By on March 9, 2022

Utility vans are fantastic vehicles, though many people still walk the Earth tragically untouched by the divine knowledge of unparalleled versatility. They see vans un-sexily driving about in their basic hues with nothing to gawk at, having clearly forgotten it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But Ram is throwing them a bone with the revised 2023 ProMaster by giving the formerly ugliest small van a complete makeover.

That means updated headlamps and a revised front fascia that makes the vehicle look more like the kind of vehicle European terrorists might use in an action flick, rather than some wide-eyed fish. Though there is also a gaggle of new technology inclusions and meaningful configurations designed to make the van better suited to individual needs/tastes — showing that style and substance don’t need to be mutually exclusive. 

While I personally didn’t mind the fish-eyed ProMaster, the new design is much more contemporary and likely to receive broader appreciation. Ram has said the new face includes standard halogen headlights that are 29 percent brighter and provide 15 percent longer throw. The optional LEDs are said to be even better, with brightness being 70 percent better than the units in the outgoing model with a 50 percent more range. So, even if you don’t like the redesign, you’ll probably dig the way the new headlights illuminate the road ahead. The new bumper also includes a step to make it easier for drivers to access that super tall windshield whenever the bug guts prove to be too much or the wiper blades need to be replaced.

Those wanting to further personalize their ProMaster can take advantage of Ram’s decision to expand the color palette for the 2023 model year. In addition to the standard roster of hues, customers now have the option to select paint in Spitfire Orange and Ceramic Gray. Despite the latter option not sounding all that enticing, it’s easily one of my favorite colors in Stellantis’ bag and looks particularly good on flashier models (Challenger) without drawing a lot of attention. Though there should be plenty of carry-over colors if neither is to your tastes — including bolder options, like Broom Yellow, School Bus Yellow, Flame Red. Wheels can likewise be optioned in silver or black to further tailor the exterior, the former being the only choice for the new blacked-out appearance package. But I’ve always been partial to the default steelies.

One thing that won’t be changing, however, will be the powertrain. Ram has opted to keep the 3.6-liter V6 with 276 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque along. The nine-speed (948TE) automatic transmission it’s mated to has also been retained, with front-wheel drive being the only option. While this is perfectly suited for a majority of chores, those interested in converting their van into an overland survival vehicle might want to look elsewhere. Though the 159-inch cutaways and chassis cab should still make remain ideal for those hoping to DIY a modestly sized camper.

Truth be told, the ProMaster has long been a solid contender for the best utilitarian vehicle currently on sale. But it’s often been outclassed in terms of available options. Despite the Ram receiving a lot of praise for being easy to load while offering 6,910 pounds of towing capacity and a payload rating of up to 4,680 pounds, alternatives like the Ford Transit typically offer more configurations at a slightly higher price point. Stellantis is trying to close the gap by offering the 2023 ProMaster with a “super high” roof option that’s exclusive to the 136-inch cargo variant. Customers can also option an aluminum roll-up rear door that should play into the model’s strengths by making loading and unloading even easier.

Standard safety items on all ProMasters include forward collision warning, driver drowsiness detection, crosswind assist, traffic sign recognition, and post-collision braking. Other available features on the 2023 model should include Park Assist, for parallel or even perpendicular parking, a digital rearview mirror (meh), 360-degree camera (handy for anybody working in the city), automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and Active Driving Assist with lane centering and adaptive cruise control. Some of that will be handy but the rest of it will be used to help fleet managers crackdown on drivers once it’s rolled into the Ram Assist fleet-management app.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come by default, ditto if you want some creepy Alexa compatibility. Customers likewise receive a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-phone Bluetooth, and over-the-air updates — all accessed via a 7-inch touchscreen (10-inch available) running Uconnect 5.

The manufacturer has said a battery-powered ProMaster is forthcoming, with Amazon already confirmed as getting first dibs. We don’t have any details on that as of yet. Ram said it’ll provide some additional info later this year, along with pricing and more-detailed specifications for the gasoline-powered models. The smallest, non-cutaway variants previously started at $38,320 (1500 Cargo Low Roof 118-inch WB after destination), whereas the larger models with the higher roof start closer to $47,000. We’re not expecting Ram to travel too much further north, even with 2022 enduring wild inflation. But we’ll know for sure this fall when the updated model hits the streets.

[Images: Ram]

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25 Comments on “2023 Ram ProMaster Stepping Up Its Game...”

  • avatar

    “Stellantis is trying to close the gap by offering the 2023 ProMaster with a “super high” roof option that’s exclusive to the 136-foot cargo variant.”

    136 feet? Damn, I had no idea this thing competed with Boeing 737s.

    (Yes, I know it’s a typo…LOL)

  • avatar

    I’m a Ford Transit man myself, but I fully agree that vans generally don’t get enough love. I’ve said this before, but I think that the ‘utility’ that so many seek in trucks and SUVs is much better in a van. Of course, most people would rather have an STD than a van.

    I’m probably almost alone in celebrating the value of functionality. I also miss hatchbacks and wagons.

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      Ironically, a lot of people got their first STD in a van. Seriously though, I like vans and a lot of people like the space in a van. The problem is that they are a little harder to drive than a typical car or SUV. Nearly every sedan, SUV, coupe, crossover, etc, is designed so that the drivers head is nearly or exactly centered between the front and rear wheels. This greatly facilitates driving and makes going around corners more intuitive. In vans, and minivans, the head position is much closer to the front wheels, requiring a little more mental effort to drive. Of course, after a few days in a van, and it would feel fine, but I believe this turns off a lot of people, even if it’s subconcious. The other issue is that vans are perceived to be less safe than SUV’s. I don’t know if that’s the case or not but I though I read somewhere that mini-vans are actually the safest type of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Love the Transit and believe it’s the best product coming out of Ford today. I’ve owned several vans myself and have borrowed as many as I could, noticing they can fill in for pickups in most cases while being more useful overall.

      • 0 avatar

        The biggest killer for all these commercial sized vans, at least for anyone in the vicinity of an urban area, is their inability to fit under the bar in most parking structures.

        America is built around the dimensions of a standard length full size pickup (Single Cab/8ft. ext cab 6.5, crew 5.5): 230″ long, <80" tall, <80" wide. Taller than that, and you're relegated to the commercial/loading floor in parking structures.

        And once outside of cities, at least pre methboom, the covered space of a van is not that important anymore, while an open bed becomes more useful for a lot of stuff.

  • avatar

    Thank goodness that after 25 wasted years the Euro-format van has finally taken over the U.S. market. They are so much more capable and less wasteful than the likes of the Econoline and Express, and nicer to drive while they’re at it.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I take it that Stellantis will be also rebadging for the states the smaller Peugeot Partner and Bipper (what a name) small and midsize cargo vans unless they are keeping the Fiat Doblò.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is, for the next generation the Doblo and Partner will become the same vehicle but still sold as Fiat, Peugeot and Citroen with minor aesthetic changes.
      Interestingly, the Fiat Ducato had been sharing platform and body panels with the Peugeot Boxer/Citroen Jumper for over two decades before the merger.

  • avatar

    These seem insanely popular judging by how many I see at mountain bike trailheads now. I have been told that one of the things people really like on the ram compared to others is there is more vertical room inside.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what a front-drive drivetrain with no transmission tunnel does for you.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see very many of these in the Great White North. Fleet and commercial buyers tend to be conservative. A front drive layout would hurt sales. Transits are common with the occasional Sprinter. I see a lot of 4×4 pickups with slide-in utility shells or utility caps.

      • 0 avatar

        I see a lot of them in commercial service here in Seattle, and the post office also has a fleet (as this place has grown so fast, the LLVs just weren’t cutting it, and we got a bunch of the interim vehicles). They are built like crap but they really are incredibly roomy inside, and they’re pretty cheap to fix when they break.

      • 0 avatar

        All over the place here in New England. They have become the preferred Amazon delivery van, plus I see alot in catering service, Plumbers, electricians etc. They are very roomy inside, plus I gather the drive trains are proving more durable then the Transit and Sprinters. Sprinters are really pricey to maintain and the fords I gather had engine issues and water leaks at least per a friend that works at a plumber with a fleet of Transit and Promasters. The Pentastar has kind of turned into the most reliable Chrysler engine since they killed off the LA v8’s.

  • avatar

    Pictures: Where do I store the ladder that gives me access to the ladders?

    • 0 avatar

      While I’m sure they used ladders to set up for the photo shoot, there are racks where the ladders on the roof actually sit on a cradle and there is a removable hand lever that rotates the cradle down the side of the van. Short of that there is the old fashion rear door ladder, although I have seen some vans with a low-profile side ladder

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    How is reliability compared to the Transit? Anyone with experience out there?

    • 0 avatar

      I mentioned it above but the 2nd hand stories Ive heard actually have the Promaster doing better. A friend works for a large plumbing contractor with Transits and Promasters in the fleet. They had issues with the transits and have started just buying promasters. I gather they had issues with water leaks into the cab of the transits plus issues with the base V6 engine on the Transit.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure one can purchase a ProMaster (or a Transit) right now. I think Amazon, et. al. purchase them before they come off the production line.

  • avatar

    Finally, the Promaster is geting the Ducato’s 2016- front end. Wait to go Stellantis!
    Jokes put aside, the interior is a big improvement. Since I live less than 100 miles from the border I’ve seen a fair share of Mexican market Ducatos and Peugeot Boxers over the years and even after the facelift, the interiors on those look very different (hint: spartan) from the Promaster’s press pictures.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    But no factory passenger version available yet. Absurd.

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