The all-new Commercial grade ProMaster features Best-in-class fuel economy, cargo capacity, Step-in-height, lowest load floor, ceiling height and low maintenance costs. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2014_RAM_Promaster.jpg[/fimg]James Davis - CleanMPG - Feb. 7, 2013 Chicago, IL. -- At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Ram let loose a bombshell as its Commercial division revealed a new upcoming van that is sure to attract the attention of small, medium and large business owners across the continent. The ProMaster van was developed from the long-standing Fiat Ducato with 30-plus years of reliable service and more than 4.5 million units sold. It will arrive with North America’s first automated six-speed manual controlled by software that responds to road conditions. This beast is big yet extremely versatile! On stage and doing a marvelous job at presenting the all-new 2014 ProMaster was Fred Diaz, President and CEO of both Ram Truck and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC: The new 2014 Ram ProMaster is based on the front-wheel-drive European based Fiat Ducato, which is the most popular full-size van in Europe. The 2013 Ram ProMaster is the Company’s first shared truck collaboration with Fiat Professional. Outside, it is big but nimble with just 36.3 ft. to 46.8 ft. turning diameter with the base 118 in. through 159 in. wheelbase variants respectively. Nothing in this class will touch that spec! Conceived and developed in Italy, Ram Commerical’s new van proved itself in North America with extensive, extreme-duty testing to prepare for its debut as the Ram ProMaster. Powertrain(s) 3.0L EcoDiesel - The 2014 Ram ProMaster marks the North American introduction of the potent 174 hp 3.0L I4 EcoDiesel engine that generates peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. at just 1,400 rpm. The engine features a number of refinements, including internal engine components, turbo and emission controls. Helping to reduced total cost of ownership, an oil-level sensor contributes to an oil-change schedule of up to 18,500 miles. The 2014 Ram ProMaster arrives with the powerful and efficient 280 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque 3.6L Pentastar V6 as standard equipment. The 24-valve DOHC Pentastar is one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for three years running. Efficient and winter proof as the unibody construction allowed the ProMaster to use a segment exclusive front-wheel-drive (FWD) system. The body-integral construction and multiple configurations allow Ram’s new 2014 ProMaster to be up-fitted for virtually every conceivable job. Transmission(s) include the 62TE automatic is upgraded to accommodate the Ram ProMaster’s prodigious weight ratings. Specifically, its 3.86 final enables comfortable grade transit under full freight. The transmission more readily adopts the most appropriate ratio for a given driving situation. The numerically lower overall top gear ratio delivers a more economical highway operation. The trailer/tow program comes standard with 62TE and the new M40 automated manual, exclusive to the 3.0L EcoDiesel. The M40 gearbox delivers the efficiency of a manual with the functionality of an automatic. At its core, it is a manual, but gear shifts and clutch functions are accomplished with electro-hydraulic actuation system. The driver can opt for manual shift-lever inputs when desired. Shift logic is adjusted according to the grade. The result is a well-connected driving experience that delivers the fuel economy required of a commercial van such as the Ram ProMaster. Another highlight of the ProMaster not mentioned in the PR was its external utility capable 220 Amp alternator which is standard with the 3.0L turbo diesel and large wheelbases ProMasters and optional with the shortest wheelbased Pentastars. Chassis The 2014 ProMaster is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths. Additionally, the ProMaster offers both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory. Its uni-body frame architecture makes it significantly lighter than the competition. As a result, the ProMaster possesses an impressive best-in-class payload capacity up to 5,145 pounds and a maximum towing capacity up to 5,100 pounds. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6L V6 is 11,500 pounds and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0L I4 EcoDiesel. While the payload is very impressive, the tow rating will be a deal breaker for some potential customers. Maximum towing capacity of 5,100 and I am guessing this is with the diesel option within the 3500 Chassis cab model. Exterior The front of the new ProMaster is identified by visually durable bodylines, a broad wraparound bumper and twin-reflector headlamp clusters. True to the Ram Truck brand, the ProMaster leads with a bold, hexagon-shaped crosshair grille, featuring the Ram’s head logo proudly displayed as the focal point of the crosshair. The cab-forward, short dash to front axle design pushes the nose inward and the headlamps upward. This design provides higher passenger seating positions and better visibility – obviously important for commercial users – thanks to a more confident vantage point from which to operate the vehicle. The front bumper is a three-piece styled modular design, resulting in reduced repair costs and downtime. Durable front-wheel arches are styled with the bumper to protect the doors. A unique step is designed into both front bumper corners, making it easy to clean the windscreen from either side. The new full-size van features plenty of real estate on all four sides. This space allows for businesses to post signage and graphics, making the van a rolling billboard to help promote the owner, trade or vocation. Interior The working end. The Ram ProMaster features comfortable driving ergonomics and the ability to secure load items. The ProMaster van is fitted with accommodations to hold down goods on the floor. Up to 17 tie-down rings with 1,000-lb. rating fold away to maintain a flat floor, easing loading and unloading operations. Available partitions also offer passengers excellent protection against the possibility of load shift the cabin. The Ram Promaster may be loaded and unloaded multiple times a day, so its payload, cargo capacity, step-in height and interior heights are true class leading attributes. The Ram ProMaster features best-in-class step-in height of 21 inches and includes a rear access step made of non-slip material for wet or icy conditions. Safety Safety were two of the guiding principles followed throughout the development of the new 2014 Ram ProMaster van. Ram’s new full-size van offers more than 35 active and passive safety and security features. Ram’s new full-size van offers front, side and side curtain air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS). Additional features include knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert, ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear backup camera and a camera prep package (Chassis Cab) and Automatic brake lamp actuation which actuates/flashes the tail lamps. The ProMaster hosts a number of technologies such as trailer-sway control. The Ram ProMaster features ParkView backup camera and ParkSense with audible warning, all of which are useful when maneuvering a large van. The standard electronic stability control (ESC) system is a four-channel active handling system that links the vehicle’s dynamic control systems to assist the driver in maintaining control under adverse conditions such as wet, snow-covered or icy roads, tight turns, and evasive maneuvers. The 2014 Ram ProMaster also includes standard all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist and anti-lock brake system (ABS), panic brake assist, brake-lock differential, roll mitigation, autonomous brake lamp activation and drift compensation. And a whole lot more if you want me to post them all later in the thread. A great addition is that the backup camera is based in the roof of the van instead of the doors like the Transit Connect is. Open the doors and you no longer see the rear view anything in that product. Infotainment ProMaster customers receive Uconnect’s easy-to-learn, easy-to-use interface. Handsfree calling and text-reply via Bluetooth is only a button push away. A full-color, 5 in touchscreen is available with global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation, providing owners the ability to navigate to their next destination. The Uconnect Web system delivers continuous Internet connectivity on the go. Configurations The 2014 Ram ProMaster offers 13 different configurations: ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 118- inch wheelbase low roof ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase low roof ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase high roof ProMaster 2500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase high roof ProMaster 2500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof ProMaster 3500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof ProMaster 3500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof extended body ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 136-inch wheelbase ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 159-inch wheelbase ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 159-inch wheelbase extended body ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 136-inch wheelbase ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 159-inch wheelbase ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 159-inch wheelbase extended frame Ummmm, why isn't there a low roof 2500/3500 cargo van option Ram? You had me up until this point. Cargo area. It’s HUGE! Thanks to its unique front-drive system, body-integral construction and the multiple of configurations offered, Ram’s new 2014 ProMaster can be upfit for virtually every conceivable commercial need. Proportionally, the ProMaster brings a new standard to the large commercial van-based segment. The ProMaster is available in two roof heights, 90 or 101 inches with best-in-class standard roof height and the most vertically oriented side walls in the cargo van category (nearly 90 degrees in relation to the cargo compartment floor). From the presentation, I heard it has over 500 cu. ft. of cargo volume in the largest configuration. While I am still tracking that spec down, huge does not even come close to describing that amount of volume. Got Load? Ram Commercial has the answer. The ProMaster features a standard sliding door on the passenger side with an optional sliding door on the driver’s side. The sliding door openings are based on roof height – 49 inch x 60 inch for the low roof model and 49 inch x 70 inch for high roof models. In the rear, an available two-position rear clamshell door swings open up to 260-degrees, folding almost flat to the side of the van. All three door openings enable fork lift pallet loading and unloading, and spaciousness that leads the competitive set. Upfitter friendly Ram Truck is known for being the most upfitter-friendly brand in the truck market. The Ram ProMaster continues the tradition and features an integrated cab configuration for unmatched up-fitter/conversion solutions. Adding to the ProMaster’s design for adaptability, virtually all primary vehicle systems are packaged forward of the cargo area. But Wait There’s Even More We need to be retrained as to what is a 1500 vs 2500 vs 3500. The "1500" Cargo Van with 118" wheel base, has a curb weight of 4628 lbs, and a payload of 3922 lbs! Just to compare, a 2013 Chevrolet Express 2500 regular wheelbase, with the 6.0L V8 has a payload capacity of only 3309 pounds! This is similar to the old school Ram vans. Like the 1998 Dodge 2500 cargo van I owned that was really a 1500 when compared to the competition! Manufacturing Start of production for the 2014 Ram ProMaster is scheduled for third quarter of 2013. All configurations will be produced at the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Early Conclusions? Did I say it’s big enough yet? The press kit is so feature packed you would have thought I just came back from its short lead launch! And about that price… We’ll just have to wait and see. Big work needs a big van and the all-new Ram Commercial ProMaster is set to deliver.