2020 Porsche Cayenne Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and brake-related issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Launched in December 2002, the Cayenne is Porsche’s first-ever SUV. Now in its third generation, it has been reimagined many times, with new shapes and new features often appearing in numerous variants. With the production of all Cayennes topping 1,000,000 in 2020, it’s not surprising that there are consumer complaints. The most common issues relate to brakes and include complaints about the Cayenne lurching forward when the driver brakes.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019    2021    2022

Most Common Problems with the 2020 Porsche Cayenne

The Porsche Cayenne is heralded as a game changer that offers “off-road, go-anywhere credentials.”  But, if you’re planning to go anywhere, you want to be sure that you won’t have issues on the road.

There are a total of 7 complaints about the 2020 Porsche Cayenne listed with the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Of these, 6 apply to most of the variants.

The components and systems affected are limited to back-over prevention, vehicle speed control, the electrical system, the powertrain, and brakes. But this doesn’t provide a clear picture of complaints. For example, the 4 complaints that mention brake-related issues are filed as electrical system, vehicle speed control, powertrain, and brakes. But usually, more than 1 component is mentioned.

There are also 4 recalls on file with the NHTSA, one of which relates to the Cayenne’s brakes, but is also an electrical problem. The recall affects more than 44,000 Porsche cars, including several 2020 Cayenne variants. It states that there is no visual warning of the brake pads wearing. The problem is that if drivers aren’t alerted when their brake pads are worn out, the vehicle may not respond as it should when braking. This is a safety issue as it increases the risk of a crash.

A back-over prevention complaint is also worth highlighting due to serious safety concerns.

2020 Porsche Cayenne Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control
Back Over Prevention: Camera System

Brake-Related Complaints

Of the complaints that mention brakes, 2 describe how their SUVs lurch forward.

While driving at about 10 mph, an owner from Minnesota states “there was a rough, hard deceleration” and “the vehicle lurched forward.” The driver applied the brakes. At the time, the check engine warning light was illuminated. The local dealer knew about the problem and said “there might be a possible software patch soon.”

An owner from Texas states that his 2020 Cayenne S has braking issues when it’s in sport mode. It lunges forward when the car shifts down from 3rd to 2nd or 2nd to 1st gear. He maintains it is a “transmission/braking defect,” and the only way to compensate is to “brake hard from 3rd to 1st gear, so from a fairly high speed down to 0.” This, of course, creates “additional braking safety risks in non-ideal weather conditions such as braking downhill or on wet/icy roads.”

Unlike the previous owner, he was told by Porsche’s service department that “there is no issue.” However, his research shows it’s a well-documented problem and that a “software fix” has been rolled out overseas, but not in North America.

Another brake-related complaint from an owner in Alabama states that his problems started in January 2022. “I applied the gas pedal and the pedal seemed to stick. The vehicle kept accelerating after I took my foot off that pedal to apply (the) brake.” He says the car would slow down when he applied the brake but immediately accelerated and kept increasing speed to well over 90 mph when the brake was released. “This happened 3 times before the ‘stuck’ pedal (was) released.” A retired mechanic had driven the car a week before and had a similar experience. “I didn’t realize how serious the incident could be.”

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Electrical System Issues

Electrical system problems are varied. For instance, an owner from Texas reports that the trunk popped open when the SUV was driving. The complaint reports a crash with no injuries.

An owner from Virginia has had repeated problems with the Cayenne’s battery. And an owner from Ohio states he was shocked while plugging in a tester to the 7-way connector of the tow system, which he says doesn’t work properly. The complaint is filed under Electrical System, Service Brakes, and Unknown or Other. The complaint states that the dealer refused to concede he’d been shocked and said the car was operating normally.

Electrical System Affects Brakes

“When I connect a digital brake controller or 7-pin cable to the trailer, the car doesn’t communicate with the brake controller. The brake controller expert stated that since no diode was showing when I plug the car in, that this indicates the brakes are not wired correctly. The dealership says since another car works the same as mine, they don’t think it is an issue. There are more than 100 manufacturer communications for the electrical system of this Porsche. But, “Corporate Porsche is unable to advise on technical service bulletins or information on a wiring harness to enable a wired brake controller.”

The owner continued to search for information and several sources maintain that it has something to do with the way it is “wired with an ‘open ground’. This is unsafe as I have no way (to) safely brake or utilize a brake controller.

Battery Problems Caused by the Electrical System

“If the car is left sitting for approximately 48 hours, the battery dies and must be jump started.” Whilst Porsche service technicians are unable to fix the problem, they say it is “somewhere in the electrical system and it is affecting other 2020 Cayennes and some 911s. But Porsche has not offered a solution, nor is it being at all proactive in offering assistance or support.”

Trickle-charging the battery while it isn’t in use is partially successful. But after not driving it for two weeks, the battery “died” and they had to jump start it and reset all the settings. Additionally, there are “sporadic issues with unlocking and locking the car doors via hand touch.

“Porsche has been treating this issue as an ‘inconvenience’ rather than what it is – a serious life safety issue. One of the service technicians told me ‘the car was meant to be driven every day’! I hesitate to drive my car at night because I do not have confidence that the car will start for me on a dark street at night. Every day when I come down to drive my car I allow extra time as the car may not start.”

The complaint also states, “this is a problem where Porsche has not offered remediation or assistance.”

Back-Over Prevention Problems

A complaint filed as a back-over prevention problem on July 29, 2021, states that the “back-up cameras and surround view” of the Cayenne have failed multiple times since August 2020. It’s a safety issue that Porsche has not been able to fix.

“Back-up cameras were made mandatory safety equipment requirements for all new cars manufactured after 2018 due to safety concerns. The federal government mandated the cameras to prevent “back-over” accidents of young children who are not otherwise visible to the driver.

“There have been multiple attempts to repair the cameras on this vehicle, including replacing all cameras, replacing all wiring harnesses/pigtails, replacing the coax cable for the cameras as well as module/software updates. The vehicle has been at the authorized service center multiple times with it being there 105 out of the past 112 days. The vehicle was ‘fixed’ for 4 days before the back-up camera failed again. The manufacturer has been unable to repair the vehicle to have reliable working cameras. We have spoken with others about the same failure of the back-up camera system.”

While this is the only complaint about the 2020 model, there is a similar complaint about the 2019 model. This states that the surround video camera system frequently fails.

There is also a recall that affects the rearview camera display in 2019 Cayenne and Cayenne S vehicles. The recall, for 98 SUVs, states that the software failure may cause a delay in the rearview camera image. The implications are that the driver may not see what’s happening behind the car, increasing the risk of a crash.

What to do if your 2020 Porsche Cayenne is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Any vehicle that has recurring problems that affect its value or use may potentially be a lemon. If you think your 2020 Porsche Cayenne may be a lemon, Lemberg Law will be happy to assess your problems. We have helped many vehicle owners settle cases against manufacturers. This may be in the form of a cash settlement, buy-back agreement, trade-in, or replacement vehicle.

It’s not going to cost you anything because the law says Porsche must pay lemon law legal bills. If you need help, call our Helpline or fill out the contact form.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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