2015 Ram ProMaster City Wagon [w/video]
Ram's Five-Seater Is Ready To Fight Ford
Power178 HP / 174 LB-FT
Curb Weight3,695 LBS
MPG21 CIty / 29 HWY
Warranty3 Years / 36,000 Miles
As Tested Price$27,185
From the driver's seat forward, the Wagon and Tradesman (Ram's name for the cargo version) are practically the same, but the former trim is a lot different in the back section. The rear gets a folding, three-passenger-wide bench seat in the middle, and a carpeted cargo area behind that.
This isn't exactly a new formula for the market; Ford has been selling a passenger-friendly five-seat version of its Transit Connect for a few years now. But the baby Ram is another competitor for small business owners in need of shuttles and such, or individuals who place a premium on interior space over creature comforts.
- Just as with the cargo version, the 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes the City Wagon feel ably fast in urban traffic. Our short driving loop (along with the dozens of extra miles I logged around Austin), didn't offer much in the way of high-speed cruising, but I did dice with other city drivers confidently. The engine pulls adroitly if you really trample the throttle, though it certainly won't tempt you to race that punk kid at the red light.
- Handling is nippy relative to the size of this small van, with a tight turning circle and quick turn-in around town. The added weight in the back offered by the seats and trim – not quite 200 pounds – also helps to dampen the ride and improve smoothness over the road. The Short Cut video at the bottom of the page was shot with a cargo version of the City, but it should give you the general idea about the nimbleness herein.
- The extra seats, carpeting and stuff found inside the wagon also do a successful job of masking the strained sound of the engine and exhaust when you do rip through those nine gears. The ProMaster City Wagon is a significant number of decibels quieter than the Tradesman always. That said, no one will ever mistake this Ram for a Lexus; wind and road noise can be heard at all speeds.
- Ram has effectively cut the cargo area in half compared to the box van version; though bias seems to have been given to cargo over passengers. Leg and elbow room isn't abundant in that second row, though it's probably tolerable for stretches of 10 to 20 minutes at a time – fine for a hotel or airport shuttle, in other words.
- On the flip side, the cargo area seems rather commodious for shuttle or taxi-type service. With 48.4 inches of width between the wheel wells, 45.6 inches from the back of the seats to the rear doors and 47.2 inches to the roof, there should be room for the luggage of four extravagant packers.
- There might be a case for private ownership of a City Wagon, too, should the individual in question regularly need to haul some pretty big cargo, or if they're generally looking for a civilized (and inexpensive) commercial/passenger hybrid type of van. It's nothing like as refined or family friendly as Ford's three-row Transit Connect Wagon, but it could do the trick for unfussy large-dog owners, or the like.
- Ram's technology offerings are solid here. Specifically, the Uconnect 5.0 head unit can hold all the GPS navi, XM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel controls you'll want to make the day-to-day driving painless.
- Still, this is no pleasure barge. Fit and finish are of a workmanlike product, not a normal consumer one, and you'll have to live with cheap looking and feeling materials throughout the cabin if you make this your daily driver.
- In both public and private hands, fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon city and 29 highway should be appreciated. Gone are the days of a thirsty V8 being part of the cost of van ownership. Those econ numbers, today's cheap gas, and a starting price under $25k means the ProMaster City Wagon is one of the best space-per-dollar values on the market now.
Overall, Ram has a credible competitor to segment-leader Ford with the ProMaster City Wagon. Its powertrain advantage should net day-to-day happiness in terms of drivability and slightly smaller fuel bills, at least.
Ford's three-row TC is still the most credible formulation for a family vehicle – Ram is going to have to get into that space if it wants to take over the category – but the City is quite strong on the commercial end of things. I'll be seeing this one incarnated as a Holiday Inn Express shuttle, I just know it.
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