By David Thomas on September 13, 2011
The Kubang — too … many … jokes — is Maserati’s formal and completely official foray into the luxury SUV market. Yes, the Kubang is based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and rumored to be built alongside it in the U.S. But, and this is a major but, Maserati promises it will be 100% Maserati in terms of engines, brakes, suspension, handling and, of course, styling.
In terms of looks, the Kubang looks nothing like a Grand Cherokee. The front has the same concave grille we’ve seen on the Quattroporte and GranTurismo. The back also features nearly identical taillights to the GranTurismo. However, the Kubang’s overall SUV-ness reminds us of the Porsche Cayenne and Mazda CX-7.
Under the hood will be a new engine designed by Maserati that’s teamed to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A specifically tuned suspension will also be done in Italy, but there seems to be wiggle room in the company’s parsing of words over how much of this SUV will be Jeep and how much will be Maserati besides the engine itself. It could be an Italian-engineered Jeep like the Volkswagen Routan is a German-engineered Chrysler.
At least it looks like a completely different vehicle, which is good because it will likely cost three times as much as a Jeep.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David