I respect a deeply focused tool. The Land Rover Defender remained very true to its original intent right through the end of production. Wranglers only began attempting to be comfortable relatively recently. If the sort of sport you prefer frequently takes you miles off the beaten path, having the correct vehicle is key. But with that comes compromise in the form of wind noise, vibration, poor on-road performance, and often poor fuel economy. To Porsche, however, it is important to both make a sports car among SUVs, and an SUV capable of dealing with offroad obstacles. To ensure that, even the mid-size Macan needs to survive some serious abuse. Enter Lesotho.
Jeep seems to have the Rubicon trail and snowy Northern Michigan on lockdown. Porsche is free to roam the globe in search of arduous testing grounds. For the Macan to prove itself Porsche needed not just rough terrain, but heat and altitude. For that, few places are better than South Africa and the world’s only landlocked enclaved nation; Lesotho. With altitudes in excess of 3,400m (~11k feet) and temperatures in the 80 degree Fahrenheit range at altitude, few places are more torturous for an offroader. The whole nation is only about the size of Massachusetts, but given the terrain it certainly doesn’t sound like a day trip.
While virtually no Macans in private hands will ever see this sort of abuse, it’s heartening to know that they can take it. Like the Cayenne before it, the Macan needs to be able to perform both on-road and off. Hopefully Porsche will take this to heart, and use the Macan to add to their motorsports legacy. They have proven willing to do this before, notably when the Cayenne entered and won the grueling Transsyberia rally.
It’s an impressive mid-size SUV, both for its speed and for its comfort. Durability is a brand hallmark. Porsche has shown that the immensely popular Macan is tough enough to survive mountainous Lesotho. Now it just needs to win something.