|Lease Term (months)||36|
|Miles per year|
Powered by either a sonorous twin-turbo V-6 or a roaring twin-turbo V-8, the Levante is a performance SUV with a decidedly Italian flair. Although it’s been a part of the Maserati portfolio for only a few years, it has quickly become one of the brand’s most popular models. That’s not to say you’ll see many on the road—Maserati is still a small, boutique automaker—in fact, unless you live in a particularly tony neighborhood, you might never see another one. The Levante’s exclusivity may be compelling, but its usability as an SUV might be less so: Its rivals offer more cargo space, better fuel economy, and more standard features. Still, it’s the one SUV in its class that offers a leather-and-silk interior and its Ferrari-derived powertrains can induce automotive nirvana, especially with the throttle open wide.
Other than the addition of xenon headlamps as a standard feature, the Maserati Levante carries over unchanged for 2020. Two new appearance packages are available. The first is the GT Sport package, which gives the base model and GranLusso trims the sportier look of the aggressive GranSport. The second available package is the Edizione Ribelle package, which offers a blacked-out exterior design with a black and red two-tone leather interior. If the sinister-looking Edizione Ribelle is right up your alley, act soon as only 100 examples will be produced.
Although it adds more than $10,000 to the bottom line, we’d spring for the S model and its more powerful twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. The S also adds 19-inch wheels with a staggered setup, a leather interior with stitched dashboard and door panels, and steering column-mounted paddle shifters.
While the Levante is not the quickest or the most powerful performance-oriented luxury crossover, it certainly plays one of the better soundtracks. Under the hood of most Levante models is a twin-turbocharged V-6 routing its 345 horsepower—or 424 horses in the S—to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. In our testing of a Levante S, it delivered a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.1 seconds, besting the Mercedes-AMG GLE53. The GTS and Trofeo models come with a twin-turbo V-8 making 550 and 590 horsepower, respectively. In our testing, the GTS launched itself to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, while the Trofeo did it in 3.6. With its adaptive shocks set in Sport mode, the Levante’s ride is jarring when driving over all but the smoothest road surfaces. Comfort levels are much more agreeable, though hardly supple, with the shocks in their default setting.
On paper, the Levante is no fuel-sipper. In fact, its EPA estimates for V-6 models are closer to V-8–powered rivals than to other V-6s. In our real-world testing, however, the V-6 impressed us with a highway fuel-economy result much higher than its ratings suggested with a 24 mpg result; the V-8–powered GTS also outperformed its EPA rating and delivered 20 mpg.
At first glance, the inside of the Levante appears rich and well-appointed, especially in our Levante S test vehicle, which featured the full-leather treatment in a rich dark-brown hue. Open-pore wood trim, a leather-covered dashboard, tasteful chrome accents, and the traditional Maserati analog clock all give the Levante a classy and old-school luxury ambience. Looking closer, however, reveals parts that are obviously shared with other Fiat Chrysler brands—for example, the window switches, wiper-control stalk, and ignition button are the same as the Jeep Cherokee’s—which is a disappointment. The controls are functional, though, and better than some of the ergonomically questionable examples Maserati has come up with on its own over the years. Speaking of ergonomics, the driving position in the Levante is great and clearly set up for spirited motoring. Like a pair of Versace stilettos, the Levante puts a big emphasis on style. Its cargo area still accommodated a respectable number of our carry-on suitcases (eight behind the rear seat, 19 with the rear seats folded), even if others in this segment fared much better. Park them all side by side, however, and the Maserati’s bravura overshadows the practicality of its rivals.
Quick, intuitive, and brilliantly rendered on an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Maserati’s Touch Control Plus infotainment system is one of the best in the business. Most vehicle functions, including the climate controls, are adjusted through the infotainment display with a secondary control knob just aft of the shifter on the center console. Navigation is standard, as are SiriusXM satellite radio and Travel Link, which provides real-time traffic and weather updates. Five USB ports cover charging duties for all five potential passengers, but only one interfaces with the infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are both standard.
The Levante has not been crash-tested; as a result, its performance in this area remains unknown. A few driver-assistance features are standard, and other more advanced tech is optional across the range. Key safety features include:
The Levante’s warranty is nothing special, with a four-year or 50,000-mile policy covering everything, including corrosion protection and roadside assistance. Rivals offer something special to stand out from the crowd, such as complimentary scheduled maintenance or an unlimited-mileage roadside-assistance plan—but not Maserati.
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