Thereís something about cargo vans that we love. Obviously, itís not because theyíre fun to drive (although there is something fantastic about pitching a self-propelled warehouse sideways, but we digress). Rather, itís because of what they can become. As artists take to blank canvases, so do our imaginations to cargo vans. Cargo vans start out as nothing, but can become anything, from rolling billboards or innocuous delivery vehicles to clandestine command centers or mobile man caves. (Check out how we designed our own digital Ford Transit Connect.)
And so we welcome the newest entry to join the all-too-thin ranks of mobile air enclosures: the Ram Cargo Van. Okay, so this Ram basically is an attempt to rescue some of the commercial sales lost when Mercedes reclaimed the Sprinter for its own dealers, and it also picks up where the old Dodge Grand Caravan C/Vóa gutted, paneled Dodge Grand Caravan just like thisóleft off. But as with all of Chryslerís 2011 minivans, the Ram C/V is equipped with Chryslerís 283-hp Pentastar V-6, a more refined chassis, and many of the features found in Chryslerís more family-oriented minivan models, some new to the cargo-van milieu.
Specifically, the Ram Cargo Van gets dual-zone air conditioning, an outside temperature display, numerous power outlets, and an in-cabin air-filtration system (thatís right, go ahead and eat all the bean burritos you want). Also found inside the C/Vís interior are cloth-upholstered driver and passenger seats, driver and passenger-side visors (with mirrors!), lower-dashboard storage, dual glove boxes, a cargo-compartment observation mirror, power locks and front windows, cruise control, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
On the C/Vís options list are glass windows in place of any of the solid panels (which sort of look like vinyl over glass anyway), as well as an engine-block heater, a media center with 30-gig hard drive and 6.5-inch touch-screen display, an input for mobile audio devices, a Garmin-powered navigation system, and a backup camera. Also available is an eight-way power driverís seat, an alarm, Sirius radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
No More Excuses for Late Deliveries
The sole powertrain for the C/V is the aforementioned 283-hp V-6. It puts out 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manumatic function. The Ramís hollowed-out interior results in a claimed 4150-lb curb weight, some 360 pounds lighter than the Dodge Grand Caravan, which already feels rather brisk (for a minivan, anyway) with Pentastar power. Curtain airbags are optional to protect flower arrangements and wedding cakes in the event of a side collision.
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