Skip to main content

Maserati SUV is still happening, and could spawn an Alfa Romeo twin

Maserati-Kubang_FrontPurists who may have been distracted by Maserati’s redesigned Quattroporte sedan may have forgotten about the Italian sports car brand’s plans to build not one, but two SUVs. They’ll be disappointed to know that an SUV will wear the Trident badge, but it will be built at a different factory and could be rebadged as an Alfa Romeo.

The Maserati Kubang debuted as a concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it’s been haunting the dreams of people who remember the brand’s race-winning Formula 1 cars and gorgeous grand tourers ever since. Maserati subsequently changed the crossover’s name to Levante, which sounds much sophisticated, and it seems to be sticking.

Other things are changing, though. The Levante is supposed to be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee (itself derived from an old Mercedes-Benz M-Class platform), so it was assumed that both vehicles would be built at the same factory, Chysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit.

Instead, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News Europe (subscription required) that the Levante will be built at Fiat’s flagship plant, Miafiori in Turin, Italy.

Marchionne said Fiat will invest $1.63 billion in a “relaunch” of the Maserati brand, and that will likely include an investment in the Turin plant to get it up to speed. It also lays the groundwork for an interesting scenario.

If Miafiori can sate buyers’ demands for Levantes, Fiat might use the extra capacity to build a rebadged Alfa Romeo version. An Alfa SUV sounds about as a sacrilegious as a Maserati SUV, but it might be just what the brand needs.

Alfa showed an SUV concept, the Kamal, at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, and it was linked to one of the brand’s many attempts to return to the United States. It never made it to production, but a reincarnated version could help Alfa exploit a potential U.S. beachhead.

Alfa’s latest attempt will begin with the 4C, but a luxury crossover will make more money than a mid-engined sports car, even when it seems out of character. The Cayenne has been a moneymaker for Porsche, which is probably why Maserati is building the Levante in the first place.

An Alfa Romeo SUV is still just an idea, but the Levante is expected to debut sometime in 2014 and reach dealers by calendar year 2015 at the latest. Maserati may also build a smaller SUV, set to take on Porsche’s Macan, as a follow-up.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Kia EV3 vs Tesla Model Y: Can Kia’s new entry-level car take on Tesla?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 is finally coming, and it could well end up being the best small-size electric SUV to buy when it finally rolls out. It's smaller than the Kia EV9, but it offers many of the same design elements and features. But there's another small-size electric car that's currently one of the most popular vehicles out there -- the Tesla Model Y.

How does the Kia EV3 compare with the Tesla Model Y? And is one vehicle actually better than the other? We put the Kia EV3 and the Tesla Model Y head-to-head to find out.
Design
The design of the Kia EV3 is very different than that of the Model Y, though they're both reasonably good-looking vehicles.

Read more
Entry-level Cadillac Optiq EV promises 300 miles of range for $54,000
2025 Cadillac Optiq front three quarter view.

The 2025 Cadillac Optiq will be the General Motors luxury brand's entry-level EV when it starts production late this fall. But it won't have entry-level specs.

After unveiling the Optiq in November 2023, Cadillac is now filling in some of the blanks on this electric crossover SUV's spec sheet. We now know that the Optiq will feature a standard dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain tuned for 300 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, along with an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack providing an estimated range of over 300 miles. Like other GM EVs, the Optiq will be capable of one-pedal driving, with regenerative braking adjustable via a steering wheel paddle.

Read more
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally first drive: old pony learns new trick
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on dirt.

With its Mustang Mach-E, Ford promised an electric SUV imbued with the spirit of the iconic Mustang performance car. Now well into its production run, the Mach-E is living up to its Mustang billing in that, like the traditional internal-combustion Mustang coupe and convertible, Ford wants to grow the herd of Mach-E variants.

Introduced for the 2021 model year, the Mach-E is nearing the point where most vehicles would see a redesign, or at least a major update. That seems especially pressing given the accumulation of fresher competition in the form of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Chevrolet Blazer EV. But instead of a redesign, the big news for the 2024 Mustang Mach-E is a new Rally model designed for dirt-road driving.

Read more