Smaller Van Platform Gaining Strength in U.S.
With the recent debut of the new Ram ProMaster, much of the focus in the van market has been on the full-size models and their studio apartment-sized cargo areas. But, according to a report by Truck Trend, not all businesses have the need for that much cargo capacity. Many have needs that are greater than the typical small or midsize SUV, but not as big as a full-size van. Fortunately, there are several on the market that meet those hauling needs.
The standard-bearer for the small hauler class in the U.S. is the Ford Transit Connect, and with a full top-to-bottom redesign coming for the 2014 model year, Ford shows no intentions of relinquishing that position. The Blue Oval is not alone in the segment, however — Nissan just unveiled the U.S.-spec NV200 compact van in Chicago, which closely matches the Ford’s dimensions and capacities in a more affordable, more basic package.
More intriguing in this market is Ram. Currently, Chrysler’s truck brand sells the Ram C/V, essentially a gutted Dodge Grand Caravan. With its brawny 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, the C/V will likely be the choice of leadfooted delivery boys, but because it’s an adaptation of an existing passenger model rather than a clean-sheet design optimized for commercial duty, it’s a bit of a compromise. But those looking for a more economical and optimized vehicle from Ram may not have to wait much longer.
Much like the ProMaster is an Americanized Fiat Ducato, Chrysler has already confirmed that the smaller Fiat Doblo will be making its way across the Atlantic soon as well. Although not confirmed, some reports say the name has already been picked: ProMaster City. As with the ProMaster, there will probably be some detail changes in the Doblo’s configurations, options, and powertrains in its transition to Ram-hood, but put a cross-hatch grille on it you’ll get a good idea of what you’ll see probably less than a year from now.
To read the entire article, including a breakdown on specifications, click here.