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2015 Ram Promaster Cargo Van REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Steering wheel doesn't offer tilt adjustment.

Interior: Functionality is the watchword for the 2015 Ram ProMaster's interior, with controls and instruments designed based on decades of Fiat's commercial-van experience. The ProMaster's gauges are large and clear, with a multifunction display centered between the speedometer and tachometer. Climate control comes via a straightforward, three-knob layout for temperature, fan speed and directional control. Audio controls are mounted high on the dash (some will have to lean forward a bit to reach them), with the optional 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen audio system a worthwhile upgrade for those who plan to use the van for longer trips. Extended stints behind the wheel are eased by the well-bolstered captain's chairs (swivel mounts are an option), but the lack of tilt steering wheel adjustment might result in a less than optimal driving position. Meanwhile, there are plenty of well-placed storage areas and cupholders.

The ProMaster 3500 can swallow up to 463 cubic feet of cargo, and although the number's not quite up to the Ford Transit's maximum of 487 cubic feet, it's nonetheless a serious cave to fill with either cargo or customized upfitter components. As you might expect, the 2015 ProMaster can be ordered with solid walls and rear doors or with a choice of windows. Some buyers will find the optional sliding rear door on the driver side a boon for easy entry to the cargo area.

Body: The 2015 Ram ProMaster comes in three main trim levels: 1500, 2500 and 3500. The 1500 is available with a low- or high-roof option, while the 2500 and 3500 are only available with the high roof. The 1500 is offered in 118- and 136-inch wheelbases while the 2500 offers a choice of 136- and 159-inch wheelbases. The 3500 is only offered with the 159-inch wheelbase, with a longer-body configuration for extra cargo space available as well.

Standard features for all include 16-inch steel wheels, a passenger-side sliding side door, air-conditioning, cloth bucket seats, power front windows, power locks, keyless entry, a telescoping (but unfortunately not tilt-adjustable) steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio inputs.

Available options include alloy wheels, foglights, a driver-side sliding door, windows for the side and rear doors, power folding/heated sideview mirrors, an alarm system, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a cargo partition (with or without a sliding window), navigation, heated seats, swivel seats, a suspension driver seat, adjustable lumbar support, a double passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded audio with Chrysler's Uconnect 5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity and voice commands, steering-wheel-mounted controls, satellite radio, cruise control and interior wall paneling.

There are several option packages, including the Premium Appearance package (bright grille and foglights), the Interior Convenience package (overhead shelf, under-seat storage tray and locking glovebox), the Cargo Convenience group (cargo net and sidewall tie-down rings) and a towing package.

Driving: It's remarkable how much more confidence you can have in piloting a large van when the hood is short and you sit high above it. That's the perspective from the 2015 ProMaster Cargo Van's driver seat, and you get further encouragement from the van's light steering and relatively compact turning circle. All these elements team up to deliver the impression of maneuverability, even in city traffic and parking, though care still has to be taken when reversing, even with the help of the optional rearview camera.

You'll like either engine. The standard 3.6-liter gasoline V6 comes straight from Chrysler's car lineup, so it's smooth, quiet and much more refined than you'd expect an engine in a commercial van to be. The turbodiesel engine's forte is efficiency and low-speed pulling power. It's noisier than the gasoline engine, particularly until it warms, but the diesel's overall refinement is entirely sufficient and it moves the ProMaster with real vigor at suburban speeds. Along with the fine manners, either engine has plenty of chops for hauling, with the diesel probably preferable for stop-and-go delivery work, even if its maximum payload ratings slightly trail those of the gasoline V6.

What’s New: An all-new addition to the Ram commercial-vehicle lineup last year, the Ram ProMaster Cargo Van is unchanged for 2015.

Standard on all 2015 Ram ProMasters is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Optional is a 3.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel with 174 hp and 295 lb-ft paired with a six-speed automated manual transmission. Properly equipped, the ProMaster can handle payloads of up to 4,440 pounds (payload capacity varies according to the configuration you choose) and tow up to 5,100 pounds.

Commercial vans such as the 2015 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van are not subject to conventional fuel economy testing by the Environmental Protection Agency and do not have published EPA fuel economy ratings.

Safety: Standard safety features for the 2015 Ram ProMaster include front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, hill start assist, stability control (with trailer sway control) and traction control. Optional features include a roadside safety kit, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Pro: Massive cargo space; low step-in height; available fuel-efficient diesel engine.

Edmunds Say: Thanks to its sensible European roots, the 2015 Ram ProMaster full-size cargo van is a great option for American business owners, as it offers a space-efficient design with a user-friendly interior and solid powertrain choices.

Introduction: The look of business-oriented vans is rapidly changing in America, as increasingly cross-national U.S. automakers look to adopt the best ideas from their worldwide markets. Traditional vans based on heavy pickup truck components are on their way out, and they're being replaced by taller, narrower, lighter-weight vans like the 2015 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van that drive more like conventional cars. The model for this sea change is of course Europe, where fuel is more expensive and roads are less ample. Ram has derived the ProMaster cargo van lineup from Fiat's Ducato, a front-wheel-drive van revered for its durability, easy driving manners and miserly running costs.

One of the Ram ProMaster's most important attributes is its wide variety of configurations. There are 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions offering varying levels of capability, two wheelbase choices for the 1500 and 2500, a low-roof choice for the 1500 and an extended-body option for the 3500 series. Regardless of how you configure it, the ProMaster's tall but tidy profile is great for maximizing cargo and permits users to stand much more upright when working inside the van. This is a fantastic development for contractors who spend a lot of time in the rear of the ProMaster and provides upfitters and other modifiers with a wider range of equipment possibilities. And all that height generates serious cargo-carrying potential: There are as much as 463 cubic feet of cargo capacity available in the largest ProMaster configuration.

The 2015 ProMaster's front-wheel-drive layout allows for a short hood that greatly eases parking and tight turning while affording the driver great forward vision. Buyers also benefit from the van's European origins in that there's an optional turbocharged diesel engine, a 3.0-liter four-cylinder unit with V8-like torque that can handle large payloads. Also available is a stout 3.6-liter gasoline V6 from Chrysler's engine lineup, which is passenger-car refined yet still up to the demands of serious commercial duty, as it's able to handle payloads of up to 4,440 pounds.

Buyers will find that the 2015 Ram ProMaster has plenty of competition in the form of vans such as the recently released Ford Transit, as well as the Nissan NV Cargo Van and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Several versions of the Transit offer three roof-height choices, while the Nissan and Mercedes vans mirror the ProMaster's two available roof heights. Ford's Transit offers gasoline and diesel engines, while the Mercedes Sprinter is diesel-only. The Nissan NV doesn't have a diesel-engine option, but is the only one of the four to offer a V8 engine. The 2015 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van has decades of Fiat's experience in the commercial van market behind it, but all of its competitors have their own unique attributes, so it's certainly a good idea to check out each to determine which might best address your particular use.

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