2021 Maserati Levante

2021 Maserati Levante Review: Much Improved

by Gerhard Horn

The luxury performance SUV segment wasn't that busy when the Maserati Levante arrived in 2017. It was the first Italian supercar manufacturer to pull the trigger, and we expected great things. What we got was a mediocre brisk SUV, equipped with the infotainment system from a soccer-mom wagon. For something wearing that coveted Trident logo, the Levante just wasn't good enough, a perfect example of parts-sharing gone wrong.

Over time Maserati added more models to the range. The power delivered by the twin-turbo V6 was dialed up to 424 hp, and a Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V8 with 550 hp was added to the lineup. Is the Levante still a bit 'meh', or does it combine an SUV's practicality with the exhilarating soul of an Italian supercar? And is it enough to win buyers over from German rivals like the Porsche Cayenne?

2021 Maserati Levante Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Maserati Levante?

For 2021 Maserati has made some design updates. The front headlights are sleeker, and the Trident is more prominent. It's equipped with the new boomerang light clusters at the rear to align it with the rest of Maserati's range. The GranSport trim's side air intakes have a more aggressive design, and piano black trim has been included on the front and rear bumper. Red brake calipers are standard on this trim. The GranLusso trim is adorned with chrome inserts, a body-colored spoiler, and black calipers.

On the inside, the Levante retains its 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but gains all-new Android-based software. The edges of the screen are curved, which Maserati claims is a first in the segment. The instrument cluster features a large analog rev counter and the speedometer on either side of a seven-inch TFT display. This instrument cluster display is the same resolution as the center display and has gilded surrounds for a more premium feel.

Pros and Cons

  • Handsome Italian design
  • Available with Ferrari power
  • Many customization options
  • The interior looks good
  • Gearbox is superb
  • Levante pricing is absurd
  • Cargo space is below par
  • Parts bin sharing still drags the interior down

Best Deals on Levante

2021 Maserati Levante Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$74,490
GranLusso
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$80,490
GranSport
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$80,490
S
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$85,490
S GranLusso
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$90,490

Levante Exterior

You can't blame the Levante for not looking distinctive. The edgier headlights and taillights make more of a visual impact than ever before. We especially like how the daytime running lights work with the chrome grille surround to form a line that almost runs the width of the SUV.

From the side, you'll notice the concave line over the wheel arches, emphasizing the supercar-like hips from certain angles. The rear is finished off with quad tailpipes, so you know it means business. Base models are equipped with 19-inch wheels as standard, but 20-inch alloys are available. Oddly, for such an expensive car, the Levante doesn't have LED lights as standard, with the base model relying on bi-xenon headlights. The GranSport gets red brake calipers and chrome exterior accents. A dual-pane sunroof is standard on all models.

2021 Maserati Levante Front Angle View Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Rear Angle View Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Front View Maserati
See All 2021 Maserati Levante Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Dimensions for the 2021 Maserati Levante are well within the segment standards. It has a total length of 197 inches (197.6 inches on Levante S and GTS models), and a width of 77.9 inches. The wheelbase is 118.3 inches. It's convincingly larger than the other Italian performance SUV in the Stellantis lineup, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The Levante is also longer than the Porsche Cayenne (194 inches), but the German car is an inch longer in the wheelbase. An entry-level Levante weighs 4,994 pounds, while the top-spec twin-turbo V8 weighs 5,070 lbs.

  • Length 197.0 in
  • Wheelbase 118.3 in
  • Height 66.1 in
  • Max Width 77.5 in
  • Front Width 63.9 in
  • Rear Width 66.0 in
  • Curb Weight 4,650.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The base color palette consists of two no-cost options: Bianco (black) and Nero (white). From there, you get eight metallic options, each retailing for $1,200. These options are Nero Ribelle, Grigio Maratea, Grigio, Rame, Blu Passione, and Blu Emozione. Bianco Alpi and Blu Nobile retail for $2,700.

All of the colors are available on all models. For more customization, you need to add more striking wheels and painted brake calipers. Maserati charges an additional $500 to paint the calipers blue, red, or black. GranSport models come with red calipers, while black is standard on the GranLusso, and blue on the GTS.

  • Grigio Metallic
  • Verde Ossido Metallic
  • Grigio Metallo Metallic
  • Champagne Metallescent
  • Grigio Maratea Metallescent
  • Rame Mica
  • Blu Emozione Mica
  • Nero Ribelle Mica
  • Rosso Rubino Mica
  • Blu Passione Mica
  • Blu Nobile Tri-Coat
  • Bianco Alpi Tri-Coat
  • Nero
  • Bianco

Levante Performance

For the most performance-oriented Levante, you want the Trofeo, which we review separately. In the normal range, the GTS also packs a powerful punch. This particular model is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, good for 550 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic that sends the power to an all-wheel-drive system. The added traction and smooth shifting allow the GTS to sprint to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 181 mph. Although the manufacturer doesn't stipulate an official towing capacity, owners should be able to hitch up to 5,952 lbs

Lesser models are equipped with a twin-turbocharged V6. In the base Levante, it delivers a disappointing 345 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The relatively low power output is reflected in the sedate 5.8 seconds 0 to 60 mph sprint and a top speed of 156 mph. The mid-range Levante S is equipped with the same engine, but with power boosted to 424 hp and 428 lb-ft. It has a 0-60 mph time of five seconds dead and a top speed of 164 mph.

Spec-for-spec, the Levante runs it close with the Porsche Cayenne, long regarded as the segment leader. But it is weak when non-performance variants of the BMW X5 thoroughly trounce your supposed performance SUV. The 40i models will easily outsprint the base model, while the 523 hp M50i will obliterate a Levante S. And even though it's $20,000 cheaper, the X5M will run rings around the Levante GTS and its Ferrari sourced twin-turbo V8.

2021 Maserati Levante Badge Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Gauge Cluster Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Wheel Maserati

Engine and Transmission

The base engine is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that produces 345 hp and 369 lb-ft. Output-wise, it's just not good enough, and the eight-speed gearbox has to work extra hard to get any sort of reasonable performance out of it. As hard as the magnificent gearbox tries, even it can't overcome the relatively low power output and high curb weight. It wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for the high price. Imagine paying $77,890 for a Maserati SUV, only to be trounced by a soccer dad in his Dodge Durango SRT. That's going to sting.

The same can be said of the Levante S, even though it ups the power to 424 hp and 428 lb-ft. These figures would have been impressive ten years ago, but we now live in a world where a $44,000 Ford Edge ST packs a 400-hp punch.

Maserati's Levante had to soldier on with these two engines (and a short-lived diesel elsewhere in the world) for three years before a twin-turbo V8 was introduced. The GTS has the kind of power output we've come to expect from performance SUVs, providing 550 hp and 538 lb-ft. This bad boy has enough grunt to embarrass some sports cars, unlike the entry-level models, which would likely be humiliated by something as mundane as a well-driven Audi A6 allroad.

  • Engines
    3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 3.8L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Levante has a lot going on in this department. An adaptive air suspension is standard, as are various driving modes. Most of the time, the 2021 Levante SUV will be stuck in comfort, and it does an adequate job. The system isn't as well sorted as the unit you'll find in the Range Rover Sport, but for its first-ever SUV, we reckon Maserati did a splendid job with the new Levante. The ride is comfortable, and the cabin is well-insulated.

In Sport mode, the suspension stiffens up to minimize body roll. It does so very well, but it sacrifices all comfort. Couple that with steering that provides a reasonable amount of feedback, and you have a smooth handler. To some, the fast steering rack may be troublesome, which is something we noticed in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio as well. It's something you have to get used to, but once you get there, you'll never want to go back. The Levante turns in willingly, egging you on to push a bit harder. That's part of the reason why the V6 Levantes felt so disappointing. We always knew the chassis could handle more, and we had to wait for the GTS to prove it.

The brakes on the V6 models are good, but the GTS gets bigger six-piston Brembo brakes to scrub speed more effectively.

Levante Gas Mileage

There isn't a single performance SUV known for having impressive gas mileage figures - other than the Tesla Model X, if you want to be technical about it. The Maserati doesn't disappoint, then, consuming copious amounts of fuel from the base model upwards. The EPA claims the same consumption figures for both the Levante and the Levante S at 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined. The twin-turbo V8 naturally fares much worse, with EPA estimates of 13/20/16 mpg.

Thanks to a sizeable 21.1-gallon tank, the V8 should be able to do 338 miles between refills, while the V6 should manage 380 miles, at least.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 16/22 mpg
* 2021 Maserati Levante Base 3.0L

Levante Interior

The interior of a luxury performance SUV like the 2021 Maserati Levante should feel special, and in many ways, it does. Climb in, sit there for a second, and you'll undoubtedly appreciate the leather and wood, or carbon fiber, depending on what you choose. It's lovely, but it's just shy of what we expect in this segment in terms of build quality. We do love the Maserati clock on top of the center console, however.

Upon closer investigation, you'll notice some familiar switchgear and an infotainment system shared with various Jeeps and Dodges. Maserati claims the operating software is unique, which is true to an extent. The screen may show "Maserati" when it starts up, but the shortcuts and such are inexcusably similar to those in a Jeep Gladiator. If Genesis can create an entirely different interface using Hyundai parts, surely Maserati should do the same. While we appreciate the cost-saving aspect of parts-sharing, we can't get over the fact that the Levante has almost the same interface as the $24,000 Jeep Renegade.

2021 Maserati Levante Dashboard Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Gear Shifter Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Infotainment System Maserati
See All 2021 Maserati Levante Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Maserati doesn't claim specific figures for legroom and headroom, but five passengers can manage just fine. Given the ample wheelbase, space was never going to be an issue. Like most of its rivals, the Levante can easily accommodate five people, though the middle seat on the rear bench might feel tight for adults on a long journey. Getting in and out is easy, as is the case with most SUVs. Visibility is also good, but the rear window is on the small side. Thankfully, blind-spot alert is included as standard. There is ample adjustment offered on the front seats and the driver will easily be able to find a prime driving position.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Leather seats are standard across the range, with color options including Nero, Cuoio, Sabbia, Nero with Grigio/Cuoio/Rosso stitching, Marrone with Grigio stitching, and Rosso with Nero stitching. You can also select between Nero and Cuoio for the dash trim, and Nero, Sabbia, and Grigio for the headliner, depending on trim level. Maserati also offers an Extended Full Leather Upholstery for $1,000 and a Full Premium Perforated Leather Upholstery for $3,500.

Once you opt for the GranLusso trim, you get a bit more to choose from, including the Luxury Zegna Package of silk and leather in three color schemes (Nero/Grigio, Cuoio/Grigio, or Rosso/Grigio), or the Zegna Pelletessuta in Cuoio/Nero, Nero/Grigio, or Marrone. GranSport trims don't have access to the silk and leather interior, and have fewer standard leather colors to choose from. The same applies to the GTS, although there are two trim-specific standard leather options added - Cuoio with Amman stitching, and Rosso with Amman stitching.

Interior trims range from Gloss Dark Composite, Open Pore Radica Wood, Open Pore Regimental Wood, and high Gloss Ebano, with various prices attached, depending on the trim level. High Gloss Carbon Fiber becomes available from the GranLusso upwards, ranging in price from $1,800 to $2,600. High Gloss Metal Net is a $1,800 option ($1,000 on GranLusso), while 3D Carbon Fiber is exclusive to the GranSport and GTS at a cost of $3,000.

Levante Trunk and Cargo Space

The Levante has 20.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with all the seats in place. Porsche's Cayenne offers 27.2 cubes, and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 has 33.3. While it may not be class-leading, the trunk is big enough for four full-size suitcases. On those odd occasions where you need more, the rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split. This increases the cargo capacity to 57 cubic feet.

Interior storage is ample. Up front, you get a smartphone-sized slot beneath the climate control, a set of cupholders next to the gear lever, average door pockets, and a glove box. The storage bin in the center armrest is ventilated, keeping drinks cool on longer trips.

2021 Maserati Levante Driver Chair Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Rear Passenger Seats Maserati
2021 Maserati Levante Side View Maserati

Levante Infotainment and Features

Features

With a base price over $70,000, one would expect a lot of features as standard. Maserati includes 12-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, a refrigerated compartment under the center armrests, and a dash-top clock. Other niceties include keyless entry, remote start, a power liftgate, and parking sensors. From the base model, there's heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as soft-close doors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. Moving up to the GranLusso or GranSport trims adds ventilation to the front seats, while the rear seats on GTS models are also heated.

Everything else requires you to fork over more money. If you want aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters, it's $550 extra. Sports pedals are $200 more. A hands-free tailgate costs $600. The biggest disappointment is the lack of driver assistance features. Manufacturers like Ford, Honda, and Mazda are offering advanced driver assistance features as standard on their mid-size SUVs, so why does Maserati charge an additional $1,700 for adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian recognition, and autonomous emergency braking?

Infotainment

As mentioned earlier, the Levante uses the same 8.4-inch touchscreen interface as many other Stellantis products. While this is one of the main gripes we have with the Levante, we have to admit that it's an above-average infotainment system. It's easy to understand and comes with Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. An eight-speaker sound system is standard, but higher trim grades add a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. A 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system is also available.

Levante Problems and Reliability

During its first year on sale in 2017, the Levante was recalled twice. Maserati worked through these teething issues efficiently. One last recall was issued in 2019 for incorrect LED headlight adjustment. Since then, it has been trouble-free.

For added peace of mind regarding reliability, the Maserati Levante has a four-year/50,000-mile all-inclusive warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

Levante Safety

The IIHS has not conducted a safety review of the Maserati Levante. The closest thing we have as a baseline is the Maserati Ghibli, which uses the same platform. The IIHS gave the Ghibli a good rating for a front and side crash, so we know the structure is sound. The NHTSA has not published a safety review of the Levante either.

Key Safety Features

Standard safety kit on the Levante includes parking sensors front and rear, blind-spot monitoring, hill descent control, and a rearview camera with parking lines. Front, side, and curtain airbags are standard.

For driver assistance features like forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, active blind-spot monitoring, and a surround-view camera, you have to pay extra.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Maserati Levante a good SUV?

This is a tough call. We do like the idea of an Italian luxury performance SUV. We can't deny that the Levante has loads of character, especially with the Ferrari-sourced V8 under the hood. It's also competitively priced when compared to the Porsche Cayenne. The styling is epic, the interior looks good, and it is more engaging than most performance SUVs.

The competition is stiff. Less expensive SUVs easily trounce the Levante and Levante S. The GTS model is a special car, but at over $120,000, it's too costly. German rivals like the X5M, GLE 63, and RS Q8 are quicker and retail for less. When parting with more than $70,000, you expect something exceptional, and the Levante just isn't. We're sorry to say this, but Alfa Romeo did a much better job building an Italian performance SUV.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Maserati Levante?

The Levante and Levante S are available in three trims: base, GranLusso, and GranSport. The standard Maserati Levante has a price of $78,290. The GranLusso version of the Maserati Levante will cost $84,290, and the GranSport costs precisely the same. The base Levante S starts at $89,290, with the GranLusso and GranSport versions going for $94,290. The twin-turbo V8 GTS only comes in one trim and has an MSRP of $125,890. This excludes Maserati's delivery and destination charge of $1,495.

2021 Maserati Levante Models

The Levante is available in four models, across three trim levels; we review the top-end Trofeo model separately. The Levante and Levante S are available in base, GranLusso, and GranSport trims, while the GTS stands alone. All models are equipped with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base Levante is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 delivering 345 hp and 369 lb-ft. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon lights, adaptive air suspension, heated front seats, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, and an 8.4-inch infotainment system with an eight-speaker sound system. GranLusso trims add silk and leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, gloss-black brake calipers, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. GranSport trim adds 20-inch wheels with red brake calipers, a black leather steering wheel, a roof spoiler, and sportier seats.

Mid-range Levante S models match the trim levels mentioned above, but the twin-turbo V6's outputs are increased to 424 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Maserati also includes some subtle exterior additions, like the red brake calipers.

The Levante GTS shares equipment and styling features with the GranSport trims as standard, but adds model-specific perforated leather upholstery and a Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo V8 engine producing 550 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque.

See All 2021 Maserati Levante Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

On the base Levante, you can add one of two style packages. The GT Sport Package retails for $3,490 and adds the GranSport's front and rear fascia, 21-inch wheels, gloss-dark composite trim, and gloss-red brake calipers. The Nerissimo Package is essentially a black-out package, adding black exterior accents and 20-inch dark grey wheels - it costs $2,900. There is also a Driver Assistance Package with the advanced safety systems including adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, traffic sign recognition, active driving assist, and pedestrian recognition, for $1,700. These same packages are available on the Levante S, but the Nerissimo Package's price drops to $1,100 as the S already comes with a lot of the darker exterior features as standard. On the GTS, you can add the Nerissimo Package at no extra cost.

Base Models can have an upgraded Harman Kardon sound setup for $1,100, while heated rear seats can be added for $450 across all trims. From GranLusso, you can add the top-spec Bowers & Wilkins sound system for $2,100 and four-zone automatic climate control at $1,100.

🚗What Maserati Levante Model Should I Buy?

To avoid disappointment, we'd advise you to stay away from the V6 models. The performance simply doesn't match the price. We'd go for the GTS for that full Italian effect. That Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo V8 makes a big difference, and you get to say that you've got Ferrari power in your SUV. The GTS also comes standard with the Harman Kardon sound system, 20-inch wheels, model-specific perforated leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and LED lights.

Check out other Maserati Levante Styles

2021 Maserati Levante Comparisons

Porsche Cayenne Porsche
Porsche Macan Porsche
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Maserati Levante345 hp16/22 mpg$74,490
Porsche Cayenne 335 hp19/23 mpg$67,500
Porsche Macan 248 hp19/23 mpg$52,100

2021 Maserati Levante vs Porsche Cayenne

Mercedes-AMG was the first manufacturer to shoehorn a powerful engine into the front of an SUV. This was back in the year 2000 when a 342 hp naturally-aspirated V8 was considered impressive. Porsche basically copied Merc's homework and built the Cayenne, and it has been the standard in the segment ever since. With nearly two decades worth of experience in building such things, the Cayenne is hard to beat.

The base Cayenne is down ten hp compared to the base Levante, but that's the only department where it can claim a win. The Porsche is more spacious, better built and comes with a vastly superior interior with better technology. The driving experience in the Porsche is sublime. In this department, Porsche's long history in building high-riding, tarmac-shredding cars shines through.

The only criticism we can level against the Cayenne is that it feels a bit clinical. It's so good at covering ground at high-speed that it feels rather undramatic. The Levante has more flair, and each drive feels more like an occasion. In our opinion, your money is better spent on the superior, brilliant, and less expensive Cayenne.

See Porsche Cayenne Review

2021 Maserati Levante vs Porsche Macan

It seems odd to compare it to two Porsches, but there's an excellent reason for that. The Macan may appear smaller, but the size difference isn't that big when you look at the figures. The trunk is only three cubic feet smaller than the Levante's. The good news is that most of the Macan range undercuts the Levante when it comes to price. The Macan Turbo is around $7,000 more expensive than the base model, but its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 produces 434 hp and 405 lb-ft, closer to the Levante S.

The base Macan is powered by a turbocharged four-pot, but the car is much lighter, so it has no problems keeping up with the base Levante. Retailing for $52,100, it's an absolute bargain in comparison. The Macan show's real star is the GTS, which is similarly priced to the base Levante. In this Macan, you'll find a detuned version of the twin-turbo engine in the Turbo. The power figures are similar to the base Levante, but since the Porsche is so much lighter, it beats the Maser's 0 to 60 mph sprint time by two seconds. If anything, the Macan handles even better than its bigger brother, making an even more compelling argument against the Maserati.

See Porsche Macan Review

Maserati Levante Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Maserati Levante:

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$74,490 - $122,090
Price Range (MSRP)
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