Ram Adds Models, Capability to 2019 ProMaster Lineup
Three New Body Configurations, Added Payload Help Keep Ram’s Cargo Van Vital
With competition coming from the redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and soon-to-be-refreshed Ford Transit, the Ram ProMaster is checking its six for 2019 by adding new configurations and increasing capability.
Now available in a 136-inch wheelbase with a low roof for the 2500 and a 136-inch wheelbase with low or high roof for the 3500, the ProMaster lineup is expanding a bit to ensure buyers can get just as much van as they need. Previously, the 136-inch wheelbase was only available in a high-roof form on the 2500, and it wasn’t available at all on the 3500.
In addition to those three new configurations, Ram is also adding some extra load capacity to the ProMaster lineup. The 2019 1500 can now handle a payload of up to 4,000 pounds, up a whopping 10 pounds from 2018. However, the 2500 adds 100 pounds to its résumé, rated for a maximum payload of 4,230 pounds. And the 3500 has been hitting the gym hardest, now rated for a 4,680-pound load (up 240 from last year).
To be fair, that maximum-payload gain probably isn’t due to any hardware upgrades, instead a result of the smaller, lighter 136-inch wheelbase being offered on the ProMaster’s 3500 underpinnings. Ram claims these numbers are best in class, which is true if that class is limited to single-rear-wheel vehicles. But a dual-rear-wheel 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is technically rated to haul up to 5,695 pounds’ worth of stuff in the back. To its credit, the single-rear-wheel ProMaster outdoes even the dual-rear-wheel Transit, which is only rated to haul 4,650 pounds.
The 2019 ProMaster also tows a larger trailer, with maximum towing capacity listed at 6,800 pounds when equipped with the new Trailer-tow Group, up from the 2018 ProMaster’s 5,100-pound capacity. Those numbers still sit at the back of the class, with the Transit and Sprinter both rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds and the truck-based Nissan NV3500 up to 9,400 pounds, but the 2019 ProMaster is still much improved in that respect over its 2018 equivalent.
Where the ProMaster continues to lead is price. At $30,195, it beats out both the outgoing Sprinter ($33,995) and 2018 Transit ($32,380). Only the $28,850 2018 Nissan NV1500 has the Ram beat.
The van is also slightly restyled for the new model year, replacing the outgoing model’s crosshairs grille for one with bold “RAM” script (an alteration shared with the otherwise-unchanged ProMaster City). However, we can’t help but be a little disappointed with the redesign, as it does little to cure the ProMaster’s ugly-duckling front styling. We think a facelift more in line with that of the Fiat Ducato—the ProMaster’s European cousin—would have been a huge improvement.
But in a segment that’s not terribly concerned with fashion, will the 2019 ProMaster’s bargain pricing and feature improvements be enough for it to recapture relevance in the cargo van market? Only time will tell.