2015 Ram ProMaster City: First Drive

ProMaster Tradesman II

Austin, Texas, is a quirky city that combines small-town no-nonsense charm with a cutting-edge, progressive music scene. You can simultaneously be both cool and a fuddy-duddy. As the locale for our first drive of the all-new 2015 Ram ProMaster City, Austin was perfect because this midsize commercial van is kind of cool and a little weird at the same time.

Based on an existing Fiat Doblo platform, the ProMaster City has been significantly modified to better cope with U.S. road durability needs and unique road conditions (that means our roads are more likely to have bigger potholes and wider temperature extremes than in Europe).

This hard-working small van comes in just one wheelbase length (122.4 inches) but will be offered in four trim levels: Tradesman Cargo, Tradesman Cargo SLT, Wagon and Wagon SLT. Pricing will start at $24,125 (including destination) for the Tradesman Cargo with a fully optioned five-passenger Wagon SLT running as high as $29,000. As to safety features, the City comes standard with seven airbags and features electronic stability control, trailer-sway control (it has a 2,000 pound towing capacity), hill-start assist, traction control, a backup camera and more.

All ProMaster City vans have one powertrain: an impressive 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder dual-overhead valve engine called the Tigershark. The engine produces 178 horsepower and 174 pounds-feet of torque, but the real magic with this little van is in the compact nine-speed (948TE) transmission that can be set in drive or be manually shifted when you need a more controlled feel.

During our drive around the more commercial areas of Austin, we had the chance to grab a loaded Tradesman Cargo (no windows) with the bulkhead wall divider behind the front seats and a 600-pound load strapped down in the back area. The City had no trouble moving two adult males and its payload in traffic through urban streets. And that shouldn't surprise anyone since this van has a max payload rating of more than 1,800 pounds, 3.73:1 axle gears and a 4.70:1 1st gear. That means the jump we felt at each stoplight and stop sign wasn't our imagination - this little cargo hauler hauls.

As spry and crisp as the ProMaster City was during our city driving and morning traffic loop, the most impressive feature on the vehicle was its rear suspension. This is typically the area where these small vans (all vans actually) normally show their weaknesses. When you design a vehicle to spend most of its working life carrying an assortment of cargo, how comfortable it drives usually isn't a top priority. However, we were pleasantly surprised at how controlled and smooth this van felt with and without a loaded cargo area. In fact, we were told the Ram engineers spent quite a bit of time beefing up the links, coils and configuration of the independent rear suspension on the vehicle for better carrying capacity, but more importantly giving the vehicle better ride capability.

Other details in the little van's design seem pointedly aimed at making any number of work situations easier, like the 60/40-split rear doors that are double hinged to allow for full wide-open loading, the multiple in-floor tie-downs and the extra-wide cab that makes storing (in doors and the roof shelf) clipboards and paperwork a simple chore.

As you might expect, the wheels and tires are relatively small (215/55R16), but the wide stance offers a stable feel when cornering on dirt or broken pavement. During our diverse 20-mile run around town (and we were feather-footing a bit) we were able to average about 24 mpg with two adults and 600 pounds of payload. EPA fuel economy ratings for the ProMaster City are 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined.

The competition in the small van market is heating up as the ProMaster City enters a market dominated by the Ford Transit Connect. The TC certainly offers more configurations and powertrain options than anything else in the class, but after our drive we can easily envision the ProMaster City jumping well ahead of what the Chevrolet Express City and Nissan NV200 bring to the table. And when you compare how this new Ram van rides, we're guessing it will make it to the top of the list for many small businesses, delivery services and fleet buyers.

To read the full press release on the Ram ProMaster City, click here.
To read more about the ProMaster City powertrain, click here.
To read more about the ProMaster City safety features, click here.
To read more about the ProMaster City vehicle specifications, click here.

Manufacturer photos

 

ProMaster City front II

Engine Tigershark II

Trans 9-spd II

ProMaster City Wagon II

City Susp II

ProMaster City rear II

IMG_0473 II

IMG_0454 II

BU014_420EV II

 

Comments

Looks like Nissan Cube

Yep, looks like a Nissan Cube, it has 4 tires and headlights.

Lol, it doesn't look anything like a Nissan Cube.

When is PUTC going to start reporting on 10 speed bikes and public transportation?

This bloody PC focus on everything Euro is lame! An Italian minivan. Boy oh boy!

Yes, 99% Stretched Kia Soul

I wonder if Ram will release the pickup version of this like the EU has with a little diesel?

That would provide many small businesses with a nice little economical truck.

The diesel versions would give over 40mpg on the highway. That would take some beating.

I do think many globally consider Texans odd balls as well. I suppose many consider any region outside of where they live alien..........lack of development??? Most likely.

A nice combination of the function, capability, and efficiency. I would like to see it compared to the Nissan NV200, and the Ford Transit. The kind of small truck people who NEED (not want) small trucks need.

"Based on an existing Fiat Doblo platform, the ProMaster City has been significantly modified to better cope with U.S. road durability needs and unique road conditions (that means our roads are more likely to have bigger potholes and wider temperature extremes than in Europe)."

Well Europe can mean many different road conditions and temperatures I.e Greece , Mediterranean climate , Scandinavian, Russian winters. So how can a little inner City Van be so different to what you get in Europe? Last time I was in the US, the roads did not look like something from the Central African Republic. Yes potholes were pretty prevalent but that was all

Who cares what a cargo-hauler looks like, the ride and performance sound a whole lot better than the old American BoF cargo vans this is intended to replace with a smaller engine and a whole lot better fuel economy.

And personally, I like the looks of it.

"A nice combination of the function, capability, and efficiency. I would like to see it compared to the Nissan NV200, and the Ford Transit. The kind of small truck people who NEED (not want) small trucks need."

This would compare very favorably to my '02 Saturn Vue pretty much across the board in Wagon SLT form. If I needed an SUW the Promaster City could be a viable option. BUT, I would still prefer a Strada pickup truck instead.

Nice little van. It does however borrow most of its looks from the Kia Soul. Looks like someone stretched one out and made this van. Should do well though.

Meant to say the crew cab 4 x 4 with a 6'4" bed is the only one with a gross combined weight rating difference of 100 pounds for the six speed, vs eight speed.

I ask, which one will be the better tow rig?

If your name is all 1 and you try to make six speeds look like they're the in thing to have then you'd probably give me the answer that the six speed is, lol.

Your full of smoke dude.

In our Real MPG testing, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel achieved 14.8/19.9/16.8 mpg city/highway/combined compared to its EPA rating of 19/27/22 mpg.

Posted today on Motor trend. 2nd update of their longterm Ecodiesel

PUTC
I know what you're up to.
You are flooding us with stores about Ram's cause you want to find favor with the Ram Boys showing your not bias cause the 1/2 ton shoot out test is coming in a few days where the new 2015 F-150 is going to win with flying colors.
.....and you're afraid the Ram Boys are going to get mad so you are making up and trying to appease them now buy running good Ram stories before the big brick falls on them.

am I right?
huh?
am I right?
huh?

I really love reading those "tow rating" comments. The following is what you should ask yourself prior to buying a pickup;

1. How often will I tow? (twice a year?),

2. How much weight do I tow? (7 000lbs average),

3. What distances to I drive empty, towing, load in bed, etc,

4. What is the "normal" use of my pickup, (one person daily driver?), and

5. What load do I carry in the bed and how often.

You'll find it is worth sacrificing by running the overall drive ratio for a truck that runs empty that still has the tow rating.

So, these tow arguments are almost irrelevant. Because your truck will be empty most of the time and you'll save money by buying to most economical to run.

Why? Because it will save you money in the long run.

Why? Because most pickups don't really tow or carry a load.

So, this continuing argument regarding towing is only really significant to a few percent of people buying a pickup.

If you are towing a significant amount of weight, even 7 000lbs on a daily basis I would either buy a diesel HD or better still a real truck that can actually carry the load on the bed.

Todd, if the mpgs for the diesel Ram are correct then reduce that number by approx. 30% to give the real 2.7 EcoBoost figures.

I heard on Bloomberg Ford is concentrating that the biggest advantage for the aluminium F-150 is payload and towing. That's how I heard the Ford apologists/marketeers on this site promote the new F-150.

Ford will not use mpg. Why? I could have done the same with the older F-150, just by dropping an aftermarket suspension in it far cheaper than the development of the new F-150.

It seems I have been correct all along, FE isn't the strong point for the new F-150. So sad after all that development.

See if this works????

If you like Chevy, GMC or ram then go and buy one. Maybe you drive one now. Seems to be to much worry on here about the new Ford. If you don't like it and its new aluminum body then don't buy one. No reason to worry about insurance cost and repair problems if you don't have one. Seems like everyone is worried about what Ford is doing. If you are happy with what you have then why worry about Ford?? Must be jealousy?? The best never rest, and it looks like being jealous never does either.

@Big Al

Your point holds up as long as cost saving or FE is the highest priority. If versatility is Number One then the truck with the most capability wins, because it can do more.

A 15-year old S10 outperforms my 1500 most of the time if FE is the premium, or if lower cost wins.

My 1500 can do all of the stuff the S10 does, AND it can do heavier work--which makes it more versatile. Since I don't want to keep two pickups in the barn, I have to go with the more versatile truck. Rarely do I need an HD truck, but if I did I'd trade the half ton in and get one.

@ALLone,
1. My truck only comes with a 3.73, so why or how can I buy it with a different diff ratio? Plus empty it pulls 32mpg @ 70mph. The only pickup that will meet what I have will be the 2.8 diesel Colorado when released soon.

2. Ford and Mazda engineers have deemed the truck able to safely tow the 7 800lbs or whatever safely.

3. Would I tow that much? Maybe over short distances of a 200km or so.

4. What do I deem my truck able to tow daily? I would think around 1.5 tonnes.

I would think even the US rated pickups would also look at towing >50% of their tow limit on a daily basis.

Even a Coyote V8 towing 12 000lbs or 5.5 tonnes is ambitious. It will move the weight but for how long?

Also, you're continuing argument you pose in relation to economy suggests you have bought the incorrect truck yourself. You would have invested in a non blown V6 F-150 in lieu of your EcoBoostj or a 2.7 Taco. As a Ford apologist a Transit Connect might have been a better choice for you.

This is where you V8/EcoBoost guys loose the plot. You don't drive what you need and yet you preach FE when a diesel vs gas comparison is taking place.

The EcoBoost will consume approximately 25-30% more fuel than a VM diesel Ram. You can't change that.

The only problem I have with the Ram is the Asiatic styling ques and the low payload. But hey, it seems the average US consumer doesn't require much of the garbage you attempt to make a comparison with. Ram is selling well, why you must ask yourself? Because Ram have realised most pickup owners don't require the capability you speak of.

EcoBoost technology is and was designed not for the consumer but compliance to regulations. If the regulations were not in place you would still see V8s as the choice engine.

@papajim: It's nice that a full-sized truck is more versatile for your purposes--keep driving 'em.

On the other hand, the size and relative economy of a compact truck is FAR more versatile for me. Yes, I occasionally want to carry lumber so a bed long enough to carry 8' sticks and 4'x8' sheets without them tipping out onto the ground is almost a requirement. On the other hand, since I almost never--EVER--carry more than one passenger, a full back seat is unnecessary though I would like to carry things I want secured and out of the weather on a relatively flat floor behind the front seat (as compared to these plastic compartmented supports for a seat seen in most extended cab and full-sized pickups). For me, full sized is NOT more versatile, it's less so simply because it's too big and too thirsty to use as a daily driver and part-time truck.

And no, a trailer is NOT an option; my HOA doesn't permit storing trailers where it can be seen by ANY neighbors or visitors.

I got the Motortrend issue with the truck shoot out. What a horibbly written article and biased test. They state at the start, they could "only" get an F150 Lariat and that it wasn't comparable to the Chevy and the EcoDiesel they had so they used a Platinum for comparison. Then they show they used an LTZ Chevy and the Ram was an Outdoorsman. The Lariat was was right on par with the other two. Then they say they will take the Ram because it is a jack of all trades. Note it was the only truck in the comparison with a sub 1000lb payload. They basically nit picked the F150 on what they thought might be problems or things they didn't think were what they were going to get as far as MPG and so on. Heck, the freakin Ram needed to go in for service DURING the comparison!!! In essence, Ram won because it was most car like. They liked the ride, the air ride and interior doodads like the wireless hotspot. LOL

I think its funny ha-ha-ha how the same people in here run out of things to complain about.
ha
ha
ha

can't you guys come up with something new instead of repeating the same things over and over again?

@Roadwhale

I needed some time to figure out your response regarding what "versatile" means.

Versatile means that it can do more things.

A schwinn 10 speed uses less gas than my Silverado, but it won't haul a load regardless of what the bed size is. That makes it less versatile.

If you read everything here at PUTC about any pickup truck you're an expert, you know MORE than Consumer Reports or Motor Trend knows about pickups.
I feel embarrassed and stupid when I read the Motor Trend comparison test cause they pick and choose what NOT to tell you what we already know.
PUTC is the leading experts on pickup trucks, leave the cars to Motor Trend.

Throw out what you read in the Feb.2015 issue of Motor Trend and pay attention to the PUTC comparison test coming in a few days.
I also look at the reliability and resale value of pickups that everybody leaves out including PUTC, but I still have faith that PUTC knows reliability numbers are twisted around based on the number of the brand of pickups sold.
Its simple, if Ford sells 700,000 trucks and Toyota sells 100,000 of course you're going to have more repair issues with the higher number of trucks out there.
Nobody talks about the maintenance and repair costs on certain brands of pickups, like why does it cost 3 times more to service a Honda Ridgeline when it uses 4 qts of oil when a F-150 uses 7 qts? Why are brake pads on a Chevy cost $20 a set when they cost $120 for a Tundra? Why does the cat-back 02 sensor on a Ram cost more than the same 02 on a Dodge car? Cause they figure you guys that own pickups have more money to spend.
That's why I picked the 5.0 over the 3.5 EB for my F-150, I was afraid of the added maintenance and repair cost with the added turbos. The Dealer does a complete service including rotate the tires for only $35. I picked the FX4 model with the 18" tires over the 20" tires cause it will cost less to replace the smaller tires.
I also pay attention to the resale value, we have a mega big used dealer in my area that always has at least 200 used trucks on his lot and its always interesting looking at the price difference in different makes and models and how fast one brand sells over another brand. Its obvious the late model F-150 sells faster for the higher price than the Ram and Chevy.
I feel good that my F-150 is worth more when I go out and trade it in.
yea, there are little issues I don't like about my F-150 but those problems out-weigh the problems with a another brand of truck and I accept I am not the center of attention cause of the bland looks of my F-150 but I didn't buy it for looks, I bought it for use in hauling , towing and 4x4.
I will agree the Ram is a much better looking truck than the F-150, the Chevy it just looks and feels cheap to me.

So lets stop fighting and calling each other names cause your truck is better, lets just be extremely honest about the truck we drive and accept each others comment.
Just like the late great Rodney King said: "Can't We Just All Get Along"?

Truck site posting articles about vans but they cannot post about Motor Trend's Truck of the year. And you call yourself a truck site!

Rollin can, thanks for all the info. You are certainly a work of art. Never had a problem with my Fusion. I appreciate your caring though. As far as my 15 year old Taurus goes I say if it ain't broke don't fix it. Being poor has nothing to do with me having it, just always enjoyed a car that I can get in and drive with no worries and most of all no payments. As far as being needy I guess we all are sometimes. there are the ones out there that are just so ignorant they have to put others down and say things that should have never been said. But then again that just shows the very pure ignorance I was talking about. It also shows me that you fit perfectly into that group. Happy New Year.

Not sure why all the 1/2ton shootout stuff is showing up on the minivan thread.
Big Al f Oz- you often mention tow and load ratings way higher than anything I can find. Care to share the sources?
For those who think the protester city looks like a stretch Soul, remember who's been doing the design work for the Koreans lately.

@MrKnowitall,
My figures are from my experience with my vehicle.

As for tow ratings. The figures that get bounced around here on PUTC by some of the commentators is highly ambitious.

It seems they only have manufacturer and magazine review data and not much with real life experiences.

Towing 12 000lbs is quite a significant amount of weight, especially for a 1/2 ton pickup. It comes down to the guys attempting to use best in class a major factor in decision making.

Maybe, real life experience and an actual look at the drive trains of these pickups in comparison to a truck designed to carry 12 000lbs in the bed will give a good indication on how well these trucks will perform, even mine.

Pickups are what I call a occasional use compromise vehicle. General purpose. Like a general purpose fishing rod a general purpose vehicle will not be great at anything, other than lifestyle.

That's why I bought my BT50, it's a lifestyle choice. So best in class has little to do with lifestyle. If you want best in a particular class then invest in the vehicle that will provide that. I'd bet it wouldn't be a pickup. It would be a sports car, proper truck, van, people mover, sedan, etc.

They all provide "better in class" attributes than a pickup will do using those measures, but not the targeted lifestyle and utility. That's why we call our pickups, utes.

Just rented this vans larger cousin and it was not a good experience. The driving position was uncomfortable and the van seemed to sway all over the highway and the radio was ergonomically terrible. The transmission was good though and being able to stand up in the cargo area was a plus.



The comments to this entry are closed.