We drove a lot of cars in 2021, we’re reposting a few of our favorites here.
Leave it to Porsche to even think about offering a long-roof model of its electric sport sedan. For decades Porsche has been taking risks by offering form factors that other companies must believe to be be too difficult to engineer, produce, or market. How many wagons are left on the market? Five? Add one more to that list, and it’s a damn fine addition.
(Full Disclosure: Porsche invited me to sunny Los Angeles to test drive its newest Taycan variant, the one with a long roof. I paid for my travel, driving my own car rather than flying, and I paid for my own hotel stay. Porsche provided me with a car and a fully charged up battery pack for about 7 hours to do whatever I wanted to do.)
With just one day to really get a feel for how this car operates, I decided to test it by using it the way that many of its owners probably will; driving it from the city to a far-flung wilderness destination. Angelenos are known to take a weekend trip up to Big Bear Lake for hiking, biking, camping or what have you. The route is a good mix of highway and curvy mountain roads. I even managed to find a two-track trail to test out Gravel Mode for a bit. Let’s dig in.
As the owner of multiple Porsches, and the recent buyer of a Buick Regal TourX, I might be slightly biased when I say this, but know that I mean every word of it from the bottom of my heart: The Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo is the greatest all-around car that has ever been produced in the history of mankind.
You know what a Taycan is, right? It’s Porsche’s all-electric super sports sedan that drives so incredibly well. This thing does everything a Tesla Model S does, but with better handling, better steering, better quality, better comfort, and better looks. In case you need a refresher, David Tracy test drove a fast one in Germany, and also nearly crashed a different one in Germany. I drove the fast one in Southern California back in 2019, and then drove the “slow” one in Southern California earlier this year. Last week I got to drive the wagon-y one in Southern California.
The Taycan Cross Turismo is pretty much everything I know and love about the Taycan Sedan, but with a longer roof, more room for humans in the rear seat, more room for their gear in the rear hatch, a full spate of that black plastic cladding that Americans have grown to love, and an extra 20 millimeters of ride height in standard mode compared to the lower and sportier sedan. Think Regal TourX, Volvo Cross Country, or Audi Allroad, and you’ve got the right idea, but it’s electric.
Available in 4, 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S trims, each Taycan Cross Turismo model is equipped with electric motors front and rear for all-wheel drive, and horsepower ranges from 469 HP in the ‘4’ I drove, up to 750 HP for the Turbo S. All Cross Turismo models come equipped with the larger Performance Battery Plus 93.4 kWh long-range battery pack. The car I drove is comparatively slow with a launch-control 0-60 time of just 4.8 seconds, while the Turbo S can do that sprint in just 2.7 seconds.
As of this writing, there are two Cross Turismos in the country, and both are German-spec. This means that you won’t see any roof rails or a full-length sunroof in these pictures, as those are optional in the European market, but standard in the U.S. market.
As I mentioned, I didn’t have a whole lot of time with this car, but I wanted to experience it in all of the different environments it was built to tackle. I chose a reasonably lengthy highway jaunt, a smooth flowing mountain road, and some dirt fire roads to really put it through it’s paces. I realize that very few Taycan Cross Turismo buyers will be taking this thing off road, but Porsche did equip it with a Gravel Mode, and this particular car was equipped with the Off Road Appearance Package, so why not give it a shot?
On the highway this car served its purpose, scooting me along in quiet comfort. Once you’re tucked away inside the Taycan Cross Turismo, the outside world is of little concern. Set the adaptive cruise, crank up the futuristic wooooobwooob noises of the optional Porsche Electric Sport Sound, and put the car into Eco mode with a max speed of 80 and enjoy your time in the perfect highway cruiser.
Eco will pull the car down to its lowest suspension setting, close some grille shutters, and allow the car to poke along using as little electricity as possible. My trip up to Big Bear and back was just shy of 200 miles, and when I arrived I still had an indicated 71 miles remaining. Considering how much range I wasted with launch control pulls from a stop and absolutely railing the car through the twisty mountain road sections, I’d wager it would be fairly easy to return 300 miles from a charge-up in this car cruising in Eco at highway speeds.
How does it handle dirt? Well, this particular car was equipped with the same optional summer rubber as the Sedan, wrapped around 20-inch rollers, it would have been unreasonable to expect this car to be able to climb Everest. I found an offshoot of City Creek Road (CA-330) called Old City Creek Road, which is a beefy two-track dirt path down to an old improvised shooting range. It’s gnarly off-the-beaten-path rural California, and probably somewhere a six-figure electric super wagon doesn’t belong, but the Taycan made it happen regardless. I don’t plan to enter one of these in the next Baja 1000 race, but it’ll get farther off-road than you might expect.
Here’s the most important thing about the Taycan Cross Turismo: You aren’t giving up anything appreciable, as far as sports-car-like handling is concerned, when you go from the sedan to the tall wagon. For miles at a time I put my right foot into the accelerator pedal hard and turned the wheel to hold tight corners at high speeds. With all of the weight of the car slung down low under the floor and between the axles, plus a reasonably long wheelbase, the Taycan felt like a mid-engine sports car.
Crank the car into Sport+ mode, and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a Cross Turismo and a comparable sedan without driving them back to back. There is slightly more dive under braking, and slightly more roll through the corners but it’s still got sticky tires and 469 horsepower on tap (only when Sport Chrono is equipped and launch control active), so it’s going to be a very quick ride regardless.
Whatever your weekend camping, skiing or kayaking trip throws at you, the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo can probably take it without so much as shrugging. If you’re worried about going off-road, a smaller wheel and more appropriate tire will likely deliver you much further afield.
I’d still pick the entry-level Taycan sedan for its lighter weight, smaller battery, and improved steering (thanks to not having the weight of a motor up front). That said, if you need to carry passengers or dogs, or if you need to frequently transport large objects from one place to another, it’s hard to beat the wagon form factor. Not only is the wagon mere percentage points from the greatness of its sedan brothers, but it offers significantly more rear-seat headroom than the sedan. You’ll see in the photo above, a long-torsoed 6'2" human male with an inch or two of headroom to spare in the back seat of the Cross Turismo. It also gets an extra 1.4 cubic feet of storage space, though that’s a little misleading. German companies measure hatch storage space from the top of the seat to the floor rather than from the roof to the floor, like normal companies. You must not pile your items any higher than the top of the seat, because then you could not see out the rear window, and that would be a very bad thing. Anyway, you can fit a ton more stuff in the wagon than you can fit the enclosed trunk of the sedan.
While I probably won’t ever fully love anything with black plastic cladding, the Taycan is an attractive design and actually works quite well with the cladding. Aesthetically I think this is a very strong car, and with the optional Off-Road Design Package and Off-Road Design wheels, it looks very purposeful.
It looks even better dirty.
There’s so much space! I couldn’t believe how much rear seat headroom this roofline creates. As an over-six-footer, I could probably ride in a the back of the sedan for about 20 minutes before losing my shit. The Cross Turismo has enough headroom that I’d be comfortable cruising all day. And for rear storage space, there’s a much more useful space than in the sedan’s trunk. It’s also a lot easier to load. Fold the rear seats and you might just have the best two-seat lawn mower hauler of all time.
Everything that is great about the Taycan sedan is also great here, obviously, but with the added benefit of more space and a more useful form factor.
It’s hard to call a $90,900 car a bargain, but in comparison to the entry-level sedan, it kind of is. With standard big battery, panoramic roof, and air suspension, the rear-wheel drive sedan would cost $90,720. For just $180, you get all-wheel drive. That’s pretty interesting, when you think about it. Just don’t think too hard.
Porsche is killing it with colors lately and Cherry Metallic is an extremely good color. I could see this becoming a very popular car in the U.S. where everything has to be a crossover. If this is what Porsche is bringing to the fight against Tesla’s atrocious-looking Model X, which starts at just $900 less, it’s hardly a fair fight.
There is very little I don’t like about the Taycan. I think I made that pretty clear in the opening of this piece. It’s an excellent all-rounder that can kick all kinds of ass. But anyway, here we go.
It’s expensive. I personally don’t really feel like it’s responsible to buy any car that costs six figures. Instead of spending the around $120,000 it would cost to buy this car as-tested, I simply would buy a cheaper car.
The Cross Turismo wagon body won’t be offered without the black plastic cladding and the 20mm lifted suspension. That’s a shame.
Ingress and egress for the driver is slightly annoying because the B-pillar is so far forward in the car. If you’re a tall boy like I am, you have to move your seat quite far back, meaning your seat back is behind the pillar. I found that when getting in I would frequently bump the steering wheel with my hip because the gap between pillar and wheel was relatively low. Once in the car, it’s perfectly comfortable, but it’s not quite perfect getting in.
The rear seats don’t have a power folding button you can access from the rear hatch area. It’s a minor gripe, but to fold the rear seats, you have to walk to both sides of the car, open the door, pull a latch, and fold them. For example, in my Buick which cost about 1/3rd as much, there is an electric release for both rear seats in the hatch area. When you come up to the back of the car with a large load, you can just hit those buttons and get a fully flat load floor.
This is a fast, fun, beautiful car with all the Porsche DNA you could ask for. I can tell exactly where the engineering muscle was applied in creating what is a great driving experience. If money is no object for you, it’s the perfect everyday driver that can do everything you might need a car to do (within reason). It’s every bit as useful as your crossover, but with better on-road dynamics, probably better off-road dynamics, and way more performance.
Even if you don’t pony up for the full-fat Turbo S, the base model Cross Turismo is fast enough to make your passenger’s pay attention.
Bless Porsche for continuing to sell wagon-ified versions of its sporty sedans. As manufacturers continue to ditch the wagon form factor in favor of the worse-in-every-way crossover, it’s a breath of fresh air to see something this pretty on the road. The wagon is dead. Long live the wagon.