Maserati introduces its first SUV called Levante. Engineered to take on many situations yet retain its Italian appeal, the moderately big yet sleek car leaves an impression with its style and easy driving. Malaysia Tatler takes this handsome ride for a test around the Klang Valley and beyond.

Maserati is known for producing exciting cars that turns heads when one zooms by, with the Levante being the company's first attempt at the seemingly popular SUV market.

The Levante, named after the Mediterranean wind, bears similar styling and design to its saloon-sized brother the Ghibli but due to its larger size, feels slightly subdued and calmer in comparison.

Yet, the Levante's sleek curves and sporty character has the hallmarks of a car that hails from a company with a racing background.

Sit behind the wheel for the first time and it's hard to deny the car's demand to be driven. Svelte leather stitching, an array of on-wheel buttons and a mix of digital and analog meters do a great job at providing you all the information you need without being too obstrusive, just as a well-designed modern luxury car should.

Under the hood, the Levante is able to go from 0 to 100 in 6.9 seconds, has a maximum power of 275 horsepower and for now only is available in Malaysia in a diesel variant.

Seats are comfortable and snug, with a nice mix of wooden detailing on the panels throughout the car and leather for most of the upholstery used.

As to be expected with a luxury brand, it's all in the quality of the finishing and materials used, as one will experience when interacting with the car and feeling the tactile feedback of buttons, levers and the like.

Audio also comes at a premium here courtesy of a partnership with Harmon Kardon speakers that do a fantastic job at recreating music fit for a small jazz lounge.

Drivers only need to connect their smartphones (Android or iOS) to have their phones hijack the Levante's 8.4" touch screen for easy messaging, music, phone and navigation functionality with your phone thanks to Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay

There are hardly any major learning curves when driving the Levante for the first time, expect familiarising oneself with the car's dimensions. The car is easy to drive, has smooth steering responses and has great maneuverability when it comes to highway cruising or navigating neighbourhood roads.

Thanks to its ability to activate an all-wheel drive system for off-road scenarios, a wealth of safety and driver assisstant systems and the ability to shift drive modes for better control over the car's performance, the Levante is an all-round drive ready for most everyday scenarios.

Surprisingly enough, the car is relatively silent despite having a diesel engine.

It is safe to assume that most people who purchase this car will use it as their daily driver.

Those interested in buying a Levante would most likely fall in the category of people looking for Maserati's signature performance, a handsome Italian design and an SUV's versatility.

The Levante will start at RM888,888 and comes with the option to have the car customised to your liking at Naza Italia's Maserati showroom.