New 2018 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van Van/Minivan New 2018
Ram ProMaster Cargo Van Van/Minivan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Unlike full-size rivals from Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Nissan, the 2018 Ram ProMaster van has the distinction of being front-wheel drive, which keeps the bulk of its weight over the driven wheels for good stability, particularly in slippery and wintry conditions. Equally important, the front-drive layout of this large commercial van translates to a sublimely low load floor and an easy step-in height, which is further complemented by a high ceiling. Available as a 1500, 2500 or 3500, Ram’s big van is easily configured to meet various business needs. As before, the ProMaster is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, or a 3.0-liter 4-cylinder EcoDiesel paired with a 6-speed automated manual that lets the driver choose gears if desired.

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You'll Like This Van/Minivan If...

With its European origins as the proven Fiat Ducato, the Ram ProMaster impresses with its cavernous body and numerous available configurations. As a delivery vehicle, a work truck, or maybe even the basis for an RV conversion, the ProMaster -- aided by a tight turning radius and vertical cargo walls -- makes a lot of sense.

You May Not Like This Van/Minivan If...

If you put form over function, the slab-sided van may not be for you. Its beauty lies in its capabilities. Also: If you’re looking for a passenger version, Ram does not offer one (although some companies are installing seats in window versions of the ProMaster).

What's New for 2018

For 2018, Uconnect 5.0 is now standard, along with optional navigation. Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth, together with audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, is also standard for 2018, as is a rear backup camera on all ProMaster vans (except Chassis Cab and Cutaway models, which get a backup camera kit). Lastly, the right- and optional left-side sliding doors now have a window grate with optional fixed glass.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Don’t expect zippy acceleration and sizzling slalom times in the 2018 Ram ProMaster. In quality of ride, stability when loaded and ease of maneuvering in crowded parking lots, though, this van earns high marks. Large side windows and a massive windshield make for a great outward view, and the new standard backup camera means the windowless rear doors don’t create a problem. We appreciate this Ram’s tight 36-foot turning radius, which bests that of the Ford Transit by a substantial three feet. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 moves this van with reasonable alacrity, and the shifts of its conventional 6-speed automatic are smoother and better timed than those of the automated manual mated to the torquey diesel. Another benefit: The front-drive layout of the big ProMaster helps mitigate crosswind drift, although some KBB editors found the steering a bit vague.

Favorite Features

FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE LAYOUT
The front-drive layout of this big Ram van makes good sense. By concentrating the drivetrain up front and eliminating a traditional driveshaft, the cargo box can have a low load floor that makes loading tools, camping gear or even a motorcycle that much easier. Moreover, traction is improved in rain and snow.

MULTIPLE MODELS
With three wheelbases, two roof heights, and a choice of gasoline or diesel engines, the 2018 Ram ProMaster satisfies a variety of commercial needs. What’s more, its low step-in height makes life much easier for delivery drivers who get in and out of their vehicle several times a day.

Vehicle Details

Interior

A big commercial van is more about utility and capability than comfort, but in this important area, the Ram ProMaster delivers. An available suspension-enhanced driver’s seat improves long-haul comfort, while available swiveling seats ease access to the rear. There are three wheelbase lengths, two roof heights, four body lengths, and up to 17 tie-downs. Factor in the racks, shelves and workbenches available from upfitters, and you can create a van for just about any purpose. To some KBB editors, the low load floor and high ceiling are justification enough to choose the ProMaster.

Exterior

You’re forgiven if you think the Ram ProMaster looks like a toaster on wheels. Function, though, trumps aesthetics with full-size commercial vans. Moreover, these big Ram vans have been sold in the U.S. since 2014, so we’re now accustomed to their purposeful design. You can order your box in three weight ratings (1500, 2500, 3500), three wheelbase lengths (118, 136, 159 inches) and with a low or high roof. An extended body is available on the 159-inch chassis, and there are Chassis Cab and Cutaway versions as well. Of note, the ProMaster is available with a single sliding cargo door on the passenger’s side, or with sliding doors on both sides. Both openings are wide enough to accept standard pallets.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Ram ProMaster comes standard with a backup camera and Uconnect 5.0, plus a telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, power windows and a 4-speaker radio with USB and auxiliary inputs. Safety-wise, it has electronic traction and stability control, Trailer Sway Control, six airbags and Hill Start Assist, which keeps the van from rolling backward on steep inclines. There’s also a 180-amp alternator, auxiliary oil coolers for the engine and transmission, plus air conditioning as a delete option. As with other commercial vans, the rest of the vehicle configuration is up to the Ram owner and the extensive upfitter industry.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options include swiveling front seats, heated seats, a pneumatic-suspension driver's seat and 3-across seating with vinyl upholstery for carrying the whole crew. Other options: navigation, Bluetooth, backup sensors, cruise control, an engine-block heater, fixed glass (in the sliding doors), heated and power-adjustable mirrors, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, an overhead shelf and a driver-side sliding door. Available in-vehicle Internet access via Uconnect Web will help with business needs, and while many of these vans are equipped with all manner of accessories from upfitters, that’s usually arranged at the dealership and included in the entire deal.

Under the Hood

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 we've liked in other Chrysler products is standard in the ProMaster. In this duty, it delivers 280 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque and acceptable performance. The available 3.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged EcoDiesel makes 174 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque at only 1,400 rpm. It promises low-end power and, according to Ram, class-leading fuel economy. The 3.6 is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission; the EcoDiesel is available with an automated 6-speed manual that shifts by itself or lets the driver choose gears. We prefer the standard 3.6-liter V6 powertrain; it’s powerful enough in this application but shifts much more smoothly than the diesel.

3.6-liter V6
280-horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,175 rpm
EPA estimated fuel economy: NA

3.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
174 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400 rpm
EPA estimated fuel economy: NA

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Pricing Notes

The standard low-roof, short-wheelbase 2018 Ram ProMaster 1500 van has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $31,640; the 136-inch wheelbase adds roughly $1,700 to the price, and the tall roof adds another $800 onto that. The ProMaster 2500 starts at $35,140, with the longer version adding $1,600. The window model comes in around $35,000. The maximum-duty 3500 starts at $37,940; add $2,750 for the extra-length version. That's competitive with the Nissan NV and new Ford Transit van, and considerably less than the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Worker Cargo Van, which begins at $33,995. As always, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for a 2018 Ram ProMaster. Work vans generally don't retain high residual values, and because the ProMaster is still relatively new, we’ll need some time to establish its resale value.

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