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2012 Ram C/V Overview
After years of struggling to make the best of both worlds, Dodge finally gave up its Grand Caravan C/V cargo van to Ram for 2012. Leaving the original minivan to carry the 7-passenger torch with Dodge, Ram then proceeded to make this new non-Grand-Caravan 2012 C/V a full-fledged professional hauler. Updating its suspension, chassis and mechanicals for heavier duties, Ram otherwise kept the Dodge pretty well intact.
This first-generation workhorse built from a fifth-generation minivan pioneer holds firm on its roots for 2012, maintaining the same dimensions, style, materials, drivetrain, power ratings and economy estimates despite its new 3,600-pound towing and 1,800-pound payload capacities under the Ram banner. That means the naturally aspirated 283-hp and 260-lb-ft/torque 3.6-liter V6 carries over, still pushing all that power to the front wheels only with the reportedly unchanged 6-speed automatic transmission directing it all. Those especially familiar with the Dodge could read that as a bad thing, but all reviews to date say the Ram feels like a hauling minivan should. That said, test-drive and research yours thoroughly; there could be a known issue still without a customer-centric fix, but obviously not all of these issues will affect all owners.
Overall the Ram C/V gains a competitive edge over not just the Dodge edition by vastly improving weight capacities while keeping the fifth-generation Dodge improvements. That and figures like 8.3 seconds to 60 mph and 17 mpg city/25 highway certainly don't hurt either. Gaining just shy of 1 inch in the cargo hold, its 144.4-cubic-foot cavern together with a 39-foot turning circle, dual side-sliding doors, rear liftgate and massive array of human-centric features and options already add up to one remarkably driver-familiar companion for just about any shipment. Being capable of heavier hauls than Ford's Transit Connect while lacking the high-roof and drivetrain complications of Nissan's NV and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo, not to forget nearly 300 horses to make for a great highway hauling experience only further add to the C/V's distinction in the medium to small business arena.
Approachable is definitely a key word for the C/V, but at the same time that "C" stands for cargo—not "comfort," nor "conversions," but also not "costly." Although nobody over 5-and-a-half-feet tall can stand upright inside the C/V's body, minivans are remarkably simple to load and unload quickly with your feet square on the ground. Windowed or solid doors are both available, and standard features include far more considerations for comfort than any other cargo van, but some drivers do say there's one other thing that "C" could represent, even despite the fifth-gen materials improvements: "cheap."
Nevertheless, the C/V's feature list leads its class with 2 (optionally 4) speakers with its audio system offering an auxiliary jack and CD player by default, also including all the expected amenities alongside things like dual-zone air conditioning, heated side mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view, keyless entry and rubber floor covering without extra cost. As for options, unless you're in the music industry, the "V for versatility" is more into play, with options like a sound system upgrade including hard-drive storage and a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, but the sometimes-necessary steering-wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and also-optional Uconnect voice command system are a few of the more enjoyable tax-deductible extras, but available conversions are pretty much limited to a few cargo dividers.
by Patricia Mayo
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