SUV’s seem to be everywhere these days, but prices, performance and luxury levels run the gambit from economical basic transportation to sports car performance and extravagant luxury. An example of the latter is the new Maserati Grecale, a mid-sized SUV with Maserati performance and luxury built into its DNA.

The Grecale offers attractive Italian styling starting with a large gaping grill centered on the classic Maserati Trident, leading to a sloping hood with distinctive character lines, a sloping roofline and a sharply raked rear hatch.

Once in the Grecale, you’re greeted with rich leather throughout the cabin, including on the moderately bolstered heated and cooled 14-way power front seats with driver memory. The gauge cluster in front of the driver is all digital, but displays an “analogue” tachometer and speedometer, with a variety of other information and displays surrounding the two gauges. The digital speedometer at the top of the cluster is informative and helpful at a glance. It also has a heated steering wheel and a large dual-pane sunroof to let in some light. Driver’s aids include a blind spot sensor with lane keeping assist, a back-up camera, pedestrian recognition and adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors with rear active braking, and a pre-collision warning system with visual and audible warnings and emergency braking.

In back is a nice large heated rear seat that folds 40/20/40, with plenty of legroom and its own air vents and USB ports. The cargo area is surprisingly roomy and can carry a lot under its tonneau cover, but the sharply raked rear roof impinges on the height of items that can be carried in the cargo area. The hatch is electric and opens and closes at the touch of a button.

The Grecale offers Apple car play and Android connections, but there are no knobs for audio volume or tuning. Volume is controlled by a haptic slide button on the center screen that is difficult to control while moving. Luxury amenities include a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, memory seats, keyless entry and rain sensing speed sensitive windshield wipers. The engine start/stop button is on a small wheel in the steering wheel, as is a similar one that chooses the driving mode: off-road, comfort, GT, sport and corsa (race). The steering wheel mounted paddle shifter, however, tends to get in the way of the turn signal stalk right behind it.

Navigation, phone, media and vehicle information reside on the top half of the large center screen, with the transmission buttons in the middle and the ventilation controls on the bottom, which tilts out towards the cabin. To operate the heated or cooled seats or the heated steering wheel you have to go through several screen functions, which can take multiple push attempts to execute because the touch screen can be a bit finicky. Light controls are at the bottom of the screen, not on a steering wheel stalk or the dashboard, so they’re a little unusual to find, especially if entering in the dark. Electric buttons open the doors, but there is a redundant pull latch if an electric button fails.

The Grecale offers really fast acceleration thanks to its Ferrari derived turbo V-6, which is placed far back in the engine compartment to optimize front to back weight distribution, which in turn enhances handling. Combined with good brakes, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission and a nice firm ride, it performs and handles very well for an SUV. You can feel the Maserati heritage in its suspension. Steering is nice and tight, especially at higher speeds and in sport mode. If you have to drive an SUV, the Grecale at least offers a motoring enthusiast a taste of performance and driving fun not found in most other large vehicles. The triumphant roar of the engine is symphonic and adds a fantastic aural beauty to the experience, one that will be missed when electric vehicles rule the streets.

Max Hefele, sales executive at Jim Butler Maserati, says, “The Grecale is a great vehicle for everyday use. It’s fun to drive and has an upgraded interior in addition to being one of the fastest SUV’s around.”

Model: Maserati Grecale Trofeo
Price: Base $106,500 including delivery; as driven with options $125,000
Gas mileage: 18 city, 25 highway
Drivetrain: Front engine; all-wheel drive; 3.0 litre twin-turbo V-6 engine, 523 horsepower; 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Robert Paster ( is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.