Full 2014 Ram Promaster Window Van Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van is a new model that comes to Ram showrooms by way of Fiat.
European cargo and passenger van manufacturers have long known that it's more space-efficient to go up than out. These tall vans may look odd compared to traditional American full-size vans, but there's no ignoring their advantages, namely a lot more interior volume for a given footprint and the luxury of a high ceiling that allows taller adults to walk around inside without stooping. For much of the 2000s, the Dodge brand had just such a van in the Mercedes-built Sprinter. Now, because of Fiat's ownership of Chrysler, we're getting a second go-around with the 2014 Ram ProMaster.
The 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van is based on the Fiat Ducato, a workhorse that has been popular in Europe for decades. It measures up to 20 inches taller than a traditional domestic van and uses a space-efficient front-wheel-drive layout and partial unibody construction (as opposed to full body-on-frame). This translates to massive interior volume and a lowest-in-class step-in height. The ProMaster's cavernous space makes it easier for upfitters (companies that modify these vans for duties like shuttle delivery services) to modify the van, while the tall architecture provides plenty of head- and legroom, even for the tallest adults. Drivers benefit as well: The high seating position provides a commanding view of the road while the snub-nose design eases maneuverability in tight quarters.
Another European trait is available diesel power. The Ram ProMaster's optional 3.0-liter four-cylinder diesel promises notably better fuel economy than a gas-chugging V8 while still providing nearly 300 pound-feet of torque to handle heavy loads. The standard 3.6-liter V6 is no slouch, though, and its strong 280 horsepower promises quicker acceleration than the diesel. Maximum hauling capacity is impressive at 3,998 pounds.
Direct competitors to the 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van include the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Nissan NV, which share a similar tall-roof architecture. The Benz is considerably more expensive, however, and offers only diesel power, while the Nissan is more competitively priced and offers a choice of two gas engines, including a V8. All are very capable workhorses, so we'd suggest cross-shopping them to determine which van best suits your specific needs.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Unlike its ProMaster cargo van sibling, which can be had in a number of trims, wheelbases and height configurations (and is reviewed separately), the 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van comes in a single 2500 trim level with the high roof and long (159-inch) wheelbase. Only front seats are provided, ostensibly because the van is expected to be outfitted to the buyer's needs, be they passenger or cargo.
Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, a passenger-side sliding side door, air-conditioning, cloth bucket seats, power front windows, power locks, keyless entry, a telescoping (but not tilt-adjustable) steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio jack.
Available options include alloy wheels, foglights, power-folding/heated sideview mirrors, a rear window defroster, an alarm system, rear park assist, a rearview camera, navigation, heated seats, swivel seats, a suspension driver seat, adjustable lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded audio with Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted controls, satellite radio, cruise control and a wood floor.
There are also a number of packages including a Premium Appearance group (bright grille and foglights), a Driver Convenience package (overhead shelf and locking glovebox) and a Cargo Convenience group (cargo net and sidewall tie-down rings).
Powertrains and Performance
Standard on the Ram ProMaster is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Optional is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel four with 174 hp and 295 lb-ft paired to a six-speed automated manual transmission. Properly equipped, the ProMaster Window van has a payload capacity of 3,998 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 5,100 pounds.
Standard safety features for the 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van include front side and side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, hill start assist, stability control (with trailer sway control) and traction control. Optional features include a roadside safety kit, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Ram ProMaster's interior is an example of no-nonsense functionality. Instruments are large and clear, with a multifunction display centered between the speedometer and tachometer. Climate controls are of the tried-and-true three-knob design, while the audio system and optional navigation system are mounted up high on the center stack. Long hours on the road are eased via well-bolstered captain's chairs and an abundance of handy cupholders and cubbies.
The ProMaster's immense cargo area -- up to 456 cubic feet -- offers plenty of customization. From the factory you can opt for a wooden floor, while upfitters will have plenty of space to install seats and overhead storage compartments for shuttle duty or shelves, cabinets and the like for other applications.
The high, cab-forward driving position on the 2014 Ram ProMaster Window van gives you a good perspective of the road ahead, making it easy to park and navigate tight urban areas. The tall seats and the lack of tilt adjustment on the steering wheel can make it difficult to find a good driving position, though.
Thanks to a tight turning circle, the ProMaster feels maneuverable and nimble in city driving conditions. Whether you choose the base V6 or the turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, payload numbers for the ProMaster are high, contributing to its versatility as a passenger van. Yet it still drives comfortably, with a relatively smooth ride quality that seems more like a minivan's than a traditional work van's.