The Maserati Levante SUV looks great and is brilliant to drive, it’s just a pity that its back seat isn’t that spacious and that, while stylish, the interior doesn’t feel amazingly well built
If you want the style and pace of a Maserati but need space for the kids and their stuff – you should probably consider the Maserati Levante SUV.
Its huge gaping grille, muscular wheel arches and swept-back roof mean it grabs your attention like a sports car, but its upright body gives you more space and a great view out.
Though you’ll want to pay most of your attention to the Levante’s interior. Depending on which model you go for, pretty much everything is covered in leather or silk-style upholstery, with flashes of brushed chrome or carbon fibre trim pieces.
Sure, an Audi Q7 has more robust feeling switchgear and better quality plastics, but it doesn’t feel as special as the Maserati Levante, which has a level of detail that goes right down to your owner’s manual that’s padded by layers of leather.
It’s those touches that set the Maserati Levante apart from other SUVs. But, on a less positive note, you’ll also have to put up with an infotainment system that is average at best and a level of technology that would look basic in the old Audi Q7, let alone the new version.
Ah well, at least you can console yourself with the Maserati’s unique adjustable pedals they – along with the fully adjustable seat and steering wheel – make getting a comfortable driving position relatively easy. Even if the steering wheel doesn’t point directly towards you.
Your tall passengers in the back will have bigger fish to fry though because, if you and you’re front passenger are also tall, they’re going to feel tight on knee room. Oddly, the middle seat is more comfortable than you’ll find in most of the Levante’s alternatives, although it’s still short on knee room.
At least, the Maserati’s boot asks you to make few sacrifices – it has a generous size, its huge opening makes it easy to pack away luggage and the flat floor means you can slide heavy kit into place.
The Maserati Levante drives like a sports car that’s trapped in the body of a big SUV
You don’t buy a Maserati because it’s practical, though – not exclusively at least – you buy it because it can be a whole load of fun, and thankfully, the Levante has fun in spades.
Its steering is tight and precise, its brake pedal is reassuringly firm and there’s very little in the way of body lean when you turn into a corner at an arresting lick. It really does feel like a sports car that has been strapped to stilts.
If that sounds like what you’re looking for, it’s really worth considering the 340hp 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol that’s fitted to the V6 S, it sounds exotic and can lay down exotic levels of pace – 0-62mph comes up in just 5.2 seconds. The 275hp diesel is also quick, has a distinctive rumble under acceleration and will be a lot cheaper to run, but it isn’t as engaging.
Whichever engine you go for, the Maserati Levante makes for a quiet motorway cruiser and its upright body gives you a view out over other traffic. The wide rear pillars restrict your vision out the back a little, but the optional 360-degree camera makes it as easy to park as any other Maserati.
And that gets to the heart of the Levante’s appeal – it looks, feels and drives like a Maserati, but has the space needed to make it a viable family car.