Maserati Levante SUV review
"The Maserati Levante SUV is the firm's first 4x4, and as you'd expect it’s luxurious, well equipped and pretty good to drive"
- Luxurious interior
- Decent handling
- Elegant looks
- Pricey options
- Petrol Levante S is expensive
- Diesel not that fast for a Maserati
Maserati is a marque steeped in history and associated with crafting beautiful sports cars like the Maserati GranTurismo. Along with its extensive back catalogue of racing and road cars, even its four-door saloons, the Maserati Ghibli and Maserati Quattroporte, seem more exciting than rivals from Audi or BMW.
But seeing the big sales of cars such as the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne, Maserati realised the future of the company would depend on building an SUV, even if it would upset some loyal fans in the process. A concept car called the Maserati Kubang was unveiled to gauge reactions, and after much speculation, the production Maserati Levante arrived.
Overall, it’s perhaps not as effortlessly beautiful as Maserati’s sports cars or four-door saloons, but it’s also not an aggressive or overly macho SUV. Of course, its grille and Maserati trident badge make it instantly recognisable, and its Italian leather interior and styling cues will be familiar to any Maserati owner.
The Levante is spacious (as long as you don’t find yourself in the middle of the rear seats) with excellent safety virtually guaranteed by a comprehensive roster of airbags, anti-skid electronics and active systems to help prevent a crash before it happens.
Just one V6 diesel engine was initially available. It’s no longer on sale but, being neither particularly fast nor economical, it won’t be missed by most buyers. Now you can choose between sonorous V6 and V8 petrol engines, with between 345bhp and 572bhp - but the fastest model is about double the price of the cheapest. The Levante’s excellent handling goes some way to upholding the brand’s reputation for performance.
With the diesel no longer on sale, Levante buyers will need to be prepared for frequent and costly visits to fuel stations. The V6 Levante ‘S’ model returns just 22mpg, and you’ll get no more than 17mpg from the range-topping V8 Trofeo.
As a complete package, the Levante falls short when compared to the Porsche Cayenne and the latest Audi Q7, but it has enough of its own unique charm that some people will want one regardless.