Maserati Kubang: Joining the SUV bandwagon (photos)
Although Maserati's SUV concept, the Kubang, is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, the luxury Italian automaker intends to make its own through body styling, cabin appointments, and a Maserati-designed engine.
It may seem wrong for the maker of such sleek Italian cars as the GranTurismo and Quattroporte to come out with an SUV, but that model worked very well for Porsche with its Cayenne. Maserati points out that it showed an SUV concept in 2003, also named Kubang, and the current concept continues the research in that direction.
The Kubang certainly has a nice profile. However, its rounded edges on an SUV body cannot help but echo the Porsche Cayenne. The grille and side graphic, especially the rear pillar, follow Maserati design cues. But compared with a Quattroporte, the Kubang looks tubby.
Similar to the over-large Cadillac logo on the grille of the Escalade, the Maserati trident logo takes on proportions previously unknown. The grille also keeps the toothy look seen on the current GranTurismo. Maserati says it is at work designing a new generation of engines, one of which would be slated for the production Kubang. Maserati will contract with Ferrari to build its new engines.
Maserati used the new Jeep Grand Cherokee platform for the Kubang, made possible as both companies are now owned by Fiat. It may seem like an odd combination, but the new Grand Cherokee uses an independent, adaptive suspension, delivering excellent road and off-road performance. These attributes could only benefit the Kubang.
The Kubang looks nothing like the Grand Cherokee, of course, and the interior would also reflect Maserati Italian luxury. Maserati is intent on producing the Kubang SUV. Given its platform, and how well the Cayenne worked for Porsche, the Kubang would probably be the most affordable Maserati.