Article written by Porsche of The Main Line customer: David Newtown
If I’ve learned anything as the owner of more than two dozen cars in my lifetime, it’s that every household needs a practical car. You can own all the garage charms you want, but at the end of the day at least one of them has to be a reliable mode of functional transportation.
My 2009 Porsche Cayman was used as a daily driver, but in the wintertime its low front chin and protruding splitters meant that all I had was a badly performing snowplow when more than a few inches of white stuff piled up.
Winter fluctuates here in the Northeast — dustings to blizzards and everything in between. Getting around often means a steady dose of our all-wheel drive Acura RDX. Power directed to all four corners means you just point and shoot.
When I traded the Cayman in for our 2016 Porsche Macan S, things got immediately more interesting. Now it really didn’t matter what set of keys I snatched up before leaving the house. The Macan just made the effort a lot more fun.
Googling synonyms for the word practical include “sensible,” “rational” and “useful” — all fair and meaningful descriptions. But in the world of automotive transport, I would argue that utilitarianism is not the only — or even the best — way to define practicality.
When most people search for their sensible car, they’ll frequently consider cost and economy over efficiency and quality. But a consumer of transportation has to at least consider vehicle proficiency. Sticker price is only a fair consideration when paired with lifetime cost and trade-in value.
With that in mind, I would suggest the most practical of cars is the one that does a little bit of everything, and does so competently without reasonable compromise. An automotive Swiss Army Knife as it were.
The Macan is certainly comfortable and carries four adults. The seats fold down to expose a cavernous space that swallows about anything you’d want to carry with you. It’s reasonably economical and there are plenty of cubbies and convenient stowage compartments.
It also has substantial power in a relatively small package. You will never have a problem merging onto the expressway or quickly passing slower-moving traffic. And the Macan has a reasonable towing capacity — practical qualities for any car.
But now consider that the Porsche Macan S is also enormously fun to drive. The PDK dual-clutch transmission shifts with supernatural competence. Incredibly, it’s the best handling car I’ve ever owned (next to my Cayman).
The driving position, visibility and vehicle ergonomics are exceptional, and the steering wheel is the best I’ve had in my hands since I lowered into a Porsche 918. Not surprising as the Macan borrowed it from the renowned supercar.
I think I’ve sufficiently established that the Macan does just about anything I could ask of it, and does so with the extraordinary build quality a Porsche offers. It’s a total blast to drive, and remarkably achieves about the same mileage as our Acura.
Some may argue the definition is subjective, but I imagine the ultimate test of automotive practicality is this: If you had to choose (and pay for) only one car — a solution for all of your transportation needs — what would it be?
This is a simple question, but the answer involves the complexities of many variables, especially by someone who loves cars. So I’m finding the line drawn between practicality and indulgence is thinner than I might have expected.
My concluding thoughts on the matter come down to the fact that I can’t think of a single occasion, excursion, errand or event where selecting this extraordinary car would be inappropriate.
That is why the Macan S is oddly the most practical car I’ve ever owned.