For Sale By:Dealer
Disability Equipped: No
Sub Model: 4WD Crew Cab 149 Tradesman
Exterior Color: Other
Drivetrain: Four Wheel Drive
Kernersville, North Carolina, United States
Ram Trucks CEO and President Reid Bigland got his turn among the executives elucidating the near-term futures for brands in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella, laying out the plans for both Ram trucks and Fiat Professional. After Bigland said that the company "will continue to invest heavily in commercial vehicles" for the Italian arm, he didn't give many specifics as to where that investment would go. What we do know for now is that a new Fiat Doblo will come next year - that's the truck we've been catching spy shots of and that will be the basis for the Ram ProMaster City.
In 2016 will come the next-generation Fiorino, a small cargo van sold in markets outside the US as a Fiat, as the Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper. The European and South American markets will also get a new midsize pickup that same year.
Bigland's goal for Ram Trucks and Ram commercial is just a touch more ambitious: "Build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry" and increase NAFTA-market sales from 463,000 in 2013 to 620,000 in 2018. The waypoints along that road include a refresh for the Ram 1500 in 2015 and then a brand new 1500 to come two years later in 2017. Bracketing that, a refresh for the Heavy Duty lineup happens in 2016, and two years later it will also get an all-new generation.
Offering a diesel engine in an American pickup is anything but new - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all offer excellent and almost impossibly powerful oil-burning engines in their various fullsize trucks. What is new and novel about the 3.0L EcoDiesel, though, is its size, and the variety of vehicles that use it. It's the smallest engine, as far as displacement is concerned, currently offered in a large truck in the US, and, for 2014 and 2015, it is available in the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Though it may be small, it's got muscle. While 240 horsepower isn't particularly impressive these days, the engine's 420 pound-feet of torque more than makes up for that. The torque rating is even greater force than even the big 5.7-liter Hemi can muster. Chrysler's well-regarded eight-speed automatic transmission makes the most of all that bull-headed pulling power in both the Ram and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler claims the Ram EcoDiesel 1500 can tow as much as 9,200 pounds when properly equipped, which makes it "90-percent of the Hemi with a night and day difference in fuel economy."
Make no mistake; it's that promise of a sizable fuel economy improvement that many long-haul truckers will be most interested in. In the Ram 1500 that we tested for our Tech of the Year competition, the diesel engine costs $2,850 more than the gas-fed V8, and Ram estimates that EcoDiesel buyers will pay off their investment when compared to the Hemi engine in less than three years, which is considerably less time than the 4.5 or so years the average buyer will keep his or her fullsize pickup. The more you drive, the more you'll save, and the math proves equally as effective in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Ram ProMaster only introduced itself to US buyers - prognathous jaw first - last year, but it might quickly be the recipient of some plastic surgery. Above is the new face of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, which does duty as our ProMaster, the Citroën Jumper and the Peugeot Boxer and will be officially unveiled on May 12. Its face still slopes forward all the way to the bottom, but the distance and weight of the jutting chin has been greatly reduced by curving lines that more artfully integrate the new three-piece bumper with the sheetmetal. That bumper can be had in two colors, and the front end also gets new, sleeker headlights with LED DRLs.
Trims are named Classic, Tecno and Lounge, and all benefit from ESP, a new underride guard and an upgraded cockpit with touches like better seats, Bluetooth and a clipboard that can be affixed to the dash and is robust enough to hold smartphones and tablets. High-zoot options - which would give the ProMaster better fight against the Mercedes Sprinter if they carry over to our market - include lane departure assist.
The Ducato will come with choices of three roof heights, four lengths and eight capacity ratings. You'll find info on that and much more in the press releases from Fiat and Peugeot below, and we'll find out more about how the ProMaster will benefit in a few weeks.