New Car Review

2015 Ram C/V Tradesman: New Car Review

RELATED READING
See all RAM C/V articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

If you start searching for a cargo van, you might become quickly impressed with all the various offerings on the market today. After all, there are new models out from Nissan, Ford and Ram, and we suspect that more new vans are on the way. You've probably noticed that most new cargo vans are large vehicles designed to carry large loads, but if you're a city-dwelling business owner located where space is at a premium, which model should you choose?

Enter the 2015 Ram C/V Tradesman, a midsize cargo van based on the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. Although it's not as useful as full-size models, including Ram's own ProMaster, it offers a few crucial benefits that those models can't, such as smaller dimensions for tight parking spaces and a smaller turning circle for narrow city streets. In effect, this is the cargo van for big-city businesses that don't mind trading a little interior space for city-friendly exterior dimensions.

What's New for 2015?

The Tradesman makes only one change for 2015, replacing last year's 16-inch wheels with newly standard 17-inchers.

What We Like

City-friendly sizing; powerful engine; surprisingly large interior; reasonable pricing

What We Don't

Limited towing capacity; rear doors don't swivel; mediocre fuel economy

How Much?

$23,000

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Ram C/V Tradesman offers just one engine: Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which pushes 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to the van's front wheels. The only available transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy stands at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The Ram C/V Tradesman comes in only one trim level, which starts around $23,000 with shipping. Standard features are sparse but include 17-in steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, power locks, power front windows, upgraded suspension for heavy loads and a CD player/auxiliary jack with a 2-speaker sound system.

Options are surprisingly plentiful, however. Available features include power rear windows, a power driver's seat, an onboard Wi-Fi router, a 6.5-in center touchscreen, a backup camera, a navigation system, Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system, satellite radio, Bluetooth and steering-wheel audio controls.

Safety

Standard features in the Tradesman include front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, stability control, traction control and anti-lock disc brakes. The only safety option is a backup camera. Although the Ram C/V Tradesman has not been crash-tested by the federal government, the structurally similar Dodge Grand Caravan received four stars overall, including four stars in frontal and rollover assessments and five stars in the agency's side-impact test.

Behind the Wheel

Unlike most cargo vans, the Ram C/V Tradesman feels more like a typical van than a work truck. Of course, that's because it is a typical van, and many of our comments regarding the Dodge Grand Caravan's driving experience apply to the C/V Tradesman, too.

For example, we still find the C/V Tradesman's chassis a bit crude, resulting in a ride that isn't the best over potholes and bumps. Interestingly, while this is a big problem in the family-focused Grand Caravan, it's only a minor gripe in a work vehicle such as the Tradesman. In fact, we'd say that the Tradesman is about midpack for ride quality among cargo vans.

If acceleration is strong in the Grand Caravan, it's downright fast in the Tradesman. The Tradesman gives up the Grand Caravan's rear seats, which means that there's little weight to slow it down as it pushes 280 hp. While we don't condone frequent bouts of high-speed acceleration, let's just say that you'll have no trouble keeping up with traffic in the Tradesman.

Our biggest gripe about the Tradesman relates to its tailgate. While a top-hinged tailgate is standard fare for minivans, we expect swiveling doors on a cargo van. They can make wide or tall items easier to load, and the minivan-style tailgate can get in the way when loading and unloading larger goods.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Ford Transit Connect -- Ford's smaller Transit Connect slots below the newly available Transit in the brand's cargo-van lineup. Fuel economy and technology beat out the C/V Tradesman, though the Transit Connect offers less power and a smaller interior.

2015 Ram ProMaster City -- Interestingly, the Ram brand already offers a cargo van with a city focus. It's called the ProMaster City, and it offers impressive fuel economy and a similar-sized interior that's more purpose-built for hauling goods.

Used Chevrolet Express -- If you want a big interior without big-van sizing, consider the Chevrolet Express. Formerly a full-size van, it's now an in-between model straddling the line between the C/V Tradesman and the larger ProMaster. Prices are higher than the ProMaster's, though, so you may have to consider a used model.

Used Nissan NV -- The full-size Nissan NV comes in a wide variety of sizes. If you opt for a smaller configuration, you might find a van that meets your city-dwelling needs. Prices are high, however, so you may want to search for a used NV.

AutoTrader's Advice

Although the Ram C/V Tradesman hasn't received much attention in a world filled with newer models, we think it has a lot to offer, especially considering its powerful engine, surprisingly spacious cabin and reasonable pricing. We'd get the Tradesman with a few options, and we'd enjoy the Pentastar V6 at every possible highway on-ramp.

Find a Ram C/V Tradesman for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ram C/V Tradesman: New Car Review - Autotrader