The Levante SUV’s smaller sister, the Grecale, is finally here in three trim levels named GT, Modena and Trofeo all featuring all-wheel drive and a choice of two petrol engines. A Folgore branded electric version will follow in 2024. Dull design doesn’t do the stunning drive justice, so does it justify that Trident badge?
“Of the petrol versions, it would have to be the entry-level GT version”
If you want ultra-low running costs, wait for the electric Folgore version in 2024, with cheap electricity on a domestic tariff, low servicing costs, no congestion charge and low tax for a company car. In the meantime, of the petrol versions, it would have to be the entry-level GT with its 2.0-litre engine and 296 horsepower, which will be slightly more economical than the uprated version of the same engine in the Modena. It’s also more frugal, on paper at least than the Porsche Macan, which is still the benchmark for the class. Depreciation isn’t bad, so finance deals could be worse on some competitors, but fuel, tax and aftercare will be pricey.
Expert rating: 2/5
Reliability of a Maserati Grecale
“The Grecale feels like a step up in terms of build quality from the Levante”
Traditionally Maserati does not have a great track record for reliability, along with the myriad other Italian brands. So much love and attention goes into the initial engineering, it’s a shame they then seem to think they’re done for the day. However, the Grecale feels like a step up in terms of build quality from the Levante, and there is plenty of know-how feeding into the system from parent company Stellantis, which also owns giants like Vauxhall and Peugeot. So we’re willing to give Maserati the benefit of the doubt, for now.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Maserati Grecale
“You get automatic braking as standard and the car gives you a very good view of everything around you,”
So many of the safety systems integrated as standard in cars now are utterly annoying and border on dangerous, meaning many drivers understandably switch them all off as soon as they get in. As such it’s a crying shame that the few things that are actually helpful - blind spot warning and lane assist - are so often only available on higher trim levels, or as an optional safety pack. In the case of the Grecale, you’ve got to get the Driver Assistance Plus pack for those two features. Grrr. A head-up display is also an option. But, you get automatic braking as standard and the car gives you a very good view of everything around you, and a general sense of confidence on the road.
Expert rating: 3/5
How comfortable is the Maserati Grecale
“There’s a surprising amount of space in the Grecale, given it’s not the biggest SUV Maserati sells”
There’s a surprising amount of space in the Grecale, given it’s not the biggest SUV Maserati sells. It feels wide inside, with a generous central storage space between the front passengers for water bottles, phones, tissues and keys, and acres of seating in the rear, swathed in soft leather if you’re in a Modena or Trofeo version. We loved the red Maserati badging stitched into the headrests in the Trofeo model.
Leg- and headroom in the rear are great, although a middle passenger will have to contend with the transmission tunnel between their legs. The boot is massive, too, for a mid-sized SUV, with plenty of room for suitcases. If you’re after a light, airy interior, however, you’ll be disappointed - the Grecale is all about menacing, sporty, dark materials.
Every version also gets an electrically adjustable driver’s seat (including side bolsters and lumbar support) and steering wheel.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Maserati Grecale
“The digital graphics on the screens are still way too small and fiddly”
If you want a hardcore, dynamic interior filled with carbon fibre, contrast stitching and dark materials, splash out on the Trofeo. Otherwise, there is much to enjoy in the base GT version, from the great standard sound system (the Sonus faber system in the Trofeo is unbelievable if you have the huge extra budget) to the standard rear-view camera with its crystal-clear display.
However, the digital graphics on the screens are still way too small and fiddly. There’s far too much information being thrown at you, most of it not needed. The only good news for Maserati is that this is also the area where Porsche falls down. Both brands should take some lessons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Thankfully, every car has smartphone mirroring so you just have to switch to Apple CarPlay and leave it there.
Expert rating: 3/5
Power for a Maserati Grecale
“the Trofeo version makes sense, because this version of the Grecale is an altogether different car”
This is where the extra cash for the Trofeo makes sense, because this version of the Grecale is an altogether different car, with savage gear changes that take your breath away and a gorgeous, soaring, properly Italian 3.0-litrepetrol engine that takes you to 62mph in 3.8 seconds thanks to 523 horsepower. You also get adaptive air suspension in the Trofeo, which manages to keep things relatively supple, even in Sport mode, so your bones aren’t rattling with every jolt. The brakes and steering are reassuring in their feedback, allowing you the confidence to push harder through corners.
As for the four-cylinder petrol engine, it’s satisfying, if not exhilarating. In the Modena version, with its power hike to 325 horsepower, you can even elicit a few pops and crackles from the exhaust. But in the standard GT version, with just 296 horsepower, it feels average, and lends the Grecale an everyday air that lets the badge down. But for those who just fancy a Trident-bearing wagon for the commute and weekend leisure trips, it’ll do. Which is not really what we want to surmise about a car from an Italian legend.