Ram Promaster Review and Specifications
After test driving the Ram Promaster, we can say it is a lot of fun to drive and seems to have less of a commercial van feel then some of its competitors. Here is what else we know about the Ram Promaster van:
The Ram Promaster van is based on the Fiat Ducato that has been around since 1981 in Europe. It is built by Sevel which is basically the commercial division of Fiat. A full two thirds of all RV's in Europe are built on the Ducato platform, not to mention it's wide spread use as a utility van. The Ram Promaster that is now available in the US is based on the third generation Ducato which has been available in Europe and Mexico since 2007.
The Ram Promaster wears the Ram badging for good reason. The Dodge truck Division (Now Ram truck division) has done extensive upgrades and updates to the Promaster to make them more compatible with the way we use vans in North America. Remember the Dodge truck division had Sprinters for a few years during the Chrysler Daimler days. The rumor has it that the Dodge guys made many interior revisions based on what they wanted to do but could not do with the Sprinter van.
The Promaster is made in America….. Central America. They are being built just over the Texas border at the Chrysler plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Saltillo was known as the Athens of Mexico in the 20th century and is now known as the Detroit of Mexico. It is home to not only Chrysler truck, sedan, engine and transmission plants, but General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Delphi plants.
The first powertrain option is the Chrysler 3.6 liter Pentestar V-6 gas engine coupled to a 62TE six speed automatic transmission. If you are already a fan of all things Ram and Mopar, then the new V-6 Pentastar is pretty exciting. They are designed by Chrysler engineers and built at the Trenton OH engine plant as well as the Saltillo plant. It has replaced all the V-6 engines in the Chrysler, Dodge and Ram line up. It has integrated exhaust manifolds and only a handful of different intake and cam options. This has allowed Chrysler and Ram to become much more efficient and streamlined than they were in the past, which means more time for quality control. You will be getting the same engine as what you would find in the new Dodge Challengers, with certain differences in cam size and intake options. The 62TE Chrysler transmission has been in use since 2007. The Ram Promaster vans are the only front wheel drive van in their class.
The second powertrain option is the 3.0 inline 4 cyl EcoDiesel engine built by IVECO and mated to a M40 six speed automated transmission. IVECO is an Italian manufacturer created through a merger with Fiat, as well as German and French companies. IVECO is an acronym for Industrial Vehicle Corporation, and their engines have been available all over Europe since 1980. Iveco has manufacturing plants in Europe, Brazil, Russia, Australia, Argentina and Africa with distribution of products over 160 countries.
The Ram Promaster comes equipped with a leaf spring suspension in the rear with tubular beam axle (remember it’s front wheel drive). The Promaster front suspension has a double A-arm Mcpherson strut system. Standard shocks are used for dampening in all four corners. The aftermarket industry has anticipated the success of this vehicle and have added many suspension upgrades and other complimentary items to their catalogs, not to mention many overseas companies that have already been upgrading the Ducatos in Europe. So expect good after-market support for these vans.
You have three payload classes, designated 1500, 2500, and 3500, none of which are a dual rear wheel. You have three wheel bases (measured from center of front wheel to center of rear wheel) 118”, 136” and 159”. Two roof heights, 65” and 76”, which is the interior standing height and are designated as low and high roof. There are four different body lengths. You also have four body styles to choose from - the window van which has lots of glass and great for limo or passenger conversions; the cargo van; the cab chassis, which is a Promaster cab and frame- no van back- generally used for flatbed or box truck use; and the cut away chassis, which is a cab chassis with an open cab back so you can walk from the cab into your box or RV coach conversion. It appears that not all configurations can be mixed and matched, but many can. Either way, you have multiple available configurations to choose from that will suit any need, from passenger carrying, cargo, work, RV, limousine, ambulance and even heavy box truck use.
We are already seeing more and more of these vans on the road and with the Trend, Travoto, and Roadtrek Zion RV conversions already available, we think the Ram division may just have a winner.
*Some information pulled from articles on Allpar.com