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2011 Geneva Motor Show: Dodge Journey-Based Fiat Freemont Makes Early Debut

By Automotive Staff | January 24, 2011
Fiat taps Dodge for both company's first major European offering. The Italian automaker will be debuting the new 2012 Fiat Freemont — a seven-seat crossover that’s little more than a badge-engineered Dodge Journey - at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Why a Fiat-badged Journey? Product planners believe there’s still an opportunity for a seven-seat crossover to succeed in Europe, but since the Dodge brand is no longer sold in European markets, the Fiat portfolio is arguably best suited for selling such a high-volume vehicle. Predictably, the Freemont isn’t worlds removed from its North American sibling. Styling revisions do help set it apart from the Journey, but are relegated mostly to the front sheetmetal. A new grille insert (which incorporates a large Fiat badge) and a rounded, lowered front fascia help lend the crossover a sportier look. In back, cosmetic revisions are relegated to a new taillamp design, along with a sleeker bumper fascia with integrated fog taillamps. Changes beneath the sheetmetal, however, will be harder to spot. From what we’ve seen, the new Fremont will share its cabin with the updated 2011 Journey, and incorporate the same 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment display on most — if not all — trim levels. When it comes to engine selections, however, the Freemont markedly differs from the Journey. Base front wheel-drive Freemont models receive a Fiat-sourced, 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A 170-horsepower version of the same engine is optional, but those seeking all-wheel-drive are apparently forced into gasoline engines. A 170-horsepower, 2.0-liter I-4 is standard on Freemont AWD models, while Chrysler’s 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is optional. Fiat also promises the suspension tuning has been recalibrated to suit European tastes, but only time — and a crack behind the wheel — will verify that claim. Full press release can be found below. Although the Freemont will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, expect production to begin at Chrysler’s plant in Toluca, Mexico, later this summer. 24/01/2011 Fiat Freemont, international debut The next Geneva motor show will host the debut of the new Fiat Freemont, which will go on sale in the second half of 2011. The Freemont built on the base of the Dodge Journey, is the first Fiat vehicle to come out of the partnership with the Chrysler Group. It will be produced in the Mexican plant of Toluca, where the 500 is produced for the US market. The very name 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. The Fiat Freemont is in fact a 'factotum vehicle' designed to meet the diverse needs of families and those seeking a spacious, comfortable and versatile vehicle to cater for the frenetic pace of everyday life or weekend leisure time. The vehicle combines flexibility and practicality with its own distinctive and original style. The dimensions (length of 489 cm, width of 188 cm and height of 172 cm) guarantee outstanding interior roominess, aided by the best wheelbase in its category (289 cm). The Fiat Freemont guarantees maximum roominess, comfort and versatility due to its 7 standard seats with a genuine third row of roomy seats that is easily accessible because the doors open to 90°. The seats of the third row may be folded down with one simple movement to disappear completely below the floor and create a regular load platform. The seats of the second row are fitted higher than those at the front while the third row is raised in relation to the second allowing all occupants maximum visibility. The second row can also be fitted with the innovative child booster system: booster seats are used to make sure that children on board are sitting correctly, optimising the seatbelt geometry and guaranteeing greater protection, practicality and comfort. On-board comfort is also assured by a high driving position, new roomy and ergonomic seats, a host of storage compartments, a generous luggage area with two compartments and a flat load platform for an overall capacity of up to 1461 litres. The vehicle's very individual design includes muscular, decisive lines that are expressed in a front end with brand new bumpers and grille. The rear end has been redesigned with the adoption of a new bumper and LED tail lights. The all-new passenger compartment features an up-to-date design and soft touch materials. Features include a wrap-around dashboard with chrome elements, a brand-new instrument panel, a strikingly good-looking central console and an innovative infotainment system with a large colour touchscreen. To simplify the selection and purchase process, only two outfits will be provided that are aimed at different customer types. The equipment level for both outfits is extremely comprehensive and all the main content items comply with the 'Fiat fair price' strategy. Both outfits will offer 7 seats, triple-zone automatic climate control system, keyless entry system, cruise control, advanced trip computer, tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), fog lights and touchscreen radio with colour screen and controls on the steering wheel. The more metropolitan version will include 17” alloys, touchscreen radio with 8.4” screen, SD card and DVD reader, Bluetooth system, rear parking sensors, fold-down door mirrors, automatic headlight activation, darkened rear windows and roof bars. The Freemont will have front wheel drive with turbo diesel power units (140 HP or 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet) combined with a manual gearbox. Later, the vehicle will also be available in 4x4 versions with 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet and 276 HP 3.6 petrol V6 engines, both with automatic transmissions. With the exception of the powerful 3.6 litre unit from the Chrysler Group Pentastar family and its automatic transmission, all power units are produced and developed by FPT- Fiat PowerTrain. The vehicle's dynamic performances have also been improved with the aid of Fiat engineering, which has developed and introduced a special suspension and steering configuration for greater accuracy and directness. Driving comfort is further guaranteed by significant improvements to passenger compartment soundproofing. Safety is top level with 7 airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Hill-Holder and electronic roll mitigation (ERM) as standard on all vehicles. via Chrysler / Dodge / Fiat courtesy of Motor Trend Staff
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