The surprisingly crowded compact commercial van segment gains a new competitor from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the form of the 2015 Ram ProMaster City. Based on the European-market Fiat Doblo, this van will compete against the Ford Transit Connect vans and the Nissan NV200/Chevrolet City Express twins when it goes on sale at the end of the year.
To slightly differentiate it from the Doblo, Ram has fitted the ProMaster City with a new front end that features a grille with a prominent Ram logo and restyled headlights. The rest of the ProMaster City very closely resembles its Italian sibling, though, as it’s all business from the A-pillar back. The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will offer only one wheelbase length, but can be outfitted in either two-passenger Tradesman cargo van or five-passenger passenger wagon versions.
Powering the front-wheel-drive ProMaster City is a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine that mates with Chrysler’s nine-speed automatic transmission. This combination, the only powertrain choice, makes 178 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. This is considerably more power than the Nissan NV200 and is on par with both powertrains available in the Ford Transit connect, meaning that the 2015 Ram ProMaster City’s 1883-pound payload rating bests its competitors. Ram is also targeting best-in-class fuel economy, meaning that it will have to beat Nissan’s 24/25 mpg (city/highway) ratings and Ford’s 22/30 mpg.
Access to the ProMaster City’s cargo area—which measures 131.1 cubic feet in the cargo version—is made easier thanks to standard sliding doors along the sides, and 60/40-split cargo doors in the rear. That’s more space inside than both the Nissan and even more than the long-wheelbase Transit Connect’s 130.6 cu ft of cargo space. The ProMaster City’s wide cargo floor can accommodate a standard-sized construction palette, and six cargo tie-down rings are standard equipment. Two trim levels—base Tradesman and Tradesman SLT—will be offered for both cargo and wagon versions, and cargo van buyers can choose between no windows, rear windows, or rear and side windows. In the front passenger compartment, the ProMaster City will offer Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system which will include Bluetooth, smartphone integration, and navigation, depending on equipment levels.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be the brand’s third cargo van offering, as it joins the Dodge Grand Caravan-based Ram C/V and the full-size Ram ProMaster models. Altogether, Ram hopes that this lineup will help it gain market share in the commercial segment. Like its Ford and Nissan competitors, the ProMaster City is targeted at small businesses located in urban areas, as this van’s small size makes for easy maneuverability and better fuel economy, not to mention a lower cost of entry, than full-size models.
Speaking of cost, Ram has not yet released pricing information for the 2015 ProMaster City, but it should be class-competitive with the Nissan NV200’s $21,285 starting price and the Ford Transit Connect’s $22,995 base price. Stay tuned for more information, including EPA fuel economy ratings and official prices, as we approach the Ram ProMaster City’s official market launch a few months from now.