CHELSEA PROVING GROUNDS, MI. Ram Trucks has officially unveiled its newest entry in the commercial van market, the Class 1 Ram ProMaster City. It joins a rapidly expanding truck segment of modern-technology small commercial trucks that includes the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and soon to be released GMC/Chevrolet City Express. Initial delivery of the 2015 model through Ram’s commercial dealer network is expected to begin in the fourth quarter.
Like its larger sibling the full-size ProMaster Cargo van introduced last year, the 2015 ProMaster City is based on a commercial truck platform provided by Chrysler’s parent, Fiat. The Fiat Doblo is now in its third generation and has sold over 1.3 million units, according to Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brands. The front-wheel-drive ProMaster City, which will be offered in both cargo and passenger configurations, has been specifically adapted for North America with its own powertrain and a number of suspension and other modifications, according to Bigland.
Unlike the diesel-powered Doblo, the ProMaster City carries Chrysler’s new 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cyl. gasoline engine. Using a variable electro-hydraulic valve actuation system, it’s the same engine just introduced in the new Ram 1500 full-size pickup. It produces 178 HP and a peak torque of 174 lb.-ft. at 3,900 RPM. Also unique to North America is a 9-speed automatic transmission, the first in a commercial van application, according to Ram.
Other changes included revisions to the front MacPherson strut suspension and independent bi-link rear suspension to handle typical North American road conditions, air bag and impact control modifications to meet U.S. safety standards and, of course, larger cupholders.
With a wheelbase of just 122.4 ins., the ProMaster City can hold up to 131.7 cu. Ft. of cargo and has a payload capacity of 1,883 lbs. The flat-floored cargo area measures 87.2-in. long by 60.4-in. wide. For users carrying standard building materials, it has 48.4-in. of space between the wheel wells. Rear doors are split 60/40 and open 180 degrees, and dual sliding side doors are standard.
The cargo Tradesman model will come in two trim levels, as will a 5-passenger wagon configuration. All ProMaster City models will be built at Fiat’s Bursa, Turkey truck plant and upfitted to cargo van configurations by removing rear passenger seats and side door windows at the Chrysler Group Transformation Center in Baltimore, MD.