Ram Truck has unveiled its entry in the fast-growing compact commercial van segment, the ProMaster City. The builder claims the van has several best-in-class attributes, including power and torque, cargo room, transmission speeds, and fuel economy.
Based on the European Fiat Doblo and designed for North America, it has front-wheel drive for greater interior volume in passenger and cargo areas, and will be available in several door and window configurations.
“As businesses strive for lower costs, the demand for a smaller, more efficient van has increased and Ram Commercial is answering the bell with the all-new ProMaster City,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Chrysler Group’s Ram Truck Brand.
“Years ago, the selection of delivery and cargo vehicles was limited and those offerings didn’t focus on cost of ownership. Today all of that has changed with the recent introduction of the full-size Ram ProMaster, and the now the Ram ProMaster City.”
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will incorporate familiar Ram Truck design elements and offer features, systems and powertrains preferred by North American customers. It is the brand’s second shared collaboration with Fiat Professional, Fiat of Italy’s commercial arm, with the 2014 Ram ProMaster full-size van being the first.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be offered in a two-seat Tradesman cargo van and five-seat passenger wagon configurations. Cargo vans will have rear and/or side windows or security panels.
ProMaster City has a steel unibody, which helps minimize curb weight, a key contributor to the van’s payload capability of 1,883 pounds. A wheelbase of 122.4 inches offers good ride and handling while spanning the space needed for what Ram claims is the largest cargo area in the segment.
The van’s front axle uses a MacPherson strut suspension tuned for rougher North American roads, and an independent coil-sprung bi-link rear suspension for driving comfort, enhanced stability, and maximum safety characteristics in all load situations, the company said.
The area between the rear-wheel wells is 48.4 inches, which allows construction tradesmen to carry 4x8-foot sheets of plywood, wallboard and other building materials, as well as loaded pallets.
Above the wheel wells, the ProMaster City’s nearly vertical side panels give it a width of 60.4 inches.
With an interior roof height of 51.8 inches, the volume is 131.7 cubic feet for the cargo van version. The vertical side panels simplify the attachment of shelves or storage racks for specialized commercial use. The floor of the cargo van is 87.2 inches long and is fitted with six standard equipment D-ring tie downs.
Each side has a sliding door with a 26-inch opening. The roof is prepped for load rails or roof racks, available through Mopar with a weight capacity of 154 pounds.
The rear of the van is fitted with 60/40 split swing doors. The larger door swings open toward the traffic (driver) side of the van, making it easy to quickly access larger cargo items and stay out of the way of the path to the curbside.
Both rear doors initially swing open 90 degrees, and – for dock loading – can swing to 180 degrees with a press of a release button on the door latch. The latch automatically re-engages when the door is closed.
The ProMaster City’s powertrain includes a 9-speed automatic transmission for top performance and fuel efficiency, the company said. The engine is a 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-4. It makes 178 horsepower at 6,250 rpm peak torque of174 pound-feet.
The engine’s aluminum head has four valves per cylinder with advanced variable actuation. Dubbed MultiAir2, the electro-hydraulic system uses a column of oil in place of the traditional mechanical link between the camshaft and intake valves. This affords precise control of the intake-valve events and reduces engine-pumping losses, increases volumetric efficiency and cuts carbon-dioxide emissions.
Engine accessory drives include “smart alternator management” and a variable air-conditioning compressor that determines the most efficient times to initiate a duty cycle.
A smart charge system uses moments of deceleration or braking to run at capacity when necessary instead of under load. These features decrease the need for engine power to raise fuel economy and performance.
Exterior styling features smooth body lines and high wraparound bumpers that protect twin-reflector headlamp clusters. The tucked front-wheel-drive packaging allows for a short hood that, in turn, provides a good vantage point of the front corners, something useful when maneuverability is key and important to commercial van operators, Ram said.
Large side panels allow businesses to post signage and graphics. Three different window options are available on two trim levels. City Tradesman and SLT trim levels use a simplified color palette with durable fabrics sporting black-with-gray accents. The cabin has comfortable driving ergonomics to keep drivers fresh during long hours in the van.
The van offers 34 active and passive safety and security features, among them standard electronic stability control and an available rear-facing camera.
Uconnect electronic interface allows hands-free calling via a reliable Bluetooth connection. A full-color, 5-inch touchscreen is available with GPS navigation for quick route planning and running.
Uconnect Web, powered by Autonet Mobile, is available to U.S. customers. This system delivers continuous Internet connectivity, creating an efficient workspace and real-time information access on the go.
Extensive testing has beenperformed in laboratories in Turin, Italy, and Auburn Hills, Mich., at Fiat and Chrysler Group proving grounds, as well as reliability testing on public roads in many different climates in Europe and the United States.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be assembled at the modern TOFAS plant in Bursa, Turkey, starting late this year. This plant now builds Fiat Doblos. The cargo van configuration will be upfitted at Chrysler Group’s Transformation Center in Baltimore, Md. Dealers will begin receiving vans early in 2015.