Attention all self-employed business owners, contractors, plumbers, electricians and handymen, the 2014 Ram 1500 Promaster is here. This week we test the all-new full-size cargo van from Chrysler that is ideal for the self-employed contractor or business owner who needs to carry lots of cargo inside a secure van body. And the large covered sides make it a perfect canvas for your business sign or logo. This van will be a moving billboard driving around the city as you make your deliveries or service stops. Let’s take a look at why this will be a good choice for a business owner.
What’s new for 2014?
The 2014 Ram ProMaster is all-new for 2014 and this RAM cargo van comes to Ram showrooms by way of Fiat. ProMaster is not really new, but it’s new to the U.S. market. There are tons of them on the roads in Europe wearing Fiat Ducato badges. Ram ProMaster competes with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, Nissan NV, Chevrolet Express, and GMC Savana.
Why choose the Ram Promaster?
As a former owner of an automotive wholesale business who made delivers in the auto chemical business, I was able to look at the Ram Promaster from a business owners perspective. The Ram Promaster with 136” wheelbase we tested ($30,520) came with the optional High Roof that makes it great for standing inside the cargo area. Inside, the Ram van can be configured with shelves and storage for carrying a multitude of items for any business need. It’s wide enough for a row of deep shelves on both sides with room to walk in the center isle.
The back doors swing open 260 degrees and its wide enough to slide a full-size pallet into the back, and this 136-inch wheelbase model could carry two pallets back-to-back. The rear load height is high enough to back up to an average loading dock for easily loading cargo. This Ram Promaster tester came with the optional wood floor ($395) that makes it ideal for carrying items where you need a softer platform.
The large outside panels make it a perfect place for a business to put large company signs, phone number and logo. This van would be a moving billboard for a business as they make their deliveries and service stops throughout the business day. And the Promaster comes in a multitude of exterior colors and not just white. Our Promaster was black and was a little bit too warm inside after sitting on hot pavement.
On the road with Promaster
Driving the Ram Promaster was a pleasant surprise. Although we weren’t loaded with cargo, the 280-hp 3.6-liter gasoline V6 had plenty of power, even at altitude, to get the cargo van where we needed to go this week. The driver has a commanding view of the road as you sit high up, and visibility is good with its large power-folding heated mirrors ($225). The steering wheel is telescoping, but the one complaint is that the steering wheel has no tilt function. This would be a welcome feature as most buyers will spend a lot of time behind the wheel. This cargo van has a very short front nose and driver visibility is excellent from behind the wheel.
Promaster is a big vehicle, and we would highly recommend getting the optional ParkSense rear park assist system ($250) and ParkView rear back-up camera ($230). It definitely helped this week as we navigated and parked the cargo van in the city. I did need help backing out of a driveway onto a busy street after making the mistake of not parking on the street. Most business owners will use this vehicle in the city, and the Hill Start Assist is a great standard feature so you don’t roll into someone while stopped on a hill.
Ram Promaster is front-wheel-drive which would make the cargo van all-climate friendly. We didn’t get a chance to test the van in the snow, (thank goodness) but it will likely be good in wet or snowy climates. The six-speed Chrysler automatic transmission was smooth and gear changes were seamless. Promaster has a large 24 gallon fuel tank but no fuel mileage estimates are available on the cargo van yet.
This is a commercial vehicle and the ride is a bit noisy inside, but it looks like a solid panel could be added behind the driver and passenger to create a nice secure quiet cabin up front. Maneuverability in the ProMaster is a strong point, as the 136-inch length wheelbase is able to execute a U-turn in less than 41 feet. We were surprised at the ease of turning the cargo van in tight spots this week.
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If you own a business where you need to haul cargo, make deliveries or need a rolling supply house on wheels, you need to look at the all-new 2014 Ram 1500 Promaster 136” WB High Roof Cargo van. It’s ideal for the self-employed contractor or business owner who needs one or a fleet of vehicles to carry lots of cargo inside a secure van body. And the large covered sides make it a perfect canvas for advertising your business while you work.