If there is one thing that the Italians excel at, it’s designing cars, and the new Maserati Levante is an exceptionally good- looking SUV. While it’s named after the tempestuous wind that blows across the western Mediterranean Sea, its sensuous looks are anything but that.

The masculine grille with the iconic trident logo at the front of the car may grab attention. But the wavy, feminine curves that start at the front and wrap around the side offset the grille to give the Levante that la dolce vita (the good life) flair.

The Italian aesthetic extends to the interior, with subtle accoutrements that you would expect from a luxury SUV. Lush leather seats and wood trim dominate the front with ample legroom for your backseat passengers. Unfortunately, boot space has been sacrificed for this – quite ironic considering that it’s an SUV.

But these are folks who can carry 10 cases of wine on a Vespa, according to several Italians I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a bottle with, so I imagine space for things isn’t a key consideration for the Italian carmaker.

What about performance? Maserati has equipped the new Levante with a twin-turbo V6 engine that completes the century sprint in a respectable 6 seconds and helps the SUV reach a top speed of 251kph. The Levante S has a more powerful V6 engine
that shaves 0.8 seconds off the century sprint and maxes out at a slightly higher 264kph.

It isn’t the fastest luxury SUV out there but the Levante was not built for speed. Rather, Maserati wanted to engineer it to “drive like a sporting grand tourer on the open road”. That usually means speed and comfort over long distances. The Levante
is certainly comfortable. It boasts an advanced active air suspension that can be adjusted to the terrain you’re driving on.

A unique electric power steering system also automatically finetunes accuracy and driveability based on speed. The faster
you are, the heavier the steering wheel, which means you need less energy to control the car. While the Levante doesn’t excel in any particular area, it’s a solid, well-rounded SUV that looks great on the roads – and one that I believe you would love driving
over extended distances.

ENGINE: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged

POWER: 275kW (345bhp)


0-100 KPH: 6.0s

TOP SPEED: 251kph


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