2019 Ram ProMaster and ProMaster City: These Fiats No Longer Look Like Dodges
The Ram brand isn’t shy about disclosing its identity to strangers. Many a passer-by has suffered retina damage after a shaft of sunlight caught the massive, seemingly foot-tall “RAM” lettering adorning the tailgate of the truck division’s pickup models.
The brand’s vans are another story. Perhaps feeling insecure due to their Mexican birthplace and Italian architecture, Ram’s ProMaster and ProMaster City felt it sufficient to display the horned Ram logo in the center of their Dodge-like crosshair grille. For 2019, however, the [s]Fiat Ducato[/s] and [s]Doblo[/s] Ram ProMaster and ProMaster City see a boost in self-esteem.
There’s no mistaking these 2019 vans as mildly refreshed versions of what bowed in 2014, but at least they’re no longer bashful about their brand identity. While the vans’ profiles remain the same, viewers will no longer wonder “Who makes that?”
Chromed “RAM” lettering appears in the center of each van’s front fascia, encircled (in the case of the larger van) in more chrome. Bumpers and side panels see their own makeover. Behind the grilles, powertrains carry over — a 3.6-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and a six-speed automatic for the ProMaster and 2.4-liter inline-four and nine-speed automatic for the ProMaster City. Payload and towing capacity improves slightly for 2019.
Configurations expand, as well. The 2500 and 3500 adopt 136-inch wheelbase, low-roof variants, and the 136-inch 3500 gains a high-roof version. Ram’s pretty pleased that the 240-pound increase to the 3500’s payload capacity (up to 4,680 lbs) earns it a best-in-class title among Class 2 vans. Lesser trims also see a payload increase. A trailer-tow group is optional, with a Class IV receiver hitch allowing the ProMaster to lug up to 6,800 lbs — up from the current van’s 5,100 lbs.
Fiat Chrysler claims interior lighting is vastly improved for 2019, while the addition of Ram Telematics allows fleet managers to track vehicles and optimize routes.
As for the smaller ProMaster City, it continues on with two variants and two trims — a cargo or passenger van available in bare-bones Tradesman and SLT guise. Base prices for both ProMaster and ProMaster City rise by $200.
Over the first five months of 2018, U.S. sales of the ProMaster and ProMaster City sunk 21 and 20 percent, respectively.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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- JMII I had the sedan version of this same car... same engine, same tranny. I have NO idea how this owner managed to keep it looking so good. The interior on ours literally fell apart after about 4 years: I'm talking about peeling plastic and fabric sagging on the door trim and roof, while various parts simply broke off with no warning - including the glove box handle and the power window regulators failed multiple times (a typical VW problem as noted in the listing). I've never seen an interior disintegrate like this, parts snapped or scratched like they were made out of cheapest, thinnest plastic on the planet. Not just interior parts either: the left turn signal housing just feel off one day and the windshield wipers gave up the ghost. It leaked coolant and any parts/service for it were way overpriced, a prime example was a replacement antenna cost $300! WTF? Guess that was one of those high end Audi parts! At around the 8 year mark the trip computer display faded to point where you could only read it at night which was a real shame. Then the tie rods and suspension gave out along with the ABS system. It was almost like the car was only designed to survive for 60K miles. With each passing mile more random parts broke, for example one day a spring fell out from under the drivers seat. How does that even happen? By 80K (in 9 years) this car was a complete mess, it looked like it had been trashed on the inside despite being garage kept and only driven my wife (no kids either). Since there was nothing wrong with the engine I drove it to 100K but the last year of ownership was down right painful as the car shook and squealed constantly as it crumbled to pieces. I refused to put any money into it, I just kept driving it. On the way to trade it in (for my Nissan 350Z) the cruise control stopped working and the sunroof controls fell off in my hand! I've never been so happy to get rid of a car in my entire life! Don't walk RUN AWAY.
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They never did look like Dodges. The best-looking Dodge commercial vans in my opinion were the '71-78 B-series Tradesman/Sportsman vans, followed by the 2007 refresh of the Sprinter. Despite the ugliness, it's pretty impressive that the 3.6/62TE drivetrain combo on these are racking up the miles with little issue from what I've heard, considering the exact same drivetrain went into the Grand Caravan/T&C, Journey, 200 and Avenger, minus a few minor tweaks to the final drive ratio in the transaxle for ProMaster applications. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that the fullsize RWD vans of the Big Three are no longer and that FWD has replaced their role. Even 25+ years on, you'd be hard pressed to throw a rock and not hit an old Econoline, Chevy Express (or the prior "Chevy Van") or a B-series Ram van. They're still out there, a lot of them worse for the wear, but they're still running. I wonder if the FWD vans will have as much long-term durability after any vestiges of their warranties have long evaporated.
I rented a full size ProMaster and really liked it. It's a shame the only review online for the thing seems to be for a shortie with the heaviest available load capacity and an automated manual and diesel -- who the hell would order one spec'd like that, other than Brinks? -- and unsurprisingly, the reviewers found it to have a terrible ride and jerky driving characteristics. Equipped the way normal people would -- normal length, normal cargo capacity, normal 3.6 and conventional auto -- it's legit kinda fun to drive, if only because sitting atop the front wheel drive powertrain puts you at Kenworth altitude. And of course the Pentastar is a great engine, delivering V8 power with V6 fuel economy. Sure, the steering is more a tiller than anything, not exactly Euro-Ford levels of precision, but it works well enough.