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Not your Daddy’s hybrid

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There are some cars that just don’t feel like they need a hybrid version. I get having a sedan or even a small SUV that runs on a hybrid system, but vehicles like the Suburban Hybrid have always left me scratching my head. There is another head-scratcher that I’ve always been up in the air over, and that’s the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid. I love the appearance of the white Cayenne with those bright neon yellow brake calipers, and there is nothing overtly “hybrid” like a lowered ride or an an awkward glass orientation or trim design to distinguish it from its all-gas counterpart; it has none of those subtle design choices that scream, “This thing isn’t like the others!” Upon sitting in the driver’s seat and taking the car for a spin, however, it becomes abundantly clear why.

Quite many hybrid and electric car owners seem to want everyone on the road to know exactly what they’re driving. There was even the Prius stereotype back when the first modern models hit the roads. Manufacturers seem to know this, so they add little badges and slightly distinctive features to let passersby know that they’re looking at something unique that plays into the owner’s image. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your hybrid to announce that you are, in fact, a hybrid person.

But Porsche eschews this trend by only coloring the brake calipers neon yellow and adding tiny badges on the fenders near the front doors that say “E-Hybrid.” In the interior, the only real giveaways are a few little lights and options on the dash and touchscreen. Otherwise, the experience inside and out is still uniquely and aggressively Porsche. The engine still purrs and hums without any of that odd silence that throws of so many first-time hybrid and electric drivers.

With it’s lack of major distinguishing features in the Cayenne E-Hybrid, Porsche wants the driver to know that this is still a true Porsche through-and-through, and they do nothing to detract from or diminish that image and experience. The designers clearly wanted owners to feel like Porsche people first and hybrid people second, so the only real difference you’ll notice is at the pump.

- Trey Fennell



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