2020 Porsche Macan review: the ugliest (and best) SUV I’ve ever driven

After driving a 2020 Porsche Macan around the island of Oahu for a day, I finally get it. I now (after all these years) understand why this is such a popular SUV.

Although I don’t think it looks all that great, I can say with a completely straight face that the 2020 Macan is an SUV that drives like a sports car. The seating position is very low, it goes around corners better than you would think, and it’s actually kind of fast.

If there’s one thing to take away from this review, it’s this: I just wish it didn’t look like such a stinkin’ turd.

White 2020 Porsche Macan
Looks can be deceiving! I promise you that the 2020 Macan drives a lot better than it’s plain vanilla styling would lead you to believe.
Scott from DriveAndReview giving the 2020 Porsche Macan the thumbs up
I mean, the fact that I’m willing to stand here and give it big thumbs up (despite how ugly it is) says a lot about how much I enjoyed driving this thing. It’s good! And ugly (lol).

My fully unfiltered review of the 2020 Porsche Macan

I realize that I’m a bit late to the game. There are already tons of other really great 2020 Macan reviews out there, but stick with me for a moment. This isn’t going to be like all the rest. Basically, I don’t have any corporate sponsors, and I can say whatever the frick I want without fear of repercussions. Some of what I have to say is going to be brutal.

2020 Porsche Macan front 3/4 view
Did I mention how ugly the Macan is? I just want to make that clear.

Styling

Honestly, I’m not all that much of a fan of how Porsche extended its design language (which works so well on the 911) to the SUV. It just doesn’t work in my opinion. The overall shape of the Macan is too rounded and bulbous for my liking, and quite frankly, I think it looks like a cheap Volkswagen.

2020 Porsche Macan rear 3/4 view
Of all the sources of great inspiration out there, why in the heck did they have to make it look so much like a freaking Volkswagen Beetle? 
2020 Porsche Macan headlights
There are definitely Porsche-style design elements though (such as the headlights). I’ll admit that it’s a lot more interesting when you zoom in and look at the details!
2020 Porsche Macan front grill
The front grill is probably (definitely) the best looking part of the 2020 Macan.
Porsche badge on the 2020 Macan
I think they spelled “Volkswagen” wrong.

Performance

Thankfully, the 2020 Macan is fast enough for me to forgive how ugly it is. The 2.0 L four-cylinder turbocharged engine (248 hp / 273 pound-feet of torque) puts out a lot more grunt than I expected it would. It’s powerful, and (dare I say it), fast. Nay, it’s freaking fast.

2020 Porsche Macan 2.0 L engine
Giggle all you want about how this 5,550 lb SUV is powered by a little 2.0 L turbocharged 4-cylinder, but…it’s actually a perfect match for the Macan. Seriously!

Turbo lag is nonexistent, and the power comes rolling in at nearly any RPM. It’ll put you back in your seat.

2020 Porsche Macan open hood
And if you’re curious, yes, the hood opens wide enough for your mechanic to have all the room he/she needs to comfortably perform major engine repairs. This is a Porsche after all, so…just sayin’.

Mated to the engine is a 7-speed “automated manual” transmission. Shifts are merely instant, and the reverberation in the exhaust on every upshift is hypnotic.

2020 Porsche Macan exhaust tips
The 2020 Macan with the 2.0 L engine has the best sounding exhaust I’ve ever heard from a 4 cylinder. But I still think it’s ugly.

Handling

This is the part of the review that really trips me out. Porsche is always been known for mass producing well-handling vehicles, but I never expected it to translate so well into an SUV platform. The 2020 Macan attacks corners with more confidence than even my 2012 Ford Mustang GT does, and that straight up ticks me off.

Driving the 2020 Porsche Macan
Yup. She’s a 5,500 lb pig, but it’s (by far) the best handling 5,500 lb pig I’ve ever driven.

The Macan attacks corners flat, composed, and it seems to encourage me to push harder. How the heck did Porsche make a 5,500 pound SUV feel so nimble?

2020 Porsche Macan base 18 inch wheels and tires
The most shocking thing (to me anyway) is that this thing handles so well on relatively small (and narrow) 18 inch wheels. The base Macan may look like a wimpy Volkswagen, but it holds the road exactly how you would expect a highly-engineered Porsche would.
2020 Porsche Macan brakes
It stops pretty good too! The brakes are extremely sensitive (much like how I am in regards to the exterior styling of this car).
Scott from DriveAndReview driving a 2020 Porsche Macan
For the record, I didn’t make this kind of face in my 2018 Ford Escape review.

The interior

As much as I have poo-poo’d on the exterior of the Macan in this review so far, I’m not afraid to admit that the interior is downright beautiful. The steering wheel (and the dashboard it is attached to) is unmistakably Porsche. The seats feel luxurious – yet firm enough for spirited driving. Most importantly, build quality seems excellent.

2020 Porsche Macan interior
It ticks me right the heck off that they spent more time making the interior look like a Porsche than they did on the outside. Why couldn’t it have been a complete package??
2020 Porsche Macan front seats
Except for the front seats though. These things look like they belong in a cheap econobox (from the early 2000s).
2020 Porsche Macan inside
As long as you can look past the mediocre front seats, this is an extremely badass (and very “Porsche”) interior.
2020 Porsche Macan center console
I don’t care how phallic the gear lever is – the center console looks (and feels) very high end. On the flip side, it reminds me a bit of the interior design language you saw in my 2016 Cadillac SRX review. We’ve seen this before!
2020 Porsche Macan rear seat
The rear seating area looks pretty good too, but RIP to anyone who gets stuck in the middle for more than 30 minutes. That looks painful.

The Macan has the kind of interior that I like in a good road tripping car. It’s spacious, comfortable, and fairly quiet. It even looks great.

2020 Porsche Macan cheap plastic interior
Oh – and it goes without saying that not even the expensive-*** Macan is immune to cheap plastic on the inside. 

The driving experience

Driving any Porsche tends to be a memorable experience. This even applies to the 2020 Macan. The driving position is so low and the steering wheel so small that you’ll totally forget that you’re driving a big honkin’ SUV.

Scott from DriveAndReview cruising in a 2020 Porsche Macan
Straight pimpin’. Or something like that.

Aggressive sports car styling comes at a cost though. This will become apparent as soon as you drive the 2020 Macan in heavy traffic. The blind spots from the thick A, B, and C pillars are horrendous. Porsche should be embarrassed to have produced an SUV that is so difficult to see out of.

2020 Porsche Macan a pillar
The thickness of the A pillar isn’t so bad, but may God have mercy on your soul if you need to look over your shoulder to merge into traffic. You ain’t gonna see ****.
2020 Porsche Macan steering wheel controls
Speaking of distractions, there are a lot of buttons and controls to tinker with in the Macan. It’ll be tempting to interact with all of them while driving (ask me how I know this).

I do like how easy it is to get in and out of the Macan. You don’t have to step up into it like you normally would for an SUV of the size. The experience is more like sitting down into a sports car. It’s weird. But I like it.

Thoughts about gas mileage

I put approximately 110 miles on the 2020 Macan that you see in these pictures. All of it was driving around the island of Oahu in Hawaii in various driving conditions. From high-speed highway pulls to gridlock traffic, I was able to experience at all.

At the end of the day, I had achieved an average of 22.5 miles per gallon. That’s not all that bad considering not only how heavy the Macan is, but also how aggressively I drove it. I say again: I finally understand why the Macan has been such a big hit for Porsche.

2020 Porsche Macan filling up with gas
If you can ignore how badly I parked at this gas pump, you’ll no doubt appreciate the gas mileage the Macan is capable of. 22.5 mpg surprised me!

What’s the verdict? Should you buy one?

Before deciding if this is the right SUV for you, be sure to read my complete list of Porsche Macan pros and cons. It’s a deeper dive that goes into more detail about what it’s actually like to live with one of these things as a daily driver, so it’s definitely worth the read if you’re thinking about getting one of these things for yourself.

2020 Porsche Macan base model
With the way that some Porsche models tend to depreciate, I wonder how long it will be until this thing ends up on my list of the best SUVs under $20,000?

I walked away from the 2020 Macan feeling as if my mind about Porsche SUVs had been completely changed. I had no idea these things were so darn good.

The Macan basically changed me. Before driving it, I never gave them a second look. But now, knowing exactly how it handles all types of different driving conditions, I’m giving each one that I see a sexy bit of side eye (side eye that I normally only reserved for the 911). It really is a magnificent piece of automotive engineering.

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