It’s taken them a while but Maserati have finally put together an SUV. It’s called the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate and – as anyone would expect – it’s as luxurious, audacious and thrilling to drive as only a Maserati is.
The brand have a strong association with sports cars (which they’re a bit good at), but in order to secure their long term future, the Italian brand knew they had to dip their toes into the SUV market. Has it worked out?
Synonymous with luxury, we look at the history of Maserati from their start as a family company to the business it has become.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Maserati Levante Diesel Estate review.
Overview of the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate
On the Road
Let’s make no bones about it – this is a big, hefty car. While Maserati were never going to be able to make an SUV that’s as light as one of their sports cars (although they probably tried), what they’ve managed to do is pull off a trick that many others can’t.
In short, the Levante is a beast that’s a beauty to drive. It always feels well planted on the road, its steering is nicely judged and smooth, while its suspension setup is on hand to give you a good idea of what your wheels are up to.
We wouldn’t say it outdoes the Porsche Cayenne but it’s agile and keeps body lean in check. And that will be enough for some buyers.
Drivers can switch between four different driving modes – Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and ICE. The latter doesn’t actually mean that the car can cope well with icy conditions; instead, ICE stands for Increased Control and Efficiency, which is surely another name for the more usual “Eco” mode that you find in cars like this.
When you flick to Sport mode, the car is noticeably more aggressive. The exhaust is more vocal and the accelerator is more responsive.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one Diesel available. This is a 3.0-litre V6 unit that develops 271bhp of whack. It can haul you from rest to 62mph in 6.9 seconds, which might disappoint some of you who wanted sports car performance. It is, however, impressive for such a big car as this.
An 8-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard and it works really well with this engine. It’s smooth and shifts gear seamlessly.
All-wheel-drive is also standard and it arms the car with plenty of grip.
So, how reliable is the Maserati brand? In our detailed and honest review, we summarise the luxury Italian brand.
Maserati Levante Diesel Estate Interior, Design and Build
We would have been mighty disappointed if the Levante was anything except luxurious inside. Fortunately, the Italian masters haven’t let us down.
Noise suppression, adjustable suspension and leather seats are all standard, as are classy frameless windows. The car is almost noiseless on the move, and the cabin is a super pleasant place to spend your time on the road. The Diesel engine is noisier than the petrols though.
As always, Maserati’s signature analogue clock sits on the dash, but the brand have brought lots of modern touches to the party, too. All models, for example, come with an 8.4″ touchscreen. However, it isn’t the most intuitive piece of tech we’ve ever we come across, nor is it the most cutting edge. In fact, it’s the most disappointing aspect of this cabin.
Of course, it’s hard to be too picky and the sense of occasion in the Levante is fantastic.
Is the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate practical? It’s reasonable on this front. Four adults are accommodated well enough, and there should be few complaints even on longer trips. You can add five, but things will become cramped in the rear.
The boot meanwhile, is one of the smallest in this class and measures 580-litres. That seems okay in isolation but many rivals can offer bigger boots. As a bonus, a powered tailgate comes as standard.
Equipment and Safety of the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate
Standard kit is excellent across the range, with all models coming with keyless entry, rain sensing windscreen wipers, twin zone climate control, cruise control, an 8-speaker stereo system, an infotainment system and leather seats.
A mid-range Gran Lusso model was added recently. It gets bigger 19″ alloys and wood trim but seems almost like a redundant trim level.
Rounding things off is the GranSport model that gets you carbon fibre trim details, paddle shifts for the transmission, a sports steering wheel, red brake callipers and massive 20″ alloys.
In terms of how safe the car is, the Levante hasn’t yet been put through its Euro NCAP crash test paces. We have few concerns though, and its standard safety kit includes lots of ‘active’ safety tech, ISOFIX child seat mounts, traction control, anti-lock brakes and lots of airbags.
Adaptive cruise control is also standard, as is lane departure warning, braking assistance and forward collision warning.
Costs of the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate
Prices for the new car start out from £58,315 and rise to £80,000. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, although this isn’t your typical Maserati speedster, it’s still a Maserati. As such, it comes with the territory that running costs aren’t going to be great. The sole Diesel engine can return just under 40mpg on a good day while emitting 189g/km of CO2. That qualifies it for a BiK rating of 37%, which is the highest there is.
It won’t be cheap to insure either, although exact insurance groups haven’t yet been specified.
Pros and Cons of the Maserati Levante Diesel Estate
From the frameless windows to the top-notch materials, this cabin simply oozes class.
It’s not quite a sports car but Maserati have done an exceptional job in delivering an engaging driving experience.
Svelte looks are the order of the day – but did we expect anything less from such a fashion-conscious brand?
Can get expensive
The Diesel is the cheapest model but the optional extras are varied and pricey.
Not too quick
For a Maserati, 0-62 in 6.8 seconds seems underwhelming.
Maserati Levante Diesel Estate vs Porsche Cayenne vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Diesel
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Maserati Levante Diesel Estate review.
Maserati Levante Diesel Estate vs Porsche Cayenne
The new Porsche Cayenne drives just as you’d expect a Porsche to drive. It looks great and it’s also remarkably practical.
What’s also remarkable is how well the car handles. Make no mistake, this is a heavyset SUV, but you wouldn’t know it behind the wheel. It drives like something smaller and feels like a sports saloon.
Its chassis is shared with the Bentley Bentayga and the Audi Q7, so it’s hardly surprising that it delivers such a satisfying driving experience. 4D chassis control is also available as standard and this feature enhances the driving experience even more by ensuring the car can deliver the goods no matter what the conditions are like.
Drivers can flick between five different driving modes, and it’s also worth specifying rear wheel steering and electrically operated anti-roll bars.
In terms of its engines, there are no diesels to choose from but plenty of petrols. Sitting at the bottom of the range is a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that produces 335bhp. Next up is a Cayenne S model that’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre engine that develops 434bhp. It has a 0-62 time of 5.2 seconds.
Rounding off the range is a Turbo model that comes with active four-wheel drive and a massive 4.0-litre V8 engine that develops 542bhp. It’s actually smaller than its predecessor but can still cover the 0-62 sprint in just 3.9 seconds.
Running costs? The entry-level engine can return 31.4mpg at best, while the Cayenne S is good for 30mpg. The Turbo, meanwhile, will struggle to return 24mpg and has a BiK rating of 37% – the highest there is.
Inside, Porsche have once again delivered the goods with an attractive and comfortable interior. Insulation is surprisingly good, and you barely hear the massive tyres when the windows are up.
Ride quality, meanwhile, is helped by air suspension.
The dashboard is almost identical to the one in the Panamera, and a big central rev counter sits in front of you. That’s typically Porsche but they’ve also freshened things up with a new 7″ infotainment screen.
Is the Porsche Cayenne practical? The low set driving position is meant to enhance the cars sporty personality but it’s also unusual for an SUV. It doesn’t help with visibility and it hardly creates a commanding feel.
On the other hand, the sports seats offer lots of adjustability while the rear seats are super flexible. For example, the bench slides back and forth with ease and the back seats recline.
The boot, meanwhile, measures an impressive 741-litres.
Maserati – £58,315 – £80,000
Porsche – £57,220 – £101,346
Maserati Levante Diesel Estate vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Diesel
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Diesel is another stylish and modern SUV that’s great to drive.
It’s actually a bit smaller than the Maserati, and like its Italian rival, Alfa Romeo as a brand, are known for producing sharp handling, sporty cars. Although the Stelvio isn’t a hot hatch, it handles almost like one.
In fact, we could go as far as saying that this is the most responsive SUV that anyone has yet produced. Its electrically assisted steering is super light and accurate, and body lean is very well managed.
The ride, meanwhile, is comfortable and smooth, although buyers might wish the car was a tad quieter.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one Diesel available. This is a 2.2-litre unit that develops 207bhp, and which is the engine that suits the car best. It has a 0-62 time of 6.5 seconds, and it doesn’t need to be worked too hard. It’s paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Running costs? The Diesel is the cheapest engine in the range to run and can return as much as 58.mpg economy on a good day. It emits just 127g/km of CO2.
Inside, the Stelvio boasts one of the most stylish cabins in this class. There’s also lots of quality on display here, and fashion conscious buyers will appreciate how well the different materials complement each other.
A high driving position is just what the doctor ordered, while comfort levels are good.
The dashboard meanwhile, looks a lot like the one in the Giulia Saloon and comes with a big central infotainment screen.
Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Diesel practical? It’s not quite as big as some of its key rivals, which means it isn’t as roomy. Four adults should still be able to travel in comfort though, and they get the added bonus of travelling in style, too.
Rear legroom isn’t the best, especially if you specify the carbon fibre bucket seats, while the boot also seems a bit on the small side, although Alfa Romeo never published official figures. That said, it’s super usable.
Alfa Romeo – £36,990 – £89,500
Verdict of our 2018 Maserati Levante Diesel Estate Review
If you’ve never owned a Maserati before because you’ve never needed a sports car, this SUV is your big chance. But is it worth it?
It’s certainly a stellar first stab at a large family car from the Italian brand. It’s big, looks great, drives well and it’s reasonably practical. It’s also got the stylish and quality cabin that many buyers look for. The new Maserati Levante Diesel Estate might not be as established as rivals, but it’s bound to capture the imagination.