-  Photo: Ram

Photo: Ram

Chrysler is rolling out the Ram ProMaster City to compete directly with the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 in the burgeoning compact van market. The new van was designed to offer class-leading payload, cargo and towing and ­improve upon the Ram Cargo Van’s (aka Ram C/V’s) fuel economy.

The more compact version of the Ram ProMaster, the ProMaster City was introduced during an event at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds (Mich.) in late June. It was not available for road testing, but the OEM sent Business Fleet editor Chris Brown home with the critical specifications: The new van is based on the front-wheel drive Fiat Doblo, which made its European debut in 2000.

It will be equipped with a 2.4-liter four-banger that is expected to deliver 178 horsepower (hp) at 174 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque and will be mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Chrysler estimates payload capacity at 1,883 pounds (lbs.), narrowly beating the more powerful C/V and besting the Transit Connect and NV200, as well. Cargo capacity is expected to top out at 131.7 lbs., also a best-in-class figure, and an available tow package is expected to pull about 2,000 lbs.

The ProMaster City will be available in a Tradesman cargo configuration or a five-passenger Wagon model. Both versions boast a 51.8-inch roof and 48.4 inches between the wheel wells.

The Tradesman’s cargo floor will be greater than 7 feet in length while the Wagon’s rear bench will fold and stow to create a 6-foot bed. The 60/40 split cargo doors’ 90-degree opening angle will increase to 180 degrees with a built-in hinge ­release.

The cargo van will be available in base and SLT trims, both with optional side-panel windows. Lists of standard and optional equipment are not yet available, but the SLT will accentuate the ProMaster City’s exterior styling with body-color bumpers, available body-color side mirrors and integrated foglamps.

A full ­array of safety equipment, including side-curtain and driver-knee ­airbags, antilock brakes, ­hill-start assist and a rearview camera will be installed with every ­configuration.

The 2015 Ram ProMaster City is expected to roll into showrooms by the end of the year.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but it can be expected to compete with the Transit Connect and NV200 — both of which start at or near the $23,000 mark.

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Tariq Kamal

Tariq Kamal

Contributing Editor

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