New Car Review

2016 Ram ProMaster 1500: New Car Review

RELATED READING
See all RAM ProMaster 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 BMW 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 March 2016

The 2016 Ram ProMaster marks Chrysler's third year back in the cargo van business, following a hiatus that lasted since the brand dropped its Dodge Ram Van in 2003. Oh, sure, there were a few years where the Sprinter -- now a Mercedes-Benz -- was sold as a Dodge, but the ProMaster is all Chrysler.

Except that it's actually a FIAT. You see, the ProMaster comes to the States courtesy of Chrysler's parent company, FIAT, who sells the van overseas as the Ducato. In the U.S., it's marketed as a Ram and is offered with a simplified lineup and additional equipment. It also feels more carlike than the old Ram Van, trading in brute force and a truck-based chassis for improved gas mileage, a lower load floor and more cargo room.

So how do we like it? We like it quite a bit, as far as cargo vans go. Sure, it's slow, it's not terribly attractive and handling is mediocre -- but this van is all about transporting cargo, not turning heads or carving corners. In that sense, the ProMaster delivers exactly as expected.

What's New for 2016?

The ProMaster is unchanged for 2016, save for a newly optional chrome grille.

What We Like

Huge interior; lots of available features; fuel-efficient diesel engine; excellent capabilities

What We Don't

No tilt steering wheel; 1500 model lacks 159-inch wheelbase; blind spot monitor would help

How Much?

$30,800-$32,500

Fuel Economy

The ProMaster offers two engines. Standard is Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which makes 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Optional is a fuel-saving 3.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder powerplant, which makes just 174 hp but has a muscular 295 lb-ft of torque. Though the ProMaster is exempt from Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings due to its size, we'd count on about 15 miles per gallon with the gas-powered V6 and 18 mpg with the diesel.

Standard Features & Options

Although the 2016 Ram ProMaster 1500 doesn't offer trim levels, it comes in three available configurations: there's a low-roof model with a 118-in wheelbase, a low-roof model with a 136-in wheelbase and a high-roof model with a 136-in wheelbase.

Priced from $30,800 with shipping, each trim level is equipped about the same. Standard features include 16-in steel wheels, air conditioning, keyless entry, a USB and auxiliary port for music, power windows, power locks and a sliding door on the passenger side.

The ProMaster is also offered with a wide range of options. They include rear parking sensors, a navigation system, a backup camera, heated seats, a sliding door on the driver's side, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and alloy wheels.

Safety

Like most cargo vans, the ProMaster isn't crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- and it's not rated by the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, either.

But it offers a wide variety of safety features, from standard items such as front and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control to options such as a backup camera and rear parking sensors. We'd love to see a few more safety features available on the ProMaster -- including a blind spot monitor, which can be a huge help on windowless cargo vans.

Behind the Wheel

The Ram ProMaster drives exactly how it looks: like a huge van. That means vague steering, lots of body roll and an overall size that sometimes makes you question whether you're driving a privately owned vehicle or a full-size bus. Don't take these comments too harshly, though: they could be applied to any full-size cargo van on the market.

Where the ProMaster stands out is its driving position. Thanks to a cab forward design with the seat almost over the front axle, the ProMaster gives you a sweeping view of the road -- and an easy view of the van's corners, which comes in handy when you're parking it. This helps to compensate slightly for the van's otherwise huge width and length.

When it comes to engine performance, we suspect most shoppers will prefer the V6. It's a more traditional engine with a more traditional transmission -- and its capabilities are about the same as the diesel. With that being said, the diesel might offer enough of a fuel economy benefit to justify its additional cost.

In terms of capabilities, the ProMaster both impresses and disappoints us. We like the low, flat load floor, which is excellent for loading cargo. We love the high roof and low roof options, which aren't available on all of the ProMaster's competitors. But we think the van's maneuverability could be a little better, as it seems to be a little more unwieldy than some rivals.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Ford Transit -- The all-new Ford Transit is built in the U.S. and replaces the dated Ford E-Series. It offers a very similar experience to the ProMaster -- right down to the strong visibility and flat, low load floor.

2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter -- Few vans offer the all-out capabilities of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but it's an expensive van to buy.

2016 Nissan NV -- Nissan's full-size NV van offers high and low roof configurations and a capable, truck-based chassis. But it's a lot less fuel-efficient than the ProMaster, and it's driving experience is mediocre.

Autotrader's Advice

Although we generally love diesel engines, we don't think the ProMaster's diesel powerplant is worth the money. We'd get a ProMaster 1500 with a few options and the Pentastar V6 -- and we'd order a high roof configuration and the 136-in wheelbase, just to maximize our cargo-carrying capabilities.

Find a Ram ProMaster 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.
2016 Ram ProMaster 1500: New Car Review - Autotrader