Parked under the roof of a large arena was a number of Ram pick-up trucks and one vehicle that just didn’t blend in. I had a kind of a Sesame Street moment---“One of these things is not like the others.....”
A remarkably versatile commercial van, the new Ram ProMaster boasts a long list of best-in-class features. Introduced to a group of automotive journalists from Texas, these vehicles were being showcased at the Ventura Ranch outside of Westlake Village in southern California. Many movies have been filmed here, and the scenery is suggestive of westerns, with fields and hills and old looking houses (which are really just shells). There was an abundance of barns and corrals full of horses. It was also great for driving the pick-up trucks over rough roads and hilly terrain.
Once again, the ProMaster didn’t quite blend in with the off-road type of experience. But it appealed to me with my memories of driving a commercial van to deliver travel brochures for display in hotel lobbies. I worked out of that van for several years, hunching over and crawling around to choose the appropriate brochures off the shelves, clutching them tightly so they wouldn’t fall as I jumped to the ground. How I would have enjoyed working out of a ProMaster with a step-in height of just 21 inches!
Available in two roof heights, 90 inches or 101 inches, our 6 foot 2 inch presenter had no trouble standing upright and moving around inside. And the inside is large enough for much more than shelves of travel brochures. The ProMaster is designed for hauling any type of cargo that can be stacked on a pallet. It has a flat floor, thanks to front wheel drive, and nearly 90-degree vertical walls. The doors open to allow a forklift to load and unload a pallet from the side and the rear, or you can just pack in whatever you like! Mr. Snuffleupagus might be a tight fit, but the rest of the cast of Sesame Street could pile in quite comfortably! The ProMaster is amazingly customizable. Besides hauling and delivering, it makes a great mobile workshop of any kind.
Versatile, functional, comfortable, modern, and professional, the ProMaster is also economical. Fuel economy, durability, dependability and even longer oil change intervals all add up to best-in-class total cost of ownership.
The ProMaster was developed from the Fiat Ducato, the European cousin of this new Ram van. The Ducato has been a reliable performer for over 30 years and has sold more than 4.5 million units. Ram is confident that the ProMaster will prove equally successful here in North America.
We were privileged to test drive the 280-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. There is also a 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel which predicts best-in-class fuel efficiency. These engines have been engineered to get the job done, whatever the job might be! They have been put to the test with over 16.2 million miles of driving.
Of course communication is important in business, and the ProMaster offers Bluetooth technology with hands-free calling and text-reply. Navigation is another valuable feature that adds to the convenience of this vehicle with a full-color, five-inch touch-screen.
Obviously not everyone needs a cargo van with this kind of versatility and capability. But for anyone looking for a way to take their business on the road, the ProMaster is the best choice for comfort, convenience, functionality and economy. Even Mr. Snuffleupagus would like this one.