10 cars that prove Italy makes the craziest SUVs
Italy is not known for its SUVs, right? Because when we think of both Italy and cars, we think of the most beautiful creations in the automotive world. Like the Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari Dino Spider, Alfa Romeo Montreal and Maserati A6GCS to name a few. What Italy doesn’t do too much are SUVs, because it makes stallions, the variety of sports cars.
But a few SUVs have rolled out of Italy, which have gained the world’s attention, even as social media has reduced our collective attention span to that of a baby chimpanzee. And when Italy made SUVs, it did the craziest, in terms of looks, power and public perception.
So here are some of the coolest and craziest SUVs to ever come out of Italy, and why they’re so crazy in a world used to SUVs being safe, placid, and basic family carriers.
Fornasari RR99: the craziest Speedy SUV
Fornasari Srl was officially founded in 1999 by Giuseppe Fornasari and some of his friends. Because that’s how business is done in Italy. The very first model to be launched was the RR450, and it came with the Chevy LS V8. The car looked incredibly Italian but ran on pure American horses, for a great combination.
Then they introduced the RR99, which is a crossover SUV, with sedan and sports car touches. The RR99’s LS V8 engine produced 650 to 835 horsepower and cranked it from 0 to 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. Top speed was electronically limited to 198 MPH, and while that’s not crazy in Italy, we don’t know what it is. Check out that massive rear.
Iveco Massif: SUV designed by Giugiaro
Designed by the revered Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italy, the Iveco Massif was not only inspired by the Land Rover Defender, it also competed with it. Iveco is Fiat’s commercial line, and the Massif was designed as the Italian Army’s Jeep in 1951. Later they also released a civilian three-door version called Campagnola, just like the Fiat Campagnola before.
It was an incredible all-terrain vehicle, as rugged as the LM002 but at a fraction of the cost, and basically looked like a better-designed Defender. Too bad we don’t have this SUV from Italy as a classic here.
Alfa Romeo Matta: SUV of prowess
Before the Fiat Campagnola and the Iveco Massif there was the Alfa Romeo Matta, not built as a competition vehicle, but which simply showed that Alfa Romeo could build whatever it wanted. You might call it the Italian version of the Jeep Wrangler or the Toyota FJ because it was small, with a 1.9-liter inline-four driving all four wheels.
The Matta AR51 was a military reconnaissance vehicle while commercially it was sold as the AR52. Later, Fiat bought Alfa Romeo and made the Campagnola, based on the Matta.
Maserati Levante: thunderous SUV
We called it a thunderous SUV because of that exhaust note, which sounds like a big thunderclap when it turns right. The Maserati Levante looks like an SUV but drives like a sports car, being a crossover with 580 horsepower to spare. And for ultimate comfort, it’s equipped with air suspension that adjusts to any road you take it.
Although, being an expensive luxury SUV from Italy, you wouldn’t want to drive it too rough. With eight trim levels, the Maserati Levante might not offer everything its competition does, but it was designed for you, not the competition.
Fiat 500X: a classic transformed into an SUV
The Fiat 500 is a long standing nameplate, but now you can also have it as a subcompact SUV called the 500X. Pretty crazy, right? It’s almost like taking a VW Beetle and turning it into an SUV. The 500X is a bit pricey for the limited space it offers, but that’s the price you pay for a nameplate.
With a rather lively face and lots of retro touches, the Fiat 500X is an unlikely Italian SUV, but quite believable. It also comes with an engine that can pack a big low end hit as well.
Lamborghini LM002: the Rambo Lambo SUV
Stallone and Ferrari weren’t the only Italian stallions, as there was also the Lamborghini LM002, affectionately known as Rambo Lambo. It was packed like a crossover SUV with a pickup and was powered by Countach. Italy certainly imagines crazy SUVs, in a good way.
It was Lambo’s first all-terrain vehicle and has passed through the hands of many wealthy people, including Saddam Hussein’s son Uday. Its powerful V12 engine allows it to climb a 120% incline, with a 0-60 MPH sprint of 7.8 seconds.
Lamborghini Urus: SUV inspired by sports cars
The Urus is a crossover SUV, but since it comes from Italy, you might as well call it a sports car with a 4.0-liter V8 developing 641 horsepower and all-wheel drive. It’s a unique luxury SUV that offers quick acceleration and nimble handling, far more agile than what an SUV usually is.
Being a Lamborghini, the Urus is obviously an expensive purchase and not something everyone can afford. And with a 3.2-second 0-60 MPH sprint, this Italian SUV isn’t something everyone can handle, either.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio: SUV with a sporty soul
The Alfa Romeo is again a cool Italian SUV that comes in four trim levels and looks as sultry as a prized racehorse. The range includes two turbocharged engines, which makes driving the Stelvio as sporty as it gets.
But aside from the sporty ride, there’s plenty of utility in the car too, with 3,000 pounds of towing and decent cargo space. And at a starting price of around $ 50,000, it’s not that expensive either, just a perfect blend of Italian love for design paired with fast-paced technology.
Ferrari Purosangue: a rare Rari SUV
The Purosangue is Ferrari’s very first SUV and its very announcement ended up taking the world by storm, given that no one expected it from Ferrari, Enzo or not. It will compete with the existing Italian luxury SUV, the Lamborghini Urus.
Again, considering this is a Ferrari, it’s probably about high performance and high expense. But as any Ferrari owner will tell you, it’s worth every penny. It’s set to arrive in 2022, and the engine could be the Scuderia’s naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12. For now, it’s all guesswork and impatient waiting.
Alfa Romeo Tonale: a hybrid SUV
Alfa Romeo needs fresh blood in its car lineup. Not only have the Giulietta, MiTo, and 4C cars retired, the much-talked-about GTV and 8C takeovers have also been nipped in the bud. So, for now, the Alfa Romeo only survives on the Guilia and the Stelvio SUV.
It is therefore now considering another entry in its range, the Tonale, a smaller SUV whose price will be fixed and placed below the Stelvio, but which will be equipped with a PHEV powertrain. It may also be based on the Jeep Renegade platform, but much more lavish than its Fiat counterpart.
Sources: CarThrottle, MotorTrend
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