Maserati Grecale vs Porsche Macan: which should you buy?

The Maserati Grecale is the Italian car maker’s first small SUV, but how does it compare with established rivals? We compare it against the Porsche Macan to find out.

Premium car buyers are awash with options nowadays if they want to buy a new SUV, and there’ll soon be another upmarket alternative to consider. Before the end of 2022, Maserati will launch its own high-end SUV, in the form of the new Grecale.

While not being Maserati’s first foray into the lucrative world of upmarket SUVs (that honour goes to the Levante it launched in 2016), the Grecale will likely be its strongest seller by some margin, considering how in-vogue premium SUVs are nowadays. However, that doesn’t guarantee the Grecale being a smash hit, because there are many capable rivals for the Maserati to take on.

Perhaps its toughest adversary is the Porsche Macan: like the Grecale, it’s a high-end family-sized SUV that strives to offer strong performance and sporty handling. In this guide, we’ll go through the pros and cons of both cars to see how the Maserati and Porsche compare.

Which is the best to drive?

We’ve yet to compare the Maserati Grecale and Porsche Macan back-to-back, although first impressions do suggest both cars will tick the right boxes for you if you want your Sports Utility Vehicle to live up to the first part of its name. Both the Macan and Grecale feel agile and responsive to drive, so while we reckon the Macan has the slight edge, neither should disappoint if you consider yourself a driving enthusiast.

The two cars also fare very well when you’re not making the most of their fun handling. At a less frenetic pace, the Grecale and Macan settle down and become fairly relaxed and easy to live with. A big fly in the ointment for the Maserati appears to be its ride quality, though. The Grecale did struggle to shrug off jolts and thumps from potholes and other sharp bumps, although it’s decently composed on smooth and gently undulating surfaces.

Which is the fastest?

While the Macan range isn’t quite as extensive as some other Porsche models’, there are still quite a few versions to choose from. Entry-level examples use a 261bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which Porsche claims is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds and a 144mph top speed, whereas the Macan T (which has the same engine and top speed as the standard car) has a slightly brisker 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds.

If you crave a bit more speed then that, there’s a faster-still Macan S model, which thanks to its 375bhp 2.9-litre V6 petrol can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 4.8 seconds and top out at 161mph. Sitting at the top of the Macan pecking order for now is the GTS flagship: this has a 444bhp version of the Macan S’s V6, a 4.5-second 0-62mph time and will do 169mph.

As impressive of those figures are, the Maserati Grecale does have the edge in the performance stakes. The base Grecale GT gets a 296bhp 2.0-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine, with the mid-range Grecale Modena using a 326bhp version of the same engine. Both versions have the same 149mph top speed, although the latter is slightly quicker to 62mph (5.3 seconds) than the former (5.6 seconds).

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Courtesy of its potent 526bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, the range-topping Grecale Trofeo is by far the fastest version of Maserati’s new junior SUV. The quoted 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds is on par with some high-performance sports cars, as is the claimed 177mph top speed.

Which has the best interior?

More recent Maserati models marked a big leap forward over their predecessors when it came to build quality, and on first impressions that trend seems to have been retained on the Grecale. The overall quality of the materials used felt of a reassuringly high standard, and the cabin did feel solidly put together. However, the test cars we’ve driven to date did suffer from a few squeaks, and we’ll need to wait until we’ve driven a production-ready example before we find out if this will affect customer cars, too.

As is par for the course with many cars nowadays, the Maserati Grecale’s cabin is more minimalist in comparison with those in some older Maserati models, so many of the physical buttons have been replaced by a centre console infotainment system and a touch control panel lower down. This control scheme does feel a bit daunting at first, although we did get used to the system quite quickly.

By comparison, the Porsche Macan’s interior has less visual flair, but is imbued with a sporty feel reminiscent of Porsche’s sports car models. Overall build quality and fit and finish are to a reassuringly good standard, too, which bodes well for buyers who plan on using their new premium SUV as their everyday car.

Like the Grecale, a lot of the Porsche Macan’s interior functions can be operated through the big touchscreen that dominates the dashboard. Early Macans had lots of buttons on the centre console, but these have now been replaced with a touch-sensitive control panel. This declutters the look of the cabin but whether they’re any more intuitive to use than the old buttons is more open to debate. The shiny finish will also be a pain to keep clean.

Which is the most practical?

If you’ll often be transporting tall passengers in your premium SUV, then you shouldn’t have any problems in either the Maserati Grecale or  Porsche Macan. Both cars offer good amounts of legroom and headroom, so six-footers shouldn’t be uncomfortable on long journeys. However, both cars have centre rear seats that aren’t as wide as the outer ones, and three adult passengers in the back may find shoulder room a bit snug.

While their passenger-carrying credentials are similar, the Maserati Grecale does have the edge when it comes to the boot capacity. The Grecale Trofeo’s boot has up to 570 litres of luggage volume on offer, which drops to 535 litres on the mild-hybrid models due to the packaging constraints of the hybrid tech. In contrast, the Porsche Macan has up to 488 litres – less impressive but still a useful and decent size for this class of car. 

Which should you buy?

We’ll make a more definitive judgement once we drive the Grecale on UK roads, but the early signs are that it is a nicely rounded effort from Maserati. It’s sporty to drive, has strong performance and a plush interior. The big boot is a handy upside, too, and for some the allure of the Maserati badge will be enough to justify placing down an order.

However, there are still question marks over how well the Grecale will fare with rougher UK roads, and we still need to see how build quality will fare on customer cars, too. In comparison, we already know the Porsche is a solidly built sporty SUV with very impressive ride and refinement credentials, and even in isolation we reckoned the Grecale may not be as fun to drive as the Porsche. We’ll reserve further judgement until we’ve compared both the Porsche Macan and Maserati Grecale back-to-back.

Check out our reviews of the competitors the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Lexus NX.

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