Posts from ‘Commercial Vehicles’
This is all the Ram marketing folks’ fault. At the reveal event for the ProMaster City last month, sitting there in a corner of the tent was a meticulously restored Dodge A100. Though the Ram folks made no direct comparison between the two vehicles, the seeds were planted. How do the two diminutive, scrappy vans compare?
Again tapping Fiat’s European-market product lineup, Chrysler’s Ram brand will begin selling a small front-drive van beginning late this year.
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.