Auto blogMon, 31 Mar 2014 11:30:00 EST
The Ram ProMaster is going to look a little smaller on the inside, at least by way of its specification sheets, despite the sheet metal staying the same.
When Ram originally published the cargo capacity for its van, it simply did a direct conversion from the European rating of 15 cubic meters to 530 cubic feet. However, that didn't take into account the standard way internal measurements are calculated for the US. While the trucks have been on sale since October, the automaker just noticed the problem, and it's working on a revised figure. According to Automotive News, the new carrying ability for the ProMaster is likely between 450 and 475 cubic feet.
The difference stems from two standards for measuring capacity. In Europe, the entire internal area is determined and then obstacles like seats are subtracted from it. That means areas where freight could never go, like on top of seat backs, gets included in the figure. In the US, only the area where goods could actually fit is included, which leads to lower specs with no actual change in space.
Ram has seen such positive customer feedback from its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission in the Ram 1500 that it's bringing the powertrain upmarket, and it's now going to be available in truck's Laramie trim level (Laramie Limited pictured above). The new choice means better fuel economy and lower pricing in one of the 1500's higher-end models.
A Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab 4x2 with the 3.6-liter Pentastar and eight-speed automatic will retail for $38,775, plus a $1,195 destination charge. It's a savings of over $1,000 over the trim's current starting price.
Ram says the decision to offer the V6 option was customer driven. "Today's V6 engine is a lot stronger than yesterday," said Nick Cappa of Ram Truck media relations to Autoblog. Cappa notes that dealers have reported buyers returning from test drives who can't believe there are only six cylinders operating underhood.
The 3.0L turbodiesel V6 in the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel earned a slot on Ward's Automotive 2014 10 Best Engines for its power, fuel economy and refinement. In a piece looking at how Fiat subsidiary VM Motor developed the engine, Ward's also makes note of the fact that the same lump goes in diesel versions of the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli. They're tuned a bit differently, naturally, with the QP putting out 275 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, the smaller, lighter Ghibli making do with the same number of horses but a lower torque output of 420 lb-ft.
The 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet put out by the oil-burning six-cylinder in the Ram was tamed with a host of advances, but it appears that Ram hasn't tamed demand: the initial allocation of 8,000 engines was spoken for within three days of the truck going on sale. Head over to Ward's to read the story of how Ram worked out the equation light-duty-pickup + diesel = success.
Our intrepid spy photographers have caught prototypes for a new Fiat Doblo. Now we know what you might be thinking (particularly if you didn't take note of the headline): why would we care about an automaker conducting a facelift on a European cargo van? Normally we wouldn't, only the Fiat Doblo has another name, under which it will be shortly be sold here in America: Ram ProMaster City.
Announced just months ago, the ProMaster City is the smaller counterpart to the Ram ProMaster, which itself is also a rebadged cargo van from Fiat Professional. Think of it as a Chrysler version of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect lineup - European vans being brought Stateside by automakers that operate on both sides of the Atlantic.
But despite the official announcement of the vehicle's pending arrival, we still haven't seen the PMC yet. The disguised Doblo prototypes pictured here appear to be wearing a completely new front end and some cosmetic revisions to their tail ends, too. We can't see anything in the interior, but the fact that it was completely covered up suggests that Fiat is working on overhauling that, as well.
Snagging a celebrity endorsement is a big deal for automakers, as evidenced by the recent efforts of the Detroit Three to try and woo The Tonight Show's newest host, Jimmy Fallon, into one of their trucks.
After announcing during Wednesday night's show that he was in the market for a pickup truck, Fallon set off a firestorm of efforts on Twitter, with both Ford and Chevrolet petitioning the funnyman to test out a truck. According to Ad Age, Ford recommended the King Ranch edition of its next-generation F-150 while the show was still airing. Chevy, meanwhile, waited until the next morning to pitch a Silverado to Fallon.
The winner of this social media feeding frenzy, though, was Ram. Promoting a variation of its "Guts, Glory, Ram" tagline, the Auburn Hills-based manufacturer created the hashtag #GUTSGLORYFallon. It even went so far as to park a Ram 1500 outside 30 Rockefeller Center in New York, where The Tonight Show is filmed. On the back of the Ram sat a sign, reading "Big enough, Jimmy? Test it out," referencing a joke from the Wednesday show.
Some combinations seem natural immediately like chocolate and peanut butter, but others take a little more consideration before they begin make sense. That is exactly the situation with the new partnership between Ram and heavy equipment-maker Case to build a one-of-a-kind Ram 3500 with a matching, customized Case 580 Super N Wide Track Backhoe. The unique combo is currently on display at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 show in Las Vegas, NV, and afterwards will go on tour for the rest of the year at Ram- and Case-sponsored events.
While it is undoubtedly odd to see a modified backhoe, it almost gets cool when you se the interior. Both vehicles the same two-tone gold and black paint scheme, and the backhoe's cab has been refinished to match the truck with shades of brown leather, Laramie badges and chrome trim. If you have to be in a backhoe, this one looks like the one to choose. Plus, this might be the first backhoe ever with chrome wheels.
The truck that the backhoe is attached to a Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 with a 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel with 850 foot-pounds of torque, plus an improved transfer case and heavy-duty transmission. Like its matching heavy equipment friend, the truck is also supposed to offer a mix of luxury and working ability. Scroll down for the full press release on this very curious combo.
It's barely been a year since Chrysler brought the Fiat Ducato over to these United States as the Ram Promaster, but already it's being subjected to its second recall - both of them revolving around essential controls that are critical to the vehicle's operation.
The first came less than a month ago, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for nearly 10,000 of the vans due to a sticky accelerator pedal. Now Chrysler has issued a second recall to deal with the brake hose.
This second recall affects some 6,800 units of the ProMaster, half of which Chrysler says are on dealer lots. The automaker is instructing dealers to inspect both the vehicles it has in stock and to bring in customer vehicles to perform the same check, to ensure that the brake hose was properly installed in the first place. If not, the brake hose will be replaced.
The diesel, half-ton pickup has long been a Holy Grail to many truck fans, largely because of its potential to achieve both high payload and great fuel economy. Strange, then, that auto companies have seemingly been slow to react. However, Chrysler is finally wading into the pool for the 2014 model year with a version of its Ram 1500 pickup, and early claimed returns are showing the advantage of being first on the market. The Auburn Hills automaker has just revealed that its initial allocation of 8,000 EcoDiesel trucks has been filled by dealers in just three days.
That flood of orders came from February 7-10, and that strong surge of interest apparently amounts to a new Ram record for the number of customer orders placed for a vehicle in such a short period of time. In fact, EcoDiesel models accounted for over half of Ram 1500 orders over that period, despite the fact that the diesel option costs several thousand dollars more than a comparable gasoline-engined model. That impressive total did not come entirely as a shock to Ram officials, however: "We knew customers have been asking for it," Nick Cappa, Ram Truck communications officer, tells Autoblog.
The 2014 Ram 1500 with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and standard eight-speed TorqueFlight automatic makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet - a combination good for 9,200 pounds of towing. Despite that pulling power, its fuel economy is rated at 28 miles per gallon highway (the best among trucks in its class), 20 mpg city and 23 mpg combined. Four-wheel drive variants gives up a single mpg in all categories.
Car buyers have a responsibility to be well-informed consumers. That's not always a very simple task, but some guidelines are self-evident. If you live in a very snowy climate, you generally know a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro might not be as viable a vehicle choice as an all-wheel drive Explorer or Traverse, for example. If you want a fuel-efficient car, it's generally a good idea to know the difference between a diesel and a hybrid. But what if it's kind of tough to be an informed consumer? What if the information you need is more difficult to come by, or worse, based on different standards for each vehicle? Well, in that case, you might be a truck shopper.
For years, customers of light-duty pickups have had to suffer through different ratings of towing capacities for each brand. For 2015 model year trucks, though, that will no longer be a problem. According to Automotive News, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group have announced that starting with next year's models, a common standard will be used to measure towing capacity. The Detroit Three will join Toyota, which adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers' so-called SAE J2807 standards way back in 2011.
The standard was originally supposed to be in place for MY2013, but concerns that it would lower the overall stated capacity for trucks led Detroit automakers to pass. Ford originally passed, claiming it'd wait until its new F-150 was launched to adopt the new standards, leading GM and Ram to follow suit. Nissan, meanwhile, has said it will adopt the new standards as its vehicles are updated, meaning the company's next-generation Titan should adhere to the same tow ratings as its competitors.
Ram's new, Fiat-derived cargo van, the ProMaster, is set to be recalled over concerns that the accelerator pedals could stick. The issue affects 9,655 ProMasters, with 7,935 vans in the US, 1,437 vehicles in Canada and 283 in Mexico.
There have been no reported injuries or crashes from the issue - according to The Detroit News, there haven't even been any customer complaints. The issue was reportedly discovered while Chrysler was testing the vehicle at its proving ground, which is what prompted the internal investigation. Still, it's unlikely that ProMaster vans will suffer from unintended acceleration issues, as each van is equipped with a brake-throttle override.
As of this writing, there's been no bulletin or activity from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.