Posts from ‘Commercial Vehicles’
Ford’s ubiquitous E-Series vans are a familiar sight on American roads, but that’s soon to change. The long-running E-Series is finally being retired, and the all-new Ford Transit van is being launched at dealerships in the U.S. and Canada this summer. The European look of the Transit is no accident. As a product of Ford’s “One Ford” plan to leverage the company’s global assets, the Transit’s design was a collaboration between Ford of North America and Ford of Europe. Though its looks might seem jarring to those accustomed to the old-school layout of the E-Series, the Transit offers a level of fuel economy, tractability, comfort, and configurability that the old van could never hope to match.
CHICAGO — At the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Chevrolet pulled the wraps off a new compact light-commercial van and announced that availability of GM’s compressed-natural-gas (CNG) capable 6.0-liter V8 engine expands to all 2015 Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD cab styles.
2014 Ram ProMaster Cargo “High Roof” (159-inch wheelbase)
Dates tested: 12/30/2013-1/06/2014
Miles driven: 91
Fuel used: 7.4 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 12.3 mpg*
When it comes to offering a commercial cargo van for 2014, Ram is dancing a familiar step but with a new partner. The ProMaster is based on an established design from Chrysler Group’s Italian parent Fiat. It fills a void left by the erstwhile Sprinter, another high-roof walk-in van that Ram’s predecessor, Dodge Truck, had been granted back when Chrysler was under the control of a certain German manufacturer known by its three-pointed star.
Going on sale now at select Nissan dealers, the new 2013 NV200 compact cargo van joins a growing class of vehicles that was virtually nonexistent five years ago.
Ford broke the ice with its Transit Connect, a high-roof, compact van with front-wheel drive and a gas-sipping 4-cylinder engine. It had already been a success in Europe, where high gas prices made this type of vehicle a logical choice for small businesses. But it evidently wasn’t considered viable in the U.S. until this country saw some high gas prices of its own.
After a five-year hiatus, Chrysler returns to the large-van market with the 2014 Ram ProMaster. The ProMaster is based heavily on the European-market Fiat Ducato. It is similar in size and powertrain offerings to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which was itself available as a Dodge for the 2004-2009 model years.
I remember two distinct things about driving the last Ford Transit Connect that came through CG Auto headquarters. It was tall and slow. I understand that a light-duty commercial vehicle isn’t required to have stellar performance, but the lack of pep from the 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter Duratec engine made me wonder how well it would do in real-world conditions when loaded down and on the job.