2018 Maserati Levante

CHELESA, Mich. — Maserati, an Italian automaker with a rich and noble racing heritage delivered by its luxurious high-performance sedans, sports cars and coupes, has, for the first time, added the brand’s trident badge to a much needed sport utility vehicle. Named the Levante (pronounced la-von-tay) for the tropical Mediterranean winds, it is uniquely Italian and positioned to compete directly against vehicles like Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport.

I recently spent time with two of the four Levante trim levels: 424-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 S, starting at $86,908, and the 550-horsepower 3.8-liter V-8 GTS, starting at $119,980. The base Levant 345-horsepower Levante starts at $75,980, while the top trim level Levante Trofeo with 590-horsepower starts at $169,980. You would expect a Maserati to be expensive, and while it isn’t cheap, the price isn’t outrageous for a vehicle in this class.

Levante is mid-sized, seating five adults. As expected, the interior is completely trimmed in rich Italian leather. Front seats are especially roomy, but that can’t be said for the rear. Levante does not offer a third-row seat and its cargo area is one of the smallest in its class with just 19.4 cubic feet of space with the rear seat down.

The Italians have a way with style and design, and the Levante is no exception, with its highly sculpted coupe-like body.

We knew the Levante would sound spectacular and it does, with a Ferrari-built engine firing up the 424 horsepower. All-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and adjustable air suspension that brings the ride height up to 10 inches of ground clearance, are all standard.

Driving is pure Italian, with handling so precise and capable you’ll forget you’re driving a utility vehicle. The ride is comfortable, without feeling either too firm or soft. Performance is thrilling, with strong acceleration off the line, reaching 60 miles per hour in just five seconds.

Overall, Levante is an excellent new vehicle that offers buyers a unique Italian vehicle in the way it looks, feels and performs.

Vital Stats
Base Price:  $75,980 - $169,980
Price as Tested: Not Available
Powertrain: 3.0-Liter 424-HP V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 14-mpg City – 19-mpg Highway – 16-mpg Combined
Seating: 5

Crash Test Ratings: Not yet rated

Competes With:
Porsche Cayenne
Range Rover Sport

Fab Features
Excellent performing engines
Incredible agility with luxurious ride
Gorgeous Italian styling inside and out

— Jim Prueter