by Aiden Eksteen
If you're looking for a vehicle that comes geared to get the job done without any frills to keep costs down, the 2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van is a compelling option on the US market. It's a compact cargo van purposed for urban settings, though it uses just a 178-horsepower inline-4 motor to power its front wheels and offers no body configurations or extended wheelbase options. It's fairly capable in this guise nonetheless, boasting a leading payload capacity of 1,890 pounds and a decent towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds. The powertrain delivers frugal fuel economy returns, too, but its sedate nature does leave a lot to be desired, particularly when you need to travel on the highway or overtake other cars. Ram puts the 2021 ProMaster City Cargo Van forward with very little in terms of creature comforts and conveniences, which may lead to extreme boredom on the road for you or your workers. Going up against more versatile and/or better-equipped rivals like the Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van, Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van, and Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo, is the ProMaster the best choice for you and your business?
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.
See trim levels and configurations:
Though dubbed the 'Tigershark', the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gas engine settled beneath the hood of the ProMaster City Cargo Van is far from ferocious. The 178 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque it produces is enough to get the job done - with power responses being good most of time, whether the van is unladen or fully loaded. Unfortunately, accelerating up to highway speeds and commencing highspeed overtakes can be quite the chore, and the 9-speed automatic transmission that runs outputs to the vans front-wheel drivetrain lacks the decisiveness to get the job done any better. Nevertheless, when properly equipped, the 2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van is attributed a 2,000-pound towing capacity.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
In terms of performance, the ProMaster City Cargo Van impresses nicely as a utility van. Its engine may be relatively diminutive and the van may be rather small itself, but its cargo bay is actually quite spacious and versatile and can carry more than any other van in its class in terms of payload. It can tow a decent amount, too, all the while remaining comfortable on the road and fairly fuel-efficient, too. With its low $24,730 starting price, the 2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van is certainly alluring, but you can't expect to get much at all in features. The Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van will better accommodate you or your workers, particularly during those grueling workweeks.
Being that it's a commercial vehicle, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has subjected the 2021 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van to review for its crashworthiness and so it doesn't bear an official safety rating. It does, however, come standard with many of the essential safety elements one would expect though, and there are some upgrades available too, such as rear parking sensors. It doesn't get any of the appreciable systems other vans like the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van does though, such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, or blind-spot monitoring. Nevertheless, the 6-door van boasts solid reliability expectations.
Being that it's still in its first generation, the ProMaster City Cargo Van has time to improve its competitiveness in the market significantly, but even with its many flaws, it's a worthwhile consideration for any fleet owner.
The 2021 ProMaster City Cargo Van doesn't deliver much in the way of comforts and conveniences, so if you need a utility vehicle that's going to keep you or your workers entertained through the workweek, you'll have to look elsewhere. That being said, we'd still recommend the higher-spec SLT for the few added improvements it comes with over the base model. These include fancier exterior cosmetics, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, and on the inside, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium cloth upholstery, and perhaps most notably, front-seat height-adjustability and lumbar support. There are some options worth including, too, particularly the navigation system and the rear parking sensors, both of which any hard-working driver would appreciate.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van: