Maserati Levante review
The Maserati Levante looks superb and in V8 GTS and Trofeo form is fantastic fun to drive. There are roomier large SUVs, though, with better infotainment systems and interior quality.
What's not so good
Maserati Levante: what would you like to read next?
Its small wonder car manufacturers call on heritage to sell cars – the belief that you’re buying into a brand with a solid connection to years of development is a huge draw. Maserati’s origins in building racing cars in the early 1900s have helped shift its models for decades, but its heavy, high-riding Maserati Levante SUV is a trickier sell when it comes to racing pedigree.
No matter. Despite its bulk, the Levante has sold in greater numbers than any other Maserati since its introduction in 2016, piggybacking the UK’s new-found love of stylish SUVs. Of course, it isn’t the only option – the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne Coupe both come with style, luxury and powerful engines.
The Levante gives them a run for their money in the looks department. Its gaping, concave grille complete with Maserati trident badge, slim headlights and long bulging bonnet give it immense road presence. But, inside, the Range Rover and Porsche outclass it. The Levante’s plastics, leathers and switches just aren’t good enough at this price level.
And neither is it’s 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Yes, sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio are all standard, but the screens poor resolution and small, tricky-to-hit buttons frustrate while driving. At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, improving the user experience greatly once you’ve plugged in your smartphone.
Space and practicality is a closer-run thing, although if you value space highly, then there are ultimately better SUVs. The Levante is great for a couple of adults in the front and the driver gets loads of electric seat and wheel adjustment, but knee room in the back is nothing more than average, while there are ultimately bigger boots on offer if you’re often cramming yours full of luggage.
It’s pricey, yes, but the Maserati Levante Trofeo is an exhilarating experience. Its Ferrari-derived V8 engine is one of the best ever to be fitted to an SUV.
There are five powerful engine choices for the Levante – an entry-level diesel with 275hp, a couple of turbocharged V6 petrols with 350hp and 430hp and two V8s with 530 and 580hp. All models come with all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and cushy, adaptive air suspension.
If you’re often on the motorway and range and fuel economy are important then you’ll need the diesel model. It provides decent performance but also more than 30mpg if driven sensibly. It is noisier and less smooth than the diesels in the Levante’s alternatives, though. For a smoother, quieter experience or if you’re covering fewer miles, the 340hp V6 petrol is a better bet. It can play the relaxing cruiser, or in the right driving mode, the raucous sporting SUV – although expect its thirst for fuel to bite if you do.
All Levantes are comfy over bumps and prove entertaining to drive by the standards of large SUVs, but if any model provides a solid link to Maserati’s racing pedigree, it’s the V8 GTS and Trofeo. The latter in particular is the ultimate expression of the Levante, with its Ferrari-derived V8 engine offering up staggering performance and probably the best exhaust note of any SUV on sale, albeit alongside wallet-bashing fuel use.
The Trofeo is also the most fun of any Levante to drive. Its unique Corsa driving mode sharpens all its controls, turns up that bellowing exhaust and switches off the traction control. Set so, aside from slightly numb steering, the Trofeo feels impressively agile despite its 2.1-tonne weight. Its clever all-wheel-drive system will stubbornly drag you out of corners if needed, or with enough throttle provide sideways action too. All-told, you won’t lap a circuit as quickly as in the Porsche, but you’ll have more fun doing it.
Which leaves price: the Levante is well-equipped as standard but not cheap, especially so fitted with a V8 engine. However, its prices broadly align with alternatives’ and, if anything, the GTS and Trofeo warrant the most attention for providing the most authentic Maserati experience.
If you’ve made up your mind, head to our deals pages for the very best Maserati Levante prices.