Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

New Lease on Life for Fiat

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

New Lease on Life for Fiat

Article excerpt

ITALIAN brand Fiat has linked with Chrysler and the combination has given Fiat a new lease on life.

The expanding range of Fiat 500s and the compact Punto prices have dropped, and this new SUV also comes with a strong value proposition.

The Freemont starts from $28,000 drive away with an option for seven-seats - making it among the cheapest vehicle to carry a netball team.

Roomy with impressive internal flexibility, it may not have traditional Italian flamboyance yet it will win family fans seeking bang for buck.

Comfort

Sampling the Lounge and the diesel's Urban specifications, we saw both ends of the features spectrum.

Families would appreciate the easy cleanliness of the leather interior, and the entry level cloth trim seemed hard wearing while the seats offered reasonable support.

The instruments are clear and legible, bolstered by a digital trip display which provides various economy information and speedo.

There is reasonable use of hard plastics which families would appreciate for the hard wearing attributes.

Decent leg and head room is available front and back. Getting into the middle row is especially easy with doors which open nearly 90 degrees.

For Freemonts with seven seats, the third row is really territory only for children but adults could use the pews on short journeys.

On the road

Looks can be deceiving, this is a seven-seater and it performs more like a people-mover than an SUV.

Sharing its platform with the Dodge Journey, the Freemont does its best work as a cruiser and eating up highway kilometres.

Our choice would be the diesel, due to its stronger acceleration and mid-range torque.

There is no automatic with the diesel which could be a major drawback for some buyers.

What do you get?

The Lounge had an impressive list for the price-tag, with features including 19-inch alloys, sat nav which uses a larger 21cm colour screen, dual zone air con, leather trim on the seats and doors, upgraded Alpine stereo with subwoofer, heated front pews and a DVD player. …

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