The new 2014 Ram ProMaster full-size van makes its debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week with best-in-class fuel economy, cargo capacity and payload. This van is targeted at commercial customers who want a vehicle that’s tough, functional and customizable to their exact business needs.
Based on the Fiat Ducato, the 2014 Ram ProMaster marks the North American debut of the 174hp 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel. This engine has been refined to decrease cost of ownership including an oil level sensor that can help keep it going for 18,500 miles between oil changes.
It’s also available with a 280hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 which has ranked in Ward’s 10 Best Engines for the last three years. Cost of ownership was again a priority with oil change intervals running up to 10,000 miles and an alert that sounds when its oil servicing system determines it’s time to change.
The 2014 Ram ProMaster has a unique front-wheel-drive system that provides numerous advantages. It eliminates rear driveshafts and rear differentials and increases options for vehicle customization. It also helps provide best-in-class step-in height and ceiling height as well as lowest load floor.
The cargo area has been optimized and offers either 90″ or 101″ roof heights and features near vertical walls that run at almost 90 degrees to the floor. Combine this with sliding door openings of either 49″x 60″ or 49″ x 70″ depending on roof height and you’ve got a van that’s incredibly versatile to meet the needs of each individual business owner.
The vehicles 62TE automatic transmission has been upgraded to a 3.86 final-drive ratio to accommodate for the weight ratings on the 2014 Ram ProMaster. It will more easily adjust to the best ratio for the current driving situation and it contributes to better highway fuel economy.
The interior is not just optimized for cargo with features like 17 fold flat tie-downs, but offers comfort and safety for the driver with options like partitions to protect in the event of shifting cargo. There are also available backup cameras with audible warnings which can be incredibly helpful maneuvering a large van in tight or crowded conditions.
The exterior focuses on both safety and economy starting with a cab-forward design that gives drivers a better view of what’s in front of them. A three-piece modular design for the front bumpers makes repair costs easier to manage while reducing downtime and adds a step on each side to make cleaning the windshield an easier task.
Production of the 2014 Ram ProMaster is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2013.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.