If you've been to Europe or Asia, chances are you've seen plenty of compact commercial vans scooting around the streets. And now these little vans are finally making their way to North America. Chrysler's entry is the Ram ProMaster City, which is based on a European-market van known as the Fiat Doblò. With a payload rating of nearly 1,900 pounds, a figure that surpasses most of its rivals, the ProMaster City is a great choice for companies that need a more maneuverable and fuel-efficient alternative to a full-size van.
Ram offers the ProMaster City as both a two-seat cargo van and a five-seat "wagon." We think this small van is better suited to the role of cargo-carrier, in which guise it offers 131.7 cubic feet of space behind the front seats. That's more space than most of its rivals and comes with a maximum payload of 1,883 pounds. The low, flat floor offers 48.4 inches of width between the wheelwells, room enough for a full-size pallet. The 60/40 rear doors (the smaller door on the curb side) can open up to 180 degrees, allowing a pallet to be loaded and unloaded with a forklift. The option list includes factory-fit cargo dividers.
As a passenger van, the ProMaster City doesn't score quite so well. The industrial-grade interior is designed for function rather than fun, with lots of storage space and materials chosen for durability over decor. We do like the easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system, and you won't hear us complain about the 74.1 cubic feet of space behind the second row. Actually, you probably couldn't hear us complain even if we did because the cabin is fairly noisy. That, and the lack of advanced safety and driver aids, are among the reasons we feel the ProMaster City isn't as well suited to hauling passengers as a traditional SUV or crossover.
All ProMaster City vans are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque and drives the front wheels through a nine-speed automatic. The EPA estimates the ProMaster City's fuel economy at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway), which is significantly better than that of a full-size van and impressive compared to fuel economy of other small vans. The ProMaster City accelerates well and rides comfortably for a commercial van, but its tall, narrow shape affects the van's handling and grip, and not in a good way.
Ram offers both the cargo and passenger versions in two trim levels, and while the names differ (Tradesman and Tradesman SLT for the cargo van, Base and SLT for the passenger wagon), the content is mostly the same. The lower trim level comes with basic creature comforts suitable for commercial use, while the upper trim level offers upgraded trim and features. Edmunds can help find the 2017 Ram ProMaster City that's perfect for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.