First Look (Sort Of): 2012 Fiat Freemont

By Brandon Turkus

January 24, 2011

While those of us Stateside anxiously await the arrival of products from the Fiat portfolio, our friends in the Boot country are finally getting their own taste of the Chrysler/Fiat relationship. This is the Fiat Freemont. And yes, it is a Dodge Journey with Fiat badges and a slightly modified grille.

While it might not seem like much to get excited about, reading through the press release brings up a few eyebrow-raising points, namely in the powertrain department. While those of us in the New World can only have our Journey with a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter I-4 or a 280-horsepower Pentastar V-6, our friends in Europe get some more exciting options.
When the Freemont debuts, power will come from a pair of Fiat-built diesels that produce 140 and 170 horsepower respectively. Manual gearboxes will be standard, and the oodles of oil-burning torque will be going to the front wheels. Later on down the line, a 170-horsepower, 2.0-liter MultiJet I-4 from Fiat will be available, as well as the now-familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The gas engines will get automatic transmissions and four-wheel drive. The obvious question now is, will these Fiat-built powerplants find their way into the Dodge-branded Journey? We can only hope so.
Besides the powertrain improvements, Fiat has announced recalibrations of the suspension and steering systems on the Freemont, that should better suit the tastes and driving styles of our European friends.
The Toluca, Mexico-built Freemont will debut at this years Geneva Auto Show, with sales scheduled to start in the second half of 2011.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Fiat.
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.