Full 2014 Ram CV Review
What's New for 2014
Other than dropping "Tradesman" from its name, the Ram CV is unchanged for 2014.
The 2014 Ram CV is a simple, midsize cargo van that fills the gap between large, high-roof cargo vans and smaller, less powerful compact vans. The CV is essentially a Dodge Grand Caravan set up to haul tools and equipment, rather than passengers. Available with many floor options and panel or window sides, the Ram CV is a solid choice for business owners who prioritize both utility and affordability.
When's time to work, the Ram CV is up to the task, thanks to a standard 283-horsepower V6 engine. Its 1,800-pound payload and 3,600-pound towing capacity are impressive enough, and the van's 21 mpg EPA combined fuel economy rating and 20-gallon fuel tank promise respectable efficiency and cruising range as well. Compared to the Grand Caravan, the CV has a heavier-duty suspension. This enables it to carry heavier payloads, but it does make things bumpier when driving in town.
The Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 are the 2014 Ram CV's closest competitors, and they're worth cross-shopping if you don't need quite as much space and/or want better fuel economy. If even more room is necessary, Ram's own ProMaster has many high-roof options and two available engines. You could also consider traditional full-size vans from Chevrolet, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. For contractors seeking a light-duty cargo van, though, the 2014 Ram CV has undeniable appeal.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ram CV 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.
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, power rear windows, a cargo divider, an upgraded sound system (with digital music storage and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display), a navigation system, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power driver seat, satellite radio, the Uconnect voice command system (with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB port and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls) and an onboard WiFi router.
Powertrains and Performance
All 2014 Ram CV models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine 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 CV is based accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway).
Standard safety features for the 2014 Ram CV include antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, the similar Grand Caravan came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, which is a few feet longer than average for a minivan.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Ram CV'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 long days behind the wheel considerably easier. The only significant gripe is that longer-limbed drivers may find legroom lacking due to limited seat-track travel.
A number of standard and optional features are available to help contractors tailor the Ram CV to their specific needs. A flat load floor is available, as are a choice of solid or windowed walls and a rear liftgate. The Ram CV's cargo capacity is an impressive 144.4 cubic feet.
Overall, the 2014 Ram CV is a pleasant van to drive. The V6 engine is strong and the six-speed automatic transmission does a respectable job of keeping the power on tap, though sometimes it's not that smooth with gearchanges. The steering is firmly weighted and precise, though as expected, given the van's heavy-duty suspension, the ride quality is on the firm side.