The new Maserati Grecale GT is a posh SUV to rival the Porsche Macan. How does the sporty family-mover measure up? asks Jeremy Taylor
Car Review: Maserati Grecale GT
The automotive industry has become obsessed with do-it-all sports utility vehicles – estate cars and MPVs are a dying species, while hatchbacks, saloons and supermini have morphed into the familiar SUV shape. Maserati is late to the party with the Grecale, a mid-size luxury SUV that sits below the larger Levante model and attempts to garner some kudos with a moniker borrowed from a cool Mediterranean breeze. A load of hot air? Let’s find out.
A Porsche Macan is arguably the benchmark in this sector. The five-seater boasts the right badge, plenty of performance and a smart cabin. The Grecale is equally posh, flaunts an even sexier image and some versions, like the marque’s V6-engined Trofeo, are very fast indeed.
As yet, though, there’s no fully-electric model – Maserati’s first EV will be the Grecale Folgore, pegged to arrive next year. Our GT entry-level model features a turbocharged, 2.0-litre petrol engine, mated to mild hybrid technology. It has a sporty turn, although the ride is a little firm over potholed roads. The backseat will comfortably accommodate two adults, or a trio of teenagers on the school run, with a decent-sized luggage compartment.
The cabin is a real highlight, plush and luxurious. Neat touches include storage under the armrests and twin cupholders, although the glovebox is titchy. Find that comfortable spot with ten-way adjustable seats in the GT.
A pair of touchscreen displays appear a little daunting at first, too many icons and no simple rotary control to adjust the heating. After a few days, it starts to make sense. On the plus side, the rest of the dashboard isn’t cluttered with buttons and dials.
RATING: 4/5 HANDBAGS
The Grecale may be an SUV but it offers Maserati levels of driving pleasure. Unlike the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5, which major on comfort, the Grecale GT is composed and enjoyable on a twisty road too – sportier versions are even more fun.
Choose between various drive modes and the engine responds accordingly, while the suspension and gears are adjusted to match. Weirdly, the Grecale is equipped with enormous paddle gearshifts on the steering column – it can be awkward reaching around them to find the indicator arm. The e-Booster hybrid system acts like an electric turbocharger to enhance performance further, while the whole performance is backed up by a sporty exhaust note that adds to the drama. All this does impact on economy, and around 27mpg everyday driving isn’t that impressive.
At motorway speeds, the Maserati purrs along with minimal wind noise. The sound system punches out plenty of wattage and the only letdown is that many safety features aren’t standard in the Grecale, adding to the final price.
I can’t help but think Maserati should have launched the Grecale years ago, when the SUV boom started. Key rivals, such as the BMW X3 and the Jaguar F-Pace, already have an established presence in the market. The Grecale does have a freshness about it but the rather bland styling doesn’t move the game on. And with so many SUVs to choose from, the Maserati isn’t different enough to give it an edge. You may want to consider residual values too – Italian cars aren’t well-known for holding their value.
On paper at least, the Porsche Macan still looks like the obvious winner for mid-size SUV buyers.
RATING: 4/5 WELLIES
Discover more about the Maserati Grecale GT at maserati.com