30.08.2011

Fiat Freemont AWD, international debut


The new four-wheel drive Fiat Freemont (AWD) will be debuting in Frankfurt, available for purchase from October, teamed with the 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 and the 280 HP 3.6 V6 petrol engines, both with 6-speed automatic gearbox. It is a technically sophisticated yet very simple to use system, designed to control the vehicle in extreme conditions in total safety.
The AWD four-wheel drive system is on-demand, and it is equipped with an electronic control unit which uses slip sensors to detect the grip of the four wheels and decides when to transmit traction to the rear. The system intervenes on surfaces where the wheels may not have an efficient grip (mud, snow, ice...) to ensure maximum traction and no limits to the routes the vehicle can take, or in the case of asphalt surfaces, to ensure additional traction and greater security on bends.
Specifically, the electronic system modulates the torque transfer through the use of electronically controlled coupling (ECC). The system contributes to containing fuel consumption since it only operates on demand, thereby minimising the friction caused on the engine. In addition, ECC on the AWD system is more flexible and more accurate than a viscous coupling or a Torsen® system.
In addition, the control unit also interfaces with the ESP and the traction control system. Remember that the AWD system does not replace traction control since it only intervenes in circumstances where the traction varies between the two axles (for instance, when the front wheels are on ice while the rear wheels are on dry asphalt or on steep hills). On the other hand, in the event of different grip on two sides of the vehicle, the ESP kicks in.


How it works

The four-wheel drive system does not require any controls or input. In detail, it is passive for many driving conditions and traction is only transmitted to the front wheels.
The system operates by optimising traction and drivability using the following strategies:
Preventive control: in this phase, the system acts without considering wheel slip but only analyses the driver's action on the pedal according to the driving conditions. If the driver is requesting a lot of power, the AWD traction is automatically activated, transferring a high percentage of power to the rear wheels. This prevents the front wheels from slipping, since the necessary power is transmitted through all four wheels.
Slip control: a second operating mode uses the feedback from the wheel speed sensors to determine the appropriate torque to transfer. When the front wheels slip, the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) activates the ECC in order to start transferring power to the rear wheels. If the car is to start with the front wheels on ice (or surface with a poor grip) and the rear wheels on a dry surface, the system sends more torque to the rear wheels in order to reduce slippage. The power to the rear wheels is also modulated in the event of lost traction at constant speed. For instance, during "aquaplaning" on a puddle of water, the system is capable of remodulating the power sent to the rear wheels, since higher values would not be necessary.
Affects drivability at moderate speed: the AWD system is used to optimise the vehicle dynamics. On the Fiat Freemont, the ECU controls the torque on the rear wheels to improve drivability even between 40 and 105 km/h. In this speed range, the system uses the torque for the rear wheels on bends and when accelerating to improve steering and make drivability more neutral. This is achieved via the electronic control system, which is preferable to viscous couplings that transfer the torque to the rear wheels only after a certain degree of slippage of the front compared to the rear.

 

The model in brief

The Fiat Freemont is the first Fiat vehicle to be produced in partnership with the Chrysler Group. Its very name evokes a sense of freedom, and the feeling that this vehicle can face up to any situation that everyday life might bring. The Fiat Freemont has been designed to meet the diverse needs of families and clients seeking a spacious, comfortable and versatile vehicle to cater for the frenetic pace of everyday life or to transport them safely and comfortably during their weekend leisure time. This vehicle combines flexibility and practicality with its own distinctive and original style. Its dimensions (489 cm in length, 188 cm wide and 169 cm high) ensure optimum internal space, thanks to the generous wheelbase of 289 cm.
In short, the Fiat Freemont is "All the cars you want": this is the slogan of the advertising campaign which succinctly sums up the vehicle's multi-faceted soul, equipped with everything you need to go where you want, with whoever you want, no compromises required.
Its characteristic design includes a strong and muscular front end and a rear which is distinguished by innovative LED tail lights. The interiors are modern with soft touch materials. Features include a wrap-around dashboard with chrome elements, a brand-new instrument panel, a striking central console and an innovative infotainment system with a large 4.3" to 8.4" colour touchscreen. Several vehicle functions can be controlled with just a light touch on the screen, including the temperature settings for the three climate-controlled areas and stereo system adjustment. The system offers unrivalled technology, with its Radio/CD/MP3, USB port, AUX socket and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Freemont guarantees maximum space, comfort and versatility thanks to its 7 seats fitted as standard, with a genuine, spacious third row which is easily accessible because the rear doors open to 90°, and the vehicle is equipped with a simple and easily operated seat slide system. The seats of the third row can be folded down with one simple movement to disappear completely below the floor, leaving the car with a 5 seat configuration and creating a flat and even load platform. The second row and the passenger seat can also be folded down completely, allowing 32 different seating configurations. The second row is mounted slightly higher than the first, and the third slightly higher again, ensuring maximum visibility and comfort for all occupants. The second row is also fitted with an innovative child booster system to make sure that children on board are seated correctly, optimising the seatbelt geometry and guaranteeing greater protection, practicality and comfort. This feature, which makes the Freemont "perfect for families", allows you to raise the seats by up to 102 mm.
On-board comfort is also ensured by the high driving position and the spacious and ergonomic seats, a host of storage compartments, a generous luggage area with two compartments and a flat load platform for an overall capacity of up to 1461 litres (equivalent to more than 10 suitcases). There are over 20 storage compartments, offering significant additional capacity, equal to the size of a city-car boot. The front armrest, for example, is very deep and guarantees maximum capacity. It also houses a USB port, an AUX-in socket (which may also be used for an iPod) and a 12 volt power socket. This means you can listen to music or recharge portable devices whilst ensuring they are concealed when you get out of the car. The passenger seats contain a convenient and easily accessible compartment under its cushion, while the floor in the second row contains two spacious compartments under the mats.
The Freemont range includes front drive versions (teamed with state-of-the-art 2.0 MultiJet 2 engines, with variable geometry, available in 140 HP or 170 HP, with manual gearbox) and, from October, four-wheel drive versions with the 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 and 280 HP 3.6 V6 petrol engines, both with automatic gearboxes, to ensure driving comfort and safety at the same time. With the exception of the powerful 3.6 litre unit from the Chrysler Group Pentastar family and its automatic gearbox, all power units are produced and developed by Fiat Powertrain.
The FWD diesel engines have been designed to offer the optimum balance of performance, driving pleasure and fuel consumption. The vehicle's drivability is guaranteed by a maximum torque value (350 Nm) which is reached at 1750 rpm and constant up to 2500 for the 170 HP version (up to 2000 rpm for the 140 HP version). For the normal usage range (from 1500 rpm up to 3000 rpm), the torque never falls below 300 Nm, avoiding uncomfortable "downshifts" and enhancing driving pleasure. This makes the engine very flexible, with optimum acceleration from 0-100 km/h and optimum maximum speeds: 11 seconds and 195 km/h for the 170 HP model, 12.3 seconds and 180 km/h for the 140 HP model. All of this combined makes the Freemont a dynamic and safe drive.
Fiat engineers have also optimised the vehicle's dynamic performance. The steering system was conceived and manufactured using more direct and precise calibration and offers handling which is in line with the expectations of our European clients. The dynamism and comfort have been improved thanks to the vehicle's redesigned suspension, which ensures efficient alignment with average European roads. Adjustments have been made to various parts of the suspension design, including stiffening the suspension mountings, improving the front suspension geometry to reduce the roll angle and adjusting the suspension and shock absorber calibration for the optimum combination of comfort and handling which is in line with European standards.
Acoustic comfort is guaranteed by a reduction in vibrations transmitted from the engine to the passenger compartment and the use of sound insulation materials to reduce noise on board.
Maximum safety is ensured by the Freemont's 6 airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Hill-Holder and Electronic Rollover Mitigation (ERM) fitted as standard on all vehicles. And not forgetting the child boosters and cruise control mentioned earlier, also fitted as standard on all trim levels, to ensure that children are seated correctly and to allow perfect control of cruising speed.
The rollover mitigation system (ERM) uses data received from ESP sensors to detect potential roll risks and intervenes by supplying braking power to individual wheels and adjusting the position of the throttle valve.
The Freemont also has an intelligent system which takes care of your trailer, Trailer Sway Control (TSC). Once its sensors detect that a trailer is swaying, the system intervenes, automatically applying the correct braking action to the wheels in order to keep the trailer under control and avoid dangerous oscillations. With this system, drivers can feel safe and confident when transporting their own loads.
To make it easier for customers to choose and purchase their vehicle, the Freemont range is available with three trim levels, the Freemont, the Urban and the All Included, each of which meets specific needs. The first trim level has a high level of content as standard: 7 seats, automatic triple-zone climate control, radio/CD/MP3 with 4.3" touch-screen, Trip Computer and steering wheel audio controls, 17" alloy wheels, fog lights, cruise control, TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), keyless entry/go, child boosters and an anti-theft alarm. The Urban trim level is even richer, particularly in terms of comfort and urban practicality, with added Bluetooth, lighting sensor, leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear parking sensors, roof bars, electrically adjustable driver's seat (6 directions + 4 lumbar adjustment options), folding electric rear-view mirrors, tinted rear windows and electrochromic mirror. The new top-end trim version - the All Included, available to order from October, as the name suggests, offers a comprehensive range of features including leather interiors, 19" alloy rims, satellite navigation with 8.4" touch screen, rear camera and chrome-plated longitudinal roof bars.


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