Italy is not known for its SUVs, right? Because when you think of Italy and cars at the same time, you think of the most beautiful creations in the automotive sphere. Like the Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari Dino Spider, Alfa Romeo Montreal, and the Maserati A6GCS to name a few. What Italy does not make too much of is SUVs, because it makes stallions, the sportscar variety.
But there have been a few SUVs come out of Italy, which have caught the world’s attention, even though social media has reduced our collective attention span to that of a baby chimp. And when Italy did make SUVs, it made the craziest ones, in looks, power, and public perception.
So here go some of the coolest and craziest SUVs to ever come out of Italy, and why they are such nuts in a world that is used to SUVs being safe, placid, and basic family haulers.
Fornasari RR99: Craziest Speedy SUV
The company Fornasari S.r.l. 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 Chevy LS V8. The car looked stunningly Italian but ran on pure American horses, for a super combination.
Then they introduced the RR99, which is a crossover SUV, with touches of sedan and sports car in it. The LS V8 engine in RR99 made 650-835 horses and launched it 0-60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. Top speed was electronically limited to 198 MPH, and if that’s not crazy in Italy, we don’t know what is. Do check out that massive rear.
Iveco Massif: Giugiaro Designed SUV
Designed by the revered Giorgetto Giugiaro from Italy, the Iveco Massif was not only inspired by the Land Rover Defender, it also competed against the same. Iveco is Fiat’s commercial line, and the Massif came designed as the Italian Army Jeep in 1951. Later, they also launched a three-door civilian version called the Campagnola, just like the Fiat Campagnola before.
It was an amazing off-road vehicle, as tough as the LM002 but at a fraction of the cost, and basically looked like a better-designed Defender. Shame we don’t have this SUV from Italy as a classic here.
Alfa Romeo Matta: Prowess-Showing SUV
Before the Fiat Campagnola and the Iveco Massif, there was the Alfa Romeo Matta, not built as a competitive vehicle, but one that merely showed off that Alfa Romeo could build anything it set its mind to. You could call it Italy’s version of the Jeep Wrangler or the Toyota FJ because it came small, with a 1.9-liter inline-four driving all four wheels.
The Matta AR51 was a military recon 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 clap of thunder when revved right. The Maserati Levante looks like an SUV but drives like a sports car, being a crossover with 580 horses to spare. And for ultimate comfort, it comes riding on air suspension that adjusts itself on any road you take it on.
Although, being a pricey luxury SUV from Italy, you would not want to ride it too rough. With eight trims, the Maserati Levante may not offer everything its competition does, but it was built to fit you, not the competition.
Fiat 500X: Classic Turned Into SUV
The Fiat 500 is a longstanding 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 comes a bit pricey for the tight space it offers, but that’s the price you pay for a nameplate.
With a rather animated face and plenty of retro touches the Fiat 500X makes for an unlikely SUV from Italy, but a completely believable one. It also comes with an engine that can pack a low-end wallop as well.
Lamborghini LM002: The Rambo Lambo SUV
Stallone and Ferrari are the not only Italian Stallions, because there was also the Lamborghini LM002, lovingly called the Rambo Lambo. It came packaged as an SUV crossed over with a pickup, and was Countach-powered. Italy sure dreams up crazy SUVs, in a good way.
This was Lambo’s first off-road vehicle, and went into the hands of many a rich dude including Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. Its powerful V12 engine lets it climb a 120% gradient, with a 0-60 MPH sprint of 7.8 seconds.
Lamborghini Urus: Sports Car Inspired SUV
The Urus is a crossover SUV, but since it’s from Italy, you might as well call it a sports car with a 641-horsepower 4.0-liter V8, and an all-wheel-drive. It’s a unique luxury SUV that comes with quick acceleration and agile handling, way nimbler than what an SUV usually is.
Being a Lamborghini, the Urus is obviously a pricey buy and not something that everyone can afford. And with a 3.2 second 0-60 MPH sprint, this SUV from Italy is also not something that everyone can handle either.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio: SUV With A Sporty Soul
The Alfa Romeo is again one cool SUV from Italy that comes in four trim levels, and looks as sultry as a prized race horse. There are two turbocharged engines in the range, which make the Stelvio drive as sporty as possible.
But along with the sporty ride, there’s plenty of utility in the car as well, 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 meld of the Italian love for design married to speedy tech.
Ferrari Purosangue: A Rare ‘Rari SUV
The Purosangue is Ferrari’s first-ever SUV and its very announcement ended up taking the world by storm, considering no one expected this from Ferrari, Enzo or not. It will compete with the existing Italian luxe SUV, the Lamborghini Urus.
Again, considering it’s a Ferrari, it’s likely to be high performance, and high expense But like every Ferrari owner will tell you, worth every pricey penny. It’s expected to arrive in 2022, and the engine could be Scuderia’s 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12. For now, it’s all conjecture and eager expectation.
Alfa Romeo Tonale: A Hybrid SUV
Alfa Romeo needs fresh blood in its car lineup. Not only have the Giulietta, MiTo, and the 4C cars retired but the much-talked about GTV and 8C revivals have also been nipped in the bud. So for now, all the Alfa Romeo is surviving on is the Guilia and the Stelvio SUV.
So its now planning another entrant into its lineup, the Tonale, a smaller SUV that will be priced and placed below the Stelvio, but come with a PHEV powertrain. It also may be based on the Jeep Renegade platform, only way more plush than its Fiat counterpart.
Sources: CarThrottle, MotorTrend
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