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Behind ProMaster’s looks (updated)

ducato-ram

Some readers may wonder why the Ram ProMaster looks like it does, instead of, well, something like the rendering above. Why, in short, does it look like a Fiat with a single changed body panel, when so many internal modifications have been made? (Much higher capacity, Chrysler engine and transmission, meeting Federal rules, UConnect instead of Blue & Me, and provision for rougher roads with winter salt, at the least.)

There are practical reasons why the van shown above was not produced. According to Ram’s announcement today, the headlights are up-and-back to prevent damage to the expensive assemblies during minor collisions. To ease servicing costs, the front fascia is in three separate parts, so if one is damaged, it can be replaced more easily; presumably, accessing some components within the van is also eased.

Almost missed in the lengthy list of specifications was an oil change interval of up to 18,500 miles (for the diesel; the gasoline engine has a limit of 10,000 miles).  Ram pointed out an oil level sensor as one key to this, most likely accompanied by the company’s existing computer-based estimates of oil condition (using temperature, acceleration, and other variables along with extensive research to customize intervals to drivers). An engine block heater is standard on diesels in Canada (optional in the US) and comes with a timer for automatic activation.

Those who find the ProMaster to be cosmetically unattractive may at least be thankful it was not styled by the people at Lexus, who have successfully blended the 1961 Plymouth with a Remington shaver.

lexus

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