With the introduction of the Ram ProMaster City van into the U.S. market in 2015, contractors will have a broader spectrum of compact commercial vans from which to choose.
Like the Ram brand's full-sized ProMaster, the smaller ProMaster City is based on a proven European model. For the van's American debut, Ram has hardened the compact Fiat Doblò's unibody chassis and suspension: The result is a Class 1 commercial van that will include a number of best-in-class features, Ram executives promise. ENR recently inspected the van at Ram parent Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich.
Under the hood, the ProMaster City uses Chrysler's 2.4-liter inline four- cylinder engine, which produces 178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to the wheels for improved fuel efficiency, reduced overall weight—translating into increased payload capacity—and enhanced traction. While pricing and official fuel-economy estimates are not yet available, Ram engineers are expecting a rating for combined city-and-highway driving that will top those of a growing list of new Class 1 van competitors.
Inside, designers have included an 87.2-in.-long load floor, with 48.4 in. between the rear wheel wells; a half-dozen D-ring-style tie-downs help keep loads secured. The van offers a maximum payload rating of 1,833 lb and cargo capacity of 131.7 cu ft, both of which best those of other compact Class 1 entries such as the new Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 (including the NV200's forthcoming Chevrolet City Express clone).
The 51.8-in. interior height and 60.4 in. of space between the nearly vertical sidewalls also lend themselves to a variety of upfitting solutions, such as cargo organizers and toolboxes. Up top, the roof is reinforced to accept ladder or material racks with a weight of up to 154 lb.
In terms of seating, a three-person, second-row bench is an option, as are windows or solid panels in the rear and side doors. Available electronics include a navigation system with a 5-in. color touch screen and Bluetooth connectivity.
Look for the 2015 Ram ProMaster City to go on sale later this year at the brand's network of commercial dealers.