New Car Review

2016 Ram ProMaster 2500: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2016

The 2016 Ram ProMaster 2500 is the middle child in Ram's recently released lineup of ProMaster cargo vans. While most drivers will choose the base-level ProMaster 1500, van shoppers interested in additional payload and towing capacities will want to go with a more capable 2500 or 3500 model.

So what's the ProMaster all about? For one thing, it's not really a Chrysler but rather a FIAT -- a rebadged version of the FIAT Ducato, which is a popular cargo van sold in foreign markets. It's brought to the States by FIAT, Chrysler's parent company, and sold as a Ram to improve its name recognition with commercial drivers and truck shoppers. But it's hard to hide the van's foreign roots, from its unusual styling and car-based design (and resulting low load floor) to its fuel-efficient diesel engine option instead of an available heavy-duty V8.

And how do we like it? Quite a bit, 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 almost completely unchanged for 2016, save for the addition of a 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; a blind spot monitoring system would help

How Much?

$33,500-$35,100

Fuel Economy

Like the base-level 1500 model, the ProMaster 2500 offers two engines. Standard is Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which makes 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Optional for an extra $4,000 is a fuel-saving 3.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder powerplant, which makes just 174 hp but a muscular 295 lb-ft of torque. Though the ProMaster 2500 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

The 2016 Ram ProMaster 2500 doesn't offer trim levels like most traditional models. Instead, it comes in two available wheelbases -- 136 inches and 159 inches -- both of which feature a high-roof body style for extra storage.

Priced from $33,500 with shipping, each ProMaster 2500 starts off 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 2500 isn't crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it's not rated by the nonprofit 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 including a backup camera and rear parking sensors. With that said, we'd love to see a few more safety features available on the ProMaster, including a blind spot monitoring system, which can be a huge help on windowless cargo vans.

Behind the Wheel

The Ram ProMaster 2500 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. The 2500 model's high-roof design makes things even more challenging, since you have to keep in mind that you can't enter any parking garages or duck under low bridges. Don't take these comments too harshly, though; they could be applied to just about 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 capabilities are about the same as the diesel. With that 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, but we think the van's maneuverability could be a little better, as it seems 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 expensive 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 its steering is especially vague, even for a cargo van.

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 2500 with a few options and the Pentastar V6, and we'd order the long wheelbase in order to maximize our cargo-van 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 2500: New Car Review - Autotrader