By on February 7, 2013

Behold, the Citroen Jumper…err, the Fiat Ducato. Ok, it’s the Ram Promaster. Instead of the Mercedes-based Sprinter, this is the new commercial van from Chrysler. It can be equipped with a Pentastar V6 or a 3.0L diesel four-cylinder. It has two-piston Brembo brakes and, horror of horrors, it’s front-drive. I’m not sure that really makes a difference, but somebody will doubtlessly criticize Ram for importing a “wrong-wheel-drive” commercial van.

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39 Comments on “Diesel Citroen With Brembo Brakes Debuts At Chicago Auto Show...”


  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    You should have saved your “Retina Burning Niche Product” headline for this monstrosity.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    The grill looks to have slid down from the previous position of between the headlamps. I doubt this is Trail-Rated.

  • avatar
    Splorg McGillicuddy

    It’s hideous but practical. I bet the FWD helps with the loading in back, too. The floor is probably lower and wider.

  • avatar
    Ibizaguy

    I have actually moved to my current apartment fully charging one like this (A Citroën Jumper). It cruises at 140 km/h fully loaded without sweating, it is ample, it’s got great A/C system and, gasp, I averaged 10-11 liters of gasoil per 100 km. It’s my partner’s work van and it’s, by far, the most competent european van.

    What’s not to like?

  • avatar

    What I don’t get is why get the Citroen or the Peugeot versions if you can just get the Fiat-Ram versions. Why get the copy if you can get the original?

    Does Canda get Citroen? Why CItroen showing off their commercial vehicles in NA? Possible fruit of the GM-PSA on-off partnership?

    And since you’re not going off road in this the FWD is better as it gives you better packaging.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Probably having to do with whichever has better dealer networks. Or better deals. Or ideally, both.

      And as far as it looks, not like any of its competition looks any better. I think the current Econoline looks especially awful.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Canada is sadly Citroen-free since the 80s (although a few XMs have still found their way over).

      However, I don’t think Derek’s saying that a product with Citroen badges will find its way into North American auto shows, just that something tangentially related to the PSA will find its way to the North American market.

  • avatar
    PCP

    Don’t get me wrong – I love RWD cars. My old Z3, as hairdressery as it may be, is just plain fun to drive.

    But for that kind of vehicle, FWD just makes plain sense. As do Diesel engines – without a doubt.

    Of course this might not be easy to understand in a country where big V8 F-150 still sell better than anything else…

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      I think these will be ubiquitous pretty quickly, just like Transit Connects have become. Their big brother for use especially as service vehicles in the trades and in delivery. If FWD doesn’t prove more expensive to maintain, you won’t see many RWD vans in 7 years.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I love my ’05 Sprinter window van…except for the lousy paint. It handles extremely well for its size and it is an absolute cavern inside. For example, I went to an auction last night and it laughed at my furniture purchases that would make a minivan struggle. Sprinters have fast become the choice of tradesmen in my area due to the utility and economy.

    The van is getting older and a replacement is on the horizon. I was excited about exploring the other upcoming brand options from Ford and Chrysler. Seeing the front end of the Chrysler removes them from my options. I couldn’t drive something so hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “Sprinters have fast become the choice of tradesmen in my area”

      Yep, I can’t look at the picture here without seeing “WALT’S PLUMBING” on the side :-)

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There has been some talk of bringing over a version of the Daily, a heavier duty van chassis much more like the Sprinter, but I’m not sure where that sits at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Do you have any issues with the high roof height of the Sprinter though? Just this morning I drove underneath a low RR bridge that only had 8′ of clearance. Plus, the parking garages around here also have very low clearances.

      And what are you thinking of replacing your Sprinter with? Something as big?

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Not really. Ours is the low-roof and it is 8′-6″ with the rear air! The height will restrict you at some ATMs and I hate fast food so those are never a problem. It is so easy to get in & out of that I never mind parking beside something and walking up.

        Sprinter, Transit, and (until today) a Chrysler were in the mix. Now it will be a Ford vs. Mercedes shootout. There is no way we will go back to something lesser. It gets used as much as a covered pickup truck as a passenger van. Speaking of passenger vans…it hauled nine men with weekend packs four hours to a trailhead with ease. A tenth person could have come along. I don’t believe any traditional North American van could have done it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You must live in a very unusual area since the Sprinter in none of its different badge incarnations has ever had a significant amount of market share. In fact the Econoline sold more last year than the GM twins and Sprinter combined.

      The fleet I used to maintain had a number of Sprinters and they quit buying them when they finally did the math and found out that the minimal fuel savings were more than eaten up by the increased maintenance and repair costs, not to mention the higher purchase price. Which is why Sprinter sales have been slowly dropping for the last few years.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Eastern PA. We even are seeing the new Mercedes-badged vans around here. Ours has been rather reliable other than the paint. (It has about 125K on it now and was resprayed about six months ago.) Rust was bleeding through from beneath all over the vehicle. Now that I am aware, I see most Sprinters suffer from leprosy. Our paint experience is what would tip us towards a Ford.

        The Chrysler reorganization has affected sales locally since it has completely jostled the dealer network. Our local dealer is very strong in commercial sales and sells Ford & Dodge. Now they can’t get the Sprinter…so they sell E-series again.

        If you compare Sprinters vs. a Ford or GM gasser, the price looks high. Compare the Sprinter to a diesel van and the playing field is fairly level. We are diesel heads and willingly pay more for diesel power because of the torque, fuel efficiency, longevity, and resale value. Our inline-5 powertrain really runs well. Folks still pay crazy money for Sprinters with 200K on them.

        I would simply ask, why wouldn’t Ford redo the E-series van with something more traditional if the Sprinter package wasn’t a serious threat? I believe that the new Transit will eat the Sprinter’s lunch with Ford’s dealer network behind it and a long history of commercial sales.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Is it just me, or does anybody else scan articles and things jumble together? In this case, I thought I saw “Ducati Pornstar” but I was supposed to see Fiat Ducato and Ram ProMaster. … Whatever, it still sounds like an herbal supplement for “male enhancement.”

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I definitely get the packaging advantages of FWD for this market, although it’ll be interesting to see how a loaded Ducato handles compared to the RWD competition (admittedly, suggested payload seems competitive).

    Moreso, will Ford consider offer the choice of FWD, RWD, and AWD on the North American Transit, like they do overseas?

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    If/when I need a commerical van,
    I’d get THIS one…

    And then swap in all the Citroen badges!

    Apparently there will be an “automated 6 speed manual transmission” with the Diesel!

    But what the heck is this “automated manual?”
    Sounds scary complex AND it’s built by Italians.
    Worrying.
    Best and Brightest?

    • 0 avatar

      It means that there’s no clutch edal, but the mechanicals are still there. The van shifts for itself. On some you can change the gear yourself through the stick. In Brazil, Fiat, VW and GM offer them on their passenger cars. There’s differences in calibration and apparently the VW’s are best, followed closely by Fiat and still a way to go by GM. In our market they have met with some success as they cost have of the traditional autoboxes. Reliabioity seems to be ok though there have been reports of the systems stop working mainly due to software problems.

      All such systems are built by Magnetti Marelli that AFAIK still belongs to the Fiat group. If it’s good enough for VW and GM it should be good enough for you!

      • 0 avatar
        PCP

        I drove one by Mercedes – a van, of course. Definitely didn’t like it. First, I got the wheel spinning (RWD, by the way) and it went in safe mode by itself – w/o any warning light. Imagine me later on, on the left lane, wondering why I couldn’t get past 70 mp/h. Granted, that has nothing to do with the trasmission.

        But regarding transmission, try going really slowly forward or worse, backward, w/o a clutch – just doesn’t cut it, IMHO. Would want a stick shift and a clutch any time.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I saw one of these doing hot weather testing near Death Valley last year. Hooray for me.

    Also, I think the 3.0 diesel is a V6, not a 4 popper.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      no, the diesel is an inline. might be a 5-cylinder, though. 3 liters is a bit big for a 4-banger, but not unheard of.

      • 0 avatar
        PCP

        As far as I know, it’s a 4 cylinder. Strange though they still sell the 3 liter, cause there’s a new 2.3 liter with higher CR pressure and probably better turbine that’s just as powerful but delivers way better MPG…
        Oh, apparently the 3 liter got a HP raise too, that would explain why it’s still being used.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        V.M Motori says that it is a V6.

        http://www.vmmotori.it/en/01/00/01/dettaglio.jsp?id=9

      • 0 avatar
        PCP

        Well the line-up is quite complicated:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JTD_engine

        As far as I know, the Vans and Campers have the Inline-4. Which is either the 3.0, itself derived from the previous, IVECO, 2.8. Or the 2.3 which is also an IVECO engine, apparently.

        Then there is the V6/3l that get’s used in Cherokees and Co, which clearly comes from VM.

        There’s also the Inline5/2.4l as well as an Inline4/2 and 2.2l, which comes from Peugeot/Citroen. This engine also served as base engine in Diesel Jags, and in Fords, as far as I remember.

        At the same time, ze Germans produce one block fits all Diesel engines and are making money by the ton…

  • avatar
    grzydj

    EDIT: It might actually be a four cylinder. This is confusing as there are about 10 different engine variants used world wide.

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      Well the line-up is quite complicated:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JTD_engine

      As far as I know, the Vans and Campers have the Inline-4. Which is either the 3.0, itself derived from the previous, IVECO, 2.8. Or the 2.3 which is also an IVECO engine, apparently.

      Then there is the V6/3l that get’s used in Cherokees and Co, which clearly comes from VM.

      There’s also the Inline5/2.4l as well as an Inline4/2 and 2.2l, which comes from Peugeot/Citroen. This engine also served as base engine in Diesel Jags, and in Fords, as far as I remember.

      At the same time, ze Germans produce one block fits all Diesel engines and are making money by the ton…

  • avatar
    Hank

    It’ll only be wrong-wheel-drive in the Sunbelt. In the Snowbelt, it should be a boon if marketed well.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Until you actually use it as intended and put a ton of tools/supplies/packages in it and then you’d be wishing you had RWD.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        Lived there, done that, commented from experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        So you have experience with FWD vans loaded to, or beyond, capacity climbing steep hills in the snow? I have and RWD works much much better. Now of course this was minivan vs minivan since this is the first FWD van in the US. But yeah I’ve been there and done that with company vans back in the day and the RWD Astro was much better than the FWD Caravan. Now if all you are using it for is as a “free candy van” then yeah FWD all the way.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    If it’s well screwed together and cheaper than a Sprinter I’ll look at it. I need a box on wheels to haul my family and our bicycle collection. I don’t really care what it looks like, just how well it hauls.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      You nailed it! Most vans are for commercial applications and looks are not a primary consideration.

      I’m concerned that in this country we are seeing fewer full-size van options available in the market. A 10′ long roll of carpeting is not shrinking down along with the sizes of new vans available!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The new Transit will be available in larger sizes than the Econoline it is replacing. We are getting more choices as we will still have the Sprinter, though available at the Merc store now, Nissan has the NV, which is more a panel truck but still serves a similar market, and now Dodge will be back in the game with this.


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