First Electric Station Wagon: Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Review

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Let’s hit this off the bat: The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Tourismo is a station wagon. 

Porsche isn’t calling it that, and fans of the versatile form are eagerly awaiting future EVs that will officially be labeled “station wagons.” But what Porsche did to differentiate the Cross Turismo from the regular $79,900 Taycan sedan (which we’ve already seen and approved) is add a shooting brake-style rear end and a flatter roofline, with some additional ground clearance, off-road settings, and cargo capacity.

In other words, it made a wagon.

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The Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo offers an Off Road Design Package and 20- or 21-inch “Cross Turismo Design” wheels, which proved polarizing as I drove the car around town, as well as in social media polls.

Photographer: Hannah Elliott/Bloomberg

Porsche has been hyping this new car with stylized renderings of a “Cross Turismo” concept since as early as 2018, and I wondered myself if there would really be that much difference between it and the Taycan as I picked up the base version—the $90,900 Taycan 4 Cross Turismo—earlier this month from an empty warehouse in Glendale, Calif.

The loan was for a single day. In order to figure out if this electrified new wagon is worth considering as a practical, capable tool for daily chores, wilderness adventures, and gentle, off-road exploration, I knew I needed to make the most of it.

So I took it straight to the only off-road inclines I knew in close proximity to the drop point. Hidden off the main roads in South Pasadena, these grassy knolls rise higher than any of the tall homes surrounding them, high enough to escape the sound of anything but breezes. I had attempted ascending the dirt paths up these hills once before—in a Porsche 928 from circa 1978—and had to abort the effort halfway through. The deep gullies, jutting boulders, and jaw-splitting angles on the shifty routes had proved too much for the silver coupe; they threatened to scrape and stymie it beyond any reward I’d get conquering those slopes. Anyway, the only other rigs I had seen up there were Jeeps

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The Taycan Cross Turismo includes Apple CarPlay, Apple Music, and three-years of free Electrify America access as standard. Additional optional equipment includes Head-Up Display, 14-way seats with massage functionality, and Bose and Burmester audio systems.

Source: Porsche

I’m happy to report that Porsche’s newly kitted-out wagon proved capable and powerful enough to make it to the top of a hill, easily covering the worst of the terrain while its electric motor hummed away. I would not have attempted this maneuver in the Taycan sedan, or in any of the monster wagons I compared in a test last fall. 

The Offroad Design Package ($1,780) raised the car 10mm above normal ride height (that’s a total of 30mm higher than the Taycan sedan, a whopping inch). This afforded the car additional body protection along the bottom of the front, sides, and wheel arches as I crawled through the scruff. As I crested a final summit and felt the tires sink into loose rocks and start to spin, “gravel mode” dug in and kept me going. I was rewarded with a sweeping 360-degree view ranging from downtown Los Angeles to Highway 2 and Angeles National Forest, a vista I shared only with a hawk. This electric Porsche is different.

Some minor gripes you’ll notice if you’ve already been in a Taycan, since the interiors are identical: While the 53 inches of touchscreen spanning in sections across the entire dashboard seem clean and minimal—they make the cabin of every Porsche that came before them, even recently, seem outdated—the air vents are frustrating. They look like simple holes punched out of the dashboard. You can direct, open, and close the venting hidden inside the hole only by way of several layers of commands in the touchscreen system. Such distracting and non-intuitive systems to do a single, simple task make me miss the old-school organ stops that used to adjust vents in every vehicle until now.

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Thirty six millimeters of additional headroom for rear-seat passengers, a ride 20mm higher than the standard Taycan sedan, and added cargo capacity make the Cross Turismo ideal for those with active lifestyles.

Source: Porsche

The volume control in the center console is also annoying to use—rather than a good old knob or dial, users must push + or – icons as if on a cell phone screen; the attempt at haptic feedback under the digitalized icons did nothing to mitigate the response delay and distracting nature of what should be the simplest thing to control: the radio.

On the way back, I enjoyed the same things I did in the Taycan: ample (469 horsepower here) performance and four drive modes on two “gears” (one for strong power under lower speeds, the other for sustained efficiency at high speeds). No variants of the Cross Turismo have been officially rated yet for their driving range on a single battery charge, but expect them to match the nearly 200 miles or so of the Taycan sedan. That’s 200 miles—unless you’re driving uphill, moving fast, blasting the air conditioning, or generally having fun inside the car, which will diminish the range at an exponential rate.

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All-wheel drive and adaptive air suspension come standard on all four models in the Taycan Cross Turismo family. The standard “Gravel Mode” improves the suitability of the new model for driving on rough roads. Additional body cladding minimizes chipping from rocks.

Photographer: Hannah Elliott/Bloomberg

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