Ram ProMaster vs. Ford Transit : Which is better?

Introduction

The Ram Pro Master and Ford Transit have taken the vehicle market by storm. Whether you are looking for a passenger carrier, a cargo van, a work van, or a camper, there are several vehicles to consider. Utility vehicles are among the more common vehicles used for many different applications. Not only are they useful for some recreational purposes. They are also very useful for small business owners as cargo vans. Some of today’s most popular are the Dodge Ram ProMaster and the Ford Transit.

2022 Ford Transit Cargo Van

Image of a Ford Transit Van driving on street

The 2022 Ford Transit is a full-size cargo van that is famous worldwide as one of the best vans for small business owners. It is presented in two trims XL and XLT. The trims are offered in a combination of different body dimensions, based on wheelbase and height. The body dimensions or styles available are standard and long wheelbase, as well as low, medium, and high roof.

 If you thought it was hard picking out what shirt to wear today, that makes a total of thirty-eight different configurations. Making it very important to spec out the vehicle when you are looking to buy.

The 2022 Ford Transit Van models are named according to their gross weight. These are the base 150, 250, 350, and 350HD. The 350HD carries the heaviest loads and comes with dual rear wheels. In terms of passengers, the 2022 Ford Transit can come configured to have a maximum of 15 factory fitted seats.

2022 Ram ProMaster

Image of a row of Dodge Ram ProMaster work vans

The Dodge Ram ProMaster is slowly staking a claim in the American cargo van market. It is unique as it stands out with its front wheel drive layout in a market where most of the competitors are rear or all-wheel-drive.

For people on the other side of the ocean they may find the 2022 Ram ProMaster looks familiar to them. That’s because the vehicle is also sold in Europe but instead of calling it the Ram ProMaster is sold as the Fiat Ducato.

The versions available are 1500, 2500, and 3500. The differences among them are the load capacity, with the 3500 offering the biggest cargo space. The 3500 also offers an extended body. Eighteen configurations are available through a combination of different body sizes and load capacity. 

The 2022 Ram ProMaster comes with two rear doors and a sliding side door. This makes it convenient for cargo handling and for use as a mobile workshop.

The front wheel-drive arrangement eliminates the need for a rear differential and propeller shaft, creating a low and flat loading space.

The box shape of the ProMaster makes it ideal for use as a camper van, especially the high roof versions, with ample height for taller passengers or users. It can easily be retrofitted as a comfortable living space.

The passenger variant is only fitted with front seats. There is a new version called the Crew Van. It can be equipped with 5 seats and still retain a large sized cargo area behind the rear seat.  

Engines

The two vans have no clear differences in terms of engine sizes, output, and options. The Ford Transit is powered by a standard 3.7-liter V6 gasoline engine with an output of 275 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque. Also available if you need more power is the option of a turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that churns out 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost engine is a powerful engine that can accelerate the Ford Transit from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds.

A third option for the 2022 Ford Transit is the 3.2-liter diesel engine. It is less powerful at just 185 horsepower. However, it offers a higher torque of 350 lb-ft at low revolutions of between 1500 and 2500 RPM.

On the other hand, the ProMaster has a standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to the front wheel drive system. This is the only engine available at the time of this article. The two vans cannot be separated based on engine size and power.

Acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds for the ProMaster is also close to the Ford Transit’s figures. I am going to assume that these numbers are primarily for marketing reasons. I do not believe people that are purchasing these vehicles are concerned about the 0-60 times.

Just like the Transit, the ProMaster’s earlier versions also had a 3.0 turbocharged engine, although with less torque than the Transit’s at 295 pound-feet of torque.

Transmissions

The Ram ProMaster 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine drives the front wheels through a TorqueFlite 9-speed automatic transmission. 

The Transit, on the other hand, is equipped with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission that drives either the rear or all wheels.

Drivetrain

The Dodge Ram ProMasters front-wheel drive is a departure from the segment’s common options of either rear or all-wheel drive.

The focus of the Dodge Ram ProMaster design is to create as much cargo space as possible. By placing the drivetrain under the front cab engineers have certainly contributed to that objective.

The absence of a rear differential and propeller shaft also allows for the load bed to be close to the ground, making it convenient for cargo handling. This sets the ProMaster apart from the competitors.

However, for those looking for better handling and drivability. The Ford Transit’s rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive configuration could be an attraction, although not certainly a clear-cut advantage.

The choice depends on the intended use of the van and the type or bulkiness of the cargo.

Cargo Capacity

The ProMaster Cargo Van can handle more than 4680 lb of payload, with a towing capacity of more than 6900 lb.

The Transit in comparison can carry a larger payload weight of up to 7500 lb, but tows less than the ProMaster at 4560 lb.

In terms of space, the Ram ProMaster ranges from 259 to 463 cubic feet, whilst the Transit ranges between 246 and 487 cubic feet depending on the configuration.

If you are looking for towing capacity, the ProMaster is the better choice, whilst the Transit carries a bigger load. The Transit has a slight edge on the ProMaster looking for both towing and load-carrying capacity.

Again, the choice based on this key characteristic lies on the type and weight of the cargo.

Size Configurations

The ProMaster is offered in different size configurations with different heights and wheelbases. The variants include 118, 136, and 159-inch wheelbases. Instead of writing it all out we made a chart to help you understand the differences.

The options are summarized below.

Dodge Ram ProMaster Dimensions

 WheelbaseBody HeightCargo Space
1500 Low Roof 118WB  11888.7259
1500 Low Roof 136WB  13688.7304
1500 High Roof 136WB  13699.4353
2500 Low Roof 136 WB  13688.7304
2500 High Roof 136 WB  13699.4353
2500 High Roof 159 WB  15999.4420
3500 Low Roof 136 WB  13688.7304
3500 High Roof 136 WB  13699.4353
3500 High Roof 159 WB  15999.4420
3500 High Roof 159 WB – EXT  15999.4463

Comparable dimensions for the Ford Transit are as follows;

Ford Transit Dimensions

  Length in inches Height in inches Cargo Capacity
  Short Wheelbase Low Roof 219.9 83.6 
  Long Wheelbase Low Roof 237.6 83.6 277.7
  Short Wheelbase Medium Roof 217.8 100.8 
  Short Wheelbase High Roof 235.5 110.1 
  Long Wheelbase High Roof 263.9 109.4 404.3

Standard and Optional Features

The two vans come with very modern and convenient standard and optional features.

One of the stand-out features for the 2022 ProMaster is a standard Uconnect 5 infotainment system with a 7-inch screen. The system features dual Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Other standard features include a rearview camera, air conditioning, traction, and stability control. Also standard is a 5-inch touch screen, push-button start with keyless entry for all doors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cross-wind assist, and hill start assist, among other basics.

This makes it convenient for the buyer to customize their van for their unique use. Key options include sliding side doors, cruise control, heated seats, cargo area climate control, and a very necessary digital rearview camera.

The rearview camera is especially helpful in reversing either to load or offload cargo.

Due to the many different uses and configurations of the ProMaster van, the list of optional features is long.

For cargo handling, the ProMaster also offers several upfitting options that include the cutaway and chassis cab models. This also allows for the small businesses to customize the ProMaster according to their specific needs, especially as a work van.

In terms of safety and driver assistance, the ProMaster also doesn’t disappoint.

Standard safety features include a crosswind assistance system, Drowsy Driver Detection, and Forward Collision Warning.

Among the key optional safety features are lane departure warning with lane assist, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, swivel seats, and a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Looking at the Ford Transit, standard features depend on the trim level. Common standard features include keyless entry, Wi-Fi, a sliding passenger-side door, Bluetooth and audio connectivity, and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

Among the options are integrated navigation, an 8-inch display, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

Standard safety and driver assistance features include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, stability control, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Options include an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, remote start, cruise control, and a 60/40-split hinged passenger-side door on the low roof trim level. Blind-spot warning is also available as an option.

 For camping enthusiasts, you can also get the RV Prep package. This makes it easy to outfit the Transit as a camper. There, seems to be not much difference between the two cargo vans in terms of features.

As a camper, whist the Ford Transit may have the RV Prep package, the Dodge ProMaster is loved for its box shape that makes it easy to retrofit it as a living cabin.

Fuel Economy

The vans do not seem to have independent fuel economy data available, however, the Ford Transit gets low reviews from owners. They cite fuel economy as one of the issues they are disappointed about. Some quote figures as low as 9 mpg without EcoBoost.

 A more common figure for the Transit however is around 16 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

The Dodge ProMaster seems to have worse figures, with an economy of between 10 and 14 mpg combined.

Cost

The two vans are similarly priced, although the Ram ProMaster is cheaper. Major differences will come in terms of optional features and the types of warranties available and selected.

The 2022 Ford Transit price starts from around $36,000. It can go as high as $58000, depending on the model and optional features.

The ProMaster comes in at a lower starting price of around $34,000. There certainly is not much difference between the two.

Reliability

Both the 2022 Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit get reliability ratings of around 3.7 out of 5.0. The figures are comparable with similar vans.

Major Problems

The Ford Transit owners complain about warning lights that can illuminate the dashboard starting at around 50 000 miles. Whilst this may not be a problem, however, no codes were detected. Possibly making the issue harder for the technician to track down and repair.

Another problem raised with the Ford Transit is the gauge of the sheet

metal used for the panels. Some owners, especially those that use the van as a mobile workshop, complain of the mounting brackets tearing out of the walls.

Other problems include a short brake life, loss of power, and ineffective air-conditioning.

The Dodge Ram ProMaster has faced many reliability challenges, including thirteen recalls. Some of the problems relate to the lane-departure warning system, which is blamed on the blind spot monitoring system.

Other ProMaster problems relate to the braking and seat belt systems. I have observed the brakes on a Ram ProMaster need replaced every 1-2 years on average.

Conclusion

The two cargo vans are interesting when compared. The Ford brand is very American and trusted with years of brand authority. The same can be said about Dodge, but probably not so about Fiat, from which the Dodge ProMaster comes. 

The Ford Transit has been a best-seller as a van for many years and is one the most common and reliable cargo vans in America. The Ford Transit offers better luxury than the relatively modest Dodge ProMaster.

The lack of an all-wheel-drive option is a major drawback for the ProMaster. Another weakness is the lack of factory-fitted passenger for those that want to use it as a passenger carrier. Handling and ride quality also lag that of the Ford Transit, although as a utility vehicle, this may not be a major area of concern.

As a standard cargo van, with ample cargo space and capacity, the Dodge ProMaster 3500 High Roof 159 WB – EXT is a good contender.

For camping, both the Ford Transit and Dodge ProMaster are equally good. The choice depends probably on the drivetrain and transmission you prefer, as well as luxury features.

The two vans are certainly hard to separate, and I can only imagine that either of these vans will fit peoples needs. Especially with all the excellent upfitters around to add all the accessories that the owners of these vans will need to succeed.

John Morris
John Morrishttps://autoknowit.com
John Morris is the technical editor for AutoKnowIt.com. His years of experience in automotive repair as well as an automotive professor have prepared him to ensure that even the most technical information is accurate and concise at all times.

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