Reviews

2014 Ram ProMaster Walk Around

Like most vans, Ram ProMaster is a rectangular box with a sloping nose. From dead-ahead it could be jolly robot in an animated film.

Lights are mounted high front and rear for visibility and impact protection. Ram has added the horn logo and cross-hair grille to the expanse of black plastic but it doesn't have the aggressive or sporty nature of any other Ram, including their minivan based Cargo Van. Sectional construction saves changing the entire bumper for a damaged corner, and steps in the corners make it easier to scrape dead bugs off the windshield.

Side mirrors have separate wide-angle elements and all four lenses are available with power adjustment. Apart from the mirrors and door handles, everything on the sides is horizontal. The side door has a 62-inch wide opening; open height is 60 or 72 inches depending on roof.

Windows are available for side doors, rear doors, and the fixed rear side panels. Cargo van glass is all clear, while passenger van models get tinted rear glass. The rear barn doors open at 180 degrees or to 260, nearly flat along the van sides, and the rear step surface is non-slip.

Cargo tie-down points number up to 17: Up to 12 on the floor rated at 1,000 pounds each, and up to five on the walls rated at 500 pounds each. The roof has three rail mounts and tapping plates on each side and is rated for a 400-pound load; remember it's 8.5 feet high on high roof models.

Though most will be white there are seven other colors to choose from. You can also add some chrome touches and aluminum wheels for style and less rotating mass.

Interior

Ram ProMaster is built first and foremost as a commercial vehicle. If it doesn't aid productivity or ease serviceability, or it does add expense, don't expect to find it here. There are plenty of custom shops that can turn it into a limo or private jet cabin if you wish.

Hop into the driver's seat because it is well off the ground where the view near and far is excellent. A few levers make quick seat adjustment, and both heated and swiveling seats are available. Because of the upright seating position, heavily angled steering wheel and telescope-only (no tilt) adjustment you might feel you need long arms and short legs if you use any more than the bottom third of the wheel.

Instruments are simple white-on-black with an amber-screen trip computer. The key is a Fiat part, the climate control and UConnect system and controls just like those in a Ram pickup. The dash-mount shifter is handy above your right knee and the handbrake out of the way on the left of the seat. Dual stalks on the left side of the steering column may require familiarization, and some will find the pedals close together but there is left-foot space and a decent dead pedal.

Beverage holders are plentiful and storage areas varied. A clip on top of the dash can hold your delivery papers, and the overhead console more loose debris. Given the commercial grade of some hardware like the sun visor mounts the overhead tray felt a bit flimsy in comparison, but you don't want anything heavy up there anyway.

The load floor is a few inches below the driver's area floor, and just 21 inches off the ground (that's one inch higher than the step on a competitor); fewer big climbs or dropping the big appliance on its face. The cargo floor, available in wood, is 105, 123, 146 or 160 inches long based on configuration, and the tied-won points don't inhibit sliding pallets in.

Likewise cargo volume varies by configuration, from 283 to 530 cubic feet. The difference between a standard and high-roof 1500, or a medium and long-wheelbase 2500 high-roof, is about 50 cubic feet. The smallest ProMaster cargo van is 8 inches shorter than a 2014 Honda Odyssey or 2015 Chevy Tahoe but, with only front seat in use, has nearly twice the cargo area of the Odyssey and three times that of the Tahoe.

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