With its low nose and high roofline, the new Ram ProMaster City Wagon is lacking in the visual-appeal department. The cabin is nice, but it’s low-tech and not luxurious. Performance is good but not exceptional.
But behind the second row of seats is what might be gold for many drivers. Its efficient use of cargo and storage space makes this van downright functional and practical.
Got a small family and a couple of big dogs you like to take with you (the dogs, that is. I assume you take your family with you)? Bikes, golf clubs, stacks of big groceries from Costco – it will all fit in the back of the ProMaster. In fact, you could buy a bike, a set of golf clubs and groceries from Costco and fit all of it into the Ram in one trip. With the back seats folded up snug against the front seats, you can put a small peloton of bicycles in the back. There are numerous tie-downs built into the floor, too, for securing everything.
The ProMaster can comfortably seat four, or five if you put three in the second-row bench seat. Behind that seat is an area that’s 45.6 inches long, 46.9 inches wide and 47.2 inches tall, or about 58 cubic feet of space. Fold the 60/40 rear bench seat forward and that space grows to almost 90 square feet. Making that space even handier is the fact that it has a load height of only 21.5 inches, in case your dogs – or your back – are getting up there in years.
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But that’s not all. There is storage everywhere in this vehicle.
There are storage areas on top of the front dash for coins or small items. There is a large cubbyhole above the glove box. There is a full-length shelf – that’s right, a shelf, with a cargo net – attached to the ceiling above the dash. There are two shelves behind the second row of seats.
If this is going to be your business van, rejoice. There are two 12-volt power outlets under the front armrest for whatever you need to power or charge.
And, the ProMaster doesn’t cost all that much and gets good gas mileage to boot.
Based on the Fiat Doblo, a two-time international van of the year winner, the ProMaster is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 178 horsepower. It accelerates briskly away from stoplights and on highway entrance ramps. Driving this van is easy, too. It handles much like a big sedan, and the only reminder that you are driving a cavernous van are the two large side mirrors. Gas mileage is a decent 21mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
I mentioned that the ProMaster I tested was fairly low-tech, and it was. It has a nice backup camera, which is useful because of its length, along with navigation, rear park assist and Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility, which was easy to use. But there is no sunroof, automatic climate control, automatic braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot alert, lane-keeping alerts or adaptive cruise control. I really didn’t expect any of that, either, with this kind of van, so I didn’t miss it.
Three years or 36,000 miles, with a five-year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The base price of the 2015 ProMaster City Wagon SLT was $25,655. Options included second-row power windows, heated front seats, six audio system speakers, rear wiper, washer and defroster; ParkView rear backup camera and ParkSense rear park assist system. The sticker price, including destination, was $27,890.
Mike Fitzgerald’s email address is email@example.com
2015 RAM PROMASTER CITY WAGON SLT
ENGINE: 2.4-liter, 178-horsepower four-cylinder engine with 174 pound-feet of torque
TRANSMISSION: Nine-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
WHEELBASE/LENGTH: 122.4/187.5 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 3,695 pounds
BASE PRICE: $25,655
AS DRIVEN: $27,890, including options and destination
MPG RATING: 21 miles per gallon in city driving, 29 on the highway