It is based on Fiat’s Ducato van, but it is new-for-U.S. ProMaster will directly compete with the coming Ford Transit, the existing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the new Nissan NV and the ubiquitous Ford Econoline van. This all-new ProMaster chassis is specifically designed to carry cargo as its first priority, so the heavily reinforced (in some cases with eight integrated cross-members) unibody chassis will have a low load floor to make loading easy. Additionally, the van will only be offered in front-wheel drive, so the absence of a rear differential and driveshaft allows for a flatter and more versatile (than a truck, anyway) platform.
Adding to its versatility, the ProMaster will have two different roof heights of 90 and 101 inches, a standard sliding door on the passenger side with an optional sliding side door on the driver’s side. It will offer three wheelbase choices at 118, 136 and 159 inches, four different body lengths and three conventional gross vehicle weight name identifiers (1500, 2500 and 3500). To further allow the ProMaster to be customized, 3500 ProMaster vans can be ordered in Cargo Van, Chassis Cab and Chassis Cab Cutaway versions to service both the bus and recreational vehicle sectors.
The chassis construction of the ProMaster van is a type of mixed technology, offering a maximum payload and towing capacity calculated to be more than 5,000 pounds for both. ProMasters will offer five separate, unique suspension levels that will provide a wide range of capabilities, but all will use front double-A-arm coil springs while the rear suspension incorporates a conventional beam axle and leaf-spring setup. The standard engine on most models will be the all-aluminum overhead cam gasoline 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, rated to make 280 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. The new engine for the Ram truck family will be the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel four-cylinder brought over from Europe and specifically tuned for the ProMaster work-duty cycles. Rated at 174 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque (at 1,400 rpm).