First Drive: Is the new Maserati Grecale a luxury SUV worth considering?

First Drive: Is the new Maserati Grecale a luxury SUV worth considering?


What is it?

The Maserati Grecale competes with the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Velar. (Maserati)

A new Maserati doesn’t come around often, but 2022 is a busy time for the Italian luxury brand. First came the MC20, the company’s first new sports car in nearly 15 years, and now there’s what should be Maserati’s new bestseller – the Grecale.

It’s designed to sit under the Levante hatch alongside rivals like the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Velar in the premium mid-size SUV market. Entering the brand into a new – and highly competitive – segment, will Maserati’s Grecale succeed?

What’s new?

The Grecale is launched with three petrol engines, and the EV will be completed in 2023. (Maserati)

While the Grecale may be an ‘all-new’ model for Maserati, it borrows its underpinnings from the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and its Giorgio platform. That’s a pretty good base, but Maserati has expanded on it, with the promise of class-leading interior space.

From launch, there are three engines on offer, while next year will see the addition of the Grecale Folgore – a new electric model. Elsewhere, there’s a range of ‘technology firsts’ for Maserati, including a new head-up display, the company’s biggest touchscreen to date and a completely redesigned interior design.

What’s under the bonnet?

The flagship Grecale Trofeo uses a 523 bhp 3.0-liter V6 engine. (Maserati)

Kicking off the Grecale range is a pair of 2.0-litre petrol engines, which produce 296bhp in the standard GT trim level and 325bhp in the Modena grade – named after Maserati’s hometown.

But here we’re testing the flagship Trofeo model, which uses a revised version of the brand’s new 3.0-litre V6 engine that’s been taken from the MC20 – a design that’s received almost all praise. Producing an impressive 523bhp and 620Nm of torque, the car is sent to all four wheels (albeit with a heavy rear bias) via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Reaching 60mph in the Trofeo takes just 3.6 seconds, with Maserati claiming a top speed of 177mph. No Grecale will be cheap to drive (until the EV arrives, anyway), but perhaps unsurprisingly, this performance model will be worse on fuel – it only claims 25.2mpg, with 254g/km CO2 emissions.

What is it like to drive?

Maserati Grecale Trofeo does not lack in performance. (Maserati)

Starting with performance, the Grecale Trofeo certainly doesn’t lack – put your foot down and it’s up to speed soon, in ‘Sport’ mode and at full throttle the engine and exhaust sounds great, with a fruity and melodious sound that underlines the sportiness. . That said, in normal driving, the engine does have a little drone to it.

This Trofeo is a versatile tool, though. Put it in ‘comfort’ mode and avoid the button-mashing habit of the sport controls and the ride is compliant, with a firm edge to it – as expected of this design and performance.

Our set-up was largely restricted to highway and city driving, so full judgment on its handling will be withheld until we test it in the UK, but the signs are promising.

What does it look like?

Grecale is not as beautiful as other Maserati. (Maserati)

Usually, you can almost guarantee that one of the best things about a Maserati will be how it looks, but with the Grecale the manufacturer seems to have missed a trick. Although the styling will be personal, this SUV has a certain anonymity – it looks like a hybrid, rather than a bold Maserati.

For what it’s worth, the front end makes it look like a Ford Puma (a crossover that costs a fraction of the price), while the sliding rear window and headlights have strong Jaguar tones to them.

There are some nice touches, though, including a nice set of alloy wheels that reflect the three-dimensional Maserati logo, as well as a nice set of colors to choose from, but the overall design package lacks the elegance and compactness expected from Maserati.

How is it inside?

The Grecale has one of Maserati’s best interiors in years. (Maserati)

One area where there are no complaints is the interior of the Grecale. It’s a big step up from the current Maserati lineup, with quality and technology coming in leaps and bounds.

From the leather dashboard to the large metal gear paddles, it feels like a special place to be, with the huggable sports seats that really add to the Trofeo experience.

However, the one gripe is the buttons on the steering wheel, which look and feel comfortable to use and drop down the cabin better.

The Grecale certainly impresses when it comes to spaciousness, though, with this SUV having a large and practical boot of 570 liters (540 liters in non-Trofeo models due to their limited hybrid system). Rear space is also excellent, and adults have plenty of room, and certainly more than you get in a Porsche Macan.

What are the specs?

The Grecale offers an impressive amount of rear space. (Maserati)

If you like a car that feels modern inside, the Grecale will impress. It’s like a tech show here, with a large 12.3-inch cockpit and a clear head-up display installed.

Two touchscreens also replace all the physical buttons – the top one that looks after your usual media functions, and the bottom screen that controls the headlights and climate settings – and they’re all enclosed in a single piece of glass that appears to fold. Sometimes, such all-inclusive screens can seem a little distracting, but both of Grecale’s are easy to use while on the move.

Large 19-inch alloy wheels, a Sonus Faber sound system and a full leather interior are included as standard in GT trim, too. Upgrade to the Modena and you’ll get a wider track, giving it a more aggressive stance, as well as larger 20-inch wheels and a more stylish sports kit.

At the top of the range is the Trofeo, which you pay for because of its V6 engine and mechanical tuning, although other extras include a perforated leather cabin, a sports exhaust system and lots of carbon fiber.

Maserati is yet to confirm pricing, but it is expected that the Grecale will start from around £60,000, with Trofeo models commanding a hefty premium.

Decision

Grecale should help Maserati increase its sales significantly. (Maserati)

The Grecale is certainly a welcome addition to the Maserati range and should help boost the company’s sales significantly. The interior and technology feel like a huge improvement, and for the first time in a long time the Maserati’s cabin feels good enough to justify the higher price. With plenty of interior space on offer, it’s sure to be a favorite with the family, too.

It’s not the right package though, the design doesn’t feel distinctive or attractive enough in a segment where style matters, while the driving experience still needs to be proven on UK roads.

But the Grecale is a promising sign of what’s to come from Maserati, especially in top-of-the-line Trofeo form, and things only look to get better with the arrival of an electric version next year.