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Ram ProMaster Arrives on the Scene

January 2014, by Chris Wolski - Also by this author

The ProMaster is available with two roof heights: 90 or 101 inches. 
The ProMaster is available with two roof heights: 90 or 101 inches.

The wait is over. The Ram ProMaster is now available to fleets. The first models arrived from Ram’s Saltillo, Mexico, assembly plant in September.

While the Ram ProMaster is new for the U.S. market, it is the continuation of a long tradition that began in Europe. Based on Fiat Professional’s Fiat Ducato, the ProMaster has a lineage that stretches back more than 30 years of proven performance in the European and world markets, giving Ram the ability to test the van in the U.S. market with select fleets prior to its U.S.-version debut.

The following Ram ProMaster models are available: 1500, 2500, or 3500 Cargo Van; 2500 Window Van; 3500 Chassis Cab; and the 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway. It has three wheelbases ranging from 118 inches to 159 inches and is available with two roof heights: 90 or 101 inches.

Altogether, there are 14 different base configurations of the Ram ProMaster available from the factory.

The ProMaster is available with either a gasoline-fueled 3.6L Pentastar V-6 or a 3.0L I-4 EcoDiesel engine. The Pentastar is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the EcoDiesel is paired with an electronically controlled 6-speed automated manual transmission.

The 2014 Ram ProMaster marks the North American introduction of a 174-hp 3.0L inline four-cylinder EcoDiesel engine, which generates peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. at just 1,400 rpm. The engine includes a number of refinements, including internal engine components, turbo, and emissions controls.

The ProMaster features more than 35 active and passive safety and security features. It also includes standard electronic stability control, hosting a number of technologies such as trailer-sway control. The ProMaster features a ParkView backup camera and ParkSense with audible warning, all of which are useful when maneuvering a large van.

Flexible Design Brings Flexible Options to Fleets

Each van type is suited to a particular target vocation.

For instance, the full-size Cargo Van has seen interest from the telecommunications, food service, vending, parcel, mobility, and commercial rental industries.

The Chassis Cab is particularly suited to the food and beverage industry, including bakery and linen services. It has also seen interest from the commercial rental and small service industries.

The Cutaway version of the Ram ProMaster is particularly cut out for RV and shuttle conversions.

Aiding in the ProMaster’s individual appeal to the vocational market are the improved ergonomics, particularly its low floor height, which measures just 21 inches from the ground, compared to the next closest competitor at 28 inches, according to Ram.

Along with the low floor height, the ProMaster has a high ceiling height and width.

Handling is another factor that has piqued the interest of vocational fleets, particularly the parcel fleets that had access to the Ducato models, according to Ram.

Fleets that used the Ducato found in the Northeast there was extra traction in snow conditions, according to Ram. The front-wheel drive was considered a “significant plus.”

Ram also said customers will be favorably impressed with the vehicle’s overall mpg figures, which are still pending. In addition, the van’s front-wheel drive and unibody construction means it’s “significantly lighter,” according to Ram, which increases the maximum payload capacity to 5,145 pounds and its maximum towing capacity to 5,100 pounds.

Designed to be Upfit

Apart from its flexible configurations and capabilities, the ProMaster is designed for easy upfitting.

The van’s floor is flat and the side walls are nearly vertical in relation to the floor, giving the ProMaster a “true box design,” according to Ram.
Ram has been working with upfitters to supply vans to help develop pack-ages that will fit particular vocational needs.

To aid the upfitting process, virtually all of the primary vehicle systems are packaged forward of the cargo area.

Ram ProMaster customers can work with whomever they want to upfit the vehicle, according to Ram. Converting the Ram ProMaster into the passenger version of the van will be 100 percent through the upfitter.

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