Chrysler has had plenty of partnerships over the years, and as odd as it may have seemed in the beginning, the tie-in with Fiat arguably makes more sense than any of those past pairings. Chrysler doesn't have much of a presence overseas, and Fiat doesn't in North America. Putting them together, then, could be the perfect formula for global success. The Fiat 500 is coming to North America, and while we've been hearing about Chrysler vehicles being sent to Europe for quite some time now, this is the first actual proof.
The vehicle you see here will be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show as the Fiat Freemont. Look familiar? That's because it's essentially the Dodge Journey with a different badge on the nose. Otherwise it's essentially the same vehicle, produced alongside the Journey at the same plant in Toluca, Mexico.
The only major difference to speak of is under the hood, where Fiat's own 2.0-liter MultiJet turbo diesel engines (with 140 or 170 horsepower) will be offered with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox initially. All-wheel drive, an automatic transmission and Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 will be offered shorly after the initial launch. The full details are available in the press release after the break, and see the Journey-come-Fiat for yourself in the high-res gallery below.
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.