The new Ram ProMaster attracts a crowd during the Ram display of the Truck Product Conference.

Ram ProMaster in production

Nov. 1, 2013
  PRODUCTION for all configurations of the 2014 Ram ProMaster has begun at the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico, according to Joe Benson.

PRODUCTION for all configurations of the 2014 Ram ProMaster has begun at the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico, according to Joe Benson.

The new 2014 Ram ProMaster is Ram Commercial’s latest addition to its commercial vehicle lineup. ProMaster takes its place in the expanding, purpose-built, full-size van segment.

The ProMaster is based on the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, which Benson says is the most popular full-size van in Europe and has been in production for more than 30 years.

Conceived and developed in Italy, Ram’s new van also spent time proving itself on this side of the Atlantic undergoing extensive, extreme-duty testing to prepare for its North American debut as the Ram ProMaster.

The 2014 ProMaster is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths. Additionally, the ProMaster offers both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory. Its unibody frame architecture makes it significantly lighter. As a result, the ProMaster boasts a best payload capacity up to 5145 pounds and a maximum towing capacity up to 5100 pounds. The gross combination weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6-liter V-6 is 11,500 pounds and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel.

A unibody structure has additional advantages, including stability and strength from front to rear, a reinforced plenum area for optimized engine packaging, and “truer” tuning of chassis systems and related hardware when compared to more common body-onframe applications, Benson said.

ProMaster features front-wheel drive. The body-integral construction and multiple configurations allow Ram’s new 2014 ProMaster to be upfitted for a wide range of applications.

The ProMaster is available in two roof heights, 90 or 101 inches. Vertically oriented side walls in the cargo van category (nearly 90 degrees in relation to the cargo compartment floor) add to the cargo volume.

The ProMaster features a standard sliding door on the passenger side with an optional sliding door on the driver’s side. The sliding door openings are based on roof height: 49”x60” for the low-roof model and 49”x70” for high-roof models. In the rear, an available two-position rear clamshell door swings open up to 260 degrees, folding almost flat to the side of the van. All three door openings enable fork lift pallet loading and unloading.

NTEA members study the straight, boxed frame of the Ram ProMaster.

The Ram features an integrated cab configuration for upfitter conversion. Adding to the ProMaster’s design for adaptability, virtually all primary vehicle systems are packaged forward of the cargo area.

The standard electronic stability control (ESC) system on the new Ram ProMaster is a four-channel (independent control to all four corners of the vehicle) active handling system that links the vehicle’s dynamic control systems to assist the driver in maintaining control under demanding or adverse conditions. In effect, the ESC determines the driver’s intentions and optimizes overall vehicle control to keep the dynamic forces within select limits in any driving situation.

The 2014 Ram ProMaster van’s powertrain lineup features the standard-equipment, gasoline-fueled V-6 and a torque-laden, I-4 EcoDiesel engine. The engines are paired, respectively, with a proven six-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled six-speed automated manual.

The 2014 Ram ProMaster marks the North American introduction of the 174-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 4-cylinder EcoDiesel engine that generates peak torque of 295 lb-ft at just 1400 rpm. The engine features a number of refinements, including internal engine components, turbo and emission controls. Helping to reduced total cost of ownership, an oil-level sensor contributes to an oil-change schedule of up to 18,500 miles.

The standard-equipment 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is rated at 280 horsepower with peak torque of 260 lb-ft, the dual overhead cam, 24-valve Pentastar delivers the capability required of a commercial van without compromising refinement.

Reducing vehicle operating costs was paramount in the minds of the powertrain engineers who contributed to Ram ProMaster’s development. Recommended oil-change intervals range up to 10,000 miles. But an intelligent oil-servicing system that monitors vehicle usage will trigger an alert when service is most appropriate.

The 62TE automatic transmission is upgraded to accommodate the Ram ProMaster’s cargo-hauling capability. Specifically, its 3.86 final-drive ratio enables comfortable grade transit under full freight. The transmission more readily adopts the most appropriate ratio for a given driving situation. The numerically lower overall top gear ratio delivers a more economical highway operation.

A trailer/tow program comes standard with 62TE and the new M40 automated manual. The M40 gearbox delivers the efficiency of a manual transmission with the functionality of an automatic.

In addition to information about the new Ram ProMaster, Benson provided updates on other Ram products. Among them:

• The Ram 2500 has a new link coil suspension (also air suspension option) and a new 6.4 HEMI V8 that opens up the market for Ram by offering an in-between engine for the heavy-duty market. It delivers best-in-class 410 horsepower (306 kW) at 5600 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque (582 N•m) at 4,000 rpm, and features VVT with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation. A standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers 383 horsepower (286 kW) at 5600 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque (542 N•m), and features variable-valve timing for greater efficiency and performance.

• The Ram 3500 has a new air suspension option, 850 lb-ft of torque on the Cummins diesel and towing capacity of 30,000 lbs, nearly three tons greater than the competition. ♦

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.