As the latest product to emerge from its recently established Ram Commercial truck operation, the 2014 Ram ProMaster full-size van made its debut in Chicago. Based on the platform architecture used so successfully in the Fiat Ducato -- Europe's most popular full-size van -- the front-drive Ram ProMaster was specifically engineered for use in the North American market. Set to go on sale late this year, it will be available in 13 different Cargo Van and Cab Chassis Cutaway configurations along with a long roster of standard features and exceptional flexibility to go head-to-head against the new Ford Transit, which was presented last month in Detroit. Other competitors include the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savannah, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the new Nissan NV Cargo van that's also being shown in Chicago.
Primed to be a dedicated efficiency expert, the Ram ProMaster features Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 rated at 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque as its standard motivator and will offer a Fiat-designed 3.0-liter 4-cylinder EcoDiesel engine with a variable-geometry turbocharger that makes 174 horsepower but 295 lb-ft of peak twist that comes on at just 1,400 rpm as an option. Either engine can be paired with a dedicated 6-speed automatic transmission. The Pentastar gets a bespoke version of Chrysler's conventional 62TE unit while the turbodiesel features a driver-shiftable M40 automated-manual alternative.
Matching user-focused design functionality with Ram-specific cues, the ProMaster family of 1500/2500/3500-series vehicles will offer buyers the choice of two roof heights and three (118.0/136.0/159.0-inch) wheelbase dimensions. Fortifying its weight-saving unitized structure with plenty of high-strength steel, this newest member of the Ram clan also features beefy, full-length frame rails linked by up to eight crossmembers that create a solid foundation for its suspension. The ProMaster Cargo Van's large doors and lowest-in-class step-in height are complemented by its best-in-class 5,145-lb. payload and cargo capacity figures while its nicely-finished operator-friendly cabin is well isolated and offers a number of different seating configurations.
The ProMaster line also includes over 35 safety features including six airbags, a suite of stability control functions that encompasses supplemental trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist, ABS with panic brake assist, brake lock differential, roll mitigation and drift compensation.
Chrysler's acclaimed Uconnect telematics/infotainment system - including the Uconnect Web service that provides continuous Internet connectivity and real-time information access on the go -- also will be available.
"As Ram takes a larger presence in the commercial truck market, the 2014 Ram ProMaster is a great addition, contributing to a one-stop shop of commercial-duty Ram trucks and vans," said Fred Diaz, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. "The ProMaster answers to key segment demands with best-in-class features, quality, durability, capability and low total cost of ownership."
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