When you hit that time of life when you need a car that can accommodate the family but doesn’t feel like a minivan, what is a driver to do?

The lore of sports cars is that they are for people who are, essentially, unattached and without kids. Once you do have a family, your days of fast cars are behind you. You trade in the fast, powerful car for a bigger, safer vehicle. Sometimes you are expected to go full “minivan,” but more likely, at least today, people trade in their sports cars for a sport utility vehicle. Yet, what if you could get an SUV that has all of the trappings needed for a family car, but under the hood it feels just like a sports car? The 2019 Maserati Levante is one such vehicle, that perfectly blends the utility of an SUV with the fun and power expected of an Italian sports car.

However, before you trust your family to a vehicle, you should be aware of its features, benefits, and drawbacks. Luckily, we’re presenting a deep-dive into the Maserati Levante, so you can be fully informed before you hit the dealership. These vehicles are a unique blend of speed, power, and performance. Whether you are hitting the open road on a holiday road trip or just carting the kids to-and-from soccer practice, this SUV is a vehicle that can meet your needs. Now, you don’t have to sacrifice speed and horsepower in favor of cargo space, comfortable seats, and safety. Dive in below to find out all you need to know about this remarkable car.

maserati levante

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A Bit About the Maserati Levante

Before we get into the specific features and benefits of this model, we should learn more about the automaker. We will also discuss Maserati’s foray into the sport utility arena, and who will get the best use out of one of these vehicles. Follow along below.

History of Maserati

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Five Maserati brothers (Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore, and Ernesto) all worked for other Italian car manufacturers in the early 20th century. In 1926, after three of the five brothers lost their jobs with Diatto, they started their own eponymous company. Using a trident logo based on the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Maggiore of Bologna, Italy, they built cars that won races. Eventually, they sold the company to Adolfo Orsi, who built the headquarters in Modena, where it remains to this day. They disbanded their own racing team after a horrible crash in 1957 but continued to make cars for private racing teams. Starting in the 1960s, as sports cars became desirable, Maserati entered the auto sales market. After a series of owners, the company eventually settled under Fiat’s luxury division. Now, with other Fiat luxury brands, like Alfa Romeo, they are a fixture in the auto market. 

The Maserati SUV

maserati levante

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Maserati has long been known for its luxury cars and fast performing vehicles. However, in the early 2010s, the company wanted to break into the luxury SUV market. Their first model was the well-received concept vehicle, the Maserati Kubang. Yet, when it came time to bring the SUV to production, the design changed slightly and the first Levante hit dealerships. They still had a Ferrari engine under the hood, albeit a V-6 instead of 2019’s V-8s. These left a little to be desired, but this latest model roars with the best of Maserati’s sports line. As more and more luxury automakers are breaking into the SUV market, the Levante looked poised to be a forgettable model. However, starting in 2018, the revamped Levante is instead a contender for the most powerful luxury SUV on the road.

For Whom Is the Maserati Levante the Ideal SUV?

Maserati Levante

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This SUV is perfect for the driver who needs the benefits of a larger vehicle but still wants a powerful engine under the hood. The Maserati Levante is the perfect mix of the two. They seat five passengers and have an adequate cargo area. Yet, with all of these features, the engine is still worthy of the Maserati name. You likely won’t be winning any drag races, but you will leave other SUVs and family-style vehicles in the dust. With a luxury interior and all of the state-of-the-art car gadgets we love, you can put the pedal to the floor while rocking out to your favorite tunes and feel like you are in an Italian sportscar. However, you can also safely travel with your family, rocking the best Kidz Bop songs or other, optional, entertainment options. If you don’t have a family, but prefer the size and feel of an SUV, this is also great for you.

Features and Benefits of the Maserati Levante

Now that we know more about Maserati and their efforts to break into the SUV market, we can get into the specific features and benefits of their latest model. We’re going to look at what they have under the hood, how the car handles, and what features you can find inside the car. We’ll also cover the most important part of car buying, safety and security. Dive in below!

1. Under the Hood

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You may not expect to find premiere Italian racing engines under the hood of the family SUV, but with the Maserati Levante that’s precisely what you get. The engine in the Levante is based on Ferrari architecture, though this particular build lacks a flat-plane crank. Still, this engine will deliver 542 to 582 horsepower from the twin-turbo V-8 engine. You probably won’t be doing much zero-to-sixty driving with the kids in the car, but if you do the Levante can get you there in anywhere from 4.1 to 3.8 seconds. This vehicle is rated to hit to top speeds closing in on 190 miles per hour. Even though that is not how this vehicle is meant to be used, it’s nice to know that you have this speed and power available if you wanted.

2. The Dashboard

maserati levante

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While what’s under your car’s hood is very important, the majority of your experience with a car happens inside it. The Maserati Levante offers a sleek, uncluttered interior with many of the features drivers want in their luxury cars. The eight-inch display is large and easy to see, so you can check navigation without taking your eyes off of the road. The seats and dashboard are covered with a rich, supple leather. The wheel is comfortable to hold, features a number of controls, including handsfree phone call answering. Finally, the iconic Maserati trident is located right in the center of the steering wheel. A great mix of old-school gauges and high-tech screens offer the Maserati Levante driver easy access and control over the optional features that come with it, such as heated seats. 

3. Comfort, Security and Safety

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If you are behind the wheel of a Maserati Levante, you expect a certain level of luxury in all things, including comfort features and features that will help keep you and your loved ones safe. With the Driver Assistance package, you get all of the high-tech features you need to avoid accidents. There is the Lane Keeping Assist system that will alert you if you veer into other lanes. There is Active Blind Spot Assist that provides added security for when cars slip into your blind spot. There are collision warning systems, a 360-degree camera, and even a system that recognizes traffic signs. For example, if you are rolling up on a STOP sign without slowing, the system will alert you. Naturally, the body of the car is highly rated for safety and comes standard with driver’s and passenger’s side airbags.

4. Handling and Fuel Economy

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When it comes to these areas, the Maserati Levante continues to exceed expectations, with one notable exception. First, the handling is smooth and very responsive, with or without the added benefit of the security systems. The electric power-steering system replaces the previous models’ hydraulic assist, which works to make the car easier to handle and improves performance in concert with the adaptive cruise control. The Levante has a Maserati Q4 intelligent all-wheel drive system that works on all sorts of terrain. The Skyhook performance suspension even has electronic damping control if you wanted to do some sport driving. Though, for best functionality it’s smart to avoid much off-roading, because this is still a luxury vehicle.

Still, if you need to handle that sort of terrain, you can rely on the five-way active air suspension to overcome almost any obstacle. If you lose control, the Maserati Stability Program will reduce engine torque and automatically deploys the brakes in order to regain stability in an instant. The only downside is that the fuel economy on this vehicle is slight, even when compared to other vehicles in the class. You can expect only 21 miles-per-gallon for highway driving and 15 miles-per-gallon in the city. This is the lowest fuel economy amongst the luxury SUVs we’ve reviewed. Of course, with a twin-turbo, V8 Ferrari engine under the hood and the added weight of an SUV, this is to be expected. 

What People Are Saying About the Maserati Levante

When it comes to the Maserati Levante, most of their fans love how the SUV feels like an authentic Italian sports car thanks to the twin-turbo V-8 Ferrari engine. People love how it combines comfort and speed, with premiere handling and safety. It is also an exclusive (sort of) car. Currently, Maserati only sells about 50,000 a year, and its target sales goals are only 100,000 sold per year, or about half of the Porsche Cayenne, its closet competitor. A Maserati makes a statement, and their SUVs aren’t exempt from that. People love that this is a car that will make others take notice, is a reliable SUV, and drives like a Maserati should.

maserati levante

Credit: Alexander Prevot, Flickr

PROS:

  • plus Ferrari Engines
  • plus Smooth and responsive handling
  • plusTwin-Turbo V-8

CONS:

  • close Not at lot of cargo space
  • Fuel economy could be better

Quite a few auto industry critics lament the interior set-up of the Maserati Levante. However, most user reviews are fine with it. What they tend to complain about the most is both the vehicle’s fuel economy and the amount of cargo space. The Levante goes for a sleeker design than some SUVs, so that means that it sacrifices some cargo space. Similarly, the fuel economy of this vehicle is less than that of similar models, but this makes sense with the Ferrari engine under the hood. If you want an engine of this caliber with better fuel economy, you need to wait for the technology to catch up with your desires.

Alternatives to the Maserati Levante to Consider

Whether it’s a lack of cargo space or the low fuel economy, you may have decided that the Maserati Levante is not for you. If that’s the case, here are three options that you can get you started on your search for something else. Also, check out the link at the bottom of this article for our in-depth guide to the best luxury SUVs on the market this year.

1. Maserati Gran-Turismo

Maserati Levante

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If you want a Maserati more than you want an SUV, then naturally you are going to look at other models. If speed is what you want, then there is no better choice than the Maserati Gran-Turismo. This touring car features everything Maserati is known for, specifically high-speed and smooth handling. These come with robotized six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and a six-speed transaxle, though this is an optional add-on. Still, you will have the speed and style of the flagship Maserati vehicle, but it is impossible to find a four-seater, let alone something with the space offered by the Levante.

2. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid

Perhaps the problem is not that you don’t want an SUV, but rather that the fuel economy of the Levante is not satisfactory. If that is the case, look into the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid vehicle, which is the industry leader in luxury SUVs. It has an athletic and muscular look, despite being a hybrid. It handles excellently, allowing you to switch between using the combustion engine and the electric motor without experiencing any deficiency with performance. This is a pricey model, so know that going in. However, if you want to reduce your fuel consumption while still driving a car with “oomph” behind it, this could be the one for you.

​3. Acura MDX

Perhaps it is the lack of cargo space the Maserati Levante offers that has you looking elsewhere. If that’s the case, consider the Acura MDX. This vehicle has excellent performance, and the fuel economy is better than the Levante’s, though only slightly. If you share the critics’ opinion that the Levante interior is lacking in flash, then this is the vehicle for you. With touch controls, you can switch between your tunes and navigation effortlessly. There is even a unique center compartment designed to maximize storage. Acura’s proprietary navigation system comes installed, with special screens to guide through confusing intersections or on and off ramps. It also has a real-time traffic monitor so you can adjust your route if you need to.

The Maserati Levante is everything you love about an SUV but with the power and efficiency the brand is known for.

If you are looking for an SUV that can carry your family comfortably, has a high safety rating, and a big, powerful engine under the hood, the Maserati Levante is a great choice. If you need a lot of cargo space or are concerned about high fuel efficiency, then perhaps it’s not. Luckily, drivers rarely need or want both of these things at the same time. If you want to feel the power of a Ferrari engine, you’re likely not too worried of the miles-per-gallon you are getting. If you need a lot of cargo space, you’re likely not going to be putting the pedal to the metal lest you damage your precious cargo. So, it really all depends on what you need specifically from a vehicle.

Still, the Maserati Levante is a remarkable choice for a luxury SUV that feels like a racecar but handles like a reliable family vehicle. With the company’s passion for speed, craftsmanship, and sleek design, Maserati Levante drivers are usually very satisfied with their choice. Unless your main concerns are cargo space or fuel economy, the Maserati Levante is the luxury SUV you need but didn’t even know you wanted.

What do you think about the Maserati Levante? Anything we missed? Share your thoughts, reactions, and experiences in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media if you liked it, so your friends can get in on the discussion.

Related Article:​ The Top Luxury SUV For Your Lifestyle and Preferences

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