2021 Maserati Levante: Fabulous, fantastic, Italian flair…seriously expensive

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2021 Maserati Levante: Fabulous, fantastic, Italian flair…seriously expensive


The 2021 Maserati Levante brings something special to the premium midsize SUV/crossover class. Sure, the big German players are great, and the British Range Rover Sport has its own thing going on. But to anyone with even a little knowledge of automotive heritage and a leaning toward the esoteric, the Maserati name carries a certain aura.

Its pedigree goes back to the old days of racing when the only protective headgear was a leather cap and a pair of goggles. And now Maserati has created an SUV because that’s the way of the world. Fortunately, there’s still some of that sporting essence, as well as Italian flair — inside, outside, under the hood, and in the handling department.

How much does the 2021 Maserati Levante cost?

Adding the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $77,890 to the destination charge of $1,495 puts the entry-level 2021 Levante at $79,385. At the absolute top of the range is the Levante Trofeo, from $154,185.

The Trofeo is extremely well equipped, and when we selected some extras on Maserati’s retail site configurator, we could only jack up the final amount by about $4,000.

Similar upmarket SUV/crossovers are the Porsche
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Cayenne, Audi Q8, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and the BMW
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X5. They all have starting prices below that of the Maserati Levante.

Also see: 5 high-performance SUVs to spice up your life

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Levante. As far as resale values are concerned, the Levante should do as well as the Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne. Most candidates are within a few percentage points of each other.

Driving the 2021 Maserati Levante

Is the Levante based on a Jeep? Absolutely not. Which will become clear at the first corner.

It’s based on the Maserati Ghibli executive sedan, so there’s a real athleticism at its core. This is enhanced by the adaptive air suspension and exploited by either the twin-turbocharged V-6 or V-8 engines on offer.

The slowest V6 can still blast from standstill to 60 mph in a respectable 5.8 seconds. The Trofeo model — with a Ferrari-derived 590-horsepower V8 — shaves two seconds from that time before hitting a top speed of 187 mph. The Levante Trofeo is a full member of the performance SUV crowd and sounds glorious as well.

The standard all-wheel-drive system is set up to send all power to the rear wheels under normal conditions, underlining the Levante’s sporting credentials. It can, however, direct up to 50% to the front wheels whenever necessary, and there’s a standard mechanical limited-slip differential allowing the driver to get on the throttle early when exiting a corner.

Also read: The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo could be the EV that does it all

Is the Maserati Levante reliable? It’s only been around for about four years, so there’s not a lot of information so far. Generally speaking, Italian cars don’t have a great history in this respect, but modern construction methods have ironed out many problems.

Favorite features

Adaptive Led Matrix Headlights
Standard on most Maserati Levante models, these clever units can keep on high beam, yet turn off various LEDs automatically to prevent any oncoming driver from being dazzled.

Skyhook Suspension
This is Maserati’s name for the adaptive suspension in the 2021 Levante. It automatically lowers itself on the highway for aerodynamic efficiency, yet can raise the ride height for greater ground clearance should anyone take their Levante SUV off-road. There’s also a Sport mode for maximum cornering fun.

2021 Maserati Levante interior

Whoever designed the dashboard of the 2021 Levante probably thinks Audi interiors are boring. This one is sculpted, can be covered with red leather, and has an analog clock top and center.

Changes for 2021 include an updated infotainment system with sharper graphics, but the touchscreen’s size remains 8.4 inches. Most SUV rivals are fitting larger displays. And Maserati says it has removed some of the plastic from around the instrument cluster while increasing the sizes of the rev counter and speedometer, and placing anti-glare glass over them.

Buyers can choose the GranLusso model with upholstery from the renowned Italian fashion designer Ermenegildo Zegna (whose suits can cost more than $20k) using silk inserts on the seats, headliner, door panels, and shades, along with fine leather. Or the Trofeo model has Pieno Fiore leather, which is some of the highest-quality hide available.

It’s a shame, then, to see some things in the cabin that come from cheaper sources. Like the wiper stalk, window switches, and engine-start button from the Jeep Cherokee. Perhaps Maserati is betting that a Levante owner would never set foot in a Cherokee.

Rear legroom of 37.2 inches is on the limited side for the class. Likewise, a luggage area of 20.5 cubic feet, expanding to 57.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat, is the smallest among its main competitors.

2021 Maserati Levante exterior

It’s not easy to tell whether that 2021 Levante approaching from the other direction has a V6 or V-8 engine, or which trim level it might be. Take a look at the brake calipers. The base models have unpainted ones, the GranSport versions come with red calipers, and the top Trofeo has blue calipers with white “Maserati” lettering. Sadly, it’s not quite that straightforward, because buyers can choose from a variety of colors, but you get the idea.

Speaking of color choices, black or white are the only hues that don’t cost extra. Most others are $1,200, but a couple (a special white and a fetching dark blue) are $2,700.

Although everyone has their own idea of what’s aesthetically pleasing or otherwise in an SUV, it would take a peculiar individual not to find something attractive about the Levante’s exterior design. That might be the headlights, the concave grille, the famed Maserati trident badge, or perhaps the way the roof slopes down to the tail. There are also several wheel designs to choose from, as well as a black-heavy Nerissimo option package.

2021 Maserati Levante standard equipment

The base 2021 Levante model has bi-xenon headlights, while higher trims have LED units, but the rest of the inventory is quite extensive. This includes an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, adaptive air suspension, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, soft-closing doors.

The infotainment system comes with navigation, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, and Apple
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CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. Safety equipment includes parking sensors front and rear. Despite all this standard equipment, we still think Maserati could have included the Driver Assistance Package as well (for details, see our Safety section), instead of charging $1,700.

2021 Maserati Levante options

Most of the features that become standard higher up the trim level ladder are available as options in the base model. These extras include larger alloy wheels, cosmetic packages, quad-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, ventilated front seats, upgraded leather upholstery, hands-free tailgate operation, adaptive LED headlights, and a 900-watt Harman Kardon audio system.

Read next: What it’s like to drive the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia

What the base model can’t have is the more powerful V-6 engine or the V8 variations. Or the Ermenegildo Zegna silk and leather upholstery found in the GranLusso (grand luxury) versions.

2021 Maserati Levante engine

A twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 kicks off the 2021 Levante range with a delicious 345 horsepower. Once we reach the Levante S models, this engine is boosted to make 424 horsepower.

The GTS trim is when a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 comes on board, developing 550 horsepower. Or 590 horsepower in the top Trofeo version.

All variants of the 2021 Levante have all-wheel drive as standard, along with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Levante)
345 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (S)
424 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
428 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg

3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (GTS)
550 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
538 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg

3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Trofeo)
590 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
538 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg

Which model is right for me?

2021 Maserati Levante

  • 19-inch alloy wheels

  • Adaptive air suspension

  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof

  • Heated front seats/steering wheel

  • Soft-closing doors

  • Blind-spot monitoring

  • Navigation

  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

2021 Maserati Levante GranLusso

  • Adaptive LED matrix headlights

  • Ermenegildo Zegna silk & leather upholstery

  • Heated/ventilated front seats

  • Open-pore wood trim

  • 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system

2021 Maserati Levante GranSport

  • 20-inch alloy wheels

  • Red brake calipers

  • 12-way power-adjustable front sport seats

2021 Maserati Levante S: Same as Levante plus:
424-horsepower V6

2021 Maserati Levante S GranLusso: Same as Levante GranLusso plus:
424-horsepower V6

2021 Maserati Levante S GranSport: Same as Levante GranSport plus:
424-horsepower V6

2021 Maserati Levante GTS

  • 590-horsepower V8

  • 20-inch alloy wheels

  • Premium perforated leather upholstery

  • Gloss dark composite trim

  • Heated sport steering wheel

  • 12-way power-adjustable front sport seats

  • Aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters

  • Stainless steel pedals

2021 Maserati Levante Trofeo

  • 590-horsepower V8

  • Pieno Fiore (full grain) natural leather upholstery

  • 22-inch alloy wheels

  • Blue brake calipers

  • High-gloss carbon-fiber trim

2021 Maserati Levante safety technology

Driver Assistance Package: This bundle includes forward-collision with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera system, plus road sign recognition. It’s optional in the base Levante and Levante S models, standard elsewhere.

Active Driving Assist: Also part of the above package, but worth a special mention. It combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance to bring a level of partial self-driving to the 2021 Levante. Drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel, but this setup removes some of the stress.

Hill Descent Control: Driving an SUV down a slippery slope can be fraught, but this standard system makes things easier and safer. Pressing the HDC button then setting the cruise control speed allows drivers to concentrate solely on steering, while braking and throttle inputs are handled automatically.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.



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