Archive for the ‘9-speed transmission’ Tag

Ram ProMaster City

With the 2015 ProMaster City, Ram will finally have a small cargo van designed for commercial use — something that’s been missing since the A-vans were dropped. Dodge and Ram have been selling a “cargo-ized” version of the minivans, but it was designed primarily for passengers and never took off among commercial buyers.

With power coming from a four-cylinder Chrysler engine, hooked up to a Chrysler-made, ZF nine-speed transmission, Ram claims best-in-class combined gas mileage, a 1,883 pound payload, and 132 cubic feet of cargo volume. The van is based on the new Fiat Doblò XL, an expanded version of the popular-in-Europe Doblò van.

Made in a two-seat cargo van or a five-passenger wagon (like the original Caravan), the ProMaster City has 48.4 inches of space between its wheel-wells, which, with an 87-inch cargo length, lets buyers easily load in pallets and such; the class-exclusive extra 0.4 inches help with loading and unloading.

Above the wheel wells, the ProMaster City has a best-in-class width of 60.4 inches and an interior roof height of 51.8 inches, for best-in-class volume of 131.7 cubic feet (cargo van). The sides are upfitter-friendly, to help buyers add shelves or storage racks. The roof is prepped for load rails or roof racks, with a weight capacity of 154 pounds.

The cargo van’s 87.2 inch long floor has six standard D-ring tie downs (the wagon has four) and an optional flush-fit, non-slip vinyl mat. The sliding doors latch in the open position, and have a 26-inch opening.

With the seats in place, the five-passenger ProMaster City Wagon has close to four feet of cargo length to the rear doors; with seats folded and tumbled, the wagon has nearly six feet of cargo length.

The rear has 60/40 split swing doors; the larger door swings open toward the traffic (driver) side of the van, making it easy to quickly access larger cargo items without blocking the path to the curb. Both rear doors swing open 90 degrees; with the press of a button, they can open to 180 degrees.



Powertrain: Tigershark Engine and 9-Speed Transmission

Ram claims that the 2015 Ram ProMaster City’s power, torque, fuel economy, and performance will “trump any competitor’s standard-equipment package.”

ram promaster engineThe ProMaster City is the first commercial van with a nine-speed automatic; the standard “948TE” has a wide gear ratio spread and 3.73:1 final-drive ratio. Its 4.70 first-gear ratio delivers 0-to-30 mph acceleration in 3.7 seconds and 0-to-60 mph in 9.8 seconds (estimated). Even without the wide range and nine gears, the fast-shifting nine-speed’s efficient design would make it a worthy choice.

The 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine generates best-in-class 178 horsepower at 6,250 rpm, with peak torque (174 lb.-ft. at 3,900 rpm) greater than any standard engine in the segment and close to Ford’s optional turbocharged engine.

For durability, the engine has a forged steel crankshaft with 53 mm pin diameters, two-bolt main bearing caps, a cast-iron bearing beam to reduce flexing, piston oil squirters to prevent hot spots, powder-forged steel rods, and the ability to cross 12 inches of standing water (slowly) to prevent damage during sudden downpours. To increase efficiency, the engine has MultiAir 2, an electro-hydraulic valve lift and timing system that adjusts each cylinder individually.

Both the ProMaster City and Ram 1500 have variable a/c compressors, “smart alternators,” and pulse-width modulated (PWM) fuel pumps that operate on demand, cutting parasitic demand. The 160-amp “smart alternators” use moments of deceleration or braking to run the alternator at capacity, cutting the load during acceleration and improving fuel mileage.

Using front wheel drive cuts weight and the number of parts, provides more predictable emergency and low-traction handling, and eliminates the prop-shaft tunnel to allow a low, flat floor.



Compact Van Engineering: Body and Brakes

Ram tested the best-selling Doblò for severe-duty use, from the blazing desert heat of Las Vegas to frigid Northern Michigan, from traffic in Los Angeles to mountain roads in Colorado. Key Ram changes include:

-Raising the ride height by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches), to manage the greater vertical loads of bad roads.
-Upgrading chassis components and anchor points for durability.
-Widening the engine box and front track to fit the bigger engine and the nine-speed transmission.
-Strengthening body structures to comply with safety rules.
-Using tires rated to handle higher weights.

The floor pan, cross members, side panels, and (fully boxed) frame rails are welded together for higher structural rigidity, cutting noise and vibration, and allowing better handling; unibody construction reduces weight.

The 12-inch front disc brakes include pad wear sensors; a larger pad-to-disc swept area, combined with thicker linings (compared with competitors) increase durability. The rear 10-inch drum brakes also have thicker long-wear linings.



ProMaster City suspension and steering

The Ram ProMaster City’s MacPherson strut suspension was retuned for rougher North American roads, includes large-diameter shock absorbers, steel springs and a solid stabilizer bar. Stamped steel clamshell control arms are strong and weight efficient. The front suspension components are specifically tuned to handle the ProMaster City’s class-leading payload capacity. An optional package provides a 2,000 pound towing capacity.

While most Class 1 vans including the old Ram C/V use rear leaf springs, Ram ProMaster City has an independent, bi-link rear suspension to increase comfort, stability, and safety under all loads, while enabling the van’s low 21.5-inch step-in height.

The hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion steering system is connected to a standard tilt and telescoping steering column.

Safety devices



A four-channel electronic stability control (ESC) is standard and includes antilock brakes. The setup uses the steering wheel angle sensor to minimize yaw, and has a brake-lock differential for side to side pressure control and sway control; integrated traction control; rollover prevention; and trailer sway control.

On low traction surfaces, there can be a difference in wheel speeds when the driver lifts off the throttle. Engine drag control senses that difference and sends more torque to the driven wheels to keep them at the same relative speed as the rear wheels to boost vehicle stability.

Using brake pedal sensing and the steering angle sensor, the ProMaster City also senses emergency braking and automatically lights and flashes the tail lamps to alert other drivers.

The van also has brake assist (to engage full braking earlier); and hill-start assist, which holds the van in place for up to two seconds after the brake is released on a hill.

Finally, an optional rear camera and backup alarm can prevent drivers from hitting pedestrians or other vehicles.

Design



Although the cargo area is carry-over from the Fiat Doblò, from the front door cut forward, the Ram ProMaster City is new. Badges are large, chrome-finished, and three-dimensional. The driver can easily see the front corners, while cladding on the side and rear protect the body from knee-level bumps. Doors are durable yet lightweight, with handles designed for easy gripping with gloves. Optional oversized power side mirrors have adjustable wide-angle sections; the standard, segment-exclusive marker lights light dark areas on the side of the van when working from either side.

Step-in heights at the side (18.8 inches) and rear of the vehicle are among the lowest in their class at 21.5 inches. Key fobs have three buttons, for locking all doors, unlocking all doors, or unlocking just the cargo doors.

On the Tradesman, the bumpers and grille are black, with molded-in color to look the same even after being scratched. The SLT Wagon has body-colored bumpers, fog lamps, lower black molded-in-color trim at potential contact locations, optional body-color exterior mirrors, and a silver grille.

To cover both commercial and personal transport, there are three different 16” wheels. Tradesman has “revolver-hole silver” or black with a silver full-face cover steel wheels; SLT has the latter, with an optional aluminum wheel.

Three different window options are available on both trim levels. One has sheet metal everywhere but the front doors and windshield; one adds glass to both rear doors; and the third adds two side windows for passengers.

Colors include white, bright red, black metallic, silver metallic, deep red metallic, “blue night” metallic, gray metallic, “broom yellow” (fleets only), and brown (fleets only).

The wind tunnel helped optimize the mirror design, underbody aero shields, and spoilers to cut wind resistance, reducing noise and raising efficiency. The tires have low rolling resistance; 215/55R16XL tires have higher inflation pressures to handle larger loads; wheels are steel, for impact resistance, on Tradesman and SLT, with optional aluminum wheels on SLT.

Ram ProMaster City interiors



Two seating insert materials are used, with different patterns and feels. The seats have ergonomic padding and many adjustments, including heat; the durable fabric is trench -seamed and designed to be easy to clean and long lasting. One interior is black with gray accents; a carpeted floor is standard.

There are nine forward storage compartments, including overhead storage. Available in urethane or optional leather-wrap, the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel’s horizontal spokes can be fitted with optional controls for operating cruise and audio controls.

Ram claims to have made major gains in climate control and interior lighting; the elliptical main cluster, placed under an antiglare dome, is designed to reading under all lighting conditions. Amber backlighting prevents the loss of night vision. The gauge cluster includes temperature, speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauges, with a trip computer including a clock, odometer, and trip odometer.

The shifter is in the center console; a secondary console contains two cupholders and two 12V power outlets.

The Ram ProMaster City HVAC system was retuned for the North Americans, with easily operated heat and air conditioning controls that were designed for use with gloves. The oversized handle on the driver-side door panel also enables easy opening with gloves; a large storage compartment at the forward base of the door.

The cargo compartment has acoustic-backed side wall and rear door moldings, and vertical mount locations for flexible up-fit capability. Optional partitions (with a window option) provide protection against load shifts. A high roof makes it easier to work in the cargo area. Wagons get four tie-down rings, a full length headliner and carpet, panel moldings over the rear of the cargo area, and more storage trays at seated shoulder level with retractable covers.

The base radio is a four-speaker AM/FM setup with a monochrome display; tweeters are in the pillars and mid-range speakers are in the front doors). The optional UConnect 5.0 system has a handsfree text-reply setup and hands-free calling, with a full-color five inch touch-screen aiding the navigation system and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A USB port on the dash is for recharging, while a second port is used to play music from thumb drives. U.S. buyers can use the system as a mobile Internet hotspot.

Mopar claims to be selling towing accessories, roof racks and carriers, customizable graphics packages, theft tracking, a roadside safety kit, tool bags and totes, canvas seat-covers, cargo mats, standard floor mats, and slush mats.



Where ProMaster City Is Built

The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be built by TOFAS in Bursa, Turkey, at a 3.6-million squar foot (84 acre) WCM Gold plant, alongside the Fiat Doblò.



How far off were we?

Before the ProMaster City’s official launch, we said that it would be imported from Turkey, with an American powerplant — this was correct. We implied there was a chance it might be built elsewhere, because the Turkish joint venture company said they could not make it with modifications for the US — we were wrong. We predicted fold and flip seats, and thought that the British “XL” model would be sold here either as the standard model (it is) or as an option.

Our rendering was pretty far from the mark, though some may find it more pleasing.

The dashboard seen in our spy shots (well, KGP’s spy shots) turned out to be different in appearance, though not in content, from what we got here.

As read on: https://www.allpar.com/trucks/ram/ProMaster-city.html

The new 2015 Chrysler 200 in Review

Some of the exterior design cues can be compared to some other cars from around the industry, but there is no question that this new car is good looking on the outside, while the cabin is on par with some of the biggest names in the luxury world. While few would call the old Sebring a luxury car, it is impossible to call the 2015 Chrysler 200 anything but a luxury sedan based on the interior spread; the exterior is more arguably that of a luxury sedan.

A proper luxury car needs to pack impressive performance and driving technologies, to give it a smooth ride and spirited handling. When I was able to spend a few hours behind the wheel of two new 200 sedans, I went through a wide variety of driving situations, from highway driving to tight country roads, to experience the ride quality, handling, and the incredible acceleration of the Pentastar V6.

The first 2015 Chrysler 200 which I spent driving was a 200C with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated to the new 9-speed automatic transmission and an advanced all wheel drive system. The 2015 200 is the only car in the segment with a 9-speed transmission, and with 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the V6 200 is the most powerful car in its segment.

The engine’s power only takes a few seconds to realize and appreciate, as the throttle response is quick and precise, allowing the 200 to really rocket away from a stop. Thanks to the advanced all wheel drive system that puts as much as 60% of the power to the rear wheels, you can launch the new Chrysler 200 very hard, and the car does nothing but respond with a smile. This AWD system really allows you to use all 295 horsepower to its fullest, and that rear power shift gives the 200 a rear-drive feel similar to the bigger brother – the Hemi powered Chrysler 300. While the Pentastar V6 doesn’t offer the same V8 growl of the Hemi, this powerful V6 has an awesome sound under hard throttle.

Not surprisingly, the 2015 Chrysler 200 V6 AWD offers just as impressive acceleration when cruising down the highway as it does when launching from a stop light. The Pentastar V6 is whisper quiet when cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour in 9th gear, but when you put the hammer down, the transmission quickly pops down several gears and all 295 horsepower are channeled to all four wheels with a hearty roar. With incredible urgency, the new 200 will rip up past the century mark without any hesitation and for those drivers with a real need for speed – the new 200 feels very calm, confident and comfortable when traveling at very high speeds.

The 200 is so calm and quiet that it is one of those cars that can suddenly catch you off guard in terms of the speed at which you are driving. It doesn’t take much effort by the Pentastar V6 to push the new 200 well beyond the speed limit; it has no problem keeping up with even the fastest moving traffic.

Bolstering the performance of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is the new 9-speed automatic transmission, with the steep lower gears helping to provide serious acceleration. Many people have voiced their concerns about a 9-speed transmission being too busy, but the shifts are quick and smooth enough that you really don’t think about it shifting so many times. When you are leaving a stop in a hurry, the shifts from 1st and 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th are distinct as the car shifts hard to improve performance. However, the numerically higher gears hardly draw any attention when it is moving between gears – particularly the 7th, 8th and 9th gears when traveling at highway speeds.

Unless you are paying attention, specifically looking to notice the shifts, the fact that this car features a 9-speed transmission will go unnoticed by most drivers and passengers. There is really no downside to the new 9-speed transmission as it affords the new 200 strong low and mid range acceleration while still allowing the 3.6L V6 to run at very low RPMs on the highway – making this new sedan incredibly efficient on the highway.

When cruising, the all wheel drive system stops sending power to the rear wheels for even better mileage. I was unable to measure the fuel economy during my few hours of drive time, but the on board information system indicated that I was getting better than 30mpg on the highway under normal driving circumstances. There are no official figures yet, but Chrysler expects around 31mpg on the highway for a properly equipped 2015 200 and based on what I saw, I believe that owners will be able to eclipse 30mpg even with the V6 AWD models. (The Chrysler 300C V6, which is heavier and less aerodynamically efficient, is rated at 31 mpg on the highway.)

Those 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 and 200S drivers who want a more engaging and more spirited drive will also benefit from a new Sport Mode. With the push of a button, the steering system tightens up and becomes more precise, the throttle responses increases noticeably, the 9-speed transmission adjusts shift points to improve performance and the all wheel drive system adjusts the power distribution – all of which work together to really bring out the “driver’s car” aspects of the new 200.

In normal driving mode, the 200 offers a good driving feel through the steering wheel, but in Sport Mode, the steering has less power assist and gives the driver a much more direct feel for the road. Sport Mode shifts are a bit stiffer and the lower gears are stretched out a bit; but not to the point of being too hard. The throttle response is acute in normal drive mode but in Sport Mode, there is little hesitation from the point when you put the pedal down to the point when the 200 has shoved you back in the plush sport seats. When combined with the altered shift schedule of the Sport Mode, the throttle response provides instant-on power at any speed while the Sport Mode AWD shift provides the rear wheel drive feel that I love – with the positive traction attributes of a high tech AWD system. I spent the vast majority of my drive time in Sport Mode and were this to be my daily driver, Sport Mode would become my norm. It is one of the most advanced Sport Mode setups in the industry and that shows on the road.

So the 2015 Chrysler 200 has gobs of power for a midsized sedan, a new 9-speed transmission that improves efficiency and acceleration and an advanced all wheel drive system that offers incredible power distribution characteristics – but what about the ride and handling?

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has a sport tuned suspension that makes the car a ton of fun to drive on twisty roads, but the engineers were able to achieve these drive characteristics without hurting the ride quality. Many vehicles with sport tuned suspension systems – even those in the high end luxury world – have a rigid ride that is stiffer than some luxury car buyers want. Over the past decade, there has been a clear shift from the luxury car that feels like you are always floating along the road to something with a great deal more road feel, but some automakers take that to an extreme.

The new 200 handles beautifully through tight, twisty turns and on the long, sweeping turns of the highway at much higher speeds. In some of the most demanding back roads with lots of hard, lower speed turns, I felt comfortable pushing the 200 harder through the turns, something that I cannot say about many cars in the midsized sedan segment. You can throw the new 200 into a tight turn and with the help of the all wheel drive, the sporty new Chrysler will power through the corner with just a touch of understeer when you push the 200 a touch too far. Fortunately, even when you push the 200 beyond its comfortable realms of performance, it is very easily to pull right back into shape. More importantly to some, the 200C rides like a dream on the open road even in areas with less than impressive road surface qualities. You can feel the roughness in the road a bit through the steering but the driver and passengers will not notice the vast majority of bumps on the highway.

After spending a couple of hours driving the 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD, I swapped to a new 200S with the Pentastar V6 and front wheel drive. The ride quality between the two was nearly identical, with the biggest difference coming on hard launches. While the AWD 200C effortlessly ripped away from a stop, the FWD models like to spin those tires a bit before gripping and driving away. You don’t get the rear-drive feel without the AWD setup, both during hard acceleration or under hard cornering.

The FWD 200 tended to understeer a touch when pushed hard, but in normal driving situations on a 70 degree day, the difference between the FWD and AWD 2015 200 was hardly noticeable. I would go so far as to say that unless it was raining hard or snowing, most drivers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two different drivetrain layouts unless they were launching hard enough to spin the tires…which isn’t a normal driving situation for most people. This is a good thing, as many front wheel drive cars which also come in all wheel drive feel heavier and a little more sluggish, but Chrysler did a good job of providing both FWD and AWD 200 sedans the same great driving characteristics shy of the obvious upsides to all wheel drive.

The 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD is a car that people who love to drive, will love to drive. The new 200 looks like a luxury car on the outside and it feels like a luxury car on the inside. Best of all, the new 200 has the types of power and performance that you would expect from a modern midsized luxury sedan while still being remarkably efficient. Due to the low price of the new 200, starting in the low 20s and extending up into the low 30s, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is compared to vehicles like the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Accord but smart shoppers will find that this car is so well appointed inside and out that it is better compared to vehicles from the likes of Lexus, Acura and maybe even Audi.

If you like how the 2015 Chrysler 200 looks inside and out – go drive one once they hit dealerships. My guess is that anyone who enjoys driving will instantly fall in love with the new 200 just like I did.
Coming up in the next

Original is at 2015 Chrysler 200 test drive / review http://www.allpar.com/reviews/15/200.html#ixzz2wR2YLgkM
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