Ram Expands Product Line With ProMaster City

Third van model for Ram brand arrives in 2015.

Ram Promaster City
The Ram ProMaster City is a small Fiat in disguise.

With Chrysler separated Ram from Dodge, the move was deemed by some as a curious one. Especially with a line up that consisted solely of midsize, large and heavy duty pickup trucks.

The Ram Dakota occupied the midsize segment, but was canceled in 2011. The next year the Ram Cargo Van, based on the automaker’s minivans, made its debut. Still, the product line was a thin one until Fiat-supplied models began to appear for the 2014 model year.

That first model, the Ram ProMaster is based on the Fiat Ducato, a larger van that competes with the Nissan NV, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the upcoming Ford Transit. By early next year a second model, the Fiat ProMaster City, will debut and serve as Ram’s small commercial van. Based on the Fiat Doblo, the latest Ram offering will compete with the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200.

2015 Ram ProMaster City

The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be available in eight different configurations including cargo and wagon variants. Security panels, rear and side windows are among the differences between each model. Commercial versions will seat two people, while the passenger models will seat five.

Under the hood, each model is powered by a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It is rated at 178 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and makes 174 foot-pounds of torque at 3,900 rpm. The van is built in Bursa, Turkey, and then sent to the Chrysler Group Transformation Center in Baltimore, Maryland for final upfitting.

The Ram ProMaster City will give this model several important edges over its competitors. Although fuel mileage projections have yet to be announced, the ProMaster City is expected to beat out the combined 24 mpg of the Nissan NV200.

Other areas where it will lead include its wheelbase measuring 112.4 inches, the distance between its wheel wells at 48.4 inches, 131.7 cubic feet of cargo volume and 1,883 pounds of payload capacity. Ram also claims wider and taller cargo doors than its competitors.

International Van of the Year

The Fiat Doblo model that the Ram van is based on is not a new one. Indeed, Fiat has sold more than 1.3 million units for a van that has also won International Van of the Year honors twice. Now in its third generation, the front-wheel drive Doblo is a proven scheme that should work well in North America.

Even so, the ProMaster City will provide a number of changes over its Fiat equivalent. Due to the rougher road surfaces in North America, ride height will be raised slightly by 0.4 inches. Chassis components and anchor points will also be upgraded.

To accommodate the TigerShark engine and the transmission, the engine box and front track are widened. A number of structural upgrades will help this vehicle comply with stiffer US safety regulations. All models will be equipped with 16-inch all-season tires to manage increased weight loads.

Front-Wheel Drive and UConnect

The ProMaster City is of unibody construction and front-wheel drive. This layout helps to reduce weigh, lower maintenance costs and improve efficiency. The Ram also benefits from optimal cab and cargo space, very good handling, enhanced traction and greater payload capacity. The City will also have a 2,000-pound towing capacity.

A number of features found in other Chrysler Group models will be offered in the Ram as well. For instance, the automaker’s UConnect interface is available, what allows for hands-free calling by way of Bluetooth technology. A five-inch color display with navigation, an available backup camera and a ParkSense audible warning system are other attributes of this new-to-Ram van.

Additional Van News

Hauled It: 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van

Ford Transit Production is Now Underway

Fiat Chrysler Weights Its Minivan Options

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V.

Nissan NV200 Brings Forth a Small Commercial Van

A small cargo van enters Nissan’s commercial fleet.

Nissan NV200.
Introducing the Nissan NV200.

The Ford Transit Connect will be getting some competition this spring when the new Nissan NV200 hits the market. At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show last week, Nissan took the wraps off of its all-new cargo van, the smallest model in its expanding field of commercial vehicles.

April 2013 Availability

The release of the Nissan NV200 will take place in April 2013, with more than 300 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers marketing this product. The NV200s debut comes following an announcement just before the start of the Chicago Auto Show that Nissan intends to stay in the full-size pick up truck segment. Rumors that the Nissan Titan would be canceled have been dismissed as the automaker seeks to maintain its position as a full-line manufacturer.

The Nissan NV200 comes in 4.5 feet shorter and 2.5 feet lower than the Nissan NV 2500/3500 High Roof Cargo Van. Nissan used the terms right size to describe its new product, alluding to shoppers of small cargo vans desired by fleet operators and small businesses alike. The 2013 Nissan NV200 is priced from $19,990; a destination charge, taxes and tags are extra. That price comes in lower than the 2013 Ford Transit Connect, in fact the Nissan is priced nearly $2,500 below the Ford.

Nissan NV200 Dimensions

Although new to North America, the NV200 is sold in other markets. The North American version, however, has a body that is 7.9 inches longer. Indeed, the Nissan NV200 sits on a 115.2-inch wheelbase and is 186.3 inches long by 54.8 inches wide and offers a 53-inch cargo area height. A 36.7-foot turning radius is designed to help this van maneuver in tight areas. Its payload limit is estimated at 1,500 pounds and this vehicle offers 122.7 cubic feet of storage capacity.

Important to shoppers is access to the interior with both side and rear doors making that possible. Yes, rear entry is accomplished through French doors that feature a 40/60 split design. The uneven split is to keep the left door from intruding into passing traffic when parked on the street. These doors open at 90- and 180-degree angles, while the side doors slide open.

Cabin and Office

Inside, the drivers position is elevated slightly to give drivers full command of their surroundings. The drivers seat comes with a 6-way manual control, lumbar support and an armrest; the slightly lower passenger seat offers a 4-way adjustable design. Both seats are equipped with adjustable head rests while front door pockets are included.

Recognizing that many commercial van owners will use their vehicles as mobile offices, Nissan has equipped these vehicles accordingly. Every model comes with center storage compartment that offers room for a laptop and storage compartments for pens, pencils, CD as well as two cup holders. In the upper portion of the instrument panel, a recessed section can serve as work area or lunch table, as can the passenger seat when it is folded down.

Two Trim Levels

Standard equipment includes power windows, a 12-volt power outlet up front and a second one at the rear of the NV200. An under seat storage tray is located underneath the passenger seat; an audio system is also included. Also available is Bluetooth connectivity, a SiriusXM satellite radio subscription and a rear view monitor. A navigation system is available with its technology package.

Nissan will sell the NV200 in S and SV trim levels. All models are powered by a 2.0-liter 16-valve in-line four cylinder engine. This engine is pair with a continuously variable automatic transmission and makes 131 horsepower and 139 foot-pounds of torque. Estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg around town and 25 mpg on the highway.

See AlsoHauled It: 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van

Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors.