Some things are really heavy and awkward to load in a vehicle, like engine parts, coolers, caskets, and festive but delicate gourd centerpieces that you don’t want to break in two. Thank goodness for vehicles, like the 2019 Porsche Cayenne and some hearses, that squat down in the rear.
Many hearses come on air suspension, which does an admirable job of smoothing out the ride and making sure things are less likely to pop open in the cargo area when you hit a speedbump. (Dead bodies do sometimes leak fluids, and that smell is not good.)
One of the best parts about a hearse’s air suspension is that many have a switch to lower it down in the rear for easier loading. This Lincoln Town Car owned by the family of hearse Jalopnik friend and rally codriver-for-hire Steven Harrell takes only about 20 seconds to drop down to its lowest setting, but around 45 seconds to air all the way back up. Still, he says, “It’s a fantastic feature and makes it possible for a single person (usually me) to load a 350-plus pound casket solo.”
That hearse’s loading button was my first time really playing around with air suspension. When I noticed that the new Porsche Cayenne could squat down to hellaflush levels in the rear to assist with loading cargo, I blurted out, “Oh! It’s like a hearse!”
I’m not the weird kid, I swear. I just like hearses, okay?
The Cayenne doesn’t drop down as far as the hearse, but it did squat below even its lowest suspension setting. For a truck that can raise up to flex like a bro on rock piles and such, it was a pretty substantial drop. If I ever have to lift a Type 4 engine into the back end of a new Cayenne, that extra couple inches makes a world of difference.
That being said, I don’t think I can recommend hauling bodies in the new Porsche Cayenne. I mean, that would be a fantastic ride to leave this sick, sad world, but logistically, you’d probably have to modify it a bit in the rear. It’s still a bit taller in the air than your average funeral home’s hearse or beater Caravan and the comfortably bolstered rear seats we had in our tester might get in the way, as they didn’t fold entirely flat.
But the new Cayenne does an admirable job of getting the rear down several inches for normal, everyday cargo, like that really heavy ceramic statue of Daniil Kvyat riding a unicorn from your living room that you do not want to break. Cargo space was also slightly increased for the new Cayenne, too, up to an admirable 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up. You could easily add a couple of spare Type 4 engines back there, and bring them to me.
Honestly, why don’t all tall vehicles on air ride do this? It’s such a good, simple no-brainer to add that’s very appreciated by my short self.
The Cayenne’s trick three-chamber air suspension aired back up about as quickly as it deflated to maximum stance—a notable improvement over the version in the hearse.
Clearly, this ease of use means that someone needs to build a Cayenne hearse. True broughams like the Town Car are getting rare now, and if you haul me off in something like a Buick Enclave, I’ll haunt you forever.