Buy a Minivan, Not a Maserati

Here’s a riddle for you: what do a Maserati and a Minivan have in common? If you said four wheels and a steering column, well then, yes – you’re right. And of course, they both start with the letter ‘M’. But really, that’s where one would think most of the shared similarities between the sexy Italian sports car and the mom-machine would end.

So you can imagine our surprise when we learned that the Maserati Levante and the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan will soon become much more than just cousins in the Fiat Chrysler family. They’ll actually be sharing body parts. Yes – you read that right. Maserati is borrowing parts for its hybrid Levante model from the Pacifica hybrid. And this got us wondering: if the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid is so great that Maserati is willing to cannibalize it, how does the regular Pacifica stack up against the regular Levante?

So before you go out and purchase that base model 2017 Maserati Levante for $72,600, let us see if we can save you over forty thousand dollars and get you into a new base model 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for $28,995.

Performance

The Maserati Levante comes standard with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 Ferrari-built engine that will get you going zero to 60 in just 5.8 seconds with its 345 horses galloping under the hood. With 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway, the Levante can’t compete with the others in its class of luxury mid-sized SUVs. It also cannot compete with the gas mileage on the Pacifica with its 18 miles to the gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The Pacifica also comes standard with a V6 engine, but you’re a little short on horsepower with only 287 ponies. However, the Pacifica does best both the Maserati and almost all of the other cars in its minivan class when it comes to fuel-efficiency. So let us up your savings a little more: ditch the Maserati Levante for the Chrysler Pacifica, and add your savings from the pump to the $40,000 you’ve already banked.

Interior

With room for five, the Levante is a comfortable, leather-upholstered ride – particularly if you’re riding up front. The back seats aren’t exactly cramped, but they aren’t exactly roomy for adults. Standard features include 12-way adjustable power seats, heated front seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. You also have rearview camera, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and an eight speaker audio system. There’s quite a selection of available options, so you can really go to town customizing the Levante to suit your personality and needs (well, wants really – silk-lined interior is a want, not a need).

With the Pacifica base model, you can fit seven passengers comfortably – eight if you opt for the second row bench. You’ll be sitting on cloth, not leather, but you can always upgrade if that’s important to you. You’ll also have keyless entry, an eight-way power driver’s seat, three-zone climate control, a five-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and a six-speaker sound system with USB, auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth capability. There are five trim levels on the Pacifica, with the most expensive, the Limited, starting at $42,895. So here’s the rub: the base model Maserati might have a few more features and a bigger touchscreen, but you could get all of that and more in the Limited (and fit additional passengers) and you’ll still come out ahead by $29,705.

Oh, and if cargo room is a thing for you, you’re going to want to go Pacifica. The Levante only offers 19.4 cubic feet of trunk space if the back seats are up, and 57 cubic feet if they’re down. The Pacifica? 32.3 cubic feet if all the seats are taken, 87.5 cubic feet if the third row is collapsed, and 140.5 cubic feet if you collapse both the second and third rows. So when it comes to cargo space – there’s just no comparison between the Maserati Levante and the Pacifica.

Safety

Okay, we’ll admit that since the Levante is so new, it’s not exactly fair to make the safety comparison as neither the Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet tested the car. However, we can tell you that the Pacifica is the only minivan to have been named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and earned the top score of “Good” across the board. Additionally, the NHTSA gives it a five star rating. The Pacifica outshines even its own class competitors when it comes to safety.

Ratings aside, both the Pacifica and the Levante come standard with a backup camera, and both offer advanced safety options such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. With the safety features of both models being only available and not standard, we’ll just have to wait and see how the Levante performs before we declare a winner in this category.

Maserati or Minivan?

So do we have you convinced to pocket the extra money and buy a Chrysler Pacifica Minivan? Most likely not, and that’s because as hard we could possibly try, the Maserati is just that – a Maserati. It’s got style, sex appeal, and luxury brand recognition. If you’re in the market for a Maserati, no minivan is going to convince you otherwise. However, hopefully we have convinced you that the new Levante Hybrid is going to be a quality option, not despite of the fact, but because of the fact that it’s borrowing key parts from such a well crafted minivan. As Maserati’s overseas market director Umberto Cini stated, “If we can deliver hybrid technology or electric technology the same feeling that you can deliver with the current product range, why not?”

So keep your eyes and your options open, because when Maserati releases the Levante Hybrid, it’s going to truly be the best of two worlds.