Boasting a number of unique features sought after by commercial vehicle and fleet owners, the 2014 Ram ProMaster Van is winning over a lot of converts who like its low step-in height, immense cargo capacity and its power in hauling cargo or towing.
Based on the Fiat Ducato, a van that has been popular in Europe for more than 30 years, the ProMaster offers 20-inches more height than conventional cargo vans, making it ideal for a number of commercial applications where upright mobility in the cargo area is essential. And with its oversized rear cargo area, the ProMaster can be modified to suit any number of commercial applications for professionals such as plumbers, electricians, painters and many others. It’s also very affordable, costing as almost half as much as some competitors on the market.
Prices for the ProMaster start at $29,520 and can climb up to over $40,000, depending on the trim level and available features offered.
“As Ram Commercial continues to take a larger presence in the commercial vehicle segments, the 2014 Ram ProMaster allows us to support those customers who prefer a one-stop shop for their large truck and van fleets,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand for Chrysler Group LLC. “Our newest van enhances Ram’s commercial offerings, creating new opportunity, from the powerful Ram 5500 Chassis Cab to the versatile Ram C/V.”
The ProMaster comes in three distinct trim levels including the 1500, 2500 and 3500. It’s also available in three different wheelbases ranging from 118 inches to 159 inches and four different body lengths. In addition, the ProMaster is also available as both a chassis cab and a cutaway from the factory. The ProMaster is also available in two roof heights, 90 or 101 inches with vertically oriented side walls that are nearly 90 degrees in relation to the cargo compartment floor.
The ProMaster features a standard sliding door on the passenger side with an optional sliding door on the driver’s side. The sliding door openings are based on roof height – 49 inch x 60 inch for the low roof model and 49 inch x 70 inch for high roof models. In the rear, an available two-position rear clamshell door swings open up to 260-degrees, folding almost flat to the side of the van. All three door openings enable fork lift pallet loading and unloading.
The ProMaster rides on a unibody frame as opposed to full body-on-frame construction. While not as durable as the latter, the unibody frame does make the ProMaster lighter and allows for its lower step-in height, optimizes engine packaging and allows for a better tuning of the chassis system for better handling on the road.
The unibody construction also facilitates ProMaster’s front wheel drive system, which allows for better fuel economy, increased cargo space, higher ceiling height and lower maintenance costs.
The ProMaster is powered by two very respectable powerplants; one gasoline, one diesel. The 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder EcoDiesel puts out 174 horsepower, generating torque of 295 lb-ft at just 1,400 rpm. It’s paired to an electronically controlled six-speed automated manual with a standard trailer/tow program.
The diesel features a number of refinements, including internal engine components, turbo and emission controls. Helping to reduced total cost of ownership, an oil-level sensor contributes to an oil-change schedule of up to 18,500 miles.
The standard-equipment 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is rated at 280 horsepower generating 260 lb-ft of peak torque. The 24-valve engine is mated to a six speed automatic. Recommended oil-change intervals range up to 10,000 miles. But an intelligent oil-servicing system that monitors vehicle usage will trigger an alert when service is most appropriate.
With those two powerplants, the ProMaster boasts an impressive payload capacity up to 5,145 pounds and a maximum towing capacity up to 5,100 pounds. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6-liter V6 is 11,500 pounds and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel.
The Ram ProMaster lineup joins a growing list of more vertically oriented commercial vans on the market today. It stands out because of its power, versatility and value.