Professional-Grade Green? 2012 Dodge Ram Cargo

I assure you, the new 2012 Ram Cargo minivan is green-car news – but (either because nobody’s noticed or because Chrysler’s pr-team was too busy dropping F-bombs to effectively push that angle) it’s not being presented as green car news.  Before we get to that, however, let’s look at the van as it is being presented:  as a capable, cost-effective alternative to the full-size, body-on-frame vans available from Ford and GM.

This cargo-version of ChryCo’s minivan features a flat load floor , heavy-duty suspension, and beefed-up radiator – as well as panels instead of windows for added security and reduced manufacturing cost.  The van also makes use of the new “Pentastar” V6, good for over 280 hp and over 25 mpg – which is sure to make fleet managers, used to the 20-or-less mpg offered by the Chevy Express‘ V6, for example.

That Pentastar V6, though, is where things start to get interesting.  What if, for example, you’re a fleet manager who happens to want a more ecologically-responsible fleet?  Sure, the Chevy Express is available as a CNG-vehicle from GM, but that van carries a heavy up-front price premium.

What if you’re a fleet manager that happens to believe in E85?  Neither the V6-equipped Chevy Express or the Ram Cargo’s nearest competitor, the smaller-but-also-25 mpg Ford Transit Connect, are flex-fuel capable.  The Ram Cargo Van’s Pentastar V6, on the other hand, is ready to run on E85, as equipped from the factory, fresh off the dealer’s floor, standard.

That flexibility and the ability to insulate, if only slightly, fleet expenses from wildly fluctuating oil prices, coupled with the Ram Cargo’s better-than-Ford towing and payload and better-than-Chevy mileage, should make this one an “easy sell” for the local Dodge store.



Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.