TURIN – Fiat S.p.A. today released pictures of the Freemont minivan-styled crossover that will debut at the Geneva auto show in March.
The seven-seat Freemont is Fiat's version of the Dodge Journey and is part of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to cut costs and boost capacity utilization at the automakers' factories by cross-selling Fiat and Chrysler group models.
To create the Freemont, Fiat took the revamped Journey that was unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show in November and gave the model minor exterior design tweaks, a revised interior and a stiffer and more responsive suspension and steering to cater for European driving tastes.
Fiat said the Freemont is "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."
European sales of the Freemont start in June. The model will initially come with front-wheel drive and with two Fiat 2.0-liter MultiJet turbodiesel engines, delivering 140hp and 170hp coupled with a manual transmission.
By year end, the Freemont will also be offered with a 276hp 3.6-liter V-6 gasoline engine from the Chrysler Group Pentastar family with four-wheel-drive. The 170hp diesel will also be offered with 4wd version. Both will have automatic transmissions.
The Freemont will replace Fiat's slow-selling Ulysse minivan, which the carmaker stopped building this month. Last year, Fiat sold 1,956 Ulysse units.
Fiat hopes the Freemont will have a bigger sales potential than the Ulysse because it will offer four-wheel drive, which the Ulysse doesn't have. In addition, a more powerful diesel engine than the current Journey and sales through Fiat's 5,000-strong European sales network, which is far larger than Chrysler's, could offer more sales potential.
The Freemont will compete against models such as the Ford S-Max and Ford Galaxy.
The Freemont will have a luggage capacity of 1,461 liters with the third row of seats folded down. It will also offer a vast array of standard and optional equipment, from triple-zone automatic climate control system to tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), from touch screen radio with 8.4” screen, SD card and DVD reader to automatic headlight activation.