PORSCHE CAYENNE TURBO
Base price: $89,665
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in about 5.6 seconds
Estimated mpg: 13 to 18
Standout: Easily fords deep water crossings
The Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg are almost twins. Both share a 112-inch wheelbase platform. The Cayenne is a full inch longer at 188.2. It's in the power department that the Porsche pulls away.
The top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo houses a 4.5L V-8 with twin turbochargers that exudes 450 horsepower and 0-60 figures of 5.6 seconds. That's faster than some sports cars.
While both are all-wheel drive, Porsche sends 62 percent of the power to the rear wheels for that Porsche 911 feeling. There also are bigger tires that add to the feeling of power.
Those goodies like three-way adjustable suspension, navigation, six-speed automatic transmission, heated steering wheels, and headlights that track around a curve can quickly kick the base price of the Turbo from $89,665 to the $100,000 range.
The S model starts at $56,665 which is in the neighborhood of the VW Touareg's $57,800 base for the V-10 model. Other Touaregs start at $39,500.
But it doesn't take long for that V-10 VW to shoot up to $62,765. That buys the premium-package navigation system and leather and wood-trim interior.
The V-10 5L engine develops 310 horsepower and gets to 60 mph in a respectable 7.5 seconds. And it's a diesel that produces 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.
Cayenne is tuned more for on-road handling but doesn't slight off-roading. It still is able to handle most rough-and-tough options. Touareg's smoother ride speaks to on-road manners but it's at home when the pavement ends. That smooth ride stiffens up with the optional suspension setting on sport. Touareg takes curves flatly.
Comfort settings increase the softness of the lean as well as the ride, while the automatic seems just right. Steering is precise and Touareg goes where it's pointed.
It's a nice cross-country cruiser for those drivers seeking a luxury experience with some oomph.
Base price: $111,911
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in about 16.8 seconds
Estimated mpg: About 11
Standout: Front winch
This is the bully on the block, weighing in at 6,400 pounds on a 130-inch wheelbase with a width of 86.5 inches. The 6.5L turbo diesel isn't the well-mannered VW motor but a raucous party of 205 horsepower. It's especially loud getting to 60 mph in a decibel-building 16.8 seconds – an automotive eternity.
On road, the Hummer handles curves surprisingly well, following the track nicely. It's going straight that sometimes requires a lot of steering tweaking. There's a 25-gallon main gas tank and a 17-gallon auxiliary. You'll need both.
Off-road nothing can stand in the Hummer's way. There's 16 inches of ground clearance, and the tires can be inflated or deflated from the driver's seat. The $2,600 front winch is worth it, just for its massive look. It's a pittance in a $111,911 vehicle ($116,483 is tops.)
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