Pickup or van? When it’s critical that cargo and tools stay dry and secure, only a van will do. My dad was a residential carpenter who owned various Dodge and Chevy panel trucks and B-vans during his career, but all were of the old-school variety. Their low rooflines and relatively cramped confines often made loading and unloading a headbanger; ask me how I know. In those days, a tradesman could only dream about having a hauler as commodious and capable as the Ram ProMaster 2500.
This rebadged Fiat Ducato offers an ideal combination of high roofline and reasonably low load floor, enabled by the 16-in wheels and front-wheel-drive platform that’s unique to the segment. The ProMaster I tested was the long-wheelbase (159-in) model; the short 136-in version would have been too small to fit the large antique dressers and hutches that needed to be delicately transported on their backs rather than standing up. The big van swallowed them perfectly, its multiple floor-bolted D-rings allowing the furniture to be strapped in securely.
Exceptional features of this eminently useful machine include Greyhound-like driver visibility and seating comfort, an urban-friendly turning radius and surprising fuel economy (17.8 mpg) with the FCA corporate 3.6-L, 260-lb·ft (352 N·m) gasoline V-6 and 6-speed transaxle.
Yes, the big van has a face that only a mother could love, but those headlamps are placed up high to be out of harm’s way. Everything about the Ram ProMaster 2500 was engineered for practicality—for when only a van will do.
2018 Ram ProMaster 2500
- Base price: $33,195
- As tested: $34,795
- Highs: 353 ft3 of cargo volume; tight turning radius; decent fuel economy
- Lows: Driver’s rubber door seal can come loose in cold weather
- The takeaway: An efficient, urban-friendly workhorse
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