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The 2012-2015 Dodge Ram Cargo Van (Ram C/V Tradesman)

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The 2012-2015 Dodge Ram Cargo Van (Ram C/V Tradesman)

The 2015 Ram C/V has optional Uconnect Web, so drivers can stay connected via the wireless Internet.

The Ram Cargo Van is based on the popular Dodge/Chrysler minivans; but, unlike the Dodge Caravan C/V before it, the Cargo Van is more than "skin deep." While the 2008 Dodge Caravan C/V had solid privacy panels or glass panels in back, it kept the regular door glass, covered by panels. It did not meet fleet expectations (or earlier standards).

In 2013, the Ram C/V was quietly renamed "Ram C/V Tradesman" in preparation for the arrival of the Ram ProMaster vans. The base price at the end of 2014, for a 2015 model, was $22,000 even (plus destination).

The Ram Cargo Van, in contrast, has a solid, window-free sliding door, and, equally important, a structural aluminum rear load floor. There are two flooring options: a flat, high-capacity surface, and one with tie-downs and "stow and go" type access to storage bins.

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During our test drive, when we noted the ride and handling were as good as the consumer vans, Ram's Dave Elshoff said that it handled just as well under a full load. He said the company was going to buyers of traditional vans, and showing them the much better ride, handling, and amenities compared with vans engineered in years long gone:
We're able to get the highest cargo capacity for Class 1, then we actually improved that with launching a secondary optional floor that has bins built into the floor itself to give you another 10 to 15 cubic feet of space for storage. So we're able to utilize this proven platform to satisfy several different customer bases. If you're a blacksmith or a plumber, you can use this standard floor from a structural standpoint. And then if you're maybe in delivery or small repairs, you can use the in-floor storage areas with the doors on the optional floor to store your tools and different materials, where they won't be seen.

Ram C/V's 1,800-lb. cargo payload is the best in its class (Class 1 cargo vans), and it has category-exclusive towing capability of up to 3,600 lbs; its maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is 8,750 lbs. A 20-gallon fuel tank and 25 mpg highway deliver best-in-class fuel range. A commercial-tuned ride and heavy-duty load-leveling suspension maximize hauling capability, while a heavy-duty radiator and heavy-duty transmission oil cooler help meet heavier powertrain demands. Ram C/V is also engineered with unique hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion steering, front anti-sway bar and rear twist-beam axle with coil springs. The van has heavy duty commercial tires, and special stability control programming.

Safety features include LED taillamps, standard (specially tuned) electronic stability control (ESC), commercial load-tuned tire-pressure monitoring (TPM), and a four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system (ABS).

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transaxle; it generates best-in-class horsepower (283) and torque (260 lb.-ft.) without sacrificing fuel economy. Drivers can change the transaxle shift schedule to maximize their fuel economy. A rear spoiler and reduced brake caliper and rear bearing drag all contribute to Ram Cargo Van's class-leading aerodynamics and excellent fuel economy.

The Cargo Van has a 20-gallon tank, allowing for up to 500 miles per tankful; Ram's Dave Elshoff pointed out, "These customers think of total cost of ownership. So we can deliver a package at a great acquisition price, and then if you think of five or six extra gallons of gas, the vehicle's on the road longer working. Less stops, less fill ups."

Elshoff also said the Cargo Van had "best-in-class brake size and brake life. We've done a lot of third-party testing on that to get those claims."

A modern, new one piece instrument panel is more intuitive for the customer with improved ergonomics and larger, redesigned gauges. Trim rings in the console glow and ambient blue-green color, allowing passengers to find items they are looking for at night.

With 144.4 cubic feet of interior storage, Ram C/V leads the segment, and unlike other Class 1 competitors, provides ample space to haul four by 4x8 sheets of building materials. Cargo access is maximized via the front seats, Ram C/V's rear liftgate and dual sliding doors.

The Ram Cargo Van is distinguished by prominent Ram badging, front and rear, and a monochromatic paint scheme with body-colored front and rear fascias and side moldings and a chrome C/V badge. Colors are silver, black, white, and blue pearl.

Standard features include covered 16-inch steel wheels, a 160-amp alternator, 20-gallon fuel tank, all-season extra-load capacity tires, 730-amp maintenance-free battery, commercial-duty suspension, engine oil cooler, quad halogen headlamps, load leveling and height control, power rack-and-pinion steering and fold-away power exterior mirrors with heating element.

Inside, Ram Cargo Van gets air conditioning with dual-zone temperature control, an instrument cluster with 120 mph speedometer and tachometer, outside temperature display, an overhead console, passenger assist handle, 120-volt auxiliary power outlet, 12-volt front and rear DC power outlets, air filtering, audio jack input for mobile devices, AutoStick automatic transmission, cloth low-back bucket seats, driver and passenger-side sun visors with mirrors, rearview auto-dim mirror, dual glove boxes, front courtesy / map lamps, headlamp shut-off delay, cargo compartment observation mirror, a liftgate floodlamp, lower instrument panel storage bin, dual sliding doors with alert warning, power locks, power front windows, rear dome lamp, speed control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, tilting and telescoping steering wheel, tip start and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Ram Cargo Van options include an engine block heater, media center with 30 GB hard drive and 6.5-inch touch-screen display, audio jack input for mobile devices, Garmin® navigation system, ParkView® back-up camera, a Mopar® cargo compartment floor mat, Mopar exterior vinyl window shading, a Mopar full-width cargo divider, power eight-way driver's seat with lumbar adjust, front and rear power windows, security alarm, Sirius Satellite Radio and Uconnect handsfree voice command with Bluetooth®, remote USB port, rearview auto-dim mirror, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, rear window defroster, rear window wiper and washer and supplemental side curtain airbags.

The 2012 Ram Cargo Van, built in Windsor, Ontario, went on sale in the third quarter of 2011, replacing the Dodge Grand Caravan C/V. Sales have not been especially high, with a total market of around 35,000 vehicles in 2011; but third parties are forecasting that the Class 1 commercial van market may go up to 75,000 - 100,000 vehicles soon.

Cargo Vans
(Standard Roof, Wheelbase)
2014 Ram
Ram C/V
Wheelbase (in.)136 121
Length213 203
Width80 79
Height89 69
Gross weight*7,716 lb8,750 lb
Max load*3,472 lb1,800 lb


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