Used Vehicle Review: Porsche Macan, 2015-2018

Vehicle Type

Owners tend to appreciate Macan’s all-weather performance attributes, the elegant and understated cabin design, unique exterior styling, and solid all-around performance and luxury value.

Compact luxury performance crossover

History/Description

The Porsche Macan has been on the scene for a full four years now, as a smaller sibling to the popular Cayenne, launching in 2014 for model year 2015, and incorporating several updates and new model grades over that period.

This German-built luxury performance crossover was conceived to give Porsche a presence in the increasingly popular compact luxury SUV segment, and is available in a multitude of variants, and with an array of equipment packages, to help gear it up to the needs and tastes of any shopper.

With seating for four and a flexible cabin, the Macan offered standard AWD, standard turbocharged power, and upscale feature content including climate controlled leather, a panoramic sunroof, premium lighting and stereo provisions, a motorized tailgate, Bluetooth, navigation, full power accessories, and plenty more.

On the performance front, selected models were equipped with a reduced ride height, enlarged braking system components, the Porsche Sport Chrono package, air suspension, and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). Drivers could also select or customize the drive mode of their choosing with the tap of a button.

Engines

Many used models will run some version of a Porsche V6 engine with displacement ranging from 3.0 to 3.6 litres, employing twin turbochargers for horsepower output ranging from 340 horsepower in the Macan S, to 400 horsepower in the Macan Turbo, and 440 horsepower in the Macan Turbo Performance Package.

A 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, good for 250 horsepower, was also available.

All units ran a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. Consider the factory-installed sports exhaust system for push-button access to elevated sound levels from the power plant.

What Owners Like

Owners tend to appreciate Macan’s all-weather performance attributes, the elegant and understated cabin design, unique exterior styling, and solid all-around performance and luxury value on most models. The V6 power plants are highly rated for smoothness, output, and even fuel efficiency. The PDK transmission is a favourite as well, especially when driven hard. Ample onboard storage and cargo space help round out the package.

What Owners Dislike

Common gripes include looks that are too discreet for some shoppers, high pricing of certain models and equipment packages, and some onboard controls and interfaces that take longer to learn than some drivers will like.

Pro Tip: Picking a Trim

Which Macan? Our recommendation is the Macan S. When new, the pricing, performance, and equipment levels on offer hit a sort of sweet spot that gave shoppers a solid return on their investment in terms of luxury and performance attributes. Reasonable pricing, decent standard equipment levels, and very pleasing performance make this one a nicely rounded package with a good taste of everything Macan has to offer, at a reasonable price.

If you’re after something more modest and easier on fuel, consider a model with the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine (dubbed simply “Macan”), though you’ll have to shop for a 2016 or newer model.

Pro Tip: Certified Pre-Owned

Consider a certified pre-owned copy of a used Macan, if feasible, for maximum peace of mind. Porsche-certified CPO vehicles must meet a higher quality standard than a used vehicle that’s sold privately, or at a non-Porsche dealer.

Buying a CPO-certified Macan means all maintenance work, recalls, and software updates are current. Further, CPO vehicles may come with extended warranty coverage and additional roadside assistance coverage too. Porsche CPO vehicles are also treated to a reconditioning process, which helps maintain their appearance and finish in tip-top form for years to come.

Currently available on autoTRADER.ca

The Test Drive

Recalls

Depending on the model grade, the Macan you’re considering may be subject to one or more safety-related recalls. These recalls are intended to address some latent safety defect, and dealers perform the required recall work free of charge. Ask the seller (or dealer) if any recall work may be outstanding for the model you’re considering, remembering that the dealer may need the vehicle’s VIN number to look it up. If any recall work hasn’t yet been completed, be sure to make arrangements as soon as possible. Safety first, and all the rest.

Engine Oil Leak

Several owners have complained of a slow engine oil leak that may be easily detectable with a look at the underside of the vehicle. In many reported cases, the leak is slow enough that oil will not be present on the ground beneath the vehicle, but rather, visibly “seeping” beneath the bottom of the engine. Several causes are reported, all relating to the need to replace one or more gaskets or seals. Cam cover seals, and the timing cover seal, seem to be prime candidates, though some owners report that the leak came from a faulty head gasket.

Note that a similar leak is also possible if the O-ring seal for the oil filter is improperly replaced (or not used) after an oil change, which is more likely if the Macan you’re considering has ever had an oil change at a non-Porsche repair shop.

This issue seems relatively rare against total sales volume, though it could be pricey to repair out of warranty. Have the vehicle you’re considering inspected for oil leaks like this before you buy, and at any sign of trouble, have your Porsche dealer document your concerns to help speed future warranty claims if applicable.

Unwanted Vibrations

There are numerous reasons a vehicle may exhibit unwelcome vibrations at various speeds, and the Macan is no exception. A healthy used Macan will not exhibit any detectable vibrations in any driving conditions – so if you detect any, be sure to have the vehicle assessed professionally before you buy.

Vibrations come in all shapes and sizes, and may be the result of anything from a broken exhaust hanger to a bad CV joint or driveshaft, to an out-of-balance wheel, or even a failing transfer case. Don’t guess here – if the Macan you’re test driving exhibits any unwanted vibrations, be sure to have it checked out.

Transfer Case / CV Joints

In this lengthy thread, various owners discuss the need to have the transfer case (and possibly CV joints) in their Macan replaced under warranty, typically at fairly low miles. This issue seems slightly more common to 2015 model year units, though it does exist across all model years. A fairly high number of owners have reported this issue, as evidenced by the length of the discussion thread. In the vast majority of cases, these owners report quick and painless warranty replacement of the transfer case by dealers – though in some cases, a software update or replacement of the vehicle’s CV axles was all that’s needed.

Telltale signs of a bad transfer case in Macan have been described as a binding or pulling sensation from the vehicle as it’s steered sharply at low speeds, perhaps even more so when in reverse. Other owners describe a sensation as though they’re accelerating on loose gravel, even on bare pavement. Various clunking and popping noises are also reported.

Again, in any case, if the Macan you’re considering is making any unwelcomed noises or sensations, be sure to have them investigated before you buy, or move to another unit.

Central Command

Give the Macan’s central command screen (called PCM) a workout on your test drive. Play various media sources and radio stations, pair your Bluetooth phone, make a call, set a navigation destination, and change some of the system settings. Some owners have reported sporadic non-functionality of this system, or instances where the system will fail to engage, boot, or function. As these problems tend to be sporadic in nature, they may not manifest on your test drive, but rather, later, during ownership. In any case, at the first sign of trouble with the PCM system, contact your dealer and see if any software updates may be available to fix the issue.

Often, the fix is to simply have the dealership install new and updated software to the system brain. This issue is common across central command systems in dozens of makes and models, and usually, is easy to fix. Note that out-of-warranty replacement of the PCM unit, if required, will be expensive – so be sure to confirm that any problems you note are fixable via software updates.

Adaptive Suspension

Some Macan models are fitted with an adaptive air suspension system that allows for push-button control of ride height and ride quality. Some owners have reported failure of this system, usually under warranty. Repair and replacement of affected components is typically quick and painless via your local Porsche dealer. In some cases, the air compressor that drives the system burns out, and in some cases, a bad circuit board / controller is the culprit.

As you test drive a Macan with the adaptive suspension, be sure to toggle through all of its modes as outlined in the owner’s manual, ensuring you can access each one without any warning messages or error messages in the instrument cluster. If that’s not the case, further investigation is required. If the system has already failed, driving the vehicle is still possible, though you’ll see a yellow warning message in the instrument cluster. As it goes with air suspension systems in virtually all vehicles, we’d strongly advise used Macan shoppers to skip this feature, or to have the system fully inspected by a professional before purchase.

Verdict

Assuming that all maintenance, inspections and servicing are up to date, most used Macan models on the market will pose minimal cause for worry. The issues reported above are serious, but reported rarely against total sales volume, and most often occur within the warranty period. Most Macan owners have, so far, reported few if any issues with their machines.

Still, shoppers are advised to budget for any extended warranty coverage that might be available, to help protect themselves from potentially high repair bills as the vehicle ages. Our recommendation for maximum peace of mind is a certified pre-owned (CPO) Macan S, without the air suspension, and an extended warranty package.

Safety Ratings

N/A

Consider CPO and extended warranty to ward against rare but potentially expensive issues. 2/7/2019 6:28:00 AM