2018 Maserati Levante
The Levante represents Maserati in the lucrative high-performance SUV segment. It aims to lure buyers with an eye-catching design, sharp driving dynamics, and powerful engines.
Inspired by the Kubang concept introduced in 2011, the Levante wears a front end that falls in line with other members of the Maserati portfolio like the Quattroporte. Its grille proudly displays the trident emblem, while sharp headlights add a muscular touch to the front end.
When viewed from the side, it wears Maserati's signature fender vents and pronounced rear fenders inspired by the brand's sedans. Out back, it gets a sharply-raked hatch and quad exhaust outlets that hint at the power lurking under the hood. All told, it's one of the sportiest-looking SUVs currently on the market.
The view from behind the wheel will look familiar if you've ever sat in a late-model Maserati. It receives a three-spoke steering wheel with available shift paddles, a pair of analog gauges that flank a configurable screen, and an 8.4-inch screen embedded in the center console for the infotainment system. Though the screen is touch-sensitive, the passengers can also navigate the infotainment system with a rotary dial on the center console or voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility both come standard.
The Levante's cabin offers space for five passengers in a luxurious and well-lit atmosphere. Maserati hasn't forgotten about the "utility" aspect of making an SUV, though. It offers 21 cubic feet of trunk space with five passengers on board or 57 cubes with the rear seats folded flat. That's on the low side for the segment, but it's enough for most users.
The Levante's base engine is a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 that makes 345 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The Ferrari-made six-cylinder sends the SUV from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
Buyers seeking more power can step up to the Levante S. It uses an evolution of the aforementioned V6 tweaked to produce 424 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. The extra power reduces the SUV's zero-to-60-mph time to five seconds flat.
Both versions of the Levante come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Both return 16 mpg in a mixed driving cycle.
Standard and optional features
Maserati offers the Levante in base and S trim levels. Each one is available in base, GranLusso or GranSport spec.
The list of standard features includes leather upholstery, 19-inch alloy wheels, piano black trim on the dashboard, gray brake calipers, automatic A/C, Bluetooth connectivity, a full air suspension, a mechanical limited-slip differential,
Extra-cost options include an upgraded sound system, four-zone automatic climate control, Alcantara upholstery on the door pillars and on the headliner, ventilated and/or heated front seats, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, shift paddles, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive bi-xenon lights.
Buyers also have several option packages to choose from. The driver assistance package bundles a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, highway assist, and traffic sign recognition. The climate package includes heated windshield washer nozzles, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.
Every Levante comes with dual front, side, and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. Buyers can add many electronic driving aids by ticking boxes on the list of options.
The Maserati Levante competes in the same segment as Porsche Cayenne, the BMW X5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE.