This is the Fiat Freemont, the firm’s new seven-seat large MPV that is based on the Dodge Journey and that will be showcased at the Geneva motor show in March.
The Freemont is the first Fiat to emerge from its tie-up with the Chrysler Group. It will be built alongside the Journey at Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico, where the US-spec 500 is also built, and imported for sale in Europe.
Dodge’s revised Journey, first seen at the LA motor show last November, forms the basis for the Freemont and the Fiat version sports only mild cosmetic revisions, including new bumpers, a new front grille and LED taillights.
Fiat claims the Freemont is a “factotum vehicle” which has been “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 arrival of the Freemont casts doubt over the future of the Multipa, a replacement for which has been delayed several times due to Fiat’s spending freeze. The Freemont’s future presence in Fiat’s range, along with the five-seat Qubo and seven-seat Doblo, make it seem highly likely that the Multipla name will not return to Fiat’s line-up.
Fiat says the Freemont’s suspension and steering set-ups have undergone thorough revisions for “greater accuracy and directness” over the Journey to make them more suitable for European tastes.
Two versions of Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet turbodiesel will be available from launch (with 138bhp or 168bhp) mated to a manual gearbox. Later, four-wheel drive will be offered with the 168bhp Multijet or Chrysler’s 272bhp 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, both with automatic transmissions.
Fiat says the interior of the Freemont has more soft-touch materials than the Journey and adds a new instrument panel and a revised design for the centre console. The load capacity can increase up to 1461 litres with the third row of seats folded down.
Just two versions the 4890mm long, 1880mm wide and 1720mm high Freemont will be offered as part of the ‘Fiat Fair Price’ strategy. Standard kit includes tri-zon air-con, cruise control, keyless entry and steering wheel controls. The range-topper adds 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and darkened rear windows.
The Freemont will not be sold in the UK, although Fiat says it "will re-evaluate this in the future". European sales begin in June.