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Fiat takes the Dodge Journey and calls it the Freemont

By Rigval on 04 Feb 2011

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With a simple stroke of badge engineering, Fiat the Italian automotive giant, has effectively found its replacement for the ageing Ulysse MPV. One of the benefits of taking over an ailing American company, namely Chrysler (who surprisingly was once part of the Mercedes Benz comglomerate), is that Fiat has a cupboard full of fairly new cars for them to adopt, scrap, redesign or market. Hence the Dodge Journey rebadged (or mildly revised) into the Fiat Freemont.

Set for launch at the upcomming 2011 Geneva Motor Show the Fiat Freemont brings in some Americana into the usually very Italian Fiat automotive group. I suppose it brings in more than a touch of sanity and boredom has usually we've come to expect quirky, zany and unique looking vehicles from Fiat, even if they are MPVs. Those that remember the Multipla would agree with what I am trying to convey here.

I mean, take a look at the 'Freemont' name. It sounds like something run of the mill. From the Ulysse, which is very Greek Mythology to something from middle America. It's like going from Xena the Warrior Princess chic to maths teacher in a blink of an eye.

The only differences that enable the Dodge Journey to turn into a Fiat Freemont are revised bumpers, a different grille and some LED rear lights. This is like watching a Mitsubishi Lancer turn into a Proton Inspira or a Toyota Passo into a Daihatsu Sirion. The only really chic addition aside from the nicer looking front bumper are the larger 17inch wheel setup. Compare this to the Dodge and the Fiat looks slightly better. But it still lacks that extra Latin flair in my opinion. It looks quite Japanese instead. A decent Mitsubishi Outlander/Airtrek look (if you squint) with some touches of a Kia instead of an Italian job.

Come launch time, the Freemont people carrier will be powered by a 2.0liter Fiat Multijet diesel with 140bhp or 170bhp running through a manual gearbox to its front wheels. There will be an all wheel drive variant as well as one with an automatic transmission that will be launched at a later date together with a 276bhp 3.6liter V6 petrol powered flagship model.

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Expect it to be on sale in Europe in the second quarter of this year. Pricing has not been announced as yet and one now wonders. If you bought a Dodge Journey here in Singapore, could you buy the bumpers, the grille, the rear lights and slap on some Fiat badges? This would add from added flair to something remarkably dull. Especially with those undersized wheels in the original Journey displayed above. Or.....would you actually buy the Fiat variant if its brought in?

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Paddie Feb 05 2011 08:59 AM
It's Ulysse, not Ulysses.
Rigval Feb 05 2011 09:10 AM
oops...I apologise to all the ulysse owners out there....it has been corrected!
  • 1
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