2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look
The Fiat connection continues to proliferate throughout the Chrysler lineup; this time in the form of the Ram ProMaster City, a compact van for light duty commercial applications and passenger use. Based on the third generation Fiat Doblò, produced by the Fiat Professional division. to date some 1.3 million of the small vans are already in service all over the world. Fiat has been producing the Dobio since the 2000 model year. There is even an electric version of the van offered in Europe.
Taking full advantage of the lessons learned from the longevity of its Europe-market sibling, the Ram ProMaster City promises reduced cost of operation over traditionally sized vans, while still carrying the vast majority of loads the trades call for. Ideally sized for urban environments, the ProMaster City also offers the ease of handling of a compact car.
According to Ram spokespeople, the Ram ProMaster City will deliver best in class fuel economy, horsepower, torque, payload, and cargo volume. The tall roofed small van features front-wheel drive, a multilink rear suspension system, and a cavernous cargo compartment for easy loading and handling significant payloads.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Models & Pricing
Offered at launch in two versions; Tradesman for commercial duty and Wagon for passenger applications, the ProMaster City will be delivered in eight different configurations.
Tradesman Cargo with security panels
Tradesman Cargo with rear windows
Tradesman Cargo with rear and side windows
Tradesman SLT Cargo with security panels
Tradesman SLT Cargo with rear windows
Tradesman SLT Cargo with rear and side windows
Wagon with rear and side windows
Wagon SLT with rear and side windows
The SLT models will be the top line versions of both configurations, and in the passenger models are expected to deliver considerable comfort and convenience. The Tradesman configured ProMaster City will offer two seats, while the Wagon iteration will offer seating for up to five passengers.
As of this writing (July 2014) pricing has yet to be announced. However, given Ford’s Transit Connect starts at $22,000, Nissan’s NV200 starts at $20,900, and the Chevrolet CityExpress starts $21,995, one can logically anticipate the Ram ProMaster City to start somewhere in the same price range.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Exterior Design
If you’ve seen the Ford TransitConnect, you have an idea of the overall silhouette of the ProMaster City. Still, the Ram’s Italian heritage is evident in its smooth lines, wraparound bumpers and twin-reflector headlamp clusters.
The short hood is indicative of its front-wheel drive powertrain, and its headlights are mounted high to reduce the potential for damage in fender benders. This is in an effort to lower operating costs and minimize potential maintenance issues. The short nose also makes the ProMaster City easier to maneuver on crowded city streets.
In a nod to its commercial nature, the ProMaster City’s high sides, large doors, and comparatively broad hood, are perfect for graphics and signage to promote the business it serves. Speaking of which, when you see the Ram ProMaster on the street, the signature crosshair grille, and ram’s head logo will immediately identify the small van as a Ram product.
Given the ProMaster City is expected to be loaded and unloaded many times a day, the doors are suitably large in an effort make working with the vehicle as convenient as possible. A nice touch is the integrated step on each side of the van to make getting into the cargo area easier. Further, the near vertical sides of the van make exploiting its interior cargo capacity more efficient. The roof is reinforced to carry loads of up to 154 pounds, and naturally Mopar offers a selection of racks and rails to manage roof-borne cargo.
Also found on each side of the ProMaster City are sliding doors with 26-inch openings to make ingress and egress more convenient. Speaking of doors, the rear doors are split 60/40—with the wider door being on the traffic side of the street so it doesn’t impede access to the curbside. Those doors are also capable of swinging open a full 180 degrees to make straight-in loading more readily accomplished.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Features & Controls
As you might expect in a vehicle primarily intended for commercial applications, the interior treatment is more utilitarian than plush. First and foremost in the interior design team’s consideration process is the fact the van will probably be driven on the order of eight hours a day. Because of this, driver comfort and convenience were primary considerations.
In addition to getting people and equipment to job sites, the ProMaster City is also expected to be called upon to serve as a mobile office. To this end, the passenger side of the dash features an open storage area to make accessing small tools, flashlights and etc more readily available. A storage bin at the top of the dash is perfect for keeping small clipboards, or mobile communications devices readily available Chrysler’s Uconnect system is incorporated, bringing with it a touchscreen interface, navigation, and handsfree Bluetooth connectivity
While all of this attention was being paid to the utility of the passenger compartment, comfort was taken into consideration as well. The control area is configured more like a car than a van, so the driving position is ergonomically correct. All controls fall readily to hand, and everything is intuitive and logically actuated. There’s no looking about the interior and “wondering what this button does”.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Cargo Capabilities
The ProMaster City’s primary controls are located far forward in the interior to maximize cargo space. Also, when the interior was being laid out, one of the things the engineering team paid attention to was the size of most building materials. For this reason, the Ram ProMaster City is said to offer a 48.4-inch wide load floor between the rear wheels. This takes into consideration 48 inches is a common size for pallets and building materials. That extra .4 of an inch gives you some wiggle room to make loading and unloading easier.
Dimensionally, the ProMaster City Tradesman offers 131.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. The cargo area’s overall width is 60.4 inches, its height is 51.8 inches, and its step-in height is 21.5 inches. The floor is 87.2 inches long, and is fitted with six standard equipment D-ring tie downs to secure cargo. The tie-down rings are rated to hold a maximum of 1000 pounds combined and fold up out of the floor when needed to secure a load. The cargo compartment offers four-way access, and the tall roof makes it easy for people to move around inside the van when necessary.
For passenger duty, the ProMaster City Wagon features a three passenger second row seat. Split 60/40, the rear seat can be folded and tumbled forward if there is ever a need to carry both people and cargo. Even with the seat in place, the ProMaster City Wagon provides nearly four feet of cargo floor. With the seats folded, the Wagon version of the ProMaster City features a six-foot cargo floor.
While the Tradesman version of the ProMaster City features an unfinished interior, the Wagon version offers a full-length headliner and carpeting along with panel moldings to “finish” the cargo area. The Wagon’s tie-down ring count is reduced to four, but storage trays with retractable covers are added.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Engine & Transmission
Power comes from Chrysler’s now-familiar 2.4-liter “Tigershark” inline four-cylinder engine. The horsepower rating is 178, while the torque figure is quoted at 174 ft-lbs. Chrysler’s “MultiAir2” valve actuation system is employed to reduce pumping losses, increase volumetric efficiency, and lower C02 emissions.
A smart alternator and a variable A/C compressor further improve efficiency. The alternator activates primarily during deceleration and braking so it isn’t dragging on the engine when its output is better used to move the vehicle. The variable A/C compressor runs only at the capacity at which it is needed rather than full bore all the time. This further reduces the load on the engine and improves fuel economy.
Power from the 2.4-liter powerplant is routed to the front wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. With nine gears, the ProMaster City’s wide ratio spread helps it achieve even better fuel economy. Having so many gears to work with, the transmission is calibrated to provide good acceleration off the line, as well as efficient cruising at speed on the highway.
While the transmission is said to be remarkably efficient on its own, it also offers the driver the ability to manually set the highest available gear when dealing with difficult terrain, or hauling heavy loads. Fuel economy figures have yet to be announced, but the ProMaster City is said to be capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds and carrying a 1,883-pound payload.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Safety Features
According to Ram spokespeople, the ProMaster City offers some 34 active and passive safety features. Among them are an optional rearview camera, and a proximity sensor array to aid parking. Electronic stability control is of course standard equipment, as are antilock brakes, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, hill-start assist, trailer sway control, and rollover mitigation.
2015 Ram ProMaster City First Look: Final Thoughts
With features designed to be ideal for light duty trades such as locksmiths, caterers, package deliver services, telecommunications, heating and cooling, painters, or florists; it looks like the ProMaster City will be a strong competitor in the working vehicle class.
Further, the ProMaster City has a shot at the family car market too, given the creature comforts offered by the Wagon version of the model. If Chrysler can keep the fuel economy in check, and get the pricing to fall in line with the competition (or ideally undercut it) we feel pretty confident saying the Ram ProMaster City will become a fairly common sight on the streets of North America in the coming years.