Chrysler Cargo Van

Ram Truck has introduced the Cargo Van, a vehicle based on the company’s minivan platform, but modified to accommodate more payload.

Truck Trend reported that this isn’t the first time the company has sold a cargo version of its minivans, but this new one serves a few specific purposes: It helps realign the cargo van with the redefined divisions within the company. Instead of having a cargo van in the now-car-only Dodge brand, the van is in the Ram Truck division, to put it with the work trucks. It also gives the division a competitor to the Ford Transit Connect, with a higher payload than that small van. And because of the way Ram packaged it, this van is reasonably priced, starting at less than $25,000, to appeal to owners of small businesses.

Even though it’s based on a minivan, it isn’t just a Chrysler Town & Country with covered side windows (glass is available, too). The engineers aimed to make enough changes to appeal to people who need a vehicle with genuine payload capacity, without making the van overly expensive. In addition to the privacy panels, this van has an 1,800-pound payload capacity, which is better than that of the Transit Connect, and it can tow 3,600 pounds.

It also has an impressive cargo volume: 144.4 cubic feet, the best in the small-van class. In back, the Cargo Van uses an aluminum load floor standard, with an optional floor that includes three storage bins and floor-mounted tie-downs. Also added to make the van cargo-ready are a heavy-duty radiator and transmission oil cooler.

The van alsohas a low roof height, making any parking garage accessible; and there’s nothing different about driving this from driving any other minivan, with the exception of the lack of a rearview mirror.

The most notable difference is the ride. Because it was beefed up to carry more payload, the ride is much firmer, but certainly not jarring. Basically, this is a minivan made for work.