The SUV market has grown to become a huge market for new car buyers in recent years. In the UK alone, SUVs represent 21% of all new cars sold across the country, whilst in Europe, this is as high as 44%. Some manufacturers have even managed to change their customer demographic by launching into the SUV market.
Maserati is one of the major manufacturers that have undergone a complete change of focus in recent years, from producing sports and supercars to the luxurious models such as the Quattroporte and Ghibli. The company has a rich, motorsport history, building race cars for Grand Prix’s, and even had success in Formula 1, with notable driver Juan Manuel Fangio.
Gallery: Maserati Grecale First Drive Review UK
In 2011, Maserati launched into the SUV market, with the introduction of the Levante. A larger sized SUV with the Trident badge on the grille gave buyers the option of a new, luxury SUV on the market. Fast forward to 2023, and the Italian manufacturer have launched their new mid-sized SUV in the form of the Grecale. As part of the UK launch, we were invited to experience the Grecale and the entire Maserati current range in person.
I want to begin with the Quattroporte and Levante models. Each were available in their highest specification, Trofeo model line, featuring a 3.8-litre V8 engine. This produces 572 bhp in both models. The also feature similar interiors, with a mix of leather, Alcantara and what can only be described as a rattan effect lining both the dashboard and the seats. The steering wheels on both the Levante SUV and the Quattroporte super limo are adorned with the Trident logo, but felt a little dated. The interior features a small, touchscreen infotainment system, and analogue cockpit for the driver.
The interior on Maserati’s newest model is a refreshing change. The Grecale’s steering wheel has been updated, although with a few too many buttons, the driver gets a digital cluster that can be customised to show various different views, which also alternates depending on the driving mode.
Gone also are the strange rattan effect lined seats, which are replaced by stylish, sporty looking seats that are a mix of leather an Alcantara. Whilst the central, 12.3 inch infotainment screen remains, Maserati have added a lower, 8.1 inch screen to control the air conditioning, heated seats and volume controls. This unfortunately is prone to finger prints, but was relatively each to use.
The interior of the Grecale was generally a pleasant place to be, made lighter by the dual panoramic roof that extends to the rear seats. The A-pillars and headliner are covered with thick padded Alcantara, really making the interior of the mid-sized SUV feel luxurious and really brings the Maserati brand to the forefront amongst their competition.
Maserati also have adopted new, Sonus Faber sound systems in all of their new models, who match Maserati’s ethos of having Italian heritage by claiming to be the Italian masters of sound.
What is potentially the best new feature of the interior, is the new digital smart clock. This doubles as a smart speaker for the cars infotainment system, allowing the driver to communicate with the car using voice control. The clock also becomes a stop watch, g-meter or compass depending on the driving mode or driver’s needs.
Maserati has been owned by the Stellantis Group since 2021 and is therefore of little surprise that the new Grecale shares the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The Grecale currently receives three trim options to buyers, the GT, Modena and Trofeo model. The latter features the same 3.6-litre V6 Nettuno engine that is found in the MC20 supercar. This engine produces a whopping 523 bhp, giving the mid-sized SUV a 0-62 mph time of 3.6 seconds, going onto a top speed of 177 mph, a good percentage higher than its competitors. The engine is mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. Maserati are also adding their Folgore, all electric specification to the model line-up, and every single Maserati model will have an all-EV version by 2025, with the manufacturer committing to have a 100% EV line-up by 2030.
The Trofeo specification also gives the owner Corsa mode, which turns off traction control, increases throttle response and even adds launch control, not that many owners will use this function. Prices range from £61,000 to £100,000, plus extras, which is rather pricey for a mid-size SUV!
On the exterior, the Grecale has a few new, modern features over previous Maserati models. The door handles are flush with the bodywork of the SUV, and the occupants have buttons to open the doors on the inside instead of handles, a feature shared with the MC20. There’s also new headlights, which identifies the Grecales design elements. The tail lights take inspiration from the previous 3200 GT model. The Trofeo line gets additional elements such as blacked out chrome, carbon fibre side skirts and a more pronounced front grille.
Other than this, I felt that the Grecales exterior was a little underwhelming considering the price of the SUV. This was Mia-matched, as the interior was such a positive improvement on previous models.
Sitting behind the wheel of the Grecale and driving it for the first time was a pleasant experience. Naturally, the Grecale felt smaller and more manoeuvrable than the larger Levante model. The Grecale certainly didn’t feel underpowered and the ZF gearbox connected well with the engine.
The Grecale is a huge step forwards for Maserati in terms of updates and interior styling. The SUV takes inspiration both from its past and it’s future sister models, featuring technology from both the current MC20 and the upcoming Gran Turismo model. This technology will only advance further as Maserati expand into the EV market with new models and specifications. The only aspect that lets the new model down slightly is the exterior. For the price range, the Grecale isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, especially when compared to some of its competitors, but also compared to some of the other stunning looking models in the Maserati range.
2023 Maserati Grecale