Ram ProMaster City Review
On December 15, 2014 Chrysler flew me to Austin, TX to test drive the new ProMaster City van. This van is the little brother to the larger ProMaster van.
First, let’s talk about why Chrysler built this van
The large ProMaster van is designed to compete head-to-head with the Sprinter van. It has a tall roof that allows tradesmen to stand up and work inside the van. Plus, the taller roof allows users to insert 4×8 sheets upright, clearing floor space for other materials. But there are lots of trades that don’t need those kinds of options.
Locksmiths, electricians, handymen, telecommunication and cable installers, for example, just need a work van that’ll store smaller components and allow easy access. So Ram ProMaster City is build for that market. It competes head-to-head with the Ford Transit Connect.
How it’s built.
The Ram ProMaster City is built off the FIAT Dablo platform. The Dablo is a proven work van used throughout Europe. Chrysler took the basic platform and made changes to accommodate the American market.
The modified Dablo Ram ProMaster City has
• Higher ride height to manage greater vertical loads
• Upgraded chassis components and stronger anchor points to increase durability on American roads
• Wider track to accommodate the 2.4L Tigershark engine and 9-speed automatic transmission
• Beefed up unibody construction to meet U.S. standards.
• Bi-link rear suspension provides smoother ride, especially when loaded.
The rear doors are designed with a 60/40 split. The larger door opens towards traffic. So the smaller door takes up less curb space and allows you to load product onto the curb in tight spaces. The rear doors open 90° but can open to a full 180° with the press of a latch button for dock loading. The side doors slide open a full 26” and lock into place.
The near-vertical sides allow for maximum cargo capacity and the best use of storage racks. The roof comes prepped for the future installation of roof racks or rails.
Finally, knowing that tradespeople usually install business graphics on their work vehicles, Chrysler designed the van with attractive features, but minimal bling. So when you install signage and graphics, the viewer’s attention goes right to your message.
Here are the body and chassis specs:
Cargo volume: 131.7 cubic feet
Cargo width and length: 60.4” x 87.2”
Distance between rear wheel wells: 48.4”
Gross vehicle weight: 5,395-lbs.
Towing capacity: 2,000-lbs.
The 2.4L Tigershark engine is built in the U.S. and generates 178-HP and 174-lb-ft. of torque. The engine is matched to a U.S. built 9-speed automatic transmission. Together the powertrain gives a thrifty 21-MPG-city, 29-MPG highway, and a combined 24-MPG.
The unique engine design is a 4-valve with valve actuation technology. The MuliAir2 fully variable system utilizes an oil column in place of a traditional mechanical link between the camshaft and intake valves.
The Ram ProMaster City carries a 5-yr/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Electrical and A/C
The Ram ProMaster City comes with smart alternator management to reduce engine load
when electrical demands are low. The variable A/C compressor uses the same operating mode, saving gas when A/C demands are low.
The all-black/grey accent interior is designed with work in mind. The cargo floor includes six D-ring tie downs with a combined load range of 1,000-lbs. The 54.4-in. roof height allows easy movement when working inside the van. And the 21.5” step-in height reduces fatigue from repeated in/out trips.
Pricing and Configurations:
Ram ProMaster City Tradesman starts at $23,130 plus destination
Ram ProMaster City Wagon SLT starts at $24,655 plus destination
Ram ProMaster City Wagon starts at $24,130 plus destination
Ram ProMaster City Wagon SLT starts at $25,655 plus destination
Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo with security panels to prevent theft
Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo with rear windows to increase visibility
Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo with rear and side windows
Ram ProMaster City Wagon with rear and side windows
Ram ProMaster City Wagon SLT with rear and side windows
Ram ProMaster City Tradesman SLT package includes
Driver lumbar support
Leather wrapped steering wheel
Premium cloth bucket seats
5” touchscreen display
Integrated voice command with Bluetooth
Steering wheel audio controls
U connect system
Steel wheels with full cover
Power heated exterior mirrors
Chrysler let each journalist choose a configuration and driving partner. We were given maps of the Austin, TX area and a route that would take us through morning stop and go traffic as well as city/highway traffic. After the city drive we were invited to lunch and an obstacle course drive at Troublemaker studios right in Austin. Here are my impressions:
The 2.4L engine and 9-speed transmission provided plenty of get up and go from a stop sign. My driving partner had a lead foot and loved squealing the tires at every green light. The ride was exceptionally smooth on city roads and even nicer on the highway.
The tilt/telescoping wheel is a very nice standard feature, especially if the van will be used by multiple drivers. I could adjust it to get just the right feel.
The van handled beautifully on the obstacle course. I took it through hair-pin turns, over rumble strips, into a panic stop on wet pavement (it stopped straight as an arrow), through rain, and into a rear-camera assisted backup into the original parking spot.
The only weak spot we found during the entire test drive was the navigation system. Keep in mind that these were pre-production models, but we were still disappointed with the slow touchscreen and inaccurate directions (yes, we got lost). We finally abandoned the built-in navigation system and used the GPS on my cell phone instead. It responded faster and got us back on track.
Chrysler has really done their homework with this van. If you use a van for business, you owe it to yourself to test drive one. It’s peppy, nimble, and solid. It has the right balance between design and features and it’s priced right.
Aside from the navigation system, I give it 5-stars.
©, 2015 Rick MuscoplatPosted on by Rick Muscoplat