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2019 Ram ProMaster 3500 Review

The 2019 Ram ProMaster 3500 sits atop the ProMaster food chain that includes the ProMaster 1500 and the ProMaster 2500, reviewed separately. Providing the maximum cargo volume, the ProMaster also delivers the greatest payload (weight) capacity among the ProMaster full-size vans.

With roots reaching back to Europe, the ProMaster lineup features front-wheel drive. Not only does this make them a bit more maneuverable and reliable in foul weather than big rear-wheel-drive vans, but it also allows ProMaster vans a lower cargo floor and step-in height. Both are huge advantages in the big-van segment.

In the final tally, the ProMaster 3500 is a rather civilized workhorse. Hauling like a heavy weight, it drives like a middle weight.

What’s New for 2019?

All 3500s offer 30% more towing capability, as well as options for fleet telematics with driver tracking/behavior and vehicle diagnostics, interior LED lighting, and available rear side windows on all models. Ram will also offer a 136-in wheelbase version of the 3500 with both low- and high-roof configurations, but all of the new features and configurations are coming later in the year. See the 2019 Ram ProMaster models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Huge, space-efficient cargo area
  • High-roof body style
  • Lots of available features
  • Excellent capabilities

What We Don’t

  • Odd driving position with no tilt steering wheel
  • 2019 changes overdue

How Much?

$39,090-$41,840

Fuel Economy

Ram only offers the ProMaster 3500 with Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which makes 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission and, uniquely for a commercial van, FWD. This should be appealing in poor-weather areas, where RWD vans can be a handful. Because of its size, the ProMaster 3500’s fuel economy isn’t monitored by the government.

Standard Features & Options

Unlike most traditional models, the 2019 Ram ProMaster 3500 doesn’t offer trim levels. Instead, it comes in two available sizes — standard length and extended — both of which feature a high-roof body style for extra storage. A low-roof version of the 3500 on a shorter wheelbase is coming later this year.

Priced from $39,090, including the $1,695 factory shipping charge, each ProMaster 3500 starts off about the same. Standard features include 16-in steel wheels, air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows and locks, a backup camera, and Uconnect 3 with a 5-in display, Bluetooth, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Regardless of which ProMaster 3500 model you choose, you’ll get a 159-in wheelbase, though extended models offer a longer body that includes a little extra cargo room behind the rear wheels.

The ProMaster is also offered with a wide range of options. They include a navigation system, heated seats, sliding side doors, rear parking sensors, cruise control, a chrome grille and alloy wheels.

Safety

Like most cargo vans, the ProMaster 3500 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 for a cargo van, from standard items such as front- and side-curtain airbags, a backup camera, anti-lock brakes and traction control, to modern options including rear parking sensors.

Behind the Wheel

The 2019 Ram ProMaster 3500 drives exactly as it looks: like a huge van. That means vague steering, lots of body roll and an overall size that sometimes makes you question if you’re driving a bus. Don’t take these comments too harshly, though — they could be applied to almost every other commercial van. "Almost every," because you’re likely to find the ProMaster to be far more maneuverable than the truck-based GM and Nissan vans.

The 3500 model’s standard high-roof design can make things even more challenging, since you have to keep in mind that you can’t enter every parking garage. On the other hand, it also allows for considerably more cargo space than those same truck-based vans provide, along with the ability to walk around upright inside. We also like the low, flat load floor, which is excellent for loading cargo.

For good and bad, the ProMaster’s driving position stands out. 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 the van’s corners. Unfortunately, the driving position itself is reminiscent of a bus, with you perched awkwardly above its immovable steering wheel.

When it comes to engine performance, we find the V6 and automatic transmission to be well suited for the job of hauling around the 3500.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Ford Transit — The Ford Transit is built in the United States and replaces the ancient Ford E-Series. It offers a very similar experience to the ProMaster — right down to the strong visibility and flat, low load floor.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — Few vans offer the all-out capabilities of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but it’s an expensive van to buy. As such, you may want to consider a used model. And if the Mercedes-Benz name seems too ritzy for your business, remember that it’s also sold as a Freightliner.

2019 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 cumbersome to maneuver.

Autotrader’s Advice

We would go with the 2019 Ram ProMaster, as well as an option or two like the sliding doors and cruise control. Knowing that a low-roof, shorter wheelbase choice is on the way, we would opt for that unless we really needed the maximum cargo space. Find a Ram ProMaster for sale

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