People mover with power
This handsome beast should be on the agenda for those with a need for seats, PETER BARNWELL writes
“IT’S a Fiat and it looks like this,” was ringing in our ears when we drove up in the new Fiat Freemont Crossroad people mover, pitched as an SUV by Fiat Australia.
It’s a handsome beast with a more imposing face and body hardware in chrome, along with a set of striking 19-inch alloys. Definitely not your average “mum bus”.
The Freemont has been around for a while, attracting minimal attention.
But now, with a styling tweak, sharp pricing at $36,500 and a new V6 engine, the sevenseater could and should be on the agenda for those with a need for seats.
Some criticism of the Freemont has been made about its ANCAP crash rating but is possibly misdirected because it scores a five-star European crash rating.
The difference here is down to the fact that it doesn’t have a pedestrian protecting bonnet.
Apart from the looks, the Freemont’s US-derived Dodge Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine lifts it to a new level in performance and desirability terms.
It achieves some 206kW/342Nm output, which is respectable and drive goes to the front wheels through a sixspeed conventional automatic transmission.
Fuel economy averages 10.4 litres/100km on the combined cycle.
It’s a medium/large vehicle with decent seats for five and smaller “part timers” in the back, which takes a large chunk of the load space.
But access to all seats is relatively easy through large doors and multi-folding seats.
The ride is a tad sporty despite the Freemont Crossroad weighing in at 1820kg. It’s no sports sedan that’s for sure, but is competent and comfy for a wide range of driving applications. It’s smooth and quiet and would make an excellent long distance tourer for five with luggage space. They crammed in plenty of kit too, including Bluetooth phone and audio, a large info touch screen, reverse camera and parking sensors, Alpine premium audio, keyless enter and start, multi-wheel controls, black leather with cloth mesh inserts, cruise control, sat nav and three-zone climate control.
The Freemont Crossroad is a lot better than expected and more enjoyable to drive than many of the other “people mover’’ type vehicles. Safe, plenty of kick and kit and now you don’t have to go for a twowheel drive SUV if you want a good-looking family wagon.
Freemont just might fit the bill.