Fiat-owned Chrysler may unlock cache of small displacement engines

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Updated Jan 13, 2014

In early December, Ram announced plans to launch a new small commercial van – The ProMaster City.

Details at the time were minimal, other than it would be loosely based on the Fiat Doblo.

Since that announcement, Fiat has swallowed what parts of Chrysler it didn’t already own, and the soon-to-be-fully-merged-company is likely to (eventually) bring ashore the high-power small-displacement engine the States have been clamoring for. 

While taking some of its designs cues from a global vehicle, Ram says its ProMaster City will feature familiar Ram Truck styling and powertrains preferred by North American commercial customers. Now that the Ram/Fiat partnership has become more like a marriage, it’s only a matter of time before the best parts of the company’s product suite go global. 

European Doblos can be spec’d with one of five engines, with diesel options ranging from a 90-hp, 1.3-liter, turbo-charged I4 to a 135-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I4. There’s also two gasoline-powered 1.4 liter options with an inline-four that kicks out around 95-hp.

Selling the American public on a small van that gets less than 100 horsepower will be an uphill climb, but the company’s 1.4-liter Turbo T-Jet engine could be an option and, at roughly 130-hp, it has more than enough punch for a small rural delivery fleet. Throw in fuel economy in the high 30 mpg range, and Ram could be on to something. 

Ram says its 3.0-liter inline 4-cylinder EcoDiesel will power its full-sized ProMaster, but there’s been no announcement on which power-plant will be tabbed for the smaller City. 

Only time will tell what may emerge from what is expected to become the world’s seventh-largest auto group, but don’t bet on Ram to take only design cues from Fiat for much longer.