Used 2016 Ram Promaster City Minivan Review
Small business owners seeking a compact van will want to take a look at the 2016 Ram ProMaster City. It offers impressive cargo volume and payload ratings for a vehicle of this size.
Although the Ram ProMaster City is a relative newcomer to the United States, it has actually been on sale for years in Europe. There it's known as the Fiat Doblò, and it's a popular choice among tradespeople and even families needing a compact but capable van. Smaller vans like the 2016 ProMaster City are just starting to gain a foothold with American shoppers, but they can be a great option if you're looking for a more maneuverable and fuel-efficient vehicle to drive in crowded cities.
Ram sells the ProMaster City as both a two-passenger cargo van and a five-passenger "wagon" version. Although you won't be able to stand upright inside this van as you can in the full-size ProMaster van (reviewed separately), it nonetheless offers a very spacious interior with more cargo volume than most competitors in this class. The ProMaster City also has a payload rating of nearly 1,900 pounds that surpasses most rivals.
Under its hood, the Ram ProMaster City has a much larger engine than its Fiat counterpart. All versions come with a 178-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine matched with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is quite respectable for this class as is fuel economy. On the move, the ProMaster City rides well for a commercial van, but don't expect any revelations in the handling department in a vehicle with a tall, narrow profile. This is one reason we don't consider the ProMaster Wagon a great alternative to a five-passenger crossover SUV. A noisy cabin environment and limited availability of safety features are the other reasons.
As a cargo van, though, the capable 2016 Ram ProMaster City makes a lot of sense for small business owners. You'll also want to look at the similarly priced Ford Transit Connect, which has lower payload limits but comes in two different wheelbase lengths and has additional amenities in its passenger version, including seven-passenger seating and leather upholstery. The all-new Mercedes-Benz Metris is more of a midsize van and it will cost you quite a bit more, but you'll also get quite a bit more space and capability, including a 2,500-pound payload rating. At the other end of the range, you'll find the Nissan NV200 and Chevrolet City Express. These mechanically similar vans can't haul as much as the others, but if you don't have heavy loads to carry, it's hard to beat their rock-bottom pricing.
If utility is your top priority in a small cargo van purchase, though, either the Ford or the Ram will likely be the best fit.
trim levels & features
The 2016 Ram ProMaster City comes in Cargo and Wagon versions. The Cargo van has just two front seats and is set up for hauling, while the Wagon is a five-passenger vehicle with a backseat. There are two trim levels for each body style: Tradesman and Tradesman SLT for the Cargo van, and base and SLT for the Wagon.
Standard equipment on the Tradesman and base vans includes 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, power front windows, cloth upholstery, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a front overhead storage bin, a 60/40-split folding rear seat (Wagon only), Bluetooth (late availability) and a four-speaker stereo with a USB port.
For the SLT trim levels, all of the above equipment comes standard along with body-color mirrors and bumpers, power heated mirrors, privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver lumbar adjustment, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control and a Uconnect 5-inch touchscreen interface.
Available option packages include the Popular Equipment group (second-row power windows, a six-speaker stereo, heated front seats), the Rear Back-Up Camera group (rear parking sensors and a rearview camera), the Lights and Wheels group (16-inch alloy wheels and foglights) and a tow package with a Class III hitch. Other ProMaster City options include roof rails, cargo partitions for the Cargo van, a rear window defroster and wiper/washer, remote start, a navigation system (in combination with the 5-inch touchscreen) and satellite radio.
performance & mpg
The 2016 Ram ProMaster City is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 178 hp and 174 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the ProMaster City is 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway).
Payload capacity is rated at 1,883 pounds. This is tops among smaller commercial vans. You'd have to size up to the Mercedes Metris to get a higher payload rating. Properly equipped, the ProMaster City can tow 2,000 pounds, which is the same as Ford's Transit Connect.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Ram ProMaster City includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, hill-start assist, trailer sway control and rollover mitigation. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are optional.
The 2016 Ram ProMaster City's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates a suitable amount of power in normal driving. Attempting to quickly accelerate to highway speeds with a full load of cargo might be another matter, but that's true for all vehicles in this class. The nine-speed automatic transmission is smooth and keeps engine rpm low for maximum highway cruising mpg, but can also make clunky gearchanges at low speeds (as in when stuck in traffic).
You can look forward to a smooth ride given the van's independent multilink rear suspension and relatively low ride height. Handling is secure, though the unusually agile Transit Connect and Metris are the class leaders in this regard. As this is a commercial van, the cabin is fairly noisy at speed.
Typical of small commercial vans, the Ram ProMaster City has a simple interior that prioritizes functionality above all else. There are plenty of storage slots, and the various buttons and knobs are easy to use. The availability of the Uconnect interface is a plus for users who will be spending hours a day in the van. We've come to enjoy the Uconnect interface in other Fiat Chrysler vehicles thanks to its crisp graphics and quick responses to touch inputs, though a few features are buried a bit too deep in the menu structure.
The Cargo version of the Ram ProMaster City boasts 131.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats, which is about 3 cubes more than the Transit Connect and 9 cubes more than the NV200. If that's not enough space, the larger Metris checks in with 186 cubic feet. In the five-passenger configuration, the ProMaster City has 74.1 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 101.7 cubes with the rear seats folded.
A 51.8-inch roof height and slightly more than 48 inches between the wheelwells (enough to load a full-size pallet) promises exceptional versatility for delivery services and mobile workshops. The 2016 ProMaster City also features 60/40-split rear doors (the smaller of the two doors opens curbside). Both doors default to a 90-degree opening, but can swing a full 180 degrees once you release a hinge latch.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.