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Future models - Fiat - Freemont - Cross

Geneva show: Fiat’s pair of Crosses

Coming: Fiat's Freemont Cross will give the Italian company a contender in the large crossover SUV market from later this year.

Fiat Australia to launch Kluger-rivalling AWD Freemont Cross in Q3

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Fiat logo19 Feb 2014

FIAT will target a bigger piece of the booming Australian large SUV pie with a jacked-up four-wheel drive version of its load-lugging seven-seat Freemont called the Cross.

Arriving in the latter part of this year, the top-of-the-range Freemont Cross will bring more off-road appeal and ability with increased ride-height, four-wheel drive and fettled exterior features for a more purposeful look.

The same fettled exterior features of chrome/gloss-black bumpers and 19-inch wheels will also be offered in a two-wheel drive version for those with less adventurous intentions. It is unclear if Fiat’s local arm will take both variations at this stage.

With both four and two-wheel drive options up for grabs, the Freemont Cross would go head-to-head with other seven-seat big-SUV offerings such as the Toyota Kluger and Nissan Pathfinder.

A 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre diesel engine powers both the AWD and 2WD versions. The all-paw car can be had with a six-speed automatic transmission or manual gearbox, while the front-driver is a manual only.

Representing the top of the Freemont range, the Cross will wear exclusive leather on its seats with mesh inserts and highlighted stitching, while other interior kit gets a boost with a 8.4-inch touch-screen, an Alpine stereo system and electric folding/heated mirrors.

The Italian car-maker will also be hunting more sales in the baby SUV segment, with a new range-topping version of the Panda also named the Cross, but unlike the Freemont the little Cross wont be coming Down Under.

Essentially based on the existing Panda 4x4 (also not sold in Australia), the baby Cross shares the same additions of its Freemont Cross big sister, with four-wheel drive, body-kit and ride-height improvements included in the top variant.

The new Cross retains the 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine of the Panda Trekking but boosts the output up by 5kW to 60kW, while the turbocharged 0.8-litre TwinAir engine option gets a turbo-tweak up to 67kW.

The flagship Panda Cross has genuine off-road promise employing a four-wheel drive system with locking diff, 15-inch wheels wearing taller tyres and increased approach and exit angles, but for buyers wanting all the looks and less of the abililty, a front-drive only variant will be offered.

Both the Panda Cross and Freemont Cross will premiere at next month’s Geneva motor show.

Meantime, sister company Dodge has revealed its own take on the jacked-up Freemont called the Journey Crossroad. We know Dodge’s local arm plans a special edition Journey for later this year, but it is unclear if this is the car it means.

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