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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Fiat Freemont has launched in Australia as the cheapest mid-sized SUV available, with the front-wheel-drive, petrol or diesel, five- and seven-seat range priced from $25,990.

Compared with its Dodge Journey twin, the Fiat Freemont is more than $10,000 cheaper and offers two new drivetrains – a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol producing 125kW of power and 220Nm of torque, tied to a six-speed automatic, and a 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo-diesel making 125kW and 350Nm, mated exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.

While the Journey was offered only with a 3.6-litre petrol V6, and included seven seats as standard, Fiat will not offer the larger engine here and has made the twin third row seats a $1500 option across the range.

The $25,990 Fiat Freemont ‘Base’ – or $27,000 driveaway – includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and dipping rear-view mirror, keyless entry and start, integrated child-booster seats, rear-parking sensors, active front headrests, alarm, tyre pressure monitor, and a Uconnect infotainment system with a 4.3-inch touchscreen with CD player, auxilary input, voice command and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

The $28,300 Fiat Freemont ‘Urban’ adds a larger infortainment screen (8.4-inch), DVD player, six-way electrically-adjustable drivers’ seat, and a leather-wrapped gear-lever.

The range-topping $30,300 Fiat Freemont ‘Lounge’ includes 19-inch alloy wheels, leather trim with heated front seats, chrome roof bars, and satellite navigation with Alpine audio system, a subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier.

While a petrol engine and automatic transmission is standard on the three-tier range, the diesel and six-speed manual are available only on the mid-range Urban at a $4300 premium.

Other options beyond the extra two seats include a power sunroof and second row overhead screen and wireless headphones.

Fiat insists that although the Freemont has been developed entirely by Dodge, Italian engineers have “optimised the vehicle’s dynamic performance” with a steering system that is “more direct and precise” and changes to the suspension which includes stiffer suspension mounts, damper retuning, and altered front suspension geometry “to reduce the roll angle”.

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While certain Chrysler models are rebadged as Fiats and Lancias internationally, and vice versa, the Freemont is the single and first Chrysler-based Fiat to arrive on local shores. It is also the first Italian-badged SUV on sale here.

The launch of the Freemont follows the creation of Fiat-Chrysler Australia last year. The factory-owned importer has promised an expanded model lineup, lower pricing and increased marketing across its stable of brands, including Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep. It is unclear whether Dodge will continue selling here.

The Fiat Freemont is on sale now.

Fiat Freemont manufacturer’s list pricing:
Fiat Freemont Base 2.4-litre Petrol six-speed automatic – $25,990 ($27,000 Driveaway)
Fiat Freemont Urban 2.4-litre Petrol six-speed automatic – $28,300
Fiat Freemont Lounge 2.4-litre Petrol six-speed automatic – $30,300
Fiat Freemont Urban 2.0-litre Diesel six-speed manual – $32,600




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