2014 Ram ProMaster 2500 (Large Van)

By: Ed Sanchez

We Like: Surprising power/acceleration with Pentastar, useful cargo space.

We Don’t Like: Driving position, nervous handling compared with Sprinter.

The Ram ProMaster is the brand’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the company’s post-Daimler era. Based on the proven Fiat Ducato platform, the van received chassis reinforcements and some powertrain changes for North American duty. Whereas all Ducato models in Europe are equipped with a diesel engine, the ProMaster’s standard engine is the company’s familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, producing 280 hp and 260 lb-ft in this application, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Coming later in 2014 is a 3.0-liter, 174-hp, 295-lb-ft turbodiesel I-4 mated to a six-speed single-clutch automated manual, dubbed M40. Our gas-powered ProMaster blew the two Sprinter testers into the weeds in acceleration, being nearly 4 seconds faster from 0 to 60 unloaded.

Unique in its class in North America, the ProMaster has a front-drive layout, resulting in a lower load floor than those of its peers. However, its driving position was the most buslike of any of the contestants here, with a horizontally angled steering wheel that offered only telescopic adjustment, compared with the new Sprinter’s much more carlike steering wheel angle and tilt and telescope adjustment.

While the ProMaster’s zippy acceleration impressed some of the judges, its driving position did not. Compared with the Sprinter’s somewhat stingy front storage options, the ProMaster had much more generous accommodations for beverages, with three large cupholders on the front console, and a cubby shelf on the passenger side.

Although we’d have to give the nod to the Sprinter for overall refinement, driving position comfort, and ergonomics, the ProMaster’s big advantage over the Sprinter promises to be value, with a comparably equipped model likely to come in several thousand less than an equivalent Sprinter.

  2014 Ram ProMaster 2500 LWB
Base Price $33,870
Price As Tested $37,175
Power (SAE net) 280 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 260 lb-ft @ 4175 rpm
Accel 0-60, mph 8.5 sec; 13.0 sec*
Quarter Mile 16.8 sec @ 81.3 mph; 19.4 sec @ 71.3 mph*
Braking 60-0, mph 148 ft
Lateral Accel 0.61 g (avg)
EPA Econ (city/hwy) Not Rated
Real MPG (city/hwy) 13/18 mpg
* with 2982-lb payload