Dodge Ram ProMaster Passenger Vans

ProMaster test drivesProMaster Main
Sherry luxury ProMaster passenger vans

Ram engineers started adapting Fiat vans to American needs in 2009, resulting, three years later, in the 2014 Ram ProMaster. Based on the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, the new van has higher capacities and tougher suspension and chassis components to handle North American roads and increased gross weights.

passenger van

Aiding upfitters, Ram added a window version of the 159-inch, high-roof van for the 2016 model year, along with a chrome grille option and provisions for a second battery (at the rear of the cab) with new 20-amp switches on the dashboard.

Ram officials told Allpar in January 2014 that the company was not building passenger vans, but was instead supplying “glazed vans” or “window vans” to upfitters, who were then putting in seats. Nick Cappa said,

It’s an advantage for us having a front-wheel drive system, which nobody else has... We keep the load floor low. Our actual step-in height for the Promaster, for the person that’s got to get in and out of the van 90 times a day, is the same height as the pre-step for some competitors. They have to step almost double to get into their vans.

... We also have weight on the front end, so even when you’re running light — when you've got nothing in the back and you’re in snowy conditions — you still have weight in the front with your front-wheel drive. And it helps us package a great turning radius in the truck and best-in-class fuel economy.

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show hosted a ProMaster 2500 Window Van with a Mobility Works Executive Shuttle Package; it provides eight individual leather-trimmed removable seats, along with rear cabin area lighting and rear air conditioning. The package was, though, missing grab handles at the side door opening to assist in getting in and out, according to correspondent Jim Choate.

passenger van interior

What did Chrysler change? An engineer told us:

We have engineers that worked with Sprinter, so we took all our lessons learned and things we wanted to change or couldn’t change. We got unlimited “whatever you want” inside. That’s why you see a lot of those changes in there, like the big cup holders, the radio in different places [than the Fiat], the knobs, everything. ... [We spent] three years working that tailbone off.

window van

ProMaster has 13 different configurations, with three wheelbases, low and high roofs, and cargo van, cutaway, and chassis cab versions, but only the glazed/window versions (159 inches long, in two capacities) and chassis cabs/cutaways are suitable for passengers.

promaster seats


As with the Ram series, ProMaster is available in three capacity ranges: 1500, 2500, and 3500. The following are presented for comparison.

Launch Pricing (including destination charges) Cargo Van Chassis Cab


Ram 2500 159-inch wheelbase high roof $33,870   
Ram 2500 159-inch wheelbase high roof with windows $34,250   
Ram 3500 159-inch wheelbase (C/V: high roof) $36,345 $27,430$27,930
Ram 350 159-inch wb extended frame (C/V: high roof) $37,145 $27,930$28,430

The roof can carry 400 pounds, and has three roof-rail mounts on each side with tapping plates to assist mounting roof racks.

ProMaster has a step-in height of 21 inches and a non-slip rear access step. The large front doors are lightweight, and the 62”-wide rear clamshell doors open 180° or 260°. A sliding right-side door is standard, with an optional sliding left-side door; pallets can be loaded from the side or rear.

Cargo Vans
(Standard Roof, Wheelbase)
2014 Ram
1990 Dodge
Wheelbase (in.)159144 or 170 127
Length236233 or 289 223
Height10165 to 84 80
Gross weight8,90011,0307,700
Max load3,9985,7704,245
Curb weight4,966-5,4005,686-6,128~ 4,830

An upfitter interface block has 15 outputs for 40 feature operations. A passive speed limiter gives an audible reminder when a set speed is surpassed; it can be set to 55, 60, 65, or 70 mph.

Suspension, brakes, and steering

Ram ProMaster’s rear suspension has a tubular beam axle with a Hotchkiss leaf-spring system. Position-dependent dampers work with weight distribution and help the van to keep its low 21-inch step-in height without loss of capacity. The front suspension uses double A-arms and McPherson struts; 62-mm twin-tube shocks are used at each of the four corners.

3.0-liter four cylinderThe electronic stability control includes ready alert braking (emergency stopping), brake assist, brake-lock differential system, hydraulic boost compensation, trailer-sway control, hill-start assist, drift compensation technology, rollover mitigation, and automatic brake lamp actuation.

The standard is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, generating 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

ProMaster uses Fiat’s 174-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder EcoDiesel engine that gives 295 lb.-ft. peak torque at 1,400 rpm. The 16-valve, dual-overhead cam engine has a 29,000-psi common-rail fuel-delivery system. New to Ram, the engine has been used in North America (by Mitsubishi Fuso trucks) for some time.

Urea diesel exhaust fluid is integrated with heated lines to protect the system from freezing, and the five-gallon tank gives nearly 4,000 miles of service. A camshaft chain drive and high-pressure fuel pump with automatic tensioner provide durability, along with wear-resistant cylinder liners and oil-cooled pistons.

An oil-level sensor helps operators to get up to 18,500 miles between oil changes, increasing on-the-road time.

ProMaster has a three-point mounting system (instead of a four-point system) that includes a deep-skirt, die-cast aluminum block with six-bolt main caps, inverted-tooth chain drive, select-fit main and crankshaft bearings and lightweight pistons, structural windage tray and aluminum oil pan, and glass-reinforced nylon-composite intake manifold.

Chrysler’s 62TE automatic transmission (a surprising component in this Fiat-based van) has a 3.86 final-drive ratio to accommodate gross vehicle weight and gross combination weight. A trailer-tow program with both transmissions.

Chrysler 62TE3.902.692.161.370.950.653.041500: 3.16
2500: 3.43
3500: 3.86
Gas V6Conventional
hydraulic automatic
Fiat M-404.172.351.460.960.700.554.084.56Diesel 4Auto-shifting manual

V6 with 62TE

The M40 automated manual gearbox, standard with the diesel, is a manual transmission with an electro-hydraulic automatic-shifting system that handles the clutch. Road-bend detection prevents gearshifts in winding curves, and the computer adjusts shifts according to grade steepness. This transmission provides not only more efficiency (due to the mechanical linkage, instead of a hydraulic linkage), but also a wider range, with a lower first gear and higher top gear, aiding both acceleration and cruising efficiency. It is a single-clutch unit with a hydraulic release.

See: ProMaster test drive • ProMaster Main Page • B-VansProMaster City (Doblo) • Our speculative renderings

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