Chrysler turns minivan into Ram Cargo VanS

With Dodge Ram unveiling its new Cargo Van, the competition among fuel-efficient light commercial trucks is becoming the March Madness of the auto industry, only with less cursing and fewer Jello shots. And no one has to pronounce "Valparaiso."

Dodge is aiming straight at the Ford Transit Connect with its new Cargo Van, a stripped-out, panel version of the Grand Caravan. The new van gets a beefed up load floor, with 1,800-lb. cargo payload and 3,600 lbs of towing capacity. It also gets a heavy-duty load-leveling suspension, radiator and transmission oil cooler, along with hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion steering, front anti-sway bar and rear twist-beam axle with coil springs. That all adds up to a maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 8,750 lbs. That means something to the commercial guys.

It naturally gets Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 producing 283hp and 260 lb./ft., with a driver-selectable "fuel economizer mode" that adjusts the autobox's shift map. You can have it in any color as long as it's silver, black, white or blue. Because Dodge no longer makes trucks, it'll be marketed as the Ram Cargo Van alongside the Ram Ram 1500.