2015 Ram ProMaster City Quick Take
The new Ram ProMaster City is among of an emerging class of small vans made for hauling cargo, people, or both, and doing so more economically and more easily than large, traditional cargo vans. In addition to being smaller than a full-size van, they are usually more fuel-efficient. On that first point, the Ram's smaller size makes it easy to maneuver on the road and in parking lots. And with an overall length of 187.5 inches-about 3 inches shorter than a Toyota Camry-it can be parked in a residential garage.
As with rivals like the Ford Transit Connect, the Ram ProMaster City is available as a cargo van with two seats up front and a 131.7 cubic foot blank canvas in back, or as a 5-passenger model dubbed a wagon. Unlike the Ford, the Ram ProMaster City comes in just one length and with one engine-a 178-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Our recent test model was the 2015 ProMaster City Wagon SLT. This 5-passenger van's best trait was its interior size and flexibility. Even with the 2nd-row passenger bench in the upright position, there was plenty of room in back. Everything from bikes and sports equipment to moving supplies was easily swallowed. I can attest to that latter example, as this van came into our test fleet amid a personal move.
When little is big
Over several days of transporting shelves, boxes and all other manner of household items from my home to a storage locker, I marveled at just how much I could fit into the van. And it wasn't just the sheer amount of stuff I could get back there -- it was the ease of which I could load and unload that made this the right vehicle for the situation. The side sliding doors made it easy to load and unload items packed further in front of the vehicle. At the rear, the 60/40-split doors could be locked into a 180-degree position, which made it easy to load big items.
The ProMaster City's low load-floor height of just 21.5 inches made getting stuff in and out a simpler task. When I needed more room, the second-row seats folded forward and tumbled. All told, even the passenger model of this van can swallow over 100 cubic feet of cargo. You could practically rent that kind of space in New York City.
Driving position draws gripes
For all its positive traits in hauling scenarios, the 2015 Ram ProMaster City leaves something to be desired behind the wheel. And I mean that literally. I and other KBB.com staffers of various sizes just couldn't find a very comfortable fit. And that's with a steering wheel that telescopes and tilts, the latter a characteristic that the Ram ProMaster full-size van doesn't have, mind you. But like its full-size brother, we found a good driving position hard to find in the ProMaster City. In this case, we felt the steering wheel sat too high, even at its lowest. If you're thinking of buying, take a good test-drive.
Thankfully there's a better story with the little Ram's powertrain. The familiar 2.4-liter Tigershark gasoline engine that does duty in other Fiat Chrysler products had enough oomph to get the ProMaster City up to speed. As we've experienced with other vehicles using it, the 9-speed transmission can feel hit or miss -- fine once up to speed, hesitant in lower gears. The upside of all those gears, though, is fuel economy rated at 21 mpg city/29 highway.
With a starting price of around $25,000 for a passenger version of the ProMaster City (or roughly $24,000 for the cargo variant), this little van offers a lot of flexibility, room and value. You'll likely feel comfortable with those aspects; just make sure you're actually comfortable in the driver's seat.