2020 Porsche Macan Review

A German-engineered compact luxury crossover that drives like a sports car.

4 months ago
Michael Harley
EVP Product, Editor-in-Chief
PROS
  • Driving dynamics of a sports car
  • Powerful turbocharged engines
  • Excellent brakes
CONS
  • Limited rear seat room
  • Average fuel economy
  • Modest cargo space

The 2020 Porsche Macan is a compact five-passenger luxury crossover that has been engineered to drive like a sports car. To accomplish this objective, it is offered with a choice of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines and a full complement of performance upgrades including adaptive sport suspension, torque-vectoring technology, and carbon-ceramic brakes. First introduced as a 2015 model, the Macan was significantly refreshed for the 2019 model year. The 2021 Porsche Macan starts at just over $52,000.

Macan Exterior

The styling of the Porsche Macan takes cues from the company’s iconic 911 sports car, 918 Spyder supercar, and popular mid-size Cayenne crossover. The body is sleek, with distinctive flush headlights enclosed within the large wrap-around hood. Beneath the hood and headlights is a sleek front fascia that differs in appearance on each trim level based on the cooling needs of the engine. 

2020 Porsche Macan Review

Differentiating the Macan from all other crossovers are its side blades, which are decorative panels located at the bottom of both side doors. These blades, which are either black or offered optionally in body color, are designed to make the vehicle appear sportier and more streamlined. Another notable feature of the crossover are its staggered-size alloy wheels of various designs and colors. The rear of the Macan features a wrap-around LED light bar – mirroring that on the other models in Porsche’s lineup. There are also several different exhaust treatments, from two to four pipes, which are based on the specific engine. 

Macan Interior

The cabin of the Macan emulates that of the previous-generation 911, but with the added space and roominess of a crossover. The driver faces a three-pod instrument cluster with a prominent analog tachometer set between and analog speedometer and a multi-function digital display. A 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment interface (with round audio volume controls and Apple CarPlay) resides in the middle of the dashboard, above the HVAC vents, placing it with easy reach for both driver and front passenger. An intimidating sea of buttons, which operate climate and vehicle settings, require some familiarization to become second nature. However, the traditional PRNDL shift lever is excellent – it’s intuitive and easy to operate without having to look down.  

2020 Porsche Macan Review

The driver and front passenger sit in sporty bucket seats with generous adjustments and travel. Occupants of all sizes will find plenty of legroom and a comfortable driving position (the optional 18-way seats, with heating and cooling, are worth the upgrade)There are a pair of standard size cupholders on the console that are just in front of the armrest (the console opens for storage and access to a pair of USB-C ports) and there are small door pockets for additional utility. A 12-volt power outlet is located under a cover immediately behind the shift lever.

Rear seat passengers will find accommodations on the snug side of the roominess scale. While there is more than ample space for a pair of school age children, six-foot adults will be challenged to find any spare legroom behind the front seats when there are four passengers on board. (Those seeking more space in a Porsche crossover should check out the larger Cayenne.)  There is room for a third person in the second row, which splits and folds 40:20:40, but the cushion is flat and the bump on the floor is tall (requiring the occupant’s legs to be splayed). Rear seat passengers are treated to an HVAC outlet with temperature contol, a pair of USB-C ports, and heated outboard cushions on all trims.   

The rear tailgate opens wide (its release button is skillfully hidden at the base of the rear wiper) and the cargo floor is flat. There are metal tie-downs on all four corners of the cargo hold, to ensure objects are secure, plus some additional storage space below the floor where the spare tire and subwoofer are hidden. 

Macan Powertrain

Porsche offers the 2021 Macan with both four- and six-cylinder engines. Standard Macan models are fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (248 hp/273 lb-ft of torque), while Macan S models feature a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (348 hp/354 lb-ft of torque). The Macan GTS (375 hp/383 lb-ft of torque) and Macan Turbo (434 hp/405 lb-ft of torque) boast even more power thanks to a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6. 

All Macan models are equipped with a 7-speed “PDK” dual-clutch automatic transmission. While the race-bred gearbox (Porsche uses an 8-speed variant in its 911 sports cars) is celebrated for its smoothness and rapid-fire shifting, it lacks the taller overdrive gears that deliver strong fuel economy. Nevertheless, the EPA rates Macan fuel economy between 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway (thankfully, a generous 19.8-gallon fuel capacity ensures a long cruising range on each tank). Premium fuel is recommended on all Macan models.

A rear-biased active all-wheel drive system, which has been engineered to deliver sports car driving dynamics, is standard. All four wheels are continuously powered (other automakers decouple the rear wheels under some driving conditions) and the system distributes torque automatically between the axles based on need and available grip. When properly equipped, the 2021 Macan is rated to tow 4,409 pounds. 

2020 Porsche Macan Review

Macan Driving Experience

The Macan driving experience varies from “very sporty” to “better than most sports cars” based on the specific model. Thanks to its compact size, it is easy to maneuver and effortless to park. As is typical of crossovers, the Porsche offers generous approach and departure angles and up to 9 inches of ground clearance (with the optional air suspension). The view outward is excellent thanks to expansive glass and large side mirrors. 

The standard Macan, with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and traditional steel spring suspension, is a couple hundred pounds lighter than its siblings. Despite being the least powerful and slowest (the 0-60 mph sprint takes about 6.5 seconds), it delivers precise steering and agile handling that is sporty without compromising ride quality. 

The S and GTS, both fitted with turbocharged V6 engines, are noticeably quicker (shaving more than a second off the Macan’s 0-60 time). Bigger wheels, wider tires, and larger brakes allow them to handle with even more precision – the GTS model, tuned for the enthusiast, mirrors the handling of a bona fide sports coupe. The Turbo model is fitted with the most powerful engine and biggest brakes, which makes it the fastest in a straight line (with the help of launch control, the Macan Turbo can sprint from 0-60 mph in about 4 seconds flat).

All Macan models have very precise steering, strong brakes, and agile handling – they are all excellent performers. Stepping up the model range simply adds more power and increases the performance envelope.

2020 Porsche Macan Review

2021 Porsche Macan Trim Levels and Pricing

  • Macan (starts at just over $52,000) – This is the entry-level model with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 18-inch wheels.
  • Macan S (starts at just over $60,000) – More powerful turbocharged V6 engine, larger brakes, 19-inch wheels, and performance enhancements.
  • Macan GTS (starts at just over $72,000) – Even more powerful turbocharged V6 engine, 20-inch wheels, chassis and performance tuning for the driving enthusiast.
  • Macan Turbo (starts at just over $85,000) – Most powerful twin-turbocharged V6 engine, tungsten-coated brakes, most standard premium equipment.

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price a Macan on Porsche’s official web site.

Macan Best Features

The best feature of the 2021 Porsche Macan is its sports car-like driving dynamics. While there are many crossovers that have been tuned to be sporty on the market, Porsche exhaustively engineered the Macan to be a sports car masquerading as a crossover – the difference is significant. Nearly every mechanical component has been focused with this objective in mind (e.g., Porsche re-engineered the material used on the mechanical brake pedal arm to improve responsiveness and precision during the Macan’s refresh in 2019). As a result, the driving experience is engaging and enjoyable for even the most discerning automotive enthusiast. 

2020 Porsche Macan Review

What is Our Favorite Version of the Macan?

Our choice is the Macan S (starting around $60,000). This model is fitted with a more powerful and smoother running turbocharged V6, upgraded brakes, and larger wheels and tires as standard equipment. This model is a wise step up, in terms of performance for the dollar, when compared to the standard Macan. Driving purists (you know who you are) should seek the GTS model, as its performance upgrades – and enhanced enthusiast-tuned driving dynamics – are well worth the pricing premium. We would ensure that both models are fitted with the optional Premium Package, which adds heated seats, auto dimming mirrors, and a premium audio system. 

2020 Porsche Macan Review

Macan Notable Safety Features

All Macan models are configured Lane Departure Warning (LDW) as standard equipment. This system uses cameras to monitor the road in front of the Porsche. If the driver drifts out of the lane (without signaling) the system issues a warning tone.  

While the 2021 Porsche Macan meets all of the stringent crash test requirements of the DOT, the US-based NHTSA and IIHS have not crash tested the crossover. However, the Macan has been crash tested by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program), where it scored five out of five stars. 

Who Should Buy a 2020 Porsche Macan?

The ideal Macan buyer is shopping for a two-seat sports car but infrequently needs the additional passenger capacity and utility of a crossover. Model customers include singles, couples without children, or couples with teens who are old enough to drive and have their own vehicles (so the Macan is only used with more than two passengers on occasion). We don’t consider the Macan a recommended choice for families with kids as the second row is tight and cargo space limited. Porsche offers the larger Cayenne crossover for families seeking more room and utility. 

2020 Porsche Macan Review

CarExpert’s Take on the 2020 Porsche Macan

The 2020 Porsche Macan is a two-door sports car in crossover clothing. Sleek and stylish, it delivers phenomenal driving dynamics at the compromise of second-row legroom and cargo capacity. The German-built vehicle is enjoyable to drive and impressively engaging. It also boasts excellent build quality, enviable fit-and-finish, impressive reliability, and strong resale value compared to the others within its segment. While the sporty Porsche commands an expected premium price, discerning buyers will be very pleased with the compact luxury crossover. 

The 2020 Porsche Macan earns a spot on CarExpert’s recommended list.

2020 Porsche Macan Review

Macan Competitors to Consider

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  • Audi Q5
  • BMW X3
  • Jaguar F-PACE
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC


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OVERALL RATING8.2
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 7.7
Ride Comfort 8.4
Safety 8.5
Fit for Purpose 8.8
Handling Dynamics 9.4
Interior Practicality and Space 7.3
Fuel Efficiency 7.5
Value for Money 7.8
Performance 9.2
Technology Infotainment 7.6