The automobile landscape has seen giants play and replay familiar notes, but 2023 brings a fresh symphony from Maserati: the Grecale Modena. Venturing for the first time into the compact luxury SUV segment, a domain already dominated by stalwarts like the Porsche Macan, the Grecale has its work cut out for it. The challenge isn’t just to compete but to carve a unique niche amidst seasoned players. Straying from a well-trodden path, this vehicle aims to merge the luxury and performance Maserati is renowned for, with novel design cues and features. While it’s unmistakably Maserati at its core, there are aspects that prompt a double-take. Will its Italian flair be the trump card in this crowded arena?
A Study in Italian Aesthetics
In the world of luxury compact SUVs, it is vital for a vehicle to establish its presence, not just through performance, but also with its very appearance. The Grecale Modena, in this aspect, makes its intentions clear from the first glance.
The Maserati DNA is evident right at the forefront. The Grecale wears the iconic trident emblem with pride, sitting atop a meticulously designed grille with vertical slats. This grille not only evokes a sense of movement but serves as a nod to the brand’s storied history while distinctly setting the Grecale apart from its competitors.
A side view reveals a masterclass in automotive design. The Grecale strikes a balance between muscular haunches and sleek, flowing lines, reminiscent of the Italian coastlines it’s named after. Its sporty stance is accentuated by the roofline, which slopes down gracefully towards the rear, lending it both aerodynamic advantages and a unique visual identity.
Attention to detail is a hallmark of Maserati, and the Grecale Modena does not disappoint. From the intricately designed alloy wheels to the sculpted rear tail lights, every element serves a purpose – either enhancing performance or adding to its visual allure. The door handles, for instance, sit flush with the body, an ode to both design and aerodynamic efficiency.
Bold Rear Design:
The rear of the Grecale Modena is as impressive as its front. Broad haunches and a sharply designed tailgate ensure that the SUV looks just as imposing from behind. The twin exhaust tips hint at the vehicle’s performance credentials, and the sleek LED tail lights extend horizontally, accentuating the car’s width and presence on the road.
The Grecale Modena’s exterior doesn’t just abide by Maserati’s deep-rooted design philosophies—it innovates on them. In the bustling segment of compact luxury SUVs, the Grecale Modena confidently carves its own space, beckoning onlookers and aficionados alike to appreciate the magic of Italian design.
Charming Interior Design
Step inside, and the cabin effortlessly marries the aesthetics of luxury with functionality. Every element, from the stitching on the leather seats to the gleam on the polished metals, speaks of a dedication to craftsmanship. The open-pore woods provide a tactile experience that is as pleasing to the touch as it is to the eye, echoing the nuanced balance between modernity and timeless elegance.
Every corner of the Grecale Modena’s interior is a testament to Maserati’s commitment to superior craftsmanship. The tactile feel of the switches, the responsive click of the dials, and the soft touch materials emphasize the brand’s focus on creating an immersive driving experience. One can’t help but notice the brand’s effort in ensuring that each touchpoint is not just functional, but also exudes a sense of luxury.
Front and center, the dashboard features an array of digital displays that cater to the modern driver’s needs. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster offers a clear and concise view of driving data. Then, there’s the dual touchscreen setup on the center stack: the upper 12.3-inch screen is the primary hub for infotainment, while the 8.8-inch screen below caters to HVAC and other vehicle controls. This division makes for a less cluttered interface, though it may take new users a moment to acclimate to the dual-screen system.
A unique touch, and a nod to Maserati’s blend of tradition with the modern, is the digital reconfigurable clock. While most brands might opt for a simple analog clock or abandon the idea altogether, Maserati provides a nod to its heritage while keeping pace with the times.
That said, while the Grecale Modena makes an effort to elevate the in-car experience with its technological offerings, some may find the plethora of screens a tad overwhelming. But for those who appreciate a mix of old-world charm with new-age tech, the Grecale strikes the right balance.
Driving Dynamics & Specs:
The Maserati Grecale Modena, with its historic marque behind the name, enters the fray with expectations riding high. As we delve into the driving dynamics and specifications, it’s essential to measure it against the contemporary benchmarks in the compact luxury SUV segment. Beneath the sculpted hood of the Grecale lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an interesting choice for a brand known for its V8 growls and electrifying performance. In the GT, this powertrain offers a decent 296 horsepower, while the Modena trim gets an additional boost, delivering 325 horses. Paired with a refined eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
During my time with the Grecale Modena, the powertrain largely lived up to these expectations, offering brisk acceleration, though the presence of noticeable turbo lag was a slight dampener. When the tachometer needle climbs and the engine spools up, there’s a commendable surge of power that does bring a smile to the face and for a 4-cyl it sounds good too. However, if you’re anticipating the spirited thrill of a Maserati, this might come off as a bit underwhelming.
On the move, the Grecale balances ride comfort and dynamic agility well. There’s a plushness to the suspension, especially in Comfort mode, that absorbs road imperfections, making city drives and long cruises pleasantly smooth. For those seeking a hint of sportiness, toggling through the drive modes does firm things up a bit, lending the SUV a more connected feel to the road. Yet, despite its poised demeanor, the Grecale falls short of the sheer driving joy and involvement that rivals like the Porsche Macan bring to the table.
The decision to opt for a four-cylinder in a luxury performance SUV, especially at the Grecale Modena’s price point, is bound to raise eyebrows. It leaves one pondering: while the SUV is competent, does it truly justify its premium, especially when competitors offer similar or better performance with a more engaging driving experience?
In the final reckoning, the Maserati Grecale Modena presents a conundrum. It is a well-executed luxury SUV, but for those who prioritize spirited driving dynamics, it might leave you yearning for just a touch more excitement.
The Maserati Grecale Modena is an ambitious venture into the compact luxury SUV domain, one that presents both a blend of Italian luxury and modern technical prowess. Its design, both exterior and interior, evokes the rich heritage of the brand, while innovations inside promise a modern driving experience.
Is it luxurious? Unquestionably. The cabin is a testament to fine Italian craftsmanship and the attention to detail is evident in every stitch and polish. But in terms of sheer driving exhilaration, it’s evident that there’s some room for improvement. The Grecale Modena drives competently, but it doesn’t consistently spark the thrill that some enthusiasts might expect, especially at its price point. There is a Grecale Trofeo trim for those seeking true driving thrills with over 520 horsepower, but it does touch the six-figure MSRP arena moving it up into a different segment of compact ultra-performance SUVs.
For those deeply enamored by the Maserati brand, or those seeking a sophisticated luxury SUV with a unique character, the Grecale Modena certainly warrants consideration. In essence, the Grecale Modena stands as a testament to Maserati’s ability to evolve, to enter new segments, and to continually redefine itself. Whether it will carve out its desired niche in this highly competitive segment remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: Maserati’s journey into the world of compact luxury SUVs is off to an intriguing start.