The Ram Cargo Van is a stripped-down, basic version of the more popular Dodge Caravan. It was introduced just last year, and since then it has been a viable choice for small and mobile businesses that need light-duty cargo hauling capabilities. Before the Cargo Van, Chrysler had a Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van before it launched the Ram’s version. The shift was made after Chrysler decided to sell commercial trucks and vehicles under the separate Ram banner instead of Dodge.
In terms of capacity, it obviously falls short of the larger full-size vans, but it does offer the maneuverability of a minivan along with better fuel economy and convenience. The Cargo Van is based on the Dodge Grand Caravan, but it also derives some influence from the very capable Chrysler Town & Country. Meant mainly for commercial purposes, this van lies between smaller passenger minivans and full-fledged commercial vans like the Ford Econoline. While the passenger vans get windows on the side, the Ram Cargo Van gets a solid rear liftgate and sliding door panels.
New For 2013
The only major addition for 2013 is rear air-conditioning.
The exterior of the 2013 Ram Cargo Van is pretty much the same as the Dodge Caravan, and the similarities include Dodge’s signature crosshair grille. However, the grille on the Cargo Van is not body-colored like its passenger van counterpart. Moreover, the side and rear windows present in the Caravan are replaced by solid side panels. The cargo van comes with 16-inch steel wheels and covers, dual manual-sliding side doors, heated side mirrors, and LED taillights. Optional features include a rear window wiper, a choice of solid or windowed walls, rear liftgate, rear window defroster, exterior vinyl window shading, and an engine block heater.
Interior & Cargo
The 2013 Ram Cargo Van is designed purely for commercial purposes, so the number of luxury and comfort features is very limited. The standard features inside the van include cruise control, cloth upholstery, rubber floor coverings, keyless entry, dual-zone air conditioning, power accessories, and a two-speaker stereo system with auxiliary audio input and CD player. Optional features include a cargo divider, navigation system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, back-up camera, stereo system with music storage and a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, eight-way power driver seat, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Uconnect voice command system, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Compared to previous Dodge cargo vans, the 2013 Ram Cargo Van’s interior is a significant improvement. There are more optional and standard creature comforts than earlier before, and Chrysler has also tried not the make the van look completely utilitarian on the inside. The dash and center stack form a nicely designed single piece, and the whole interior seems to have been designed with a little more focus on quality than before. The van can be optimized with the necessary level of comfort features to meet the customer’s specific needs. Only one row of seats is available with a completely open space behind. The optional cargo divider can split the cargo space from the cabin. For easier loading, a rear liftgate and flat load floor can be chosen from the list of options. The overall cargo capacity offered by the 2013 Ram Cargo Van is 144.4 cubic feet, which is impressive considering its size.
The 2013 Ram Cargo Van gets driver knee airbags, active front head restraints, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes as standard safety features. Side curtain airbags and a rearview camera are optional. Braking power is just average with a stopping distance of 130 feet from 60 miles per hour.
A 3.6-liter, V-6 engine is used for the 2013 Ram Cargo Van. It delivers 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and is combined with a six-speed, automatic transmission. The van has a front-wheel drive system only, and it goes from standstill to 60 miles per hour in a very respectable 8.3 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are very similar to the Dodge Grand Caravan at 17/25 mpg city/highway. Overall, the 2013 Ram Cargo Van is an easy van to drive. Nobody expects blistering speed from a cargo van, but they do expect the engine to deliver enough of a punch at lower revs for hauling cargo. The V-6 engine does provide enough power for this purpose, and the automatic transmission does a great job of taping this power as and when it is required.
The gearshifts are quick and timed right, but they can be accompanied by small jolts. The steering feels a little weighted, which is expected since this is a commercial van. Since comfort is not the top criterion here, the suspension of the 2013 Ram Cargo Van has been tuned rather firmly. This improves the maneuverability and handling characteristics of the van, but makes the ride rather rough. The van is classified to carry up to 1800 pounds and tow up to 3600 pounds. Its 20 gallon tank also ensures a long range of travel between fill-ups and a decent fuel economy. However, there are other competitors out there in the market that offer better fuel economy and more power. Of course, the additional power and efficiency come at considerably higher prices. Overall, the 2013 Ram Cargo Van is a very appealing choice for a light-duty commercial van for different types of small businesses.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Ram Cargo-Van
- Chevrolet Express
- Ford E-series
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
- Nissan NV3500 HD