While pickup trucks get bigger with every redesign, this new crop of mid-sized vans offers impressive utility with decent fuel economy and easy parking. We drove the 2015 Ram ProMaster City to find out how far vans have really come since your last ride in an Aerostar.
Let’s start with the specs that really do matter; the ProMaster City is a small (187.5" bumper-to-bumper) van that can be configured as a windowless work horse or a five-passenger “wagon” (minivan) that costs about $25,000. Basically, it’s not the cheapest in the small van segment, but it’s among the largest and most capable.
Its rivals are the Nissan NV200 (also sold as the Chevy City Express) and Ford Transit Connect. The Mercedes-Benz Metris is almost comparable, but it’s a little larger (186 cubic feet of space) and a little more expensive (around $30,000.)
All ProMaster City vans run a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine rated to 178 horsepower and 24 MPG in combined driving by the EPA. They’re also all front-wheel drive with the same nine-speed automatic transmission.
The Tradesman SLT Cargo Van I drove is rated to tow 2,000 pounds or carry up to 1,883 pounds of whatever in 131.7 cubic feet of stark, empty cargo space behind an optional partition.
Versus Rivals On Paper
Here’s how they all compare on specs, keep in mind that the Ford Transit Connect comes in two sizes and two engines, the smaller of which is actually more powerful:
|Ram ProMaster City||$23,130|
|Nissan NV200/Chevy City Express||$20,720|
|Ford Transit Connect||$22,675|
|Ford Transit Connect Long Wheelbase||$23,330|
|General Dimensions||Interior Cargo Volume||Max Payload (lbs)||Max Towing (lbs)||Vehicle Length (Inches)||Vehicle Width (Inches)||Vehicle Height (Inches)|
|Ram ProMaster City||131.7||1,883||2,000||187.5||72.1||74|
|Nissan NV200/Chevy City Express||122.7||1,480||2,000||186.3||68.1||73.7|
|Ford Transit Connect||105.9||1,470||2,000||173.9||84.1||72.5|
|Ford Transit Connect Long Wheelbase||130.6||1,620||2,000||189.7||84.1||72.8|
|Power||Engine Size (Liters)||Transmission||Horsepower||Torque (lb-ft)||EPA Combined MPG|
|Ram ProMaster City||2.4||9-Speed Auto||178||174||24|
|Nissan NV200/Chevy City Express||2.0||CVT||131||139||26|
|Ford Transit Connect (Regular and Long)||1.6 Turbo/2.4||6-Speed Auto||178/169||184/171||25/23|
|Passenger Compartment||Legroom (Inches)||Headroom (Inches)||Hiproom (Inches)||Shoulder room (Inches)|
|Ram ProMaster City||40.8||46||54.1||59.3|
|Nissan NV200/Chevy City Express||42.6||41.7||51.3||54.1|
|Ford Transit Connect (Regular and Long)||41.5||46.8||54.1||57.6|
Versus Rivals On-Road
My opinions of the little Nissan are particularly bleak because I had to spend ten consecutive hours in it, on two consecutive days, crossing Virginia from one place I didn’t want to be to another that was even worse.