Review: 2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

Thursday June 11th, 2015 at 6:66 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

By David Colman

Hypes: Knock-out Styling, More Space Then a 747
Gripes: Cheap Fittings, Rudimentary Traction Control

When this Ram van appeared in my driveway I thought UPS was making a delivery to my house. Though the Ram Promaster reeks of industrial chic, it proved to be an able and willing companion for a week of test driving. This windowless van, introduced last year, has a rather circuitous background. After Fiat took over Chrysler, they separated Ram trucks from the Dodge Division by eliminating the Dodge name from the Ram brand. To complicate matters further, Fiat began selling its own Italian brand of truck last year in America. The Ram Promaster is actually an Americanized version of Fiat’s Ducato, an Italian commercial van. To put a cap on the van’s confusing national identity, it’s built for Fiat/Chrysler/Ram in Bursa, Turkey!

When you see this Ram you immediately know its derivation is European. Americans are conditioned to expect delivery and tradesman trucks like this to look utilitarian and humble. The Promaster looks nothing of the sort. For what is essentially a moving brick, it eschews banality in favor of Italian flare. Just look at the graceful swept arc that connects the grill to the roofline. The heavily slanted windshield fits right into this continuous line, making the van look aeronautic rather than pedestrian. Upturned side windows and headlight nacelles confer an elegance rarely seen in American truck design. Considering the Promaster’s resoundingly low base price of $24,130, you’re getting a design brief worthy of the museum of modern art for the price of a T-shirt print. This Ram does for tradesfolks what the Olivetti typewriter did for secretaries six decades ago: provide affordable, utilitarian modern art.

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

The irony of driving this Ram on a daily basis, however, is that although you’ve got enormous space inside the windowless cargo area, there’s absolutely no way to prevent your cargo from flying about like gravity free astronauts. Our sample van was “unequipped” at the factory level by deletion of the following items: rear seating, second row side curtain airbags, sliding door glass windows on both sides, and rear door glass. As a result, from the floor-to-ceiling partition that separates the driver’s compartment back to the double rear doors, this van is completely unfinished inside. The floor, walls and roof are painted gloss white, with a couple of hefty tie downs sunk into the floor. That’s it: no windows, no racks or bins of any sort, no hooks or pegs. This blank canvas awaits conversion to specific use by the tradesperson who buys it. As an incentive to purchasing this stripper, Ram deletes $1,000 from the base price for “Tradesman Cargo Van package 24C.”

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

Driving the Ram comes as a pleasant surprise, since its hefty 2.4 liter Multiair inline 4 cylinder engine makes more than enough horsepower (174hp) to move this rig with alacrity. Helping extract maximum performance is a sweet 9 speed 948TE automatic transmission that allows you to select any of its multiple ratios manually. The front-wheel-drive Ram will tow up to 5,100 lbs. and carry 5,274 lbs. of cargo. Its tall roofline makes it possible to stand nearly erect in the cargo area, and I could easily envision turning this space into a rather nifty camper unit offering maximum security thanks to the lack of windows. Even with its substantial frontal area, the Ram still manages 29 MPG on the freeway. Although the 16 x 6.5 inch silver steel wheels look rather undersized on such a large vehicle, the 215/55R16 Continental tires manage to deal with even the sharpest curves without protest.

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

The cabin proved comfortable and useful. Door pockets include receptacles for water bottles, a netted overhead bin runs the full width over the windshield, and the seats offer excellent lower back support. While rear vision is nil due to the cargo embargo, a backup camera ($495 extra) serves as an admirable guide on the 5 inch touch screen display ($465 extra). Surprisingly, the two elephantine outside rear view mirrors are manually controlled rather than power assisted. The joystick on the right hand mirror failed to operate properly, and the receptacle for the prop supporting the hood was already broken due to poor fit. So don’t expect Ferrari quality from this Fiat masquerading as a Ram.

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

2015 Ram Promaster City Tradesman Cargo Van

  • Engine: 2.4 Liter Multiair inline 4
  • Horsepower: 178hp
  • Torque: 174lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 21 MPG City/29 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,245
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Chrysler, Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ram |Tags:, , , , || No Comments »

Fiat-Chrysler Announces Electric Car and Plug-In Hybrid Truck

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010 at 6:33 PM
Posted by: michael.leroy

Fiat 500An electric Fiat 500 and plug-in hybrid Ram are in development

Fiat-Chrysler announced that the company will build an all-electric car based off the Fiat 500 by 2012 and a plug-in hybrid Ram by 2011. The Fiat 500EV was revealed earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show, but details are still scarce on the car. What is known is that the 500EV is co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat. The engineering work will be done at the Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan and not in Italy.

The 500EV will run off a lithium ion battery, but the current range is unknown. It’s possible for the 500EV to have a range of 60-100 miles. Last year a Swedish company named Adapt converted Fiat 500′s to electric. The company claimed an almost 125 mile range for their Fiat 500 conversions. Unfortunately the electric 500′s Adapt produced cost almost $50,000.

Chrysler has said the 500EV will be priced competitively for an electric vehicle of its size. The 500EV will likely be in the same price range as Nissan’s Leaf, which will have similar specs. Pricing will be withheld until the car comes closer to production.

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Posted in Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Press and News |Tags:, , , , , , , , || 3 Comments »

Dodge Ram Hybrid Coming In 2010

Wednesday October 28th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Hybrid Two-Mode HEMI

You can call this a good news/bad news sort of thing. The bad news is that Chrysler’s two-mode hybrid joint development program has been disbanded, and the good news is that the hybrid Ram pickup is coming in 2010.

The joint development program, which was a very big deal for a while, was created several years ago between Chrysler, General Motors, Daimler, and BMW to work out a two-mode hybrid system for light duty vehicles, is now effectively over. The four automakers involved have either launched or are about to introduce versions of the two-mode hybrid system, so the program is being wound down and the engineering office will be closed by the end of this year.

But the Ram pickup hybrid should be in dealerships by 2010.

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New Dodge Ram Trucks Unveiled at Chicago Auto Show

Tuesday February 17th, 2009 at 2:22 PM
Posted by: m35man

2010 Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Heavy Duty Crew Cab

Not to be outdone by Toyota, who unveiled their 2010 Tundra last week, Chrysler LLC unveiled a new line of commercial versions of its Dodge Ram truck–the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks and the 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs–at the Chicago Auto Show.

The most notable thing about these new trucks is that for the first time, Chrysler is making them available with large crew cabs. Now you can take the whole crew out to a job, because the trucks can carry 5-6 passengers without cramming them in there.

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Posted in Dodge, Press and News |Tags:, , , || 4 Comments »

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