The 2017 Maserati Levante is the Italian automaker's first foray into the popular world of crossover SUVs. This sort of thing used to be a big deal; just ask Porsche, which faced a strong backlash from sports car fans in the mid-2000s when it brought out the Cayenne. But these days every luxury automaker has one, and we're glad that Maserati is following suit. If you're unmoved by the usual crossover suspects, the stylish Levante could be just what il dottore ordered.
Based on specs alone, the Levante looks competitive enough. Power comes from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine in either 345-horsepower or 424-hp tune, while the Quattroporte-derived body structure uses adaptive suspension dampers to boost its athletic pedigree without losing out on ride comfort on rough pavement. Of course, exclusivity is always a bonus, and it's standard here, fueled by Maserati's exotic brand image and minimal presence in the American market. Inside, the Levante manages to transcend its Chrysler/Fiat-sourced switchgear thanks to high-end materials, an inspired dashboard design and an extensive list of customization options.
If the Levante isn't quite what you're looking for, check out the aforementioned Cayenne, which comes in a dizzying array of specifications, some of which are considerably more powerful than even the 424-hp Levante S. The same goes for the BMW X5 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S and Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, although the Maserati has a fighting chance against more mainstream X5, GLE-Class and Range Rover Sport variants. The Jaguar F-Pace, meanwhile, delivers much of the Maserati's panache and performance and does it for a lower price. But the idea of an Italian luxury crossover might be too seductive to ignore, and the powers of seduction are strong with the 2017 Maserati Levante.
The 2017 Maserati Levante comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, side and side curtain airbags, hill hold assist and a rearview camera. That's a pretty sparse list of notable standard items, but the S does add front and rear parking sensors plus blind-spot monitoring (all optional on the base Q4). Not impressed yet? Neither are we, but at least you can add the Advanced Driver Assistance Plus package (adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and a surround-view parking camera). Many competitors offer even more safety technologies, however, so if you want the latest innovations on this front, the Levante isn't a top pick.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Maserati Levante is a midsize luxury crossover offered in two trim levels: Q4 and S.
The base Levante Q4 comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with LED accents, an adaptive air suspension with five selectable ride heights, auto-dimming mirrors, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition (though there's no foot or proximity sensor for liftgate operation as on some rivals), dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with power lumbar, driver memory settings, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker audio system, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration, satellite radio, an SD-card reader and a USB port.
The Levante S adds more horsepower, staggered-width 19-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start, shift paddles and upgraded leather upholstery.
The Levante offers an extensive collection of options that can be added either individually or in conjunction with two main packages: the Sport package (including 20- or 21-inch wheels, red brake calipers, a rear spoiler, front sport seats and sport pedals) or the Luxury package (which trades the Sport's edginess for a more relaxed ambiance). The base Q4 can be optionally outfitted with most of the S trim's extra standard features, while other notable extras, depending on specification, include heated windshield washer nozzles, painted brake calipers, chrome or gloss-black roof rails and skid plates, more than two dozen interior color schemes, various wood or carbon-fiber inlays, ventilated front seats, a wood-trimmed or sport steering wheel with available heating, heated rear seats, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system and Zegna Edition interior appointments (Luxury package only) that include premium leather, silk trim and contrast stitching.
There's also an Advanced Driver Assistance Plus package that adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning and a surround-view parking camera system.
All 2017 Levante models come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 comes in two different states of tune. The base Levante Q4 gets a 345-horsepower version (369 lb-ft of torque), while the Levante S gets the more powerful version with 424 hp (and 428 lb-ft of torque). Properly equipped, the Levante can tow about 6,000 pounds.
According to Maserati, the Q4 can sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the S cuts that down to 5.1 seconds. These are quick times for a crossover SUV, but not exceptionally so; a handful of rivals are quicker still.
The EPA says to expect 16 mpg in combined driving (14 city/20 highway) for the Q4. The S version rates 1 fewer mpg on the highway but is otherwise the same. Either way, this is below-average fuel economy for a luxury crossover.
On the move, the 2017 Maserati Levante is pretty refined. Maserati says low levels of interior noise were a design priority, and the efforts are appreciated. There's some wind noise at speed and occasionally some tire roar, but conversations are easy to hold, and the audio system is easy to hear.
The Levante's sportier side surfaces once the engine is fired with its racy exhaust note. Just find an open road and sink the accelerator. The 424-hp S version rockets forward with enthusiasm, the swift, smooth upshifts of the transmission adding to the sense of momentum along with the throaty soundtrack. The 345-hp version is tamer but not dramatically slower.
Equally impressive is the way the Levante handles twisty roads. You can drive it around turns with the confidence of something far smaller. The result is a genuinely sporty drive for what is ultimately a tall and bulky luxury crossover.
The Levante's interior is unquestionably plush, and with all those potential color and trim combinations, it's highly customizable, too. Those familiar with Chrysler and/or Fiat products will recognize certain buttons and switches, but those items aren't necessarily subpar; it's more the association with lesser brands that makes them worthy of mention. Otherwise, materials quality is more than adequate across the lineup, including extended leather coverage even on the base model, and options such as the Zegna Edition package add unique luxury trimmings that do justice to Maserati's storied past. In-cabin storage is adequate. The center console provides a cubby and cupholders, but there are no open trays.
You might also recognize the 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, which shares some similarity to Chrysler's familiar Uconnect system, although it does get a redundant console-mounted control knob for Maserati duty. Fortunately, this is one of our favorite interfaces, so we're glad to see it specified in the Levante as standard equipment. A head-up display is unavailable, however, and in general there's a sense that serving up cutting-edge technology wasn't the first order of business here. Italian vehicles have rarely led the way in this regard, and the Levante doesn't break with tradition.
Space up front is generous, but in the rear it's no more than adequate, especially if the front seats are set low, preventing passengers' feet from sliding beneath them. The 19.4-cubic-foot space behind the rear seats is a bit shallow and nothing special in terms of volume, though you can fold down the split rear seats to provide additional cargo-carrying capacity.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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