Seat Time: 2015 RAM ProMaster City Tradesman SLT Cargo Van

September 2nd, 2015 at 9:00am

2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman SLT

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: FCA
Make: RAM
Model: ProMaster City Tradesman SLT Cargo Van
Type: Cargo Van
Competitors: Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, Mercedes-Benz Metris
Price: Base — $25,655 + Options; Total Price (as driven) — $28,805
Made in: Bursa, Turkey
Drivetrain: 2.4-Liter Tigershark Multiair Engine; 9-Speed FWD Automatic Transmission
EPA Ratings: City 21/Highway 29/ Combined 24

Final Impression:
2015 Ram ProMaster City SLT interiorBack in the ‘70s, reviewing automakers’ van offerings must’ve been an embarrassment of riches. Everyone had one or two and they were about as popular as Bill Murray’s lounge singer character on Saturday Night Live. In fact, you can almost imagine “Nick Cargo” at some truck stop with his trusty piano player belting out yet another song to the Star Wars theme; “Van Wars, give me those Van Wars, those people versus payload wars…” or something like that. Everyone had a van, and then just as fast, it seemed most of the automakers didn’t.

But these days it looks like the van is back! From Ford to Nissan to GM everybody seems to be offering both a cargo and passenger version; In fact, some even offering a couple different sizes.

Take the folks at FCA for instance. They didn’t have a North American version until recently when it took a couple of solid Fiat platforms and reengineered them for this market. The smaller of the two – the Fiat Doblo – became the RAM ProMaster City. The Tradesman SLT is your classic Cargo Van; a two-seater with almost 132 cubic feet of cargo volume with the cargo width at 60.4 inches, the length at 87.2 with a Payload of almost 1,900 pounds.

2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman SLT

And having a lot of moving to do recently I can vouch for the room in the ProMaster City. I didn’t have anything particularly heavy, just plenty of it. The cargo area accommodated everything nicely. The rubberized flooring helped with sliding – or not sliding as the case may be – and with nearly 50 inches between wheel wells I was able to fit big items with ease.

Of course once you deal with the “cargo” end of a review like this, you’d think that’s it. But hold your horses: all 178 or them.

2015 Ram ProMaster City 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with 9-speedThe ProMaster City comes equipped with a 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 engine that has a horsepower of 178 with 174 lb.-ft of torque. The powertrain was all pep for my purposes and drove well on both the street and the freeways with the steering “comfortably tight.”

The Uconnect 5.0 system was easy to link up with and the radio/music system worked fine. The only negative I experienced was the TOM TOM navigation system, which I never seemed to master. I’m sure it must’ve been user error but try as I did,, I could never input my destination.

Even though Mr. Murray is too busy in the film world these days to deliver that “Van Wars” ditty we dreamed up earlier, it’s still great to see that the surrender has stopped and so many manufacturers are back in the van battle. And if they keep putting out great compacts like the RAM ProMaster City to compete with the likes of the Nissan NZ200, Ford’s Transit Connect & Chevy’s City Express, then we’ll probably be hearing a lot of “may the Van be with you” in the next few years.

One Comment to “Seat Time: 2015 RAM ProMaster City Tradesman SLT Cargo Van”

  1. stephen D Says:

    Perhaps we’ll see vans overtake light trucks in future. Once large fleet buyers start ordering these in bulk and getting their logos on them, we might see a move from truck. I wonder what GM/FORD will do if their truck profits drop as van sales rise. I still think interiors will have to improve alot before indep truck customers consider buying a large Ford Transit over a truck even if its more economical/more car feel/secure cargo flexible and offers some marketing opportunities