Ruby, “railed”: 2004 Porsche Cayenne review #2

August 6, 2016

 

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According to the voice on the phone at Livingston, Ruby has now “railed” and should arrive on August 15th at the latest.

Unfortunately Livingston does not offer online tracking on rail shipments.  I expressed my regret to her about this, as I enjoy using Google Earth to follow my purchases across North America.  It’s a way for a stay-at-home farmer to learn a bit of geography.

The nice lady had no comment on this, apart from a suggestion that I call back next Friday for further details.

 

My wife and I spent last weekend with the other Cayenne in the stable, the silver one our son used to tow the heavy trailer from Vancouver to Ottawa.  Bet loves to drive the thing.  There’s no doubt that its handling is a quantum leap ahead of our reliable, but aging Lexus.  In fact it was a little terrifying to get back into the Lexus after seat time in the Cayenne.  The Porsche is very tight, steers intuitively, treats bumps with derision, and stops with a satisfying brutality.  The Lexus’ brakes are a little loose (less drag for improved fuel mileage) and its aging suspension is just fine on smooth pavement, but becomes tentative over uneven city streets.  214,000 km will do that to bushings and shocks.  The much younger suspension of the Porsche (122,000 km) makes up considerable ground in ride quality.

On the other hand, three significant advantages allow the Lexus to outclass the Cayenne on a hot-day visit to a nursing home:  the es330 passenger seat adjusts to the perfect height for my mother to back up to the rocker panel, sit down on the edge of the unseen seat, and swing her arthritic knees into the car.  The Porsche seat adjusts down low enough, but the high bolster on the edge makes a safe landing impossible for Mom.  Charlie’s car has optional 19″ wheels while Ruby has 18’s, but I doubt if the Porsche’s bolstered seats will be suitable for expeditions with Grandma.

The other Lexus perk?  Front seats are not only heated electronically, they are cooled.  Few people like this feature, but Mom and I both enjoy it a lot on a hot day.  As I drove the Cayenne, regardless of the quality of its air conditioning, things just got hotter and hotter and my back kept sticking to the leather seat.

Finally there is the issue of fuel consumption.  The V6 Lexus has delivered flawless performance on an average of 9.0 litres per 100 km over the last 112,000 km.  Charlie’s Cayenne showed 12.5 on the gauge.  Mind you, this would have included a cross-country tow with an 8.5 X 20 enclosed trailer, a morning running laps at Mosport Raceway, as well as a life of city driving, but fill-ups with high test are nearly double the cost of those of the Lexus.

It looks as though the Lexus and/or the very economical Scion xB (also with a height-adjustable passenger seat) will remain in the stable for the foreseeable future, though I’m very much looking forward to the day that Ruby de-rails.  A Cayenne is simply a gas to drive.

 

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