First Look: 2014 Ram ProMaster Work Van

ProMaster Lead II

Expanding its commercial offerings, Ram truck introduced its 2014 ProMaster full-size commercial van at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show today. Based off Fiat's Ducato van that's been sold abroad for more than 30 years, the new-for-U.S. ProMaster will directly compete with the coming Ford Transit, the existing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the new Nissan NV and the ubiquitous Ford Econoline van.

Both Ford and Ram are focusing on the full-size van segment, identifying a clear need for a more versatile commercial vehicle to serve the small- and midsize business community that hasn't had many choices in the past. With fuel prices climbing and cost of ownership becoming more critical for a company's economic survival, the timing could be perfect for the right-sized multidimensional solution.

This all-new ProMaster chassis is specifically designed to carry cargo as its first priority, so the heavily reinforced (in some cases with eight integrated cross-members) unibody chassis will have a low load floor to make loading easy. Additionally, the van will only be offered in front-wheel drive, so the absence of a rear differential and driveshaft allows for a flatter and more versatile (than a truck, anyway) platform.

Adding to its versatility, the ProMaster will have two different roof heights of 90 and 101 inches, a standard sliding door on the passenger side with an optional sliding side door on the driver's side. It will offer three wheelbase choices at 118, 136 and 159 inches, four different body lengths and three conventional gross vehicle weight name identifiers (1500, 2500 and 3500). To further allow the ProMaster to be customized, 3500 ProMaster vans can be ordered in Cargo Van, Chassis Cab and Chassis Cab Cutaway versions to service both the bus and recreational vehicle sectors.

 

Engineering

ProMaster ghost II

The chassis construction of the ProMaster van is a type of mixed technology, offering a maximum payload and towing capacity calculated to be more than 5,000 pounds for both. ProMasters will offer five separate, unique suspension levels that will provide a wide range of capabilities, but all will use front double-A-arm coil springs while the rear suspension incorporates a conventional beam axle and leaf-spring setup. Additionally, the rear doors are designed to open almost to 260 degrees, the largest opening in the segment, Ram says. Even the roof is strengthened for carrying loads with a rating of up to 400 pounds.

For a more detailed list and explanation of capabilities, click here.

 

Powertrain

ProMaster V-6 & susp II

The new ProMaster will use two engines, one familiar and one new. The standard engine on most models will be the all-aluminum overhead cam gasoline 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, rated to make 280 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. This engine will always get the 62TE six-speed automatic transmission with ring-and-pinion choices of to be 3.16:1 on half-tons, 3.43:1 on three-quarter-tons, and 3.86:1 on one-tons. The new engine for the Ram truck family will be the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel four-cylinder brought over from Europe and specifically tuned for the ProMaster work-duty cycles. Rated at 174 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque (at 1,400 rpm), the EcoDiesel will be mated to an all-new M40 manu-matic gearbox that can be operated as a manual or automatic transmission. No word as to whether this engine and/or transmission is in line for use in a Ram 1500, or for use in any future hybrid powertrains, but we wouldn't be surprised to see either happen.

For more details on the ProMaster powertrain, click here.

 

Design

ProMaster Design 2 II

Regardless of whether you like the Euro styling of these types of vans, we appreciate the function-first feel of the look, clearly aimed at maximizing every inch of cargo area. Ram designers have built in some common cues in the grille and bumpers to bring the overall look into the Ram truck family, but we'll leave that final evaluation to others. Inside, many of the design choices are functional as well, making storage, entry and exit the highest priorities. Still, with a strong connection to Mopar, there are likely to be some customizing products offered to help interested businesses personalize their work vans.

For more information about the design details, click here.

 

Safety

ProMaster Design II

Ram is promoting that there are more than 35 safety and security features on the new ProMaster, including everything from a new brake-throttle override system to height-adjustable seat belts to traction control systems and more. Additionally, the ProMaster comes with six standard airbags that include two seat-mounted side airbags to protect hip and rib damage. Other safety features include trailer-sway control, hill start assist and a new, relatively aggressive roll mitigation software program.

For more details about and a full list of safety features, click here.

 

Connectivity

ProMaster Interior II

To increase productivity, the ProMaster will offer the Bluetooth-enabled Uconnect system to make work life for commercial drivers safer and easier. Not only can the Uconnect system control 18 different voice-activated text-reply responses while driving, but the system can also include a 5-inch touch-screen that can be used for navigation or as a backup camera screen when so equipped.

For more details about the Uconnect system, click here.

 

Specifications

ProMaster callouts II
For the most up-to-date ProMaster specifications, click here. And to download a larger image of the photo above, click here.

 

Comments

@Denvermike,
Guess how muddy and icy it gets in Europe? The Ducato has NO problems towing loads. I this case carrying one.
http://www.wemovecars.co.uk/assets/images/db_images/db_Honda_Civic__011.jpg

Hmm!... I would have to agree, based on it's exterior appearance, it may be better suited for just Contracting and other Government Fleet related jobs, a Civilian version would have to wear a totaly different front facial design to appeal to those who need a serious family mover.

@DenverMike
Again, the problem you posed isn't the problem now. It makes a difference to the outcome.

Now the van is loaded incorrectly over the axles to 5 000lbs and the trailer is loaded.

I'm sorry DenverMike I didn't read that, I must have missed it.

I read it as an unladen van and a loaded trailer or just a van loaded by someone with a regard to safety.

@raymondj
These are used as small to smallish Motorhome bases and as such are not that bad looking in that context.
http://www.trakka.com.au/model_images/Trakkaway-860/gallery/TWAY_860_ext.jpg

@DenverMike
This will give you an idea on the conditions and roads that the Fiat Ducato campervans are used on.

They might be better than you thougt.

http://www.motorhomeplanet.co.uk/archives/143

That's interesting... I take it all back!

We were way ahead of you though..

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2010/08/toro-rv.jpg

http://www.gmcclassics.com/obarr/cover.jpg

@Denvermike

FWD Vans/Motorhomes have been around for ages in Europe. The "nose heavy" examples you have shown are not terrible representative.
Although there are people who want the GMC FWD Motorhome back in the US. Cost of making it is what killed it in the US.

A 1960's German FWD Motorhome. Ugly little thing.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Hanomag-Henschel_Orion.jpg/758px-Hanomag-Henschel_Orion.jpg

@Denvermike
After reading your posts, and dealing with you in the past you are refusing to believe the US is changing. Like diesel you are refusing to believe this can occur in the good old USA.

It must have been over 12 months ago you told me that the small diesels will never come to the US because they cost $8 000 more. Well, they are starting to come and they will not cost nowhere near $8 000.

The same goes with these vans and other commercials. They will change. LDT/MDT/HDTs will become more and more prevailent. The US can't go on the way its going with vehicle design, I've more or less stated this many times. Car have changed, now your commercial vehicles will change.

Pickups will change last because they aren't used as commercial vehicles as much and they are protected, or the pickup mix in the US would be completely diifferent. You would see a large number of our diesel mid sizers.

There are positives and negatives with these new vehicles. But the customer will use them as they were designed, and turn a higher profit because they are cheaper to run.

The reality is these new vans will do 95% of what the older vans did, but much more economcally.

Your argument would be the same if they brought out a front wheel drive car. But look at the globe most cars are front wheel drive.

Front wheel drive vans are good because they can be produced cheaper, have a much lower bed which increases volume, are lighter and use less fuel.

Just because you view something as foreign isn't bad, don't be scared of change.

This van is UGLY! A light duty van to say the least. Dodge never has been known to build a good van and that is why they left the market until they merged with MB. This is just another foreign van with the Dodge name on it. Pretty sad if you ask me.

Yeah right, we had a '76 Le 300 w/ a 440, Tqflt 727, 9.25 corp. axle @ 4.10 gears. Pull anything you could hook behind it. Out run most anything beside it except gas stations. Front /rear air. Very nice for that era.

@Denvermike,

You seem to focus too much on the worst case scenario - improperly loaded van, uphill in snow, trailer in tow. In my area, you might see 5%, if that, of vans that tow a trailer. In severe weather, probably 1%.

Majority of them run around doing deliveries, or are used as contractor toolboxes. So if you're Dodge, you better ask yourself: "do I cater to the 5% market, at the sacrifice of mpg and interior room? Or, do I make my product superior for 95% of users, and then convince the 5% to buy my Cummin Ram 4x4?"

Here's another stat for you, a loaded B-train can gross up to 132,000 lbs. There's only 34,000 lbs on the drivers. They run around in all weather, day in day out.

Soylent Green called....
"The scoops are on their way! I repeat, The scoops are on their way!"

2014 Pro Master is a good commercial van. I think it is the best and affordable & cheap way to export business things. It is alos with good look and design.

whats it gonna have gas or diesel? mpg? has to be 25 and better for me to buy

Reading the arguments about rwd vs fwd got me to thinking. Are the rwd vans superior in towing, and icy conditions? I switched to 4wd trucks from rwd vans for a reason. The rwd vans were terrible in snowy/icy conditions. 95% of the time the vans are moderately loaded, some tools, some material, seldom loaded to capacity (in a 3/4 or 1 ton) I may come back to these *new* vans, Ford or Dodge, because trucks are not without drawbacks as work trucks in my field as well (electrical contracting). Cost and height the biggest drawbacks.
Looks are of little consequence for me, in a sense, I don't care if its considered ugly per se however I will not show up to someone's house in a rusty, banged up, oil leaking hunk of junk that you have to park half a block away in fear of them seeing it or it leaking oil all over the owners brand new driveway.

hello fellows,

I'm from Germany and have the sistercar Fiat Ducato
with that 3L 4cyl engine. It's a great usefull van but it is sad that the stylingmodifications for making it Dodgefamiliar, was not made good. I thought it would (and could) go more to the Dodge Ram Pickup design but unfortunately it became worse than the Fiatstyle which is anyways not the best outcome! Sure is: quality is acceptable here and better (yes read this), better than the Mercedescompetition which I had before also!!! The Milage is with the diesel 30mpg or more and unfortunately they don't offer the Dodge with the strong superefficient 2.2L Diesel. I had this one before I got the 3L and this 2.2L was nearly as quick as the 3L but just not so fast. Incredibly was the milage. You will not believe me and I can not (?!?) understand why Fiat discontinued this engine. The Milage was 40-45 mpg. Yes this IS TRUE and this with that big van. I drove 850km with less than 50Liter diesel, now you can calculate. I hope you there in US will bring out a lot of aftermarket dressup-parts so that I can customise my Fiat in a way where in Europe is not big interest (or van-community). Nice to see that it came over to USA, not nice to see the poor efforts for Designimprovements - quite boring. Best regards - Werner

...yes and again. I had the Mercedescompetition before I had the Fiat Ducato and believe me: It was terrible scrap which took so much money out of my selfemployment-account. I hat 22 reclamations after 3 and 1/2 years and 28000 Euros of costs (1Euro = 1.37 Dollar now!). With the first 2.2L Fiat I had NO reclamations and no additional costs beyond purchasecosts. The second one with the 3L made now after 7 month of ownership also just 500 Euros of costs and one little reclamation. Thus it shoul dnot become a disappointing Van. I really love it ( and I'am not payed from Fiat for this!). Good is that in USA you provide a real automatic transmission. If they provide for the 3L Diesel the european automatic transmission then DON'T BUY that. The manual transmission is ok, but the automatic one is an electronical upgrade "onto" the mechanical one and this don't work properly, or to say it clearly: It is nervkilling scrap useless to provide unaunderstanable why it is offered. But all the other equipement is/works fine. My Ducato is fully equiped with perforated, chromringed leathersteeringwheel like in the Lancia Thema (Chrysler 300). Ok I hope this hints of my 4 years and 60000 miles of Ducatoexperience helps you and your choice is not bad. A diesel for economics or a 6cylinder for the more sophisicated and cruisers.

Bye bye - Werner from europe, germany

Hey and if someone want to start a Ducato-ProMaster Community of interest, let me know under Scharrer Werner in Facebook.



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