A stylish sport utility with the emphasis on sport
We Like: Italian style, snorting engine, hydraulic steering
We Don’t Like: Stubborn shift lever, tiresome exhaust note, erratic interior materials
Maserati is a bit late to the luxe-SUV party, yet it’s reaping the rewards—already accounting for 38 percent of the brand’s U.S. sales in the first half of 2016. It will likely become the company’s best-selling model worldwide.
What Maserati got right, they really did right: styling, a multisensory driving dynamic, and just a touch of premium interior materials such as the Zegna Mulberry Silk inserts on the seats, door panels, and headliner. It’s even good off-road when adjusted to the right drive settings. This all supports the brand’s reputation and values.
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All of our judges were impressed with how well the 4,900-pound Maseratis acquitted themselves on the winding road course with their 50/50 weight distribution. The Q4/SQ4 also made good use of that mass and their standard air-spring suspension to impress us on the high-speed oval, with barely a whisper of wind/road noise and marked envelopment on the bumpy 110 freeway section.
The problem is that it’s not as polished or pure as the direct competitors it hopes to unseat. We noted the obvious Chrysler parts-sharing inside, plus a few errors of usability. “There are better sporty SUVs available,” Angus MacKenzie noted, “most notably the less expensive Alfa Romeo Stelvio.” Having another high-performance Italian SUV (and two German rivals) available mere moments before and after the Levante was enough to reveal that it’s not the total package. The Levante is an excellent first effort, but it wasn’t enough to bring it to the finalists’ circle.
Read about other 2018 SUV of the Year contenders:
|2017 Maserati Levante Q4||2017 Maserati Levante SQ4|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$91,400||$100,100|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.0L/345-hp/369-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6||3.0L/424-hp/428-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,987 lb (50/50%)||4,961 lb (50/50%)|
|WHEELBASE||118.3 in||118.3 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||197.0 x 77.5 x 64.3-67.7 in||197.0 x 77.5 x 64.3- 67.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.8 sec||4.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.2 sec @ 98.2 mph||13.4 sec @ 103.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||127 ft||113 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82 g (avg)||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)||25.8 sec @ 0.74 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||14/20/16 mpg||14/19/16 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||241/169 kW-hrs/100 miles||241/177 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.20 lb/mile||1.22 lb/mile|