Leave it to Porsche. Going into our 2022 SUV of the Year competition, no vehicle had more pre-shade thrown its way than the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo. We’ve enjoyed a mixed, ambiguous relationship with the Taycan sedan since we first drove it. On the one hand, kudos to Porsche for making a great-handling electric vehicle that emphasizes performance and feel over everything else. On the other, where’s the range, bro?
Yes, we like performance, but institutionally we just can’t fully get behind the industry’s least efficient EV. As for the “SUV” version, well, it’s just a barely lifted station wagon, right? No different than the crass, “we’re not that gullible” efforts from Audi (the A6 Allroad) and Mercedes-Benz (E450 All-Terrain) to pitch station wagons as some sort of off-roaders. But then we made the terrible mistake of actually taking the Cross Turismo in the dirt, and yeah, Porsche strikes again.
Before we get to how it drives, let’s talk about what the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo is. First off, it’s a station wagon by all definitions of the term. Yes, the legal definition of an SUV has something to do with ride height, but as I’m so fond of saying, “Just look at it.” Talk about obvious. The Cross Turismo is an incredibly handsome wagon, especially on the tough-looking five-spoke wheels Porsche bolted to our test subject. Tangentially speaking, Taycan wheel design is all over the map, ranging from goofy to horrible to “yeah, baby.” These are the latter. Since we drove the Cross Turismo, Porsche went and confusingly launched an uncladded wagon version of the Taycan, the 2022 GTS Sport Turismo, which looks approximately 10 percent better. That’s mostly due to the 0.8-inch drop in ride height, meaning the Sport Turismo is technically a car. More on that in a bit.
Under the lovely, Chalk-colored metal you’ll find two motors: one driving the wheels at the front axle, and the other driving those at the rear. Unlike all other EVs on the market save for its Audi twin, the E-Tron GT, the Taycan has a two-speed transmission that’s only connected to the rear motor. As for power, this gets a bit confusing. Combined output from the two motors is 375 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. However, activate launch control, and the two motors go into overboost and the output increases to 469 horsepower, a more than 20 percent increase. Hey, it’s a brave, new EV world. The battery pack is large at 93.4 kWh, and the range is EPA-rated at 215 miles. That’s down 10 from the mechanically identical Taycan sedan, due a little to the increased weight of the wagon body but more so the increased ride height that also decreases aerodynamic efficiency and forces the halfshafts to sprout from the motor at an angle. Did I mention it weighs 5,134 pounds?
The odd part about driving the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo only occurs when you realize there are three more powerful versions available: the 4S, the Turbo, and the Turbo S. There is a non-4, RWD sedan that makes less power (321 hp, 402 in overboost), but this particular version—$92,250 base, $109, 980 as tested—is pretty far down the Taycan lineup, which also includes the GTS sedan and Sport Turismo. Let me also point out that as far as the Taycan—cough—SUVs go, this is the entry-level Cross Turismo. The entry version that can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, of course.
The Taycan 4 Cross Turismo can also run the quarter mile in 12.7 seconds at 115.9 mph. That quarter mile is pretty quick, especially for an off-road-capable station wagon. But it’s not that quick for an EV, as the Porsche barely edges out the 470-hp Jeep Wrangler 392 that does the quarter in 12.9. Hey we’re talking SUVs, right? And remember, that using launch control this Taycan makes precisely 1 fewer horsepower than the double live-axle, brick-shaped Jeep.
The Porsche’s braking performance is good. Not so much as to stand out, but not bad, and there’s nothing wrong with how the pedal feels. It takes 109 feet for the Cross Turismo to stop from 60 mph, 5 feet longer than the much more powerful, capable, expensive Taycan Turbo S with its 17.3-inch front rotors and super-sticky tires. Likewise, the Taycan 4’s figure-eight time is good, at 25 seconds flat. I always say any car in the 24-second range is a sports car, and this slightly jacked-up wagon is oh, so close. To give you an idea of how well the Porsche did, remember the Mercedes E450 All-Terrain we discussed earlier? Another gussied-up station wagon pretending to be an SUV? It took 26.2 seconds to get around our figure-eight course. The Audi A6 Allroad? 26.5. Oh, and the Jeep 392? A frankly pathetic 29.3 run, which our test team chalked up to “aggressive ESC.”
Based on time spent with other Taycans we knew going in that this Porsche would be more fun to drive than the competition on the street. We wrongly assumed that since it’s obviously only pretending to be an SUV, it would be weak sauce in dirt. We were totally wrong. Did we attempt any rock crawling? No, and you’d be insane to try. But we did try dirt, sand, and gravel, and, man, was the Cross Turismo not only competent and capable, it was a blast, as well. Especially in sand, where the EV loved kicking up giant rooster tails while simultaneously not even kinda getting stuck. Whatever off-road advantage there is from a 0.8-inch lift, Porsche fully exploited it.
Unlike the aforementioned Audi and Mercedes “SUVs,” I’d actually recommend the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo as both a driver’s car and a light-duty off-roader. It’s a genuine double-threat. At this stage in the game do we have the right to be surprised that a Porsche is fun to drive? Naw, probably not. Now, if the fine folks at Zuffenhausen could just do something about the meager driving range.
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