UPDATE: Comparing the disparate specification levels on commercial vehicles especially can be bewildering, but as Ram spokesman Nick Cappa points out, the ProMaster City is only offered in long-wheelbase form (unlike the Ford Transit Connect, for example, that starts in short-wheelbase spec). Just which model is the better bargain, then, is up to each customer to decide.
The custom vehicles at the SEMA Show tend to all be about speed and style, plus a few off-roaders thrown in for good measure, but Mercedes-Benz is taking advantage of the event this year to give its future midsize commercial van for the US a sneak preview.
It seems like the commercial van market is booming at the moment. After years of consumers being limited to elderly choices like the Ford E-Series, Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana and various Dodge/Ram models, these days, buyers have fresh options in multiple sizes from companies like Ford, Ram and Nissan. Now, Mercedes-Benz is previewing an expansion of its van lineup with concept versions of a new midsize commercial van called Metris at this week's SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
A few months back we reported on a dealership owner in Japan who was petitioning Toyota to make a luxury van. The problem, he reasoned, was that he couldn't take as many friends, colleagues and clients around with him in his Lexus LS, and his Toyota Alphard van wasn't luxurious enough. Well, it seems like he wasn't alone, and Toyota has listened.
There may not be as many minivans on the road as there used to be, but make no mistake about it: the van is still an indispensable mode of transportation. Especially for things like beer, ice cream, flowers, teams of television adventurers, and... more beer. There have been many automakers that have made vans over the years, and many that still do. But Mercedes-Benz is keen to point out that it pioneered the van.
The Washington Redskins might not be the best team in the National Football League, but it may have the most diverse player parking lot. Usually, professional athletes are seen driving around in luxury sedans, SUVs and exotic sports cars, but some of Washington's players seem to have a more bizarre style.
Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz revealed the new V-Class. Slotting in below the popular Sprinter, the new V-Class replaced both the Viano and Vito upon its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. But Mercedes isn't quite done with it just yet. At the upcoming Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, Germany, Mercedes will reveal the Marco Polo - a versatile, stylish and decidedly contemporary take on the classic camper van.
Nissan is a relative new-kid when it comes to the commercial van market in the US, with its commercial vehicles division only introducing the first NV vans in February 2011. But Nissan isn't letting its newcomer status keep it from challenging the established players in the segment. The company's latest shot over competitors' bows is announcing that, starting for the 2014 model year, its NV Cargo, NV Passenger and NV200 Compact Cargo vans carry a best-in-class, five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-b
In the market for a fullsize van but don't need a heavy-duty model? You're in the minority, and you're also out of luck. That's because there are barely any more fullsize vans on the market with gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 pounds, the threshold that separates light- and heavy-duty vans.
Of course, it's going to be Portland. Oregon's largest city, known for its green-friendly vibe and policies, will be where Nissan will next test of its all-electric e-NV200 cargo van. And we hope those vans have cup holders for the inevitable java.
The Ram ProMaster only introduced itself to US buyers - prognathous jaw first - last year, but it might quickly be the recipient of some plastic surgery. Above is the new face of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, which does duty as our ProMaster, the Citroën Jumper and the Peugeot Boxer and will be officially unveiled on May 12. Its face still slopes forward all the way to the bottom, but the distance and weight of the jutting chin has been greatly reduced by curving lines that more artfully integrate
The commercial van market in the US is exploding with new products at the moment, with entries from Ford, Ram, Nissan and others. And we are seeing images (again) of Hyundai testing its own van in Europe, as well, though it's not known whether the model will make it to the US. While the company has offered work vehicles overseas in the past, this one appears to be a direct competitor to European vehicles with large bodies and tiny wheels like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
AM General, the manufacturer best known as the maker of the US military's Humvee, has restarted production of the MV-1, the versatile van targeted specifically at the underserved market for the disabled.
That last time vans – not minivans, real 'man vans' – were cool for carrying anything other than cargo or clandestine operatives, the public didn't know what the Internet was, "Daisy Duke" referred to a character and not her jean shorts, and BA Baracus was pitying fools once a week on national television.
Even though the commercial vehicle segment here in the US is still dominated by American automakers, Mercedes-Benz continues to be a top automaker for global work vehicles, including its recently introduced Citan. Built as a part of the Daimler-Renault alliance and sharing its design with the Renault Kangoo, the Mercedes-Benz Citan gets some notable upgrades including an optional diesel engine, available custom body conversions and a new stretched, seven-passenger model.
Renault will receive 20.5 million euros (US$27.9 million) from the European Commission to develop diesel-hybrid powertrains for commercial vans, as the EC broadens its search for ways to cut emissions throughout the continent.
Mercedes-Benz had said its all-electric Vito E-Cell cargo van had sufficient juice to keep the model as a viable transportation option, but the same apparently can't be said for Germans' appetite for the vehicle.
Daimler and Renault officially joined hands in April 2010. Since then, Nissan has agreed to build engines for the Germans, Daimler is expected to construct a plant near the Nissan plant in Mexico, the Smart ForFour and Renault Twingo will share platforms and electric siblings and the same Renault manufacturing facility, and Mercedes is supposedly considering a Renault-based X-Class vehicle to slot between Smart and the A-Class. Not bad for less than three years' work.