A Look at the Fiat Freemont – A People Mover for the People
Priced anywhere from $27,000 to $36,500, the Fiat Freemont is aimed to fill a demand that bridges the SUV, minivan, and crossover markets. It’s basically a rebadged Dodge Journey, and was sold under that name (in the European market, at least) until 2011, where they moved to the Fiat brand.
Currently, the Freemont prides itself on being a primarily diesel vehicle, offering two turbo diesel engine options from the Fiat line. This engine offering is what primarily sets the Freemont apart from its Dodge Journey counterpart, but Fiat has announced plans to also offer a V6 Dodge engine in the future in order to close that gap.
Unlike many vehicles in its class, the Fiat Freemont is a front wheel drive vehicle – meaning this is still a decent choice for on-road uses, but you can’t expect great performance in any type of off-pavement application. This is one of a couple reasons that the Freemont confuses the line between SUV/MPV and minivan.
The standard offering is two rows of seating (which fold down flat in the back), but an extra $1,500 can get you an extra row of seating, allowing up to seven passengers to comfortable travel in the vehicle.
Interior options are well laid out for a vehicle of this type. Dual climate control allows different settings for the driver and passenger, solving a common problem among couples who prefer different temperatures. Some of the controls for these functions are a bit confusing at first, with many reviewers complaining the engineers surely could have found a more ergonomic solution that didn’t distract the diver as much while attempting to change a setting on the go.
Another issue plaguing this vehicle is poor gas mileage. Unfortunately, the aerodynamic aren’t the best, and when combined with the curb weight, most real-world drivers report mileage in the area of 16 to 18 miles per gallon.
Driving the Fiat Freemont is quite comfortable. The driver’s position is ideal, offering a great view of the road ahead, and vehicle performance is quickly responsive with tight handling. It can’t be quite compared to driving a sedan, but most people who are adverse to driving a larger vehicle will be presently surprised at how easy it is to maneuver and park.
The standard center console comes with an 8.4 inch touch screen LCD, which allows you to change a wide range of settings, such as how long the lights stay on when the vehicle is turned off and how the windows operate. The keyless operation is also impressive, as Fiat has managed to make it easy to lock or unlock the doors simply by touching the door handle or exiting the vehicle. Push button start makes it a breeze to hop in the car and simply drive. The only complaint in this area is it’s a bit too easy to accidently forget your wireless key fob in the interior and inadvertently leave it unlocked.
For a vehicle of this size, the Fiat Freemont has no problem accelerating and reaching highway speeds. The engine arrangement is just about right for a daily driver – it has enough pep to get out of its own way, but not so much to be a handful.
The included audio system is adequate, if not overwhelming. 368 watts driven through an Alpine system with auxiliary inputs provide excellent sound, but you may have to spend some time adjusting the settings to get it just right. The stock configuration produces a tinny sound with little output on the low end, but again, that can be remedied with some adjustments.
Overall, the Fiat Freemont is a decent choice for a people-mover that’s simply going to be used around town, rather than in off road applications.