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Sizing up the competition

by Bill Cawthon on

During yesterday’s reveal of the new Ram ProMaster City, Ram CEO Reid Bigland frequently used the term “Best in Class.”

Always up for a challenge, Allpar obtained the specifications for the ProMaster City’s primary rivals, the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200. The Chevrolet City Express is a rebadged NV200 and shares its specifications except for price.

Because final ProMaster City specifications have not yet been finalized, Allpar used the figures presented during the reveal where possible and filled in the blanks with specifications for the Fiat Doblò Cargo long wheelbase (LWB).

The Ram ProMaster City is significantly larger than the base Ford Transit Connect so the LWB version of the Transit Connect was used for the comparison. In addition, the Transit Connect has an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine that rivals the Tigershark in the ProMaster City. The optional engine adds $795 to the Transit Connect’s sticker.

As far as any commitment to pricing, Bigland would say only that the Ram ProMaster City will be competitive. Based on prices from Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet, that would indicate a base price, including destination charges, between $22,000 and $23,000.

In 2013, Chrysler, Ford and Nissan sold a total of 53,222 small vans in the U.S. Though May of this year, sales totaled 23,598, up 12.6% from May 2013.

Specification Ram ProMaster City Ford Transit Connect LWB Nissan NV200
Chevrolet City Express
Displacement 2.4L 2.5L/1.6L Turbo 2.0L
Horsepower 178 169/178 131
Torque 174 171/184 139
Transmission 9-Speed Auto 6-Speed Auto CVT
Drive Wheels FWD FWD FWD
Recommended Fuel Regular Regular/Premium Regular
Fuel Economy N/A 20/28/23 24/25/24
Brakes F/R Disc/Drum Disc/Disc Disc/Drum
ABS Standard Standard Standard
Power Steering Standard Electric Power Standard
Turning Diameter* (ft) 41 40 37
Suspension, Front Independent McP Strut Independent McP Strut Independent Strut
Suspension, Rear Independent Coil Twist-Beam Coil Leaf, Solid Axle
Tires* 195/60 R16 215/55 R16 BSW 185/60R15 A/S
Air-Conditioning Standard Standard Standard
Wheelbase (in) 122.4 120.6 115.2
Overall Length* (in) 186.6 189.7 186.3
Overall Width* (in) 72.1 72.2 68.1
Overall Height* (in) 74.0 72.8 73.7
Track F/R (in) N/A 61.4/61.7 60.0/59.8
Curb Weight* (lb) 2,932 3,580 3,252
Passenger Capacity 2 2 2
Headroom (in) N/A 46.8 41.7
Leg Room (in) N/A 41.5 42.6
Hip Room (in) N/A 54.1 51.3
Shoulder Room (in) N/A 57.6 54.1
Maximum Length (in) 87.2 87.3 82.8
Maximum Width (in) 60.4 N/A 54.8
Width Btw. Wheelwells (in) 48.4 48.3 48.0
Maximum Height (in) 51.8 49.7 53.0
Payload (lb) 1,883 1,710 1,500
Step-In Height (in) 21.5 23.4 19.2
Total Volume (cu ft) N/A  N/A 178.3
Passenger Volume (cu ft)  N/A 63.2 55.6
Cargo Volume (cu ft) 131.7 128.6 122.7
0-60 time (sec) <10 (claimed) 12.4 11.0
Base Price incl. Destination TBA $23,995 $21,150/$22,950
*Figures calculated from European-spec Fiat Doblò LWB van

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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