SDR Cayenne & Macan Off-Road Tour 3/12/22

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Off-roading your Porsche SUV – what owners are missing from their Porsche SUV experience

Tom Gould wrote this article for the Pelican Parts website, so we wanted to share it with you – they were skimpy on photos, so we included a bunch. Photos taken By Tom & Bev Gould

The Cayenne and Macan are by far Porsche’s best-selling models the past 20 years.  They are more than capable as daily road vehicles. The highways, weekend getaways, long distance trips, soccer duties, trips to the big box stores, etc.

They are also very capable offroad vehicles, but most will never see a dirt road in their life.

Fortunately, our PCA SDR region, has an active ‘off-road’ program, including a monthly coffee meet where Cayenne and Macan owners can gather and discuss everything about their cars.  And off-road tours, where participants can take their Porsche SUV on dirt trails and try-out the off-road capabilities of their car in a group learning environment.

Last weekend was one of our first off-road tours since the pandemic started, and 22 eager Macan and Cayenne owners gathered at Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel to start our tour (and to stuff our cars full of baked goods, you know, just in case we got stuck out on the trail ).  We had a wide variety of Porsche SUVS, from first generation Cayenne’s to later model Macan’s, from completely stock suspensions to Cayenne’s that had been specially prepared for off-road.  And one ambitious driver who had just picked up a used 2008 Cayenne Turbo the night before!  Beverly and I were in our stock 2008 Cayenne S, and she did the driving (well, it is her car) and I had navigator and photography duties.

Our event organizer, Garret Guess, handed out instruction booklets for everyone and gave us a rundown of what to expect for the 2 ½ hour tour.  He also gave a briefing on car prep for off-roading, such as tire pressure adjustment, removing loose articles from the passenger compartment, speeds to travel, what to watch for on roads, what the car will feel like in certain conditions, etc.

After we were all set, we headed off on the ½ hour highway drive to the trailhead, where we gathered up, made last minute adjustments, switched the cars into off-road mode, and headed off on 2 hours of dirt trails through the gorgeous southern California desert on a perfect SoCal Spring Day. Garrett was the lead car and had a radio, so he was able to talk about the road as we traveled – pointing out obstacles, loose sand, steep climbs, water crossings, ravines, etc., encouraging everyone along the way that there wasn’t anything that their car couldn’t handle.  He was great giving verbal instructions in areas that cars should shift into different modes, just to give them a try, such as downhill assist, fully locked differentials, and other off-road modes that some cars had.  There was an angled wash across the road at one point that looked impassable to the regular drivers but watching on leader traverse it on ‘3-wheels’ gave everyone the confidence that 3-wheeling was not a problem in their German SUV.

A couple of times we encountered a small group of Jeeps or other off roaders heading the other direction and they pulled over for us to pass, and weren’t they surprised at the sight of 22 Porsche’s going by!  They were all very courteous and were either giving us the thumbs up or filming us as we went by.

This was not, by any means, an extreme off-road event.  More of an instructional tour that let the inexperienced try out the off-road capabilities of their Porsche SUV in a comfortable environment, with plenty of help and encouragement.  Bottom line, everyone had a great time, with some already asking about the more challenging tours that Garrett puts on.  No breakdowns, no damage, lots of dirty, muddy cars.  And lots of smiles.

Next stop, the car wash!

Tom Gould

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