Test Drive Notes Library
- Up to date. This vehicle was a pleasant surprise, if it’s possible to be surprised by the pleasantness of a $105,000 crossover. Based on Maserati’s other current offerings, we were expecting a quirky, somewhat out-of-date vehicle whose greatest asset was the mystique of the Maserati badge. Turns out the badge is just icing on the $105K cake.
- Driving experience. The Levante is fun to drive. It’s got a sporty character, while maintaining a comfortable ride and a certain decorum. Sure, you can blow the doors off an Audi Q5, but you don’t want to wrinkle your Armani while doing it. The Levante rides smoothly, corners and handles very well. It’s based on the same mechanicals as the Alfa Stelvio, but is about a foot longer, giving it a lot less twitchiness. It’s like a grown up Stelvio Q4. It shares the Stelvio’s 400 hp twin-turbo V6.
- Interior. The Levante has a great interior. Covered in black leather, and other very nice materials. It’s less flashy than you might imagine, yet definitely has style. Good room up front, and in the back, plus very respectable cargo room. The extra foot over the Stelvio is put to good use on the inside, too.
- Presence. It’s got a subtle, but unmistakable distinctiveness on the road. People notice it. It’s not a screaming “look at me!” vehicle, but it’s noticeably special. So if you’re a hedge fund manager, and you don’t want to show up at the boat club with the same old Porsche Cayenne Turbo S that all the other hedge hogs drive, the Levante, at around the same price, is worth a look. Kind of different and cool.
- Great color. Our Levante looked particularly great in its medium blue “Blu Emozione” paint job.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Price and mileage. Let's put it this way... If you’re shopping for a car like this, do you really care?
- Reliability history. OK, you start with Maserati, and that’s owned by Fiat Chrysler. This is probably a car we’d lease for 36,000 miles, then drop it off and run. Not a car we’d be particularly excited about owning after the warranty period. Disclaimer: Reliability opinion is based on historic information and may be changing, but we have no way of knowing that.
- Loud parking assistant. Most of you already have one of those. It’s called a husband. The electronic parking assist feature beeps at you when you get close to other objects. We found the Levante’s warning tone loud enough to quickly be annoying. Going into the car’s settings, we were disappointed to find the volume had already been set to “low.” We hope a software upgrade solves that.
- OK, OK, I accept! When the center screen first comes on, each time you start the car, a warning screen pops up, and you have to touch “I accept” each time before you can use the screen. Most cars have you accept once, or have the screen appear for a short time, then disappear on its own.
- Skip the gym, grab the key fob. We understand the desire to make expensive cars feel expensive, but one place where that’s counter productive is with the key fob. The fob is large, heavy, and substantial. OK, I’m impressed. Unfortunately, I have to carry it around now. Apple figured out that what people really want in a phone is thinness, and lightness. Maserati should study that lesson. How about carbon fiber? Aluminum? Although I confess to being impressed with my improved forearm strength after a week long test.
- Left paddle shifter. The Levante has two, large paddle shifters on either side of the steering wheel. We found that the one on the left got in the way of the stalk on that side that operates the turn signals and other functions. We could work around it, but it’s a small ergonomic mistake. A less-wide paddle or a stalk that’s half an inch longer will solve that problem.
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