2016 Ram ProMaster City - A "Moving" Review By Thom Cannell +VIDEO
By Thom Cannell
The Auto Channel
Bullet Points: No attempt at completeness, simply comments on one week’s driving experience—balanced against decades of experience and hundreds of comparisons. Not long ago; Story 1, ...Story 2 I was helping friends move, now it is my turn.
Making the job easier has been a series of small and medium cargo vans currently sold in the US. Last week I drove Ram’s 2016 ProMaster City van, the Tradesman edition. The name is apt as I think it’s a delivery vehicle best suited for in-city use or for a local tradesman—plumbers, electricians, carpenters—and here’s why I think so.
This is a rather remarkable box-on-wheels, powered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine from FCA and employing its multi-air technology for better fuel economy, better emissions regulation, and more power. Connected to a 9-speed automatic—that’s not a typo, and an exclusive in its class—it delivers plenty of performance (178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft torque) while delivering, for me, over 21 mpg in hard use; it’s rated for 29 on the freeway by EPA.
A friend needed to move her queen mattress and box springs. That was a day I wished I’d had the full sized ProMaster as squishing the mattress inside, then fitting the (fortunately) separable box springs was less fun, but successful. Nonetheless, capacity for a queen-sized mattress was surprising. And while I didn’t load any plywood, standard sheets of paneling or sheetrock fit between the wheel wells and lie flat, as can pallets of goods loaded by a fork lift. What I did load was construction debris bound for the recycling center, over a cubic yard and the full opening doors were a blessing both loading and unloading.
What you might not know is that despite the 2016 Promaster City’s European origins as a Fiat Doblò, its suspension was re-engineered in North America for our heavier (meaning bad roads) duty cycle. It uses familiar MacPherson front struts and independent coil-spring bi-link rear suspension for improved ride and handling compared to a solid axle and leaf spring rear end.
Overall I liked the vehicle and found it immensely useful as a small goods delivery van—larger goods are better left to its ProMaster sibling.
The 2016 RAM ProMaster City’s handling was more like a CUV than a truck, its acceleration in keeping with a four-cylinder CUV, which, in essence, it is. While I think that having a larger, perhaps 6-8” navigation and audio touch screen would be good, more noise abatement materials even better, I suspect that fleet purchasing agents would think me naive. Them I ask, why are you having trouble finding drivers? I also ask FCA and Ram why no AWD. Heck, with a quieting package and AWD I’d consider a 2016 ProMaster City for my next wagon - after bolting a couch into the back.
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