2021 Porsche Macan Review: Eat The Rich

Post facelift, even the base Porsche Macan is one of the best-driving mid-sized SUVs in Singapore, but top level performance doesn’t come cheap

Photos by The CarBuyer Team

SINGAPORE – Porsche’s Macan is here and it’s better than ever. In fact – its own lineup aside – it’s probably the best-driving mid-sized, luxury SUV on the market right now.

Should that be a surprise?

Maybe, since technically speaking underneath it all this car still has the same roots of the first-gen that debuted in 2014. Porsche calls this car the Macan III, but in our book the car has been updated in 2016, 2019, and now 2021. As usual, read our news story on the model announcement for more details first. 

Read more on the Porsche Macan

2021 Porsche Macan facelift
Porsche Macan 2016 update news
Testing the top-tier 440hp Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package
Porsche Macan 2019 update news and review

But in another way it’s not a surprise, what with Porsche’s reputation and it proves that it’s not so much the platform itself, or even the components, but what you do with them that really counts. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore
2021 Porsche Macan

From the outside, it doesn’t even look like Porsche has actually done that much thanks to its evolutionary approach to styling. Park next to a pre-facelift Macan and almost nobody will be the wiser, especially since the dramatic rear lightbar already made its debut in 2019.

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - wheels
2021 Porsche Macan

We’ll clue you in: The lights and bonnet are the same, but the small DRL strips now sit just below the headlights, and Porsche’s previously-optional Sport Design mirrors with an aero ‘tunnel’ are standard. The test car wears 21-inch RS Spyder design wheels, which cost S$11,156 – standard items are 19-inches. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - dashboard

Inside, the major Porsche touchpoints are there, but with more fingerprints. Yes, the area that surrounds the gearshifter – which is usually where Porsche puts all the controls – has been paved over with glass, going from the Vertu-style button fest to a flat, touch sensitive panel.

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - gearshifter

The buttons below the touchscreen also see a similar treatment. To Porsche’s credit, it all works well and is quite easy to get used to. A lack of feedback is the only annoyance, along with the inevitable fingerprints on gloss. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - instruments

Above that is the same 10.9-inch colour touchscreen for infotainment, and in front of the driver also continues the triple-binnacle display with a small, inset colour screen on the right.

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore infotainment screen

The infotainment system already played nice with Apple and Android phones last time around, but it now has onboard internet connectivity, so you can search Google for relevant destinations (by doodling search terms like on an Audi) and see useful stuff like weather forecasts. The car’s voice control system has also become a little smarter, though it’s not as clever as BMW’s. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - internet connection

Moving off, the Macan immediately proves it’s still capable of chewing out other German midsized luxury SUVs on driving prowess. It feels extremely capable from the get-go, with wonderfully-balanced steering and suspension, and a lively, responsive drivetrain without harshness. If you don’t opt for the Sport Chrono pack, there’s only Sport mode rather than the full modes (Sport, Sport Plus, Individual). 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - engine
Like the related Audi Q5, the Macan’s engine is longitudinally-mounted

Porsche’s actually increased the power and torque, from 245hp and 370Nm to 265hp and 400Nm. That, plus the Macan’s all-wheel drive, make for a surprisingly quick car, but the Porsche driver’s advantage is making the most of corners and bad roads with confidence. Here, Porsche’s base model can easily challenge an Audi S or Mercedes-AMG ‘43’. 

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2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - cornering

Equally impressive is how Porsche avoids Clown Car Syndrome, where you put wheels (‘shoes’) that are simply too big and the car feels difficult to drive especially at low speeds, tripping over its own feet almost. It’s not perfect, with those huge wheels delivering a little thump and a lack of feedback at parking speeds, but everywhere else it’s excellent and overall, dynamically, it’s the best you’ll get in the segment.  

Its sportiness is quite obvious, but as a daily driver it’s also refined and quiet. As Ju-Len observes, driving a Macan is eye-opening in the same way that enjoying food prepared by a master chef is.

With all that lovely driving fun, you almost forget you’re driving a practical, five-door, five-seat SUV. There’s decent room for adults, though it’s not super spacious, and the cargo area has a wide opening, plus space for 488- to 1,503-litres of room. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - compass
Compass – S$1,350

The downsides are predictable for a high-performing, luxury SUV. Becoming more powerful also means the Macan is more thirsty going from 8.9L/100km to 10.4L/100km, officially, and you won’t see much better than 10L/100km in real life, despite the smooth start-stop system, since there’s no mild hybrid system to claw back some green cred.  

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore - PASM
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) – S$4,227

This being a Porsche, all the good stuff is behind the paywall too: Our car came with optional adaptive suspension ($4,227), the big wheels as mentioned, the carbon interior trim (S$3,093) and even the nifty compass on the dash is monetised (S$1,350). 

That’s not really a criticism, it’s pay to play no surprise, but we do feel Porsche could have included more active safety systems. Lane departure warning is standard, but everything else (autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitors etc) isn’t. We guess the argument is that if you can afford a Porsche, you can afford a little more for extra safety. 

2021 Porsche Macan Review Singapore

But even if you take it without all the key bits, the fact remains that there aren’t many SUVs that are driver’s cars, but the Porsche Macan – even in base form – certainly is. We’d be careful too, since driving the Macan could make you hungry for the real meat of the Porsche range, its sports cars.

Porsche Macan

Engine1,984cc, inline 4, turbocharged 
Power265hp at 5000-6500rpm
Torque400Nm at 1800-4500rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch 
0-100km/h6.4 seconds 
Top Speed232km/h
Fuel Efficiency10.7L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$25,000
AgentPorsche Singapore 
PriceS$260,088 without COE with VES
Verdict More performance with the same sweet handling, ride, and superior dynamics make it the best-driving midsize SUV around 

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong