Car Guides

2018 Maserati Levante – what the experts are saying

Two editors and a dealer weigh in.

The 2018 Maserati Levante GranLusso. Maserati

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2018 Maserati Levante

Named for the warm winds of the western Mediterranean, the Maserati Levante SUV is as unlikely as it is lyrical. But the initial skepticism surrounding the launch of the Italian sports car maker’s first crossover last fall has abated as the Levante has proved itself equal parts curvaceous and capable. This month Maserati is introducing two trims that skew even more upmarket: the GranSport and the GranLusso.

The five-passenger Levante gets its performance chops from a Ferrari-developed 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 that makes 345 horsepower for the base model and 424 horsepower for the higher-performance Levante S. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that knows when to transfer torque to the front wheels for more power and better traction. The Levante also comes with four drive modes and a multi-level air suspension system to customize the crossover’s performance to the terrain, whether it’s climbing silty sand dunes or fording muddy dirt trails.

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Inside, the SUV gets leather upholstery, wood trim, and Maserati’s Touch Control Plus infotainment system with an 8.4-inch display. The elegant GranLusso trim features open-pore wood trim, a leather-upholstered steering wheel, and a choice of Ermenegildo Zegna silk or full premium Italian upholstery. It also gets 12-way power comfort seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a Harmon Kardon sound system, and navigation. Customers looking for a sportier feel may prefer the Levante’s other new trim, the GranSport. In addition to its red brake calipers and 20-inch wheels, the GranSport packages carbon trim, gearshift paddles, and sport pedals.

Blind spot assist, front and rear parking sensors, and remote start come standard. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, active blind spot assist, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, highway assist, and a 360-degree-view camera are available.

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The Maserati Levante and Levante S begin at $73,300 and $84,600, respectively. The GranLusso and GranSport trims start at $81,300.

What the experts are saying

On-road manners

“You need to look no further than the Maserati Levante to find out how much the luxury vehicle market has changed in a relatively short period of time. SUVs are no longer being touted primarily for their off-road chops as much as they are for their on-road demeanor. The Maserati Levante is a case in point. This is a vehicle that puts ‘Sport’ into sport utility vehicles. With its Ferrari-developed, twin-turbo V6, the Levante sounds every bit as Italian as the company that makes it. Offered in two states of tune – 345 or 424 horsepower – the Levante has a hunkered-down look and attitude that will call both South Beach and Newport Beach home, rather than out in the wilds somewhere.” – Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor at KBB.com

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Italian charm

“The Maserati Levante is a refreshingly attractive face among a sea of the usual midsize SUV choices, and its price tag is more palatable than many would assume. It’s properly quick, thanks to a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, comes loaded with modern tech, and approaches roads and curves like a sport sedan — but with more Italian charm than refined German precision. The arrival of the Levante is impeccably timed — with the midsize SUV segment leapfrogging to third place in popularity — though its execution is not entirely ‘perfezione.’ Its cabin is comfortable but fails to match the quality of class leaders, with parts and pieces that feel a little too familiar to more common offerings within the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio. And for anything donning the trident of Neptune, the last thing I want to be thinking is ‘Fiat?'” — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager at Edmunds

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Exquisite styling

“The Levante is truly the ‘Maserati of SUVs,’ offering an exhilarating driving experience with precise handling, unrivaled performance, and classic Italian styling. In a world where the roads are chock full of sterile-looking SUVs, the Maserati Levante’s unmistakable design is showcased beautifully in its sleek, sporty silhouette. Starting from $73,300, the Levante is perfectly positioned to offer unparalleled luxury, next-generation safety technology features, performance courtesy of its Ferrari-built, 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and stunning sculpted lines by Italian artisans.” — Rich Geremia, general manager at Herb Chambers Maserati of Boston