The high cost of gasoline has forced purveyors of traditional commercial vehicles to get creative on the design front. Fortunately for Ram, its engineers were able to raid the Dodge parts bin and put together a cargo van that makes prominent use of that brand's popular minivan platform. The end result was dubbed the Ram C/V, and this low-cost approach to building a practical commercial van has put Ram in the catbird seat when it comes to attracting customers based on strong brand recognition as well as solid value for the money.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Ram C/V.
01. The 2013 Ram C/V Is Based On The Grand Caravan
As mentioned in the introduction, the 2013 Ram C/V shares its platform with the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. What this means for buyers is a chassis that comes with a handling edge over larger, body-on-frame vans that are not nearly as nimble when navigating urban traffic. It also features a less jarring ride (useful when carrying fragile cargp) offers significantly more comfort than a truck-based van design, and provides an extensive parts and maintenance base thanks to the extreme popularity of its passenger-oriented sibling. The Ram C/V additionally swaps out the Grand Caravan's rear glass for solid steel panels, which both protects cargo and reduces the chances that a window could break during the loading process.
02. The 2013 Ram C/V Offers V-6 Power
The 2013 Ram C/V doesn't just share the Grand Caravan's platform - it also offers the same drivetrain. This is good news for commercial customers, who benefit from the new Pentastar V-6 engine that has slowly made its way across almost the entire Chrysler lineup. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is good for a healthy 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, output which is managed by a modern six-speed automatic transmission. All versions of the Ram C/V are front-wheel drive, and an unloaded example of the van can hit 60-mph from a standing start in 8.3 seconds.
03. The 2013 Ram C/V Is Fuel Efficient
The 2013 Ram C/V consumes fuel at a much reduced rate when compared against vehicles like the GMC Savana and the Ford E-Series. The Ram C/V posts gas mileage of 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway, for a combined total of 20-mpg. The van can also be run on E85 flex fuel. Full-size vans from General Motors are 20 percent less efficient on the highway when found with their less powerful base V-6, and Ford vans are in the same ballpark, which gives the Ram C/V an advantage over full-size competitors.
04. The 2013 Ram C/V Provides Solid Utility
The 2013 Ram C/V isn't simply a Grand Caravan with the rear rows of seating removed. In addition to the absence of back glass, the Ram C/V comes with a wide rear hatch, a pair of sliding side doors, and is available with a flat load floor, which gives it the capacity to haul up to 144.4 cubic feet of gear without transforming the loading process into a game of cargo-Tetris. The Ram C/V can carry up to 1,800 lbs of payload, and with a trailer attached it can lug 3,600 lbs behind it - impressive figures for a minivan-based commercial vehicle.
05. The 2013 Ram C/V Comes In A Single Trim Level
The 2013 Ram C/V is sold in a single base model. While it might not come with all of the comforts of home, the Ram C/V certainly isn't a barebones commercial truck. The entry-level Ram C/V is reasonably well-equipped considering its cargo-hauling mission: heated outside mirrors, power windows and door locks (including keyless entry), easy-to-clean rubber floors, and dual automatic climate control are all included free of charge. Also offered with the base C/V are a CD player with a simple stereo speaker system, tilt steering with telescopic adjustment, cruise control, and 16-inch steel wheels.
06. The 2013 Ram C/V Offers Several Options
For those who would like to customize the 2013 Ram C/V further in order to improve both its amenities and more practical features, the vehicle offers a number of options that can be added to the base model. Glass side panels are available, as is a glass rear window, and the latter can be paired with a defroster and a wiper system. On the tech side of things, the Ram C/V can also be equipped with a navigation system, an LCD touchscreen that is connected to a backup camera, a hard drive for storing digital music files, and the full Uconnect entertainment and communications interface.
07. The 2012 Ram C/V Is Smaller Than Most Commercial Vans
Part of the reason the 2013 Ram C/V is able to trump many of its competitors in terms of fuel mileage and handling is due to its smaller size - which translates into a lower curb weight. Of course, a smaller van is also a less useful van from a pure cargo transportation perspective, but the C/V stacks up reasonably well when compared against other smaller vans like the Ford Transit Connect. In fact, the Ram C/V can be considered one of the few mid-size cargo vans out there, sandwiched between the Transit Connect on one end and vehicles such as the Nissan NV and the Chevrolet Express on the other.
08. The 2013 Ram C/V Provides Upgrades Over The Standard Minivan Platform
Commercial buyers might have a few concerns about the ability of a minivan-based transporter being able to stand up to the day-to-day rigors of professional duty. To that end, the 2013 Ram C/V has seen its chassis and drivetrain fortified in order to better handle any abuse that might be dished its way. The Ram C/V's radiator has been upgraded to provide better regulation of engine temperature for a duty cycle that will most likely include a lot of idling, and it also features a transmission cooler. The van's suspension system has additionally been toughened up in order to handle the additional weight of cargo and trailer loads.
09. The 2013 Ram C/V Is Safe
Safety is a priority even in a commercial application, and the 2013 Ram C/V does its part to protect driver and passenger in the event of an accident. The Ram C/V features multi-stage forward airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and side curtain airbags that deploy along either side of the vehicle's interior in the event of a severe collision. Anti-lock brakes are of course included as standard equipment, alongside active front head restraints, electronic stability control, and traction control. The Ram's suite of safety gear makes it just as safe as its passenger equivalent (the Grand Caravan) should the worst case scenario unfold while out on the road.
10. The 2013 Ram C/V Is Attractively Priced
The 2012 Ram C/V starts at an MSRP of $22,420, which is only slightly higher than the smaller and less powerful Ford Transit Connect. It's also roughly $5,000 less expensive than the full-size Ford E-Series, and $2,500 less than the base Chevrolet Express. This puts the Ram C/V in a favorable position for buyers who are attracted to the idea of a mid-size van, but who need more cargo space and towing capacity than are offered by the Transit Connect. Although those needing the ultimate in interior storage will still opt for a full-size can, the C/V's affordable pricing will sway many shoppers who are on the fence about how much utility they really need on a regular basis.