In just a few short years, we’ve seen the commercial van market transform from inefficient, traditional body-on-frame American vans; to more economical, mostly unibody and tall, euro-style vans. The Mercedes-Benz designed Sprinter was the first, and both Ford and Nissan have new van series. Now FCA is launching their new work vans, the Ram ProMasters. And, their just playing follow the leader.
Americans are all about getting the work done. And we all know that work gets done best with the proper tools. Well, whether you’ve got jobs big or small, Ram hopes to have you covered with the 2015 ProMaster and 2015 ProMaster City.
So what if that tool is built in Turkey, or Mexico, or wherever. If it makes your job easier, puts more money in your pocket, or gets you home to the family quicker; chances are you’ll quickly become a fan.
As for the details, we’ll start with the full-size ProMaster…
Based on the Fiat Ducato which has been delivering workers and supplies to jobsites all over Europe for 30 years; it’s available in 2-roof heights, 3-wheelbases, and 4-body lengths. It can tow up to 5,100-lbs. and has a gross combined weight rating of up to 12,500-lbs.
But, what makes the ProMaster truly unique is that it is front wheel drive. The only big van built that way.
Driving those wheels is either a 174-horsepower 3.0-liter I4 EcoDiesel with 295 lb-ft. of torque; mated to the 6–speed single clutch automated manual gearbox.
Or, a more familiar to us 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, here with 280-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, coupled with the traditional 6-speed automatic transmission.
We averaged 16.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular with the V6. And while it has more than ample power to move this brute around, we think most operators will prefer the better fuel economy and extended maintenance intervals of the diesel.
A unibody architecture usually provides advantages over body-on-frame vans, like lower load floor and step-in height, less weight, and a tighter turning radius.
Our test Cargo Van, slides in the middle, with a 136.0-inch wheelbase and low roof configuration. Its 353.0 cubic-ft. of space can be left empty for hauling, or configured to meet your specific needs.
Up front, there’s plenty of small item storage to keep things organized. There’s optional UConnect to keep the driver in touch with office and customers, navigation to help you find them, and a back-up camera for setting up shop easily once you arrive.
Timing is everything; and this pint-size ProMaster City arrived just in time to help one of our staffers move. Besides this cargo setup, it’s also available as a 5-seat wagon.
Configurations of this smaller Class 1-sized Ram are not as plentiful as the larger ProMaster, with just a single wheelbase and powertrain.
Fiat/Chrysler’s 2.4-liter Tigershark I4 delivers 178-horsepower and 174 lb-ft. of torque, fitted with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Towing Capacity is 2,000-lbs, with a gross combined weight rating of 5,900-lbs.
Cargo space is best-in-class at 131.7 cubic-ft., and 48.4-inches between the wheel wells means lots of flat floor space with traditional-sized pallets slipping in with ease. Sliding doors on both sides makes for easier access, too.
Also based on a Fiat, this time the Doblo, unlike most work vans, it has a fully independent suspension, with MacPherson struts up front, and a bi-link coil spring rear. That, along with front-wheel-drive makes ride quality more car-like than truck-like; and great visibility all around eliminates any intimidation factor.
While creature comforts up front fall short of your average family car, things are quite nice for a work-vehicle. And just as in the larger ProMaster, there’s durable materials, plenty of storage, and available UConnect navigation, as well as a back-up camera.
Fuel Economy is sure to be a major factor in choosing a van for your small business and Government Fuel Economy Ratings here are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined. We averaged 21.6 miles-per-gallon during a couple of snowy weekends of hauling.
Paying the cost to be the boss in a ProMaster begins with a City Tradesman Cargo Van at $24,125. For bigger jobs, a ProMaster 1500 starts at $29,625.
Pro tools for getting work done is what the ProMaster series of Ram vehicles is all about. So, whether you need the best-in-class fuel economy, payload, cargo capacity, and unique front-wheel-drive layout of the full-size 2015 ProMaster; or the smaller 2015 ProMaster City’s best-in-class power, payload, and cargo volume, Ram… has got ya covered.
2015 Ram ProMaster:
Engine: 3.0 liter I4 EcoDiesel / 3.6 liter V6
Horsepower: 174 / 280
Torque: 295 lb-ft. / 260 lb-ft.
2015 Ram ProMaster City:
Engine: 2.4 liter
Torque: 174 lb-ft.
EPA: 21 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway