2017 Maserati Levante – Does the World Need Yet Another Luxury SUV?

2017 Maserati Levante

The 2017 Maserati Levante made its American debut at the New York International Auto Show, another choice to satiate the seemingly limitless appetite for SUVs and crossovers. So what does it offer that the others don’t?

Well, for one thing, it’s the only Italian entry into the luxury crossover market, so it has style, both inside and out, that is normally associated with Italian things. The outside, with its long, low hood, oversized grille with a jumbo trident logo, and muscular haunches make it look like no other luxury SUV on the market with the exception of a passing resemblance to the long-hooded Infiniti QX50 and QX70.

Inside, the Italian influence continues with a contemporary yet elegant dash and door design with available leather on all surfaces. Opting for the full leather treatment also gives the customer the choice of more colors and contrast stitching.

2017 Maserati Levante

The dash panel houses an 8.4-inch touch screen, conveniently the same size as the Uconnect system in other Fiat-Chrysler products. In the Levante, it works like a tablet, recognizing swipe, rotate and scroll gestures. Called the Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC Plus) system, it also includes Bluetooth, navigation, and can access all the vehicle’s settings.

In an Italian vehicle, though, what matters is under the hood, and the Levante has two versions of their 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 – one that makes 350 horsepower and one that makes 430 horsepower. Maserati claims a 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) time of 6.0 and 5.2 seconds, respectively, for each engine, with top speeds of 251 kph (155 mph) and 264 kph (164). No, this Maserati can’t do 185, but it’s still plenty fast for a crossover.

Power gets to all four wheels through a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The Levante also has a limited-slip rear differential.

The suspension is based on the Ghibli’s but with more wheel travel for off-road driving and to compensate for the Levante’s higher ride height. In front, it has a double-wishbone layout, and in the back it has a multi-link five arm suspension. The suspension is made of lightweight aluminum.

2017 Maserati Levante

The Levante also has an air suspension that allows for five different ride heights and weight distribution is 50-50 front-rear, meaning that the first Maserati SUV should be a handler.

The 2017 Levante will be in U.S. showrooms in late August and will start at around $72,000 for the 350-horsepower version and $83,000 for the 430-horsepower versions. Orders can be placed starting in April.

So does the world need another luxury SUV? Start the conversation in the comments below.

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