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Fiat 'Americanised' seven-seater

2011-01-24 12:55

FAMILIAR FIAT?: Okay, so they changed the grille and lower fascia a touch, but this remains in essence a Dodge Journey…

The first new car to be born from the marriage of Chrysler and Fiat has been unveiled. Meet the Fiat Freemont, set to debut at the Geneva auto show in March, 2011.

If it looks oddly familiar that's because this new Fiat Freemont is, in fact, a rather brazenly rebadged Dodge Journey.

In terms of design, the Italians really have made this a ‘badge-engineering’ job in the true sense of the word, with the red and silver Fiat badge the only easily recognisable styling change.

The Journey’s seven-seater configuration remains unchanged, with 1461 litres of luggage volume with the second and third rows of seats folded.

SAME, BUT BETTER?

Fiat says two trim levels of the Freemont will be available. Triple-zone climate control, keyless entry, tyre-pressure monitoring system and a touch-screen infotainment system are standard across the range.

The higher grade Freemont adds 17" wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors, automatic headlight activation and an upgraded infotainment system with a 21cm display with SD card and DVD-reading convergence.

Each derivative has a full suite of active and passive safety systems including seven airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

The idea of a Fiat-branded Dodge Journey may appear to be a rather peculiar insiders’ joke but where the Freemont does gain from its Italian connection is in terms of engine technology. Initially Fiat’s 104 and 126kW two-litre MultiJet diesel engines will power the front-wheel drive Freemonts (replacing the current 103kW CRD turbodiesel).

GOOD FOR ECONOMY?

All-wheel drive and a headline 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine, good for 205kW, will be added to the range at a later stage.

Freemont’s drivetrains are now, bar the V6 petrol, all Fiat engineered - which should bode well for fuel economy figures.

Fiat’s engineers have also refined the Journey’s damper calibrations and steering to finesse it for more-European tastes, where the Freemont will be marketed from the second half of 2011.
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