2024 Maserati Grecale Trofeo Review: Supercar Steering, Supercar Quirks

Maserati’s reputation for four-door cars isn’t great. The most recent Ghibli, Quattroporte, and Levante are all but forgotten in the world of luxury cars, with dwindling sales at best and industry-leading depreciation. However, the iconic Italian brand has been slowly reinventing itself with a new stable of surprisingly good sports cars like the excellent MC20 supercar and the beautiful GranTurismo. But the 2024 Maserati Grecale Trofeo is the brand’s chance to prove that it can not only make a good car that happens to seat five but one that can compete in the incredibly crowded performance SUV market. 

Three trim levels make up the Grecale lineup: GT, Modena, and Trofeo. The former two use 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The Trofeo, however, is the ultra-spicy performance version packing a six-cylinder engine. It’s the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged Nettuno engine that powers the GranTurismo and MC20, and it gives the Grecale enough punch to hang with the best fighters in the segment. 

But Maseratis have always been powerful, they’ve always had exotic engines, and they’ve always looked goo… well, they’ve mostly looked good; the Levante is heinous. Still, Maseratis have always been interesting and exciting, even when they miss the design mark a bit. What they haven’t always been is good to drive. So, can the new Grecale actually take on the best in the world? Yes, it most certainly can. 

The Basics

If the Maserati Grecale Trofeo reminds you of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, your instincts are good. The Grecale is built on a modified version of the Giorgio platform, a platform shared with Alfa’s Stelvio SUV and Giulia sedan. The Grecale is a little bit bigger than the Stelvio, with a longer wheelbase and more interior room, but their bones are similar and you can tell from behind the wheel. That isn’t an insult, the Stelvio is incredible to drive. However, what’s most important is that the Grecale isn’t built on the same platform as the Levante. The only thing the Grecale shares with the Levante is the trident on its hood and that’s a relief because the Levante is, to put it kindly, pretty shit. The Grecale is very much un-shit. 

Oddly, the Grecale isn’t a pretty car. It isn’t ugly—Maserati has but a few stinkers in its history—but it isn’t exactly beautiful, either. And that’s head-scratching because the GranTurismo is gorgeous and the MC20 looks great. It looks good from some angles, like from the front, but it’s frumpy and awkward from most others and that’s a shame. I don’t think Maserati’s current design language works well on an SUV body. Admittedly, I don’t think my tester’s matte gray paint helped, as I saw another one in Blue Intenso Metallic with different wheels and it looked much better.

However, step inside and its cabin is very pretty. It’s expensive and sophisticated looking in a way that only an Italian carmaker can do. Its leather feels lavish while real metal and carbon fiber trim make it look exotic. It’s delightfully unlike anything German, American, or Japanese. You sit inside the Grecale knowing full well that it’s different from all of your neighbors’ SUVs. Some of the exoticism fades when you touch certain plasticky buttons, though, like the horrendous ones that control the transmission. They’d feel subpar on a microwave, never mind a $117,000 luxury SUV. But, for the most part, the cabin is lovely and surprisingly capacious. 

The star of the show, though, is the engine. Maserati caught some flak for ditching its old, glorious 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 for a twin-turbo V6, but having used the new engine in three different cars, I can confidently say that Maserati made the right choice. The old V8 was a sensational thing, a mechanical composer of internal combustion symphonies. But it also broke every 47 seconds and failed to meet modern efficiency standards. This new engine is far newer, makes more power and torque—523 horsepower and 457 lb-ft, to be exact—and has a character all of its own. The noises it makes are slightly muffled in the Grecale (it whooshes and buzzes in the MC20) but they’re mechanical and angry, giving it its own unique character. With dairy smooth power delivery and razor-sharp response, the Nettuno engine works perfectly with the now-ubiquitous ZF eight-speed automatic, which offers manual control via massive metal paddles (they’re plucked directly from Alfas and feel sensational). 

Driving the Maserati Grecale Trofeo

Drive the Grecale Trofeo for two minutes and you’ll realize that you’re in something genuinely special. The way it steers is unlike any other SUV I’ve driven, with ultra-precise steering and the most hyperactive front end I’ve ever seen from anything so tall. The way its front tires bite and how the rest of the chassis then changes direction behind them puts it near supercar territory. There are genuine sports cars that don’t steer quite as sharply as the Grecale Trofeo. To sweeten the deal, its actual steering weight is nearly perfect, with great on-center feel, and a wonderful build-up of weight as you add lock. If there’s a better steering SUV, please point me in its direction because I need to try it. 

Nico DeMattia

There’s a drawback to that incredible steering, though. Whatever front-end suspension geometry Maserati gave the Grecale Trofeo that makes it steer beautifully also causes an “Ackerman Effect”-style skipping when moving slowly at full steering lock. There’s an abrupt and uncomfortable clonking and jolting that hurts the expensive, premium experience when, say, navigating a tight parking lot or making a U-turn in a residential area.  Once you’re on the move, though, the Grecale Trofeo is smooth and athletic. 

It rides beautifully, too, especially considering its massive 21-inch wheels. Maserati’s Skyhook suspension and air shocks are tuned for the perfect blend of comfort and agility. If I had a minor complaint, it’d be that I wish it had a lower, more aggressive suspension setting, as even Corsa—the lowest, sportiest setting—looks a bit too tall and is a bit too comfy. In something with a Trofeo badge, I’d like a harder-edged setting. But that’s a small gripe because the Grecale is so good at so many things. It’s sharp and agile, comfortable when cruising, and rock-solid at high speeds. You’ll find yourself accidentally doing triple-digits on the highway because it’s just so smooth and effortlessly powerful. 

Stopping is equally impressive. Those big Brembos erase speed with ease and the pedal feel is perfect: it bites hard at the top but not overly so, and has nice linear pressure buildup as you push further down. It stops like a supercar, not an SUV.

Highs and Lows

There’s a lot to love about the Grecale Trofeo: brilliant steering, killer engine, strong brakes, and a great-looking cabin. Other, less immediately noticeable pros include its fantastic seating position, almost nuclear seat heating, and a surprisingly big back seat. As a judge of overall legroom front and rear, I usually see how much kneeroom my wife has in the front passenger seat after putting a big clunky car seat behind her. She had more room in the Grecale than she does in my three-row first-gen Honda Pilot. 

That said, the Grecale Trofeo wouldn’t be Italian without a few … quirks. Low-speed clunking aside, the touchscreen climate controls are annoying to use, especially while driving. They’re just too cluttered and confusing. The transmission buttons are among the worst I’ve ever seen, with a mushy, plasticky feel that ruins some of the cabin’s premium feel. Also, the wiper stalk is bewildering, as it uses the same sort of self-returning mechanism that BMW caught flak for a decade ago, and you push it up for the front wipers but down for the rear wiper. Then, you adjust with a little scroll wheel on the stalk to adjust speed. It’s sort of clever but odd and very confusing at first, which is incredibly Italian. None of these are deal breakers or big issues, but they are mildly annoying. 

Maserati Grecale Trofeo Features, Options, and Competition 

You might expect an SUV with a six-figure starting price and a Maserati badge to come fully loaded from the start. Few tears will be shed about rich people having to spend more money but it’s still unusual to see such an expensive car missing certain features from their standard spec sheet. Surround-view camera? That’s 800 additional bucks. Full LED headlights? You’ll pay an extra $1,200. Want a heated steering wheel? It’s part of a $4,200 Premium Plus Package that also heats the rear seats, ventilates the front ones, and adds the good-but-not-amazing Sonus Faber surround sound system. But the Driver Assistance Package is an additional $3,100 and the Technology Package (head-up display and wireless phone charging) is another $1,100. Those are features that you get in a $50,000 Hyundai Palisade but ballooned my test car’s price to nearly $120,000.

Can you really get anything else that drives quite like the Grecale Trofeo for $120,000, though? I haven’t driven the new Porsche Macan, so I can’t say for sure. However, I can say from personal experience that none of the other German performance SUVs—from BMW, Audi, or Mercedes—can come close to matching the Maser’s driving thrills, at any price point. They may have better tech but the Italian is the one you want if you like driving. And if you’re buying a performance SUV, you probably like driving. 

Fuel Economy 

No one buys a 500-plus hp performance SUV with a sub-four-second 0-60 mph time for fuel economy. But Maserati delivers in that department anyway. With 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined, the Grecale Trofeo is slightly less thirsty than its rivals from Porsche and BMW. All while sounding better than most and delivering similar performance. 


Value and Verdict

Value is almost irrelevant at this price point. Few customers decide which six-figure SUV they want based on the deal they get. They get the car they want and that’s that. But in the name of objective reporting, I think the Maserati is actually pretty good value. Sure, its options list is borderline insulting—if Maserati made sneakers, the shoelaces would probably be an optional extra. However, for under $120,000 fully loaded out the door, there isn’t a better-driving SUV on the planet. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo may have this bested but it’s $20,000 more before options and if you think Maserati is stingy on extras, just wait until you see Porsche’s list. I’ve driven the Ms, the AMGs, and the Audi RS’ and they’ve got nothin’ on the Maserati. Well, except for better reputations for reliability, better dealer networks, and more readily available parts. But who cares about those things when you can have this much fun? 

The 2024 Maserati Grecale Trofeo is a genuinely outstanding SUV. It has its foibles, like every other car, and there will certainly be jokes made about the brand’s reputation. However, from behind the wheel, the Grecale Trofeo proves that not only can Maserati succeed in making a performance SUV that can compete with the best in the business, it can beat them.

Nico DeMattia
2024 Maserati Grecale Trofeo Specs
Base Price (as tested)$106,995 ($118,995)
Powertrain3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
Torque457 lb-ft
Seating Capacity5
Curb Weight4,629 pounds
Cargo Volume20.1 cubic feet
0-60 mph3.6 seconds
Top Speed177 mph
EPA Fuel Economy18 mpg city | 25 highway | 20 combined
Quick TakeOne of the very best driving SUVs on the planet but typical Italian car quirks keep it from being perfect.

Got tips? Send ’em to tips@thedrive.com


The Drive Logo

Car Buying Service