The Ram ProMaster City, a new model on U.S. highways made possible by the international depth of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, is distinguished in many ways. This was underscored at the 2015 San Antonio Auto Show with its win of Green Car Journal’s 2016 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ award. The model bested finalists that included the Chevrolet City Express, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and Nissan NV200.
Based on the successful and long-running Fiat Doblò model in Europe, the ProMaster City compact van is essentially the same vehicle but tailored for the American market with updates like a slightly higher ride height and heavier-duty suspension. It is available as a Tradesman Cargo Van or five-passenger Wagon to fit diverse needs, at starting MSRPs of $23,445 and $24,445, respectively.
Functionality and efficiency are what this vehicle is all about. Interior space is quite generous considering its compact exterior dimensions that aim at ease of operation in urban traffic. In fact, the ProMaster City features best-in-class payload and cargo capacity, allowing drivers to carry up to 1,883 pounds or 31 cubic feet of cargo.
Its floor area between the rear wheel wells is 48.4 inches wide. Driver convenience is enhanced with an available Uconnect 5.0 audio and multimedia system featuring a five-inch touchscreen, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, and steering wheel audio controls.
The ProMaster City’s class-exclusive front-wheel drive system utilizes a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine, an efficient Fiat-developed powerplant widely used in Chrysler models ranging from the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart to the Jeep Cherokee and Renegade. This rather sophisticated SOHC engine – at least by work truck standards – features variable valve timing, variable valve lift technology, and a 10.0:1 compression ratio, plus of course Fiat’s efficiency-enhancing Multiair technology. The 178 horsepower engine is mated to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission.
This combination moves the ProMaster City from 0-30 mpg in about 3.7 seconds, more than adequate performance in city environs. The ProMaster City offers EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, very good numbers for a van of any kind.