REVIEW: Maserati Grecale Modena offers sporting SUV vibes
The Grecale is spacious and lacks for little in luxury
With the market’s unquenchable thirst for SUVs it doesn’t come as a great surprise that the new Grecale has become one of Maserati’s most popular models.
There was a time when automotive purists may have lamented such a state of affairs, but look at almost any sports car brand today and you’ll see one of their high-riding family cars, rather than their low-slung speed demons, raking in the most sales.
The Grecale is a midsized premium crossover introduced as a smaller and more affordable alternative to the Maserati Levante. It is built on Stellantis’ “Giorgio” platform which also underpins Alfa Romeo’s Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover. Grecale (pronounced “grey-ka-lay”) is a rival to the Stelvio and Porsche Macan, and comprises three petrol-powered models and an electric Folgore version.
Smaller than the Levante it may be, but the Grecale is spacious and lacks for little in luxury. With its 4,846mm length it offers up to 570l of boot space and comfortable rear legroom.
The Grecale’s styling unmistakably hails from the trident stable, with a sloping coupe-style roofline and a front end inspired by Maserati’s MC20 mid-engined sports car. The black, toothy grille is low and imposing and the front fenders have Maserati’s signature triple portals.
The dual double exhausts signal that there is some passion in this car’s pants, and the Grecale on the whole doesn’t disappoint.
I tested the Modena, the middle of the three-model Grecale range, which is priced at R2,320,000 and has a 2.0l petrol turbo engine aided by a 48V mild hybrid system. Like all Grecales it has permanent all-wheel drive.
Outputs of 243kW and 450Nm provide reasonable sizzle in the Modena, and in our Gauteng altitude test at Gerotek the Italian sports SUV achieved a respectable 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds (Maserati claims 5.3 seconds at sea level).
By today’s standards that is brisk performance without being brutal. The Grecale Modena is more about effortless cruising and instant thrust when you need it around town. It feels spirited throughout the rev range and there is hardly any turbo lag.
The Modena has a sporty undertone to the exhaust note but nothing very emotional; four-cylinder engines aren’t known for being soulful. There is more aural entertainment to be had from the Sonus faber audio system with 3D sound and up to 21 speakers.
The eight-speed auto gearbox performs efficiently but sometimes I used the large metal paddle shifters on the steering column just for their satisfying feel.
The test car averaged around 12.5l /100km which included high-performance testing, and with more restrained driving Maserati claims a 9.3l figure is achievable.
What stands out about the Grecale is its refinement. This extends to its yielding ride, especially with the suspension set to Comfort mode, and this high-riding Maserati is excellent at ironing out road bumps.
Handling-wise the Grecale is on the sportier end of the SUV scale, mostly thanks to sharp steering that makes it nip into turns with entertaining agility. When pushed really hard the high-riding vehicle’s limits are exposed with understeer and body roll, but overall it has clean road holding. It reminds me of the Alfa Stelvio with its sporty demeanour.
Inside the Grecale, it’s all premium fare with a mix of luxury leather, wood and polished metal — there is no plastic panel to be seen. The traditional clock atop the dash remains, but for the first time it is digital, not analogue, and offers a selectable array of faces.
Instead of handles, electric buttons are used to open the doors from the inside.
The dashboard is minimalist and has no physical buttons. The infotainment and climate settings are controlled on a pair of touchscreens, and it is fairly intuitive to use if you know your way around a smartphone. Voice control is via the Maserati Intelligent Assistant (Mia) connected to Amazon Alexa, and there is an optional head-up display.
The Grecale Modena isn't the most exciting Maserati ever built but it has style, space and some sporting sizzle, plus the prestige of that iconic Italian badge.
The Maserati Grecale comes with a three-year unlimited distance warranty and five-year/100,000km service plan.
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