Maserati Levante - Maserati's long awaited SUV arrives in style

evo staff
25 Aug 2017

An accomplished and appealing SUV with a breadth of capabilities, character and identity that set it apart from its rivals

Evo Rating: 
Distinctive styling matched by impressive blend of ride and handling. Looks and feels like impressive value
Performance is mild for a car bearing the Maserati badge. Diesel-only policy denies the UK a halo model

Page 1 of 7Maserati Levante - Maserati's long awaited SUV arrives in style

The Levante honours Maserati’s tradition for naming its cars after exotic winds, but little else about the all-new SUV sits quite so comfortably with Trident’s rich and noble heritage. Nor with our enthusiast sensibilities, truth be told. Yet here it is; Maserati’s first-ever SUV and, in all likelihood, the most important model in the marque’s 102-year history.

However much you might dislike the notion of this blue-blooded Italian marque embracing the SUV you simply can’t ignore the business case. One-million cars are sold annually in the premium luxury segment, with some 500,000 of those being SUVs. The US and Chinese markets in particular devour them, and we’re rather partial to them in Europe, too, so you don’t need to be a genius to grasp the fact that if Maserati is to achieve its aspiration of building 75,000 cars a year it needs a slice of that action.

> Click here for our guide to the best SUV's

So will the Levante dilute the Maserati brand, or endow the company with the funds to continue making what enthusiasts deem to be ‘real’ Maseratis? Porsche managed that trick not once, but twice with its Cayenne and Macan SUVs - but what made those cars a success was how well they fulfilled their brief, offering the most dynamic talent in their respective SUV classes.

Whether the Levante can hold onto that same level of acceptance will be based on whether it can transcend the qualities that make a Maserati feel authentic, rather than just contrived. If anything, Maserati is in a less precarious position, as it’s not just sports cars that make up their illustrious history.

Maserati Levante: in detail

Performance and 0-60mph time > With only a diesel option available in the UK at the moment, the Levante is unfortunately no speed demon, taking a leisurely 6.9 seconds to reach 62mph. Read about the Maserati Levante's performance here

Engine and gearbox > Shared with the Quattroporté and Ghibli saloons, the 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine is adequate for the 2.2 tonne SUV. An 8-speed ZF torque converter is the only gearbox option available. Read about the Maserati Levante's drivetrain here

Ride and Handling > Hydraulic power steering, rear biased all-wheel drive and an unexpected level of poise help the Maserati challenge the best-in-class for handling. Ride is also well judged thanks to standard air suspension. Read about the Maserati Levante's ride and handling here

MPG and running costs > The reason for our limited engine choice in the first place, the diesel powered Levante is rated at 39.2mpg - competitive for the sector, but not class-leading. Read about the Maserati Levante's MPG and running costs here

Interior and tech > As a pleasant contrast against the usual business-like interiors in some rivals, the Levante feels every bit as Italian as we hoped. Sumptuous leather, rich veneers and surprisingly sorted in-cabin tech feel bang up to date; it makes an F-Pace feel like a public convenience. Read about the Maserati Levante's interior and tech here

Design > Essential to mainataining the sheen of a Maserati SUV, if it didn't look good, there would be no point. Luckily the Levante is definitely one of better looking premium SUV's on sale. Second perhaps only to the Jaguar F-Pace, the sports car design elements transfer well on to the big wagon. Read about the Levante's design here 

Prices, specs and rivals

Maserati's first attempt at an SUV we think, is a rather handsome one. At 5m in length and over 2.1m wide it’s not what you’d call dainty, but it wears the bulk well. There’s a pleasant simplicity to its lines giving it a rakish appeal unlike competitors such as the X6. The recognisable Maserati visage fronts the Levante surprisingly well and it looks good alongside other SUVs.

The interior follows suit with its crafted design and tactile quality. Worthy of special mention is the optional Luxury Pack, which features a bold pairing of leather and 100% silk by Zegna and gives the Levante a uniquely Italian panache and air of opulence. Throw in the historical pull of the Maserati badge with the looks and luxury and the Levante’s entry sticker price just above £55k is very attractive indeed.

The Porsche Macan is still chief in dynamics for the segment, with prices about £10k less, although it is a size smaller than the Maserati and in true Porsche fashion presents with less equipment as standard. Jaguar’s F-Pace 3.0d measures up more closely and is an alternative we’d recommend, undercutting the Crown-badged SUV by £5k.

Compared to more established rivals, the Maserati is more competitive, with pricing akin to an entry-level Porsche Cayenne diesel, while being quite a lot cheaper than the BMW X6 xDrive30d and Mercedes-Benz GLE350d coupe. That said, the more conventionally shaped relatives of the German pair are both priced below the Maserati levante.

The newest rival for the Levante to dice with is Range Rover’s Velar – the company's  most road-focused model going is available from about £45k in base spec, while the top trim level weighs in at £62,560, not too much more than the entry-level Levante. The Velar also boasts a beautifully appointed interior, but its laid back character prefers cruising rather than carving canyon roads compared to the sportier Levante.  

Engine 2987cc, V6, Variable Geometry Turbo
Max power 275bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque 442lb ft @ 2000-2600rpm
Top speed 143mph
0-62mph 6.9sec
On sale Now

Page 1 of 7Maserati Levante - Maserati's long awaited SUV arrives in style

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