It’s been awhile since there was any real type of intermediate sized van dedicated to small business owners. I mean Ford has their Transit Van, but that only offers 129.6 cu. ft of cargo space. In my opinion, the last great small business van was the Chevrolet Astro. These suckers were built from 1985–2005 and offered the perfect combination of size, performance and utility. Dodge, err… I mean Ram, has apparently noticed this massive hole in the market and is responding by releasing their new 2012 Ram Cargo Van. Small business owners look for many things when purchasing a vehicle to represent their business. They look at price, fuel economy, durability, performance and overall interior space. The new Ram Cargo seeks to address these concerns by offering 144.4 cubic feet of interior storage, best-in-class power at 283 hp and 260 lb.-ft of torque, a fuel economy rating of 25 mpg hwy with a total payload capacity of 1,800-lb. cargo and up to 3,600 lbs of towing. That’s pretty damn good for what’s basically a stripped out Grand Caravan.
There’s also a large 20-gallon fuel tank, commercial-duty suspension, 160-amp alternator, engine oil cooler, load leveling and height control suspension and a 730-amp maintenance-free battery. The rear cargo space is also fitted with a structural aluminum rear load floor that can be structured as a flat open surface for uninterrupted space, or a floor that is equipped with three exclusive storage bins with floor-in tie-downs.
“We see growth in the Class 1 light commercial vehicle market,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO – Ram Truck Brand and Lead Executive for U.S. Sales, Chrysler Group LLC. “With its class-leading capability and a lower total cost of ownership, the highly versatile Ram Cargo Van is a great vehicle choice for small businesses and commercial fleets.”
As of yet there is no pricing announced, but we do know that the 2012 Ram Cargo Van will go on sale third quarter 2011. Seriously, it looks as though Ram got this one right.