The new Maserati Levante Estate is the luxury Italian brands first ever SUV – and it’s a belter. Stylish, usable and fairly priced, it’s got everything needed to be a success in this sector.
Oh, and it’s also as engaging as you’d expect a Maserati to be.
It’s also luxurious, comfortable and comes powered by mighty V6 engines. But how does it stack up against established rivals?
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 Estate review.
Overview of the Maserati Levante Estate
On the Road
Buyers will find that the Levante is a fast car, but those in search of the ultimate SUV thrill will have to look elsewhere as there’s no hotshot version that can rival, say, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo for speed.
Moreover, to get the most out of the Levante, you will need to push it to its absolute limits. For some, that could end up being an uncomfortable experience.
That said, SUVs aren’t primarily built for kicks and there’s a satisfying amount of performance on offer here.
In terms of its engines, the Levante was strictly Diesel-only when it was first launched but Maserati have since added two petrol engines. The first was added in 2017. It’s a twin-Turbo V6 3.0-litre unit that develops 424bhp of whack, and which can race from a standstill to 62mph in a mere 5.2 seconds.
This is a fast engine that’s the result of a collaboration between Maserati and another Italian giant, Ferrari. It’s paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission but by no means is it a perfect engine.
Neither is the second petrol engine that was added in 2018. It’s another V6 unit that’s actually smaller but more tuneful than the engine that preceded it. It’s also cheaper to buy, and while it’s a tad slower it’s easier to recommend due to its blend of performance and economy.
Both engines are nice and light, and this helps the Levante corner well. It also handles well, and there’s a distinct sporty personality to its dynamics. Switch to Sport mode and it even becomes a bit aggressive, although it does lean considerably in this mode.
Switch to the default mode, and the Levante turns into a very relaxed and capable motorway cruiser. It’s refined and supple.
So, how reliable is the Maserati brand? In our detailed and honest review, we summarise the luxury Italian brand.
Maserati Levante Estate Interior, Design and Build
Design-wise, the Levante impresses and puts us in the mind of their upmarket saloons. All models come with two air vents that flank an 8.4″ touchscreen, although it has to be said that this isn’t the crispest or slickest screen you’ll ever use.
In keeping with tradition, Maserati have also included their showpiece analogue clock, while a glossy trim helps to keep things nice and premium.
It’s a cabin that’s easy to live with, and we like how large the metal gearshift paddles are. On the whole though, while there are lots of luxurious touches in here, including the brand new leather materials, there are also one or two bits and pieces of questionable quality. For example, not only are there too many buttons in here, there are too many flimsy buttons.
Is the Maserati Levante Estate practical? It doesn’t do too badly on this front. The boot measures 580-litres, and while there are bigger boots in this class – and some are much bigger – 580-litres will be suitable for a number of buyers. A high load lip will frustrate but a powered tailgate comes as standard.
The driving position is fantastic and plenty adjustable, while the pedal box is electrically operated and can easily move back and forth.
Rear room is generous for two adults. Head and legroom is good though if you squeezed three adults back there they’d find it more of a struggle.
Equipment and Safety of the Maserati Levante Estate
Standard kit is good and helps to justify the high price. The entry-level model gets keyless entry, an infotainment system and leather seats, twin zone climate control, rain sensing windscreen wipers, cruise control and an 8-speaker stereo system.
The GranLusso model is next and adds 19″ alloys and wood trim.
Topping the range is a GranSport model that comes with gigantic 20″ alloys, carbon fibre trim details, a sports steering wheel, red brake callipers and paddle shifts for the transmission.
Safety wise, EuroNCAP won’t be crash testing it because it doesn’t shift enough numbers but we have no concerns over its safety. Its standard safety kit is comprehensive and includes lots of airbags, lane departure warning, braking assistance, forward collision warning, ISOFIX child seat mounts, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
Costs of the Maserati Levante Estate
Prices for the new car start out from £58,315 and rise to £80,000. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £318 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the Levante is a luxury SUV, so expectations need to be kept in check. The best economy you’ll return from a petrol-powered Levante is just 25mpg on a good day. That’s not going to be easy to swallow in isolation, but it’s also worth noting that many rivals are more frugal.
And while Maserati have released no official insurance groups, there’s no way that this car will be anything but expensive to insure.
Pros and Cons of the Maserati Levante Estate
Ever wanted to own a Maserati but never needed one? Now is your chance to enjoy some of that fine Italian heritage.
Its low slung looks are a major part of its appeal.
In fact, its aerodynamics are class leading.
Expensive to run
Someone should have reminded Maserati that this is a family car. Average returns of 25mpg are hardly family friendly.
It’s a fairly engaging car but heavy steering ultimately means it falls short of rivals.
Maserati Levante Estate vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs BMW X5 M550I
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Maserati Levante Estate Review.
Maserati Levante Estate vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the high-performance version of the brands impressive SUV. But is it going to be too ridiculous for buyers to even contemplate?
Despite producing a whopping 503bhp, the highest spec model actually isn’t all that ridiculous. It comes with a rear-biased four-wheel-drive system as standard, which adds a degree of playfulness to the way it drives.
Its steering is precise and sharp, and the car is well balanced despite its size.
The Quadrifoglio model comes with a DNA system as standard, which loosens its stability control. This sounds a tad scarier than it actually is, and the car never becomes intimidating to drive.
In terms of the engine itself, as mentioned it develops a colossal 503bhp. Power comes from a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine that can get you from rest to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds. It will, of course, be on rare occasions that drivers make the most of all its power.
Running costs? This higher powered version of the Stelvio was never going to be cheap to run, but returns of 31.9mpg at best don’t actually seem all that bad. Emissions meanwhile are pegged at 210g/km of CO2, which again aren’t all that bad.
Inside, the car’s interior is more than a match for the Maserati when it comes to quality. Everything looks and feels like it’s been carefully put together, and the cabin has a real sense of occasion.
Everything works as it should too, while the high driving position suits the car perfectly. Visibility is good, as is ride quality.
The dashboard will be familiar to anyone who’s sat in the Giulia Saloon, and this means a big central infotainment system flanks a pair of hooded main instruments. These instruments are clear and easy to read and the quality of the materials used throughout the dashboard is high.
Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio practical? It’s not as spacious as some of its rivals, and it’s not the quintessential all-rounder but four adults can sit in comfort.
That said, opting for the carbon fibre bucket seats will hugely restrict rear legroom.
The boot, meanwhile, has no official load volume. But while it clearly falls short of key rivals, it’s usable.
Maserati – £58,315 – £80,000
Alfa Romeo – £67,564+
Maserati Levante Estate vs BMW X5 M550I
The new BMW X5 M550i is the high-performance version of the huge X5.
It’s an SUV for buyers who have no concerns when it comes to money, and it’s a pretty tantalising proposition. Powered by an almighty twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, performance is explosive. The car develops a staggering 567bhp which is enough to rocket you from a standstill to 62mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Of course, that means there are actually faster cars in this sector, but is anyone seriously going to dismiss an SUV because it can’t go faster than 4.2 seconds?! Moreover, the noise the M5 emits is stupendously glorious and evokes the sensation of a sports car.
In terms of handling finesse, few do it better in this class than the X5, and the addition of strong brakes and adaptive suspension help to inspire you with lots of confidence.
The steering is nice and responsive and there’s barely any body lean.
Running costs? Not pretty. This high-performance bad boy of the family car world manages to return 24mpg at best, which is about what it costs to drive a battering ram of a car that’s faster in a straight line than a Porsche 911.
Emissions meanwhile are pegged at 258g/km of CO2 and the car has a BiK rating of 37%.
Inside, the X5 M enjoys its own unique trim level, with BMW lavishing it with all kinds of hi-tech upgrades. These include internet services for your infotainment system, a 20GB hard drive for music storage and Harman Kardon speakers.
There are also plenty of options to choose from – all of them suitably expensive – while there is quality everywhere you look, from the black headliner to the door sills.
Is the BMW X5 M550i practical? It’s just as practical as the standard X5, which means five adults are treated to generous head, leg and even shoulder room.
However, unlike the standard model, this one can’t be specified with seven seats.
The boot is just as big, though, and measures 650-litres. That’s bigger than the Maserati and you can extend it to a massive 1,870-litres by folding the rear seats.
BMW – £73,400
Verdict of our 2018 Maserati Levante Estate Review
It was hardly a shock or a surprise when Maserati announced their first foray into the SUV world. Indeed, it was necessary for their very survival. But was it a surprise that their first effort was so brilliant?
Whatever your answer to that is, the truth is that the Maserati Levante Estate has got the handiwork of the prestigious Italian brand all over it. Stylish, luxurious, powerful (and expensive to run), it’s the quintessential esteemed family car for fashion and image-conscious buyers.