Meet the Fiat Freemont Crossroad. Chances are you have no idea what the Freemont is, let alone the Crossroad version of it.

It may not help to add that it is closely related (in fact, almost identical) to the Dodge Journey, another virtual unknown.

Try this: the Freemont Crossroad is a seven-seat wagon that looks like an SUV and is loaded with features, with a V6 driving the front wheels.

It's not new — the Journey it is based on was introduced in 2008 — but the Freemont Crossroad is such good value that it is worth checking out.

Design

The Freemont is not going to draw a crowd but the design is smart and muscular with clean lines. It certainly looks good for a seven-seater. Small touches such as the silver bar on the front bumper and spoiler, as well as the gloss grey 19-inch wheels and tinted glass help make the Crossroad appear more expensive than it is.

The interior is nothing spectacular, but the design is contemporary and the controls are easy to reach.

There is an 8.4-inch touch screen in the middle of the dash, which displays the satnav (standard).

The legroom in the second and third row is adequate, with a small space for feet under the second row, which can slide back or forth. The third row folds into the floor.

Two items that are must-haves for families, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, are also standard.

There is enough space for some shopping or a stroller with all seats in position. There are separate air vents in the third row and lights and cupholders back there too.

About town

The standard keyless entry and start setup makes access and progress easy.

Two items that are must-haves for families, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, are also standard.

The seats are part leather and the cloth could stain as children do what they do. Two of the second-row seats have integrated boosters.

On the road

Don't expect sharp handling, because the Crossroad is a bit of a bus. The suspension is soft, so it will wallow when pushed and you tend to slide off the non-supportive seats.

The ride is good and the vehicle absorbs bumps well. The steering is vague but also light, so it is easy to get in and out of tight spots.

The six-speed automatic can be slow to pick a gear and the changes are not all that smooth.

Performance

What differentiates the Crossroad from other Freemont models, apart from all the extra features, is the strong V6 (206kW/342Nm). Lesser versions get four-cylinder power, turbo diesel or petrol.

The Crossroad's towing limit is 1100kg, which isn't much.

The six is on par with the strongest petrol sixes from its rivals but it's sometimes too strong, given all the power is going through the front wheels only. Under strong acceleration, the tyres can chirp and there is some tugging at the steering wheel (torque steer).

The official fuel economy figure is a reasonable 10.4L/100km but it was a little thirstier on test.

Despite the V6's outputs, the Crossroad's towing limit is 1100kg, which isn't much.