When Chrysler created the minivan market with their 1st Generation Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager, they had no idea that their minivan would later become the 10th most widely-recognized product trademark around the globe. While many things contributed to the minivan’s enormous success, a strong selling point was the variety of options and configurations.
Chrysler offered several different option packages and trim levels that allowed customers to create a van perfectly suited to their lifestyle AND their wallet. The obvious advantage being, there was a model for almost every conceivable buyer. By 1998, Chrysler offered over 23 different models of its minivan between the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country. With so many to choose from, it’s no wonder they became the best-selling minivan in America- selling over 3 million between 1996-2000 alone!
While traditionally known for family transportation, Chrysler has offered a cargo version of its minivan since the beginning. Although they’ve always been modified Dodge Caravans, the cargo vans have been marketed as the Dodge Ram van in the early 1980s, the Dodge Caravan C/V in the 1990s-2000’s, and now for 2012, the Ram Cargo Van.
By positioning the latest version of the cargo minivan under the Ram brand, it strengthens the new brand’s image of commercial-duty duty vehicles, allowing Dodge to focus on offering middle-class passenger vehicles.
For 2011, the fifth-generation Chrysler minivans saw a 2nd edition re-fit with significant improvements in the areas of material quality, interior design and performance. With minor changes to the exterior, the real improvements lie under the hood and inside the cabin.
Chrysler’s famed 3.3/3.8 liter V6 engines, used to power its minivans for 27 years, finally made it’s way into the history books in favor of the new 3.6 liter “Pentastar” engine now standard across all minivans, and many other Chrysler Group offerings. Offering increased fuel economy and best-in-class performance, the Pentastar breathes new life into what was previously a very sluggish generation of vans. In tandem with the 20-gallon fuel tank, the Cargo Van gets an estimated 25 miles per gallon highway (empty), giving the vehicle a healthy range per tank.
The Ram cargo van continues to follow the style of its predecessors by being a Caravan without the rear seats and windows (although windows are optional). While cargo vans have never been known to have anything but the most basic features, the Ram Cargo Van has a litany of creature comforts more commonly found on its people-carrier siblings. AN engine block heater, touch screen media center, navigation system, back up camera, theft deterrent alarm, satellite radio and Bluetooth are just some of the items that are on the options list for creature comforts. The van even comes with power locks, cruise control, tilt wheel and power front windows.
The streamlined rear cabin of the cargo van boasts 144.4 cubic feet of cargo space according to the folks at Ram and it can carry up to 1,800 lbs of cargo or tow a 3,600 lbs trailer.
Eager buyers for the Ram Cargo Van should expect it to hit dealers this fall.