Fiat Freemont (2011): the Italian Dodge JourneyMon, 24 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800
This is the new Fiat Freemont, a new seven-seat crossover that will be unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show. Based on the Dodge Journey, it’s the first Fiat vehicle to come out of the company’s partnership with the Chrysler Group.
It’s built in Mexico, alongside its Dodge sibling, and in the same factory where US-spec Fiat 500s are built. New front and rear bumpers, plus a new grille and new LED tail lights make up the exterior makeover, and although Fiat hasn’t released any interior pictures yet, the company claims the ‘all-new passenger compartment features an up-to-date design and soft touch materials’. Tweaks include a new wraparound dashboard, a new instrument pack, a touchscreen infotainment system, and a ‘strikingly good-looking central console’.
Fiat has slotted its own engine under the bonnet too. At first there’s only a front-wheel drive version with 138bhp and 168bhp versions of Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet diesel, but a four-wheel drive and auto-equipped 168bhp model will follow, as will a Freemont featuring Chrysler’s 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine. Fiat has made other changes too, with a new suspension and steering set-up that’s claimed to aid 'accuracy and directness', while extra soundproofing should boost refinement levels.
Two different trim levels will be offered, each with seven seats as standard. Triple-zone air con, keyless entry, cruise, a tyre pressure monitoring system, fog lights and a touchscreen radio are all standard, while the top-spec model adds bigger wheels, a bigger touchscreen, a DVD player, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and auto headlights.
As for the Freemont name, according to Fiat it ‘conjures up a sense of freedom, the pleasure of life in the open air, of adventure and the possibility of facing any situation that arises in daily life with equanimity.’ Maybe, but seeing the car and knowing what it’s based on conjures up all sorts of other thoughts from us.
European sales start in the second half of 2011, but there's no word yet on whether the Fiat Freemont will come to the UK.
By Ben Pulman