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The Maserati Levante is the Family-Friendly Maserati

When you think of a Maserati, you probably think of speed, elegance, and an expensive price tag. You probably don’t think of picking up the kids from school or driving to the soccer game on the weekends, that’s why we have minivans and Chevrolet Suburbans, no?

Well, if the family car wasn’t supposed to be awesome, no one ever told the designers of the Maserati Levante, a five-seater midsized SUV that handles like a sports car, looks like a work of art, and, depending on which model you choose, actually won’t break the family budget. The base model Levante starts off at $76,980 — far from cheap, to be sure, but for a car with hand-stitched interior detailing, a finely tuned eight-speed engine, and a superb sound system, you get what you pay for and then some.

I recently spent five days with a Maserati Levante GranLusso, a vehicle into which I could easily fit two car seats, a stroller, groceries, and a wife who couldn’t stop raving over the comfort of the seats. I was more interested in the handling, which was so responsive and enjoyable that in fact, I kept looking for excuses to drive around without my family in the car — fast turns and high speeds are less fun when you’ve got your biggest responsibilities in life strapped in with you.

Steven John/The Manual

The GranLusso version of the Levante isn’t a rocket ship. It has a 424 horsepower engine that delivers plenty of speed, but the pick-up wasn’t anything worth mentioning beyond … um … this mention. Once at speed, though, the GranLusso was a pure pleasure to drive. It sticks to the road around curves and absorbs uneven surfaces with grace, keeping the ride comfortable under all sorts of conditions. And if you want to keep on creeping up the price scale, the Levante GTS has a 550 horsepower engine and costs $119,980, while the Levante Trofeo has 590 HP and runs $169,980. Also, it can hit nearly 190 miles per hour.

Every interior detail of the Maserati Levante was clearly created with care. From the 8.4-inch touchscreen’s compatibility with a center console rotary controller to the multiple adjustment points of the seats and steering wheel to the hand-stitched upholstery and carbon fiber panels, this is one of the most comfortable cars I have ever driven.

In terms of exterior style, it manages to blend grace and aggression through an overall subtle design. The front grille is big and bold and the hood is plenty long, but the sweep of the car is fluid from tip to tail, without harsh angles or stark facets. When you see a Levante drive by, you know you are seeing a fine automobile, but you might not immediately pick out any details that define it.

And when you drive a Maserati Levante, you hope that the company somehow forgot about your loaner and will just leave it with you indefinitely. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t.)

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