Winnebago Travato on Ram ProMaster chassis

Winnebago Travato on Ram ProMaster chassis

Editor’s Note: The following is a review of the new ProMaster van by the New York Daily News. Winnebago Industries Inc. is currently using the platform on its Travato Class B motorhome.

Dodge, a brand that anchored the full-size van market for decades, somehow found itself without one after the Ram Van faded away in 2003. The boxy Sprinter van — a quick-fix from Chrysler’s then-partner Mercedes-Benz — filled the gap for a while, but Dodge was again left van-less after the two companies split.

Enter the ProMaster: a surprising attempt to inject style and refinement into a vehicle class known for boxiness and barrenness.

The ProMaster, a reskinned Fiat Ducato from Italy, is an unlikely successor to the Ram Van. Rather than develop an entirely separate model, Ram’s parent company, Chrysler, chose to produce a version of the Ducato for the rest of the world. There are some giveaways to the ProMaster’s modest origins, such as Fiat’s old-fashioned orange typeface on the display screen between the gauges.

The ProMaster’s competitive advantage in the segment is a front-wheel-drive layout, which makes it feel much more like a car than a work truck. Two engines are available: a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 —this engine is also used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Grand Caravan —and an Italian-made, 174-horsepower 4-cylinder turbo-diesel.

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