The Europeans have been fans of small cargo vans like the Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van for a long time, and with ever-narrowing city streets, we have use for them too. Plus, not everyone needs a van capable of carrying an entire house’s worth of furniture. That’s where something like the ProMaster City Cargo Van comes in. It isn’t especially powerful, with its 2.4-liter four-pot only producing 178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. However, its cargo-carrying credentials cannot be denied with up to 1,890 pounds of payload capacity. Competitors like the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van are less capable but also worth considering, so is the Ram the one to take or not?
2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van Changes: What’s the difference vs 2020 ProMaster City Cargo Van?
The Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van range has been left almost entirely untouched for the 2021 model year. On the Tradesman, customers can now spec more attractive aluminum wheels as well as fog lights. That’s as far as the new updates go so if you don’t need these features, a second-hand 2020 model is worth a look.
2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van Exterior
The Ram ProMaster City is a simple but attractive vehicle with enough exterior curves to look car-like. Its front is dominated by a pair of halogen headlights below which an elongated grille with the RAM logo is featured. Base models get black plastic front and rear bumpers along with LED brake lights, while the SLT gets body-colored mirrors and fascias. On both models, fog lights are available. 16-inch steel wheels are standard across both variants (the SLT’s steel wheels get full-painted covers, though) and each can be equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels.
The ProMaster City is typically tall and narrow, with width and height very similar. The former measurement works out to 72.1 inches (excluding the side mirrors) with the latter at 74.2 inches. The side mirrors are quite large, though, so when they are added, width works out to 84.6 inches. Length is 187.1 inches, a fraction longer than the shorter version of the Ford Transit Connect. However, the wheelbase is considerably longer by 17.6 inches (and 1.8 inches longer than the long-wheelbase version of the Ford), for a final figure of 122.4. Ground clearance measures 5.2 inches while curb weight comes in at just below 3,500 pounds.
Max Width72.1 in
Engine and Transmission
Whichever variant of the ProMaster City Cargo Van you opt for, the same 2.4-liter four-pot is nestled under the hood. Dubbed Tigershark, it produces 178 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent through a nine-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. In our Ram ProMaster City review, we found that power delivery and output are good, particularly when the van is unladen, but it’s not particularly offensive when loaded up either. That said, getting off the line, up a steep hill, or past a large truck on the highway will require some abuse. Unfortunately, the powertrain’s foibles are not helped out by the automatic transmission, as it seems to have been tuned by a chimp. At low speeds, it’s jarring and clunky, and at highway speeds, it simply refuses to go into top gear. What’s the point of a nine-speed if you can only ever use eight cogs? In terms of capability, the ProMaster City Cargo Van can haul up to 1,890 lbs or tow up to 2,000 lbs, which puts it high up in the compact cargo van pecking order.
Handling and Driving Impressions
As with most vans, the handling is not what you’d call sporty, and corners lead to body roll that feels like it’s going to cause the little Ram to topple over. Due to a tall profile, crosswinds can be treacherous too. Fortunately, a less-than-fun car is generally very comfortable, and this van is no different, absorbing cracks and small undulations well. Bigger bumps are less well dispensed with, however, and the ride can get crashy if you drive with no mechanical sympathy. In town, the steering is also tuned for the job, with minimal effort allowing for easy parking and traffic maneuvers. Braking is also adequate for the job, although we’d advise against playing chicken with the bottom of a steep slope if the van is fully loaded.
ProMaster City Cargo Van Gas Mileage
The 2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van, in both regular Tradesman and Tradesman SLT form, scores EPA figures of 21/28/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. With a 16-gallon gas tank, this equates to an estimated mixed range of around 384 miles. By comparison, the Ford Transit Connect has a combined EPA score of up to 25 mpg when running on regular gas, depending on which engine you opt for.