2015 Ram ProMaster City Wagon SLT Review
Ram's downsized van is perfect for your small business.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: February 16th, 2015
Although Ram is known for its ridiculously huge pickups, it's also carving out a niche for itself making versatile vans as well, or rather, it's borrowing from parent company Fiat to carve out that niche. Either way, the ProMaster City Wagon is the Americanized version of the Fiat Doblo, the small passenger van that Fiat began manufacturing in 2000. For the U.S. version, rear glass panels were replaced with steel, but all of the Doblo's versatility remains intact.
If the ProMaster City Wagon looks un-Ram-like, that's because it is. Only the front fascia was changed for its Americanization. Other than the front end, there's not a whole lot of styling to the exterior. It's a van. It looks like a van. A rather small van, but still a van. Its proportions seem odd at first - we're not used to seeing small vans in this country, but Ram has done a nice job incorporating its signature toughness into what is an otherwise rather bland looking panel van.
Inside the ProMaster, the proportions begin to make sense. The front half, or 3/5ths, looks like a minivan. The interior is Spartan and workmanlike, but still comfortable and well outfitted. Our tester came with the mid-level Uconnect system (it has NAV, but no satellite radio), but that can be upgraded if you absolutely need SiriusXM, or downgraded if you'd rather just find your way around the old fashioned way (or use your phone).
The cloth seats are plenty comfortable, and even heated, but you're stuck with manual controls and not a whole lot of choice when it comes to seating position. But this is supposed to be a sort of work van after all, so quit whining about the lack of 19-way power seats and get back on the job, slacker.
Behind the second-row bench seats (the ProMaster seats five), the ProMaster is all van. The ProMaster boasts best-in-class cargo capacity, which doesn't seem all that impressive considering how few vehicles are in its class (small commercial vehicles). However, cargo space in the ProMaster is impressive. Obviously not as copious as in a full-sized van, but with the second-row seats folded (which they do with incredible ease), there is enough room to make this the perfect vehicle for any city-based small business (retail, catering, anything that involves moving stuff) and may just be the perfect band vehicle, since it has room enough for a band's worth of people (as long as the band isn't a sextet or larger) and a whole ton of gear.
On the Road
The great advantage of the ProMaster Wagon is that it is city-friendly. That's no idle marketing claim, mind you. This is a van that can be driven with ease on crowded city streets, and can fit comfortably into a standard parking space. That's something not even all SUVs can do.
Despite only having a 1.4-liter four-banger under the hood, the ProMaster doesn't feel underpowered, although we weren't able to test it with any considerable weight in it. This Ram has a payload capacity of 1,883 pounds, which is another best-in-class feature, but we have to think the ProMaster's four-pot would drive with a tad less vim were it fully loaded.
The biggest problem with the ProMaster is the 9-speed transmission, which is, in a word, terrible. The engine might not be underpowered, but this transmission does its best to make it seem like it is. However, that pokey transmission probably goes a long way toward helping the ProMaster achieve its impressive 21/29 mpg rating, so considering that this is meant to be a utility vehicle and not necessary a fun car to tool around in, that's probably a fair tradeoff.
Although, frankly, we'd prefer a diesel powertrain and maybe a manual transmission, but that's just us.
Bringing a bit of European sensibility to American streets can only be a good thing, especially in this era of hyperthyroidized crossovers. The ProMaster combines the cargo capacity of a van with the human capacity of a minivan (minus the third row), making it the perfect vehicle for the small business owner with a family who wants to use his van for more than just trips to the warehouse.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Power Output: 178 hp / 174 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 21 city / 29 highway
Base Price: $25,655
As Tested: $28,820 (incl. $995 destination)
Wagon SLT Package: Class III receiver hitch, 4/7-pin wiring harness, second-row power windows, heated front seats, six-speaker sound system, rear wiper, rear defroster, back-up camera, park assist system, fog lamps, 16-inch X 8.5-inch aluminum wheels
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 RAM ProMaster City, click here: 2015 RAM ProMaster City.