Auto Tech

A Dodge in Fiat clothing

Fiat shows off the Dodge Journey-based Fiat Freemont at the 2011 Geneva auto show.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Fiat Freemont
Despite the Fiat badges, we recognized this vehicle as a Dodge Journey. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

At the 2011 Geneva auto show, this Dodge Journey sported Fiat badges on the grille and wheels. It seems that Fiat has discovered badge-engineering, using it to bring Chrysler group cars to Europe. Fiat acquired Chrysler in 2009.

Under Fiat, the Journey goes under the model name Freemont, which is intended to evoke the freedom of the open road, and is also a homonym for a name associated with the American West.

Fiat Freemont
With its three rows of seating, the Freemont can carry seven Europeans. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

By European standards, the Freemont is a very large vehicle. It comes with third-row seating, so it can handle seven occupants, and still carry cargo. That third row folds flat, making for even more cargo space.

But as the Freemont, it gets a power train that would have been deemed unsuitable for the U.S. market. At launch, it can be had with a choice of two turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines, one making 140 horsepower and the other 170 horsepower, both attached to a manual gearbox.

Although it will be front-wheel drive at launch, Fiat says it will later offer a four-wheel-drive version. Eventually, an automatic transmission will be available, and Chrysler's new 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine.

The U.S. is getting the Fiat 500, and Europe is getting the Dodge Journey. Seems like a fair trade, from our perspective.