burners still fetch over £20k.

Buying a Porsche Cayenne? Here’s what to look out for…

  • Engine wear: The entry-level 3.2-litre V6 does feel underpowered, but it tends to be more reliable than the 4.5-litre V8, which can suffer from bore-scoring and, ultimately, require block replacement.
  • Rear screen:  The radio aerial is contained within the rear heated screen, but this can be problematic. So turn the radio on, then press the heated rear screen button – if the radio cuts out, you’ll be in need of a replacement rear screen.
  • Tyres: You’ll pay for the Cayenne’s uncanny agility with its appetite for tyres – it can easily munch through a set in 12,000-13,000 miles with normal use. Any Cayenne will be wearing at least 17-inch tyres, and some wear 20-inchers as standard. It’s well worth paying extra for a car with nearly new tyres.
  • Key options: Desirable options included the sunroof, sat-nav and – absolutely key, this – the air suspension, which automatically lowers the Cayenne as speeds increase. Try to get a car with all those boxes ticked.
  • Brakes: The Cayenne weighs in excess of two tonnes, so all will be relatively hard on discs and pads, and it’s logical that the super-fast Turbo will have even more of an appetite for stoppers. If you are looking at a Turbo, ask the seller when the brakes were last swapped, and see how much meat is left on the brake pads