Full 2013 Ram C/V Tradesman Review
What's New for 2013
Other than having "Tradesman" added to its name, the 2013 Ram C/V is essentially unchanged.
The 2013 Ram C/V Tradesman is essentially a Dodge Grand Caravan that that's been modified to serve as a cargo van. But the C/V also boasts a number of features making it well-suited to its beast of burden duty, such as a powerful V6, a heavy-duty suspension that easily handles considerable loads, and a choice of floor styles. The latter include an available flat load floor as well as one with built-in storage compartments. Additionally, there is a choice between traditional rear windows or solid panels.
When it's time to work, the 2013 Ram C/V is ready. This Class-1 (light commercial) rated van boasts a 283-horsepower V6 that contributes to its impressive 1,800-pound payload and 3,600-pound towing capacities. And with its combination of good fuel economy (rated at 25 mpg highway) and a 20-gallon fuel tank, the C/V also promises long range between fill-ups.
The C/V's closest competitor is the Ford Transit Connect. The Ford offers a smaller footprint, but it's only available with a four-cylinder engine and therefore best suited for lighter workloads. Beyond that, you're looking at traditional full-size vans from Chevrolet, Ford, Mercedes and Nissan. But for light-duty commercial use, the 2013 Ram C/V Tradesman offers undeniable wide-ranging appeal for various types of small businesses.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Ram C/V is a minivan intended for commercial use and as such its features include 16-inch steel wheels, a heavy-duty suspension, dual sliding side doors, heated sideview mirrors and rubber floor covering. However, it doesn't skimp on driver comforts either, as cruise control, cloth upholstery, power front windows, power locks, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone air-conditioning and a two-speaker sound system (with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack) are all standard as well.
Available options include a choice of solid or windowed walls and rear liftgate, an engine block heater, a rear window defroster, a rear window wiper/washer, exterior vinyl window shading, power rear windows, a cargo divider, an upgraded sound system (with digital music storage and 6.5-inch touchscreen display), a navigation system, a back-up camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power driver seat, satellite radio and the Uconnect voice command system (with Bluetooth, a USB port and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls).
Powertrains and Performance
All 2013 Ram C/V models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a switchable "economy" mode to optimize fuel efficiency.
In Edmunds testing, the Grand Caravan upon which the Ram C/V is based accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.3 seconds. Fuel economy ratings stand at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Ram C/V include active front head restraints, driver knee airbags, antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control. Optional features include a rearview camera and side curtain airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, the similar Grand Caravan came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet: an average distance for a minivan.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Ram C/V's interior is surprisingly attractive for a work van, with solid materials quality and a pair of comfortable seats. Available features such as navigation and an iPod/USB port make getting to job sites and long days behind the wheel considerably easier. The only significant gripe is that longer-limbed drivers may find legroom somewhat lacking.
A number of standard and optional features can tailor the Ram C/V to specific needs. A flat load floor is available, as are a choice of solid or windowed walls and rear liftgate. The Ram C/V's cargo capacity is rated at an impressive 144.4 cubic feet.
Overall, the 2013 Ram C/V Tradesman is a pleasant van to drive. The V6 engine is strong and the six-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job of keeping the power on tap, though gearchanges can occasionally be somewhat jarring. The steering is firmly weighted and precise, though as expected (given its commercial leanings) the suspension -- and thus the ride quality ? is on the firm side.