2022 Ram ProMaster First Look: Better Inside, Not Out

The 2022 Ram ProMaster doesn’t reinvent the van segment, but it definitely elevates Ram’s Class 2 full-size 1500, 2500, and 3500 vans to the highest level of van-ability yet. Vans, perceived as commercial work rigs, have generally been characterized by utilitarian interiors, lagging technology, and lackluster style—perceptions which Ram at least attempts to change with its 2022 ProMaster.

While we understand there’ll never be a ProMaster with a leather-filled interior like Ram 1500 truck or one with a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel pushing 420 hp and 1,075 lb-ft of torque like the Ram 3500 heavy-duty truck, any stab at filling in the gaps between the ProMaster van and Ram’s award-winning trucks is a worthy endeavor. Because, well, just look at the ProMaster—it’s a fairly unfortunate-looking thing.

More Gears Behind the Go

The 2022 Ram ProMaster van is again powered by the same 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 (with the same output rating) as the 2021 model. That means 280 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, even though the engine sees its compression ratio upped from 10.2:1 to 11.3:1. Unlike the Ford Transit van, which is rear-wheel-drive with an optional all-wheel-drive, the Ram ProMaster is front-wheel-drive.

The big drivetrain change comes in the form of a new transmission with three more gears. A 948TE TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the 62TE six-speed automatic transmission, and brings with it a lower final-drive ratio (4.08:1) than before (3.86:1). This transmission is new to the ProMaster, but it isn’t a new transmission in the Ram lineup; the smaller Ram ProMaster City has run this nine-speed behind the 178-hp, 174-lb-ft 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 since that smaller van’s inception for model-year 2015.

Drivers don’t need a physical key to start the 2022 Ram ProMaster anymore, as a push button starter (and keyless entry) has taken over those duties. There is also a push-button electric parking brake mounted on the dash that releases automatically when the driver has a fastened seatbelt and the vehicle starts to drive forward or backward. Electric rack-and-pinion power steering replaces the hydraulic system and allows for variable amounts of steering assistance, while likely improving fuel economy by eliminating the power steering pump.

Bigger Screens Modernize the Inside

The interior of the 2022 Ram ProMaster is leaps and bounds above the outgoing model. It’s been modernized in all the right ways, and a side-by-side comparison shows there isn’t really a comparison at all—besides the fact that the gear shifter is still mounted on the right side of the dash’s center stack. The chunky trio of outdated air conditioning control knobs have been replaced by a sleek, modern panel with digitized elements and buttons. Two radio push/twist knobs fill in the space directly above this new HVAC panel, surrounding a front-and-center Ram logo.

The small 5.0-inch screen running Ram’s older Uconnect 3 system that used to be surrounded by the radio knobs and a variety of other buttons has been replaced by a big, sleek 7.0-inch screen with Uconnect 5. An optional 10-inch, tablet-like touchscreen is the glowing centerpiece of the center stack, propelling the interior into the realm of modernity. Uconnect 5 allows for things like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; integrated Alexa In-Vehicle Assistant; SiriusXM 360L; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot; and simultaneous connectivity for two Bluetooth phones.

What the driver sees and touches will also be different for 2022. An optional 7.0-inch full-color driver information display in the instrument cluster (a 3.5-inch unit standard) is an incredible improvement upon the typewriter-esque digital readout it replaces. This reconfigurable instrument cluster displays speed, vehicle info, fuel economy, trip info, turn-by-turn navigation, and more, all controlled through steering-wheel-mounted buttons. Speaking of, the updated (optional leather-wrapped) steering wheel has been revamped to be less chunky in the middle and more sophisticated in its control buttons.

A cup holder high in the dash has been replaced by two USB ports (one fully functional, one charge-only) and two USB Type C ports for faster charging. A wireless cell phone vertical charging pad sits in front of the three cup holders near the center stack’s floor. The air vents flanking the center screen have been divided into four vents to allow for more adjustability.

More Safety and Technology Makes Work Easier

New standard and optional safety and driver-assist technology features finally catch Ram’s full-size van up to the regular car industry. There is Drowsiness Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, rear camera with dynamic gridlines, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, front parking sensors, automatic high-beams, cornering function and fog lights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Autonomous driving, anyone? Well, the Ram ProMaster doesn’t have it. But it does have a relatively advanced driver assist feature called Active Driving Assist consisting of Level 2 (hands-on-wheel and eyes-on-road) automated driving capability that uses lane centering with adaptive cruise control to “steer” in a freeway lane and manage braking and throttle.

Another cool feature is the 360-degree surround view camera that offers a bird’s-eye view. This is super helpful when it comes parking—or any time you need to “locate” the front and rear of the big van, which is all the time. The digital rearview mirror, introduced in 2021, returns in 2022 to also help with this task.

Haul More Friends with the ProMaster Crew Van Package

Sometimes seating for two or three in a cargo van’s front seat area just doesn’t cut it. The two-row Crew Van Package can carry up to three passengers in an elevated second row bench seat. This package, tailored to transporting both crew and cargo in one load, is available in six high roof cargo van models.

Other than the internal improvements and mechanical updates, the ProMaster still, unfortunately, looks like a ProMaster—which is to say, rather un-pretty. The van’s jutting lower bumper, weird-shaped headlights, and clunky detailing remain. But, hey, now the van is better to sit in and probably to drive than before, a boon for commercial customers and the working folks who will take the wheel day in and day out. And there’s more news on the horizon for the ProMaster! Ram has confirmed that a battery-electric ProMaster is coming in 2023. For now, though, the 2022 Ram ProMaster will be available in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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