The 2017 Maserati Levante is the great Italian automaker's first foray into the world of crossover SUVs. Yes, even Maserati is looking for a wedge to lever open the door to SUV prosperity.
New for 2017, the Levante doesn't look quite like any other SUV out there. With its swooping, elegant lines and distinctive nose, this is a crossover that mixes the familiar, family-friendly form of an SUV with Italian sex appeal. Will that be enough to grab some attention in the crowded luxury SUV market? Hey, it could well be.
About the same size as other luxury SUVs such as the Volvo XC90 and BMW X5, the Levante is offered in two trim levels. There's the base Levante and the more robustly rambunctious Levante S. Beyond that there's also a Luxury Zegna Package that leverages the design prowess of famed menswear designer Ermenegildo Zegna to fit the cockpit in fine leather and Zegna's own Mulberry Silk trim.
Maserati has been around since 1914, and it has always built vehicles that mix style with true performance. In the Levante that starts with a beautifully balanced chassis with almost perfect 50 percent front and 50 percent rear weight balance. The powerplant is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that knocks out either 345 horsepower in the base Levante or 424 horsepower in the Levante S. It's an engine that Maserati designed, but it is built for Maserati by Ferrari. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard on all models. Maserati says that the regular Levante will romp from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and the S can do that trick in 5.1 ticks.
The interior is a spectacular mix of materials (particularly when the Zegna silk is aboard) with design elements that immediately identify the Levante as an Italian near-exotic. The seats couldn't be more supportive, and the whole vehicle is a bold assertion of Italian design applied to a crossover.
According to the EPA ratings, there's not much of a fuel consumption advantage for the base Levante over the S. The base machine is rated at 16 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway). Meanwhile, the Levante S is only a hair behind at 14 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and, again, 16 mpg combined.
It's going to take some brainpower to find the best deal on a new Maserati Levante. So start here on Edmunds and let us help you find the Levante that's right for you and your wallet.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.