Originally Posted by RKM
May I ask what criteria you used to make your decision? ...and how that criteria led you to decide on the Promaster platform?
Never been asked this, hopefully my answer will be helpful.
All three Euro style vans sold in the US were considered.
When I first saw the Promaster a few years ago, was not impressed with looks and specially being a front wheel drive cargo van. Am very biased and still think autos should be pushed from behind and not pulled.
Another bias I have is appreciating German engineering and build. So the Sprinted instantly floated to top of list. Yes I know it cost more. I still think the Sprinter chassis, exterior and interior styling best of all three vans.
Yes am aware of the Sprinters' body rusting issues along with other issues I read about on the Sprinter forum. A big negative were stories I read regarding dealership issues and cost to maintain. The stake through the heart was the diesel engine. I now see they will soon be offering a gasoline engine. Nice.
I love diesel engines and think Mercedes makes great ones that last forever. Thanks to regulations all US automotive diesel are under attack and unfortunately what was a wonderful automotive power source became problematic. Glad I had diesel cars years ago and was looking forward to more until the EPA swooped in.
We did not care for the tight cab in the Transit. A very nice van but wife did not like its styling.
The Promaster, a re-badged Fiat Ducato, had characteristics the other two did not.
1. Cost less and had excellent factory incentives.
2. Is wider than competition which made a hugh difference when looking to maximize limited floor space.
3. All Fiat-Chrysler dealers and independents are familiar with the Promasters' Pentstar gas V6 and transmission as it's the backbone of all non V8 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep autos, SUVs and pickup trucks. I had this engine in my RAM pick up truck. Replacements are plentiful, new and used, and cheap.
Thanks to front wheel drive:
4. Floor height is about six inches lower.
5. Turning circle is awesome.
6. Road grip excellent when driving in bad weather, rain and snow due to power train weight over front driving wheels. It encroaches 4WD performance.
7. Body is covered with rust prevention coating.
Does the Promaster have it's quirks, yes it does - after all its a Fiat, don't ask how I know. I have no doubt the other two vans have theirs as well only different.
If my Promaster disappeared tomorrow, I would purchase another to replace it. Having said that, I would consider the Sprinter if it was offered with front wheel drive, a small gasoline engine and stretched wider so as to sleep crosswise.
Driving position is good. A little VW bus like but that's ok. It does not handle like a Porsche but appreciate it is our home on the road for months at a time and no performance car can match that.