Chrysler unveiled its 2014-MY Ram ProMaster commercial van at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. This vehicle is based on the Euopean Fiat Ducato and Chrysler said this is Ram Truck brand’s first collaboration with Fiat Professional, Fiat’s commercial vehicle brand. The 2014-MY Ram ProMaster will come in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths, plus a cutaway model, for a total of 13 different configurations.
Performance-wise, the ProMaster features a front-wheel-drive system and Ram Truck will offer two engine and two transmission choices. The engine choices include an inline four-cylinder 3.0L EcoDiesel engine and a 3.6L Pentastar V-6. The EcoDiesel can generate 174 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Chrysler said an oil-level sensor sets the oil change schedule to every 18,500 miles for this engine. The Pentastar V-6 is rated at 200 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and the oil change schedule for this engine is every 10,000 miles (an oil-service system will alert the driver when a change is needed).
For transmission choices, Ram Truck offers the 62TE six-speed automatic or an automated six-speed manual transmission. Chrysler said the manual transmission features software that responds to road conditions. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the Pentastar V-6. The automaker hasn’t yet announced fuel economy estimates for this vehicle. The powertrain warranty is five years/100,000 miles.
Chrysler’s Ram Truck brand said the ProMaster has a best-in-class payload capacity of up to 5,145 lbs. and a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,100 lbs. The ProMaster’s combined weight rating (GCWR) when equipped with the Pentastar V-6 is 11,500 lbs. With the inline four-cylinder EcoDiesel, GCWR is 12,500 lbs.
The Ram ProMaster features a unibody frame, which the automaker said provides better strength and stability. Up front, it has a three-piece, modular, wraparound bumper and twin-reflector headlamp clusters. The front bumper also features a step built into the corners on each side, which are designed to make it easier to clean the windshield. The cab-forward design helps elevate passenger seating positions and provide better visibility, according to the automaker. The ProMaster’s front doors are designed to be large but lightweight for ease of access. Power side-view mirrors are adjustable and include wide-angle mirror sections. The vehicle features strips on the sides and rear that are designed to protect the vehicle.
In the back, the rear clamshell doors open up to 260 degrees and can lock in place. On the sides, a sliding door on the right side is standard and a sliding door on the left side is available as an option. The automaker added that window applications are available in the side sliding doors and in the rear quarter panels. Its step-in height is 21 inches, and the vehicle comes with a rear access step constructed from non-slip material.
Wheel choices come in three 16-inch variations in either aluminum or steel. Color choices for the ProMaster include Bright White, Flame Red, Black, Bright Silver Metallic, Sand Stone Metallic, Deep Cherry Red Metallic, Granite Crystal Metallic, and True Blue Metallic.
Inside the ProMaster, Ram Truck said the vehicle features seats with ergonomic padding and a range of adjustment options, including heating. The interior is matte black and accent colors come in chrome and silver. The overhead area in the van is light grey.
For its controls, the four-spoke steering wheel can be ordered with optional controls for a Chrysler Uconnect system, for hands-free phone access, for speed control, and for the audio system. The steering column telescopes to adjust for different drivers. The gear lever is next to the instrument panel to the left of the console. A switch bank on the console has switches for electronic stability control, door lock and unlock, plus two auxiliary switches for operating functions added via upfitting. HVAC controls are oversized for ease of use when vehicle occupants are wearing gloves. To the right of the switch bank are a USB port and a 12-volt outlet.
Ram Truck offers a swivel option for the driver and passenger seats, which can swivel inboard 180 degrees and outboard 35 degrees. Seat types include single units or two-seater benches. Trim choices include cloth with double accent stitching, grey cloth and vinyl with double accent stitching, or grey vinyl.
The automaker said the front bench seat has room for up to three people. It also comes with a console that a vehicle occupant can fold down. The console comes with a paper holder and a compartment with room for a laptop or other type of portable computer. Other available storage up front includes five cup holders and a lockable bin and a lower pouch with a built-in bottle holder.
For vehicle access, the vehicle also comes with a three-button keyfob that can lock and unlock the vehicle’s doors and lock and unlock the side sliding and rear cargo doors.
The Ram ProMaster has two available roof heights, either 90 or 101 inches. The sliding door openings’ sizes depend on the vehicle’s roof height. For the low-roof model, the door openings are 49 x 60 inches. For the high-roof model, the doors are 49 x 70 inches.
In the back, Ram Truck offers a range of floor finishes, including a resin-finished wooden load floor, a painted floor, or a rubber floor. The side walls come in lower and/or upper painted, composite styles. Ram Truck also offers a cargo area partition with a window as an option. For additional storage, a pouch for documents is located on the right side of the rear door. A 12-volt power outlet integrated into the side-opening rear door is an option. For securing cargo, the vehicle features up to 17 tie-down rings (each with a 1,000 lb. rating) that can fold flat with the floor.
Chrysler's Ram Truck brand offers the company’s Uconnect infotainment system in the ProMaster. The system provides hands-free calling via Bluetooth and a hands-free text reply feature. The system’s color, five-inch touchscreen is available with GPS-based navigation. The Uconnect Web service available via this system can deliver wireless Internet access via Autonet Mobile.
The ProMaster offers more than 35 safety features, according to the automaker. They include standard side-curtain airbags; a ParkView rear-view camera; and ParkSense, which emits an audible warning if the van is about to collide with something while parking; electronic stability control; Hill Start Assist; anti-lock brakes; a panic brake assist feature; a brake lock differential; drift compensation; roll mitigation; and autonomous brake lamp activation. Seat belts are height adjustable.
One security feature on the ProMaster is an engine key with an embedded transponder with a pre-programmed security code. If an incorrect key is used in the ignition, the engine will shut off.
The all-new vehicle will be available during the third quarter of 2013, according to the automaker. The vehicle is built at the automaker's Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.