By Sam Fiorani
More than 20 years have passed since Maserati and Chrysler last worked together on a vehicle. While the two companies jointly created a few products for a decade, none were world class and none were sold in Maserati dealers. Instead, Americans (and only Americans) got the underpowered 1981 Dodge Omni 024 deTomaso and the overpriced 1989-1991 Chrysler's TC by Maserati.
Now, with Fiat (majority owner of both Chrysler and Maserati), the two companies are poised to make their first competitive vehicle together--and it's an SUV.
Starting with engineering from Jeep and borrowing its name from the 2003 Detroit show concept car, the Kubang promises to be every inch a Maserati, from the ground up. And with room for five and a large cargo hold, it may be the first Maserati seriously capable of road-tripping across America.
Introduced at this week's Frankfurt Auto Show and soon available in dealerships worldwide, the Kubang features the unmistakable styling of Maserati's own design studio. Suspension, brakes, and steering are also engineered in the company's Modena facilities. When this SUV hits the streets, power will come from a V8 engine built in Maranello by Ferrari and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
From the trident in the middle of its grille to the script across the tailgate, the Kubang looks the part of a Maserati SUV. Other luxury brands already in the arena offer credible competition, but the Maserati aims to top them all. After nearly nine years of anticipation since the Detroit show, it looks to be worth the wait!