Decent cornering, plush cabin, plenty of space, the Maserati name itself
Driver-assist options lacking, few dealers
What is it?
Maserati’s first attempt at an SUV, now updated. It went on sale two years ago, but has now been tweaked and preened to make it fit for purpose against the latest Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport et al. Nothing fundamental has changed – the Levante is still based on the Ghibli/Quattroporte platform, but has been mildly facelifted with new bumpers, trims and a new engine.
That’s a 350bhp version of the 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 petrol that already saw service in the Levante with 430bhp. That engine continues, badged Levante S, while the final piece of the three-strong UK model range is the Levante D. For Diesel, obvs. Again a 3.0-litre twin turbo, this time with 275bhp. It’s the starting point for Maserati SUV ownership, costing £58,315, while the flagship S weighs in at £72,525.
One of the problems Maserati is battling is that potential owners think the Levante is too cheap – they expect to pay more. Nice problem to have. However, that asks some potentially troubling questions of the brand. Either it has its brand positioning wrong, its model range wrong or it's targeting the wrong people and needs to appeal to a wider audience.
Whichever way, it would be useful to have a proper halo product up top to fill out the Levante offering. This is coming. A Levante GTS and Trofeo, both featuring a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 with 550 or 590bhp respectively are due imminently. However as yet, there’s no guarantee of them being available in right hand-drive. Small potential sales undermine the business rationale, but if Maserati is serious about taking on rivals at all points, this is a car it needs.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
These days Maserati is not a particularly high profile player in the UK and as yet the Levante hasn’t done much to change that. However, that’s no reason to overlook it in favour of better known cars from bigger brands. Provided you’re after a sporting, stylish SUV and practicality is not at the top of your agenda, the Levante makes a strong case for itself: it’s decent to drive, the petrol engine is appealing, spec it right (GranSport rather than GranLusso trim) and it looks individual. This is a much better all-rounder than many people give it credit for and deserves a wider audience. Maybe now it’ll get it.