First up – and the one that’s likely to appeal to the majority of Levante buyers – is the 3.0 V6 diesel. With 271bhp, it certainly has plenty of power. Unfortunately, the weighty body means it’s only slightly faster than a Ford Fiesta ST.
We also found the engine to be exceedingly clattery when starting from cold, sounding more like a truck than a premium SUV. It does get a lot quieter when warm, but there’s always an underlying grittiness to how the Levante sounds, as well as some vibration through the controls.
The 3.0 V6 petrol in the Levante S is better and even emits a fairly entertaining groan when you push on, although it quietens when you’re cruising on the motorway. With 424bhp, it feels noticeably faster than the diesel model, but still cumbersome. At least there’s less of a delay when you prod the accelerator pedal.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox can be ponderous at low speeds and has a habit of holding the engine at high revs for too long before kicking down.
The hefty kerb weight of the Levante also has a big affect on handling. It might come with adjustable air suspension as standard, but it fails to keep the body upright in turns, even in its sportiest setting. Factor in steering that is too light and not overly accurate and you get an SUV that doesn’t corner with the same enthusiasm as Porsche's Macan or Cayenne.
And despite feeling soft in hard cornering, you don’t get a particularly good ride, either. The Levante always feels quite firm and doesn’t isolate you from potholes and expansion joints at all well. We suspect smaller wheels would help, but we have yet to try such an example.