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    Review: 2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo Van


    • The White Van From Italy*

       

      *By Way of Turkey.

    If you needed a cargo van in the past, you could only get one in either large and extra-large. There wasn’t really an option for something smaller, which left a number of business in a tough spot. They needed something that could carry deliveries or equipment, but be somewhat maneuverable and get decent gas mileage. Sure, some automakers offered a cargo version of their minivans. But they were not big sellers and some worried about the overall durability.

     

    In 2009, Ford introduced the Transit Connect to the U.S. marketplace. This small van was aimed at small businesses who needed something that delivered good gas mileage, but was still capable of holding a fair amount of cargo. The van became an instant hit not only with small business, but also large corporations who saw the Transit Connect as a way to lower their fuel bills for their fleet.

     

    Now other automakers are throwing their hat into the small cargo van ring to serve this audience. The most recent is Ram with the introduction of the ProMaster City. Based on the Fiat Doblo sold in Europe, Ram hopes the ProMaster City can give the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 a run for its money. We spent a week in a ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo to find out.

     

    The basic shape of Fiat Doblo is unchanged. Ram has made some changes such as front bumper with a crosshair grille, and lights that are DOT compliant. The ProMaster isn’t going to be taking home any awards for design, most business/commercial buyers won't care. They're just looking for a flat surface to paint a logo.

     

    2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo 4

    What they do care about is cargo space and that’s where the ProMaster City shines. Ram quotes total cargo space at 131.7 cubic feet which is larger than any other cargo van in the class, even the long-wheelbase Transit Connect. Other specs that make the ProMaster City perfect for cargo carrying duties include a low floor height (21.5 inches), wide cargo floor (60.4 inches and 48.4 inches at the wheel well), and payload capacity (1,886 lbs). The ProMaster also is very versatile thanks to split opening doors in the back, and sliding doors on either side. It was just the right vehicle for the week as the ProMaster was put on IKEA duty and easily swallowed the flat-pack furniture that we bought.

     


    Move up front and you’ll find a sparsely furnished interior with seating for two. Much of interior is carried over from Doblo. The only changes Ram made are a new steering wheel with audio controls and an AM/FM radio. Hard plastics line the dashboard and door panels, which should stand up to the hard work this van will be put through. Seats provided decent comfort and support. Our only complaint is with the adjustment knob for the seat. It's too far back to reach easily and the narrow space between the knob and door pillar makes adjusting the seat a pain.

     

    Our ProMaster City tester came equipped with the optional Uconnect 5.0 system with a backup camera. This system offers AM/FM/Bluetooth/USB/Aux and a trip computer. The system is very easy to use with large touchpoints, quick performance, and redundant buttons around the screen. The backup camera is a godsend as the rear windows in the ProMaster City Cargo are covered. The camera makes it easy to backup into tight spaces or when you are pulling out from a parking space.

     

    For power, Ram called in the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir inline-four with 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque (available at 3,800 rpm). This is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The inline-four does feel torquey and willing to get up to city speed limits in a flash. Anything above that and the ProMaster City feels slow. Ram quotes a 0-60 MPH time of under ten seconds and it feels like it. The nine-speed automatic has been improving with every Chrysler vehicle that we have driven. The transmission smoothly transitions from gear to gear is willing to downshift when needed. Still, we weren’t able to get the vehicle into the mythical ninth-gear in our testing. Even doing an 80-Mile round trip on the freeway, we found the transmission would only go into eighth gear.

     


    2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo 11


     

    The EPA rates the ProMaster City fuel economy at 21 City/29 Highway/24 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 22 MPG in mostly city driving.

     

    Ram made a number of changes to the suspension to get the ProMaster City ready for the U.S. Including raising the ride height and changing a number of components. It has paid off as the van provided a smooth ride even over some of the roughest roads. The ProMaster City also has one of the tightest turning circles of 32 feet, perfect for urban environments. However, the ProMaster isn’t what you would call fun to drive. There is an abundance of body roll when cornering, due to van’s height’s exceeding its width. Also, the steering a bit rubbery when you turn the wheel. This is pretty much expected for the class. Again, this isn’t a priority for most buyers.

     

    While Ram is late to small van party, it has very capable van in the form of the ProMaster City. It offers a number of best-in class figures, a comfortable ride, and decent performance. Paired with a lot of features for the price, the ProMaster City will give buyers what they want in a small van at a surprising price. Considering Ram has moved 8,113 ProMaster Cities through November, buyers seem to agree.

     

    Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the ProMaster City, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Ram Trucks
    Model: ProMaster City
    Trim: Tradesman Cargo
    Engine: 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir Inline-Four
    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Nine-Speed Automatic
    Horsepower @ RPM: 178 @ 6,400
    Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 3,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/29/24
    Curb Weight: 3,512 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Bursa, Turkey
    Base Price: $24,130
    As Tested Price: $25,475 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Tradesman Cargo Van Package 24C - (-$1,000)
    Rear Back-Up Camera Group - $565.00
    UConnect 5.0 AM/FM/BT - $495.00
    Speed Control - $225.00
    Front Carpet Floor Mats by Mopar - $65.00

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    WOW, another butt ugly euro van. What is up with bringing in Euro designed and built butt ugly vans. I am impressed with the interior space for a small mini van but why could they not give it a better nose than one that looks pinched at the A pillar. I know it is just paint but it really is distracting.

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    WOW, another butt ugly euro van. What is up with bringing in Euro designed and built butt ugly vans. I am impressed with the interior space for a small mini van but why could they not give it a better nose than one that looks pinched at the A pillar. I know it is just pain but it really is distracting.

    You do realize styling is the last thing many buyers care about with a utility van, right?

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    I think that this Euro Van is the looker from all of them.

    It has cute little front fender bulges that stylize well and integrate perfectly with the headlight design. My only concern is that maybe its too cute for a very masculine plumber or electrician but perfect for a florist....

     

    If I had a small business that needed a small cargo van, I think Id go with it...

    2015-ram-promaster-city-cargo-van-475-p1

     

    And with matching body coloured bumpers, it looks even better.

    The Ford Transit Connect  is a close second for me.

     

    But...I too, am fed up with the Euro vans and their crappy styling.

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    WOW, another butt ugly euro van. What is up with bringing in Euro designed and built butt ugly vans. I am impressed with the interior space for a small mini van but why could they not give it a better nose than one that looks pinched at the A pillar. I know it is just pain but it really is distracting.

    You do realize styling is the last thing many buyers care about with a utility van, right?

     

    But, if all else is equal everybody would lean towards the better looking vehicle. Might as well at least attempt to not make it look like hell. 

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    Agreed.  Nissan/Chevy look like a square-toed shoe, in extra-narrow width.  The Ram is between those uglies and the Transit Connect, looks-wise.  And I agree, if the price and cost to own are similar, it is better for a business image to have a good looking van to represent them.

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    I see a lot of these as postal delivery vehicles. Reminds me of bread vans actually.

     

    A cost-effective hybrid system, even a mild hybrid system might be a boon for city use of these vans. But fuel prices gotta cooperate with anything like that.

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    i've configged a few passenger transit connects before.  I liken them to an Escape alternative.  And, they are pretty huge inside for their footprint on the outside.

     

    I think mfrs could diversify these boxes for passenger use a bit more.  Maybe this would be the next segment to get mass customized......

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      U.S. Sales Summary January 2017
                          Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
        Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
        Compass
      3,164
      6,271
      -50%
      3,164
      6,271
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      8,584
      -45%
      4,700
      8,584
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      10,987
      3%
      11,334
      10,987
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      16,783
      -25%
      12,551
      16,783
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      13,975
      24%
      17,301
      13,975
      24%
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      6,167
      52%
      9,365
      6,167
      52%
        JEEP BRAND
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      62,767
      -7%
      58,415
      62,767
      -7%
        200
      1,861
      4,685
      -60%
      1,861
      4,685
      -60%
        300
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      5,665
      -17%
      4,708
      5,665
      -17%
        Town & Country
      138
      11,383
      -99%
      138
      11,383
      -99%
        Pacifica
      6,670
      39
      New
      6,670
      39
      New
        CHRYSLER BRAND
      13,377
      21,772
      -39%
      13,377
      21,772
      -39%
        Dart
      1,397
      5,280
      -74%
      1,397
      5,280
      -74%
        Avenger
      0
      9
      -100%
      0
      9
      -100%
        Charger
      7,153
      8,782
      -19%
      7,153
      8,782
      -19%
        Challenger
      3,393
      5,661
      -40%
      3,393
      5,661
      -40%
        Viper
      53
      28
      89%
      53
      28
      89%
        Journey
      12,636
      11,586
      9%
      12,636
      11,586
      9%
        Caravan
      10,770
      10,955
      -2%
      10,770
      10,955
      -2%
        Durango
      4,707
      6,001
      -22%
      4,707
      6,001
      -22%
        DODGE  BRAND
      40,109
      48,302
      -17%
      40,109
      48,302
      -17%
        Ram P/U
      33,769
      32,564
      4%
      33,769
      32,564
      4%
        Cargo Van
      0
      2
      -100%
      0
      2
      -100%
        ProMaster Van
      3,351
      2,342
      43%
      3,351
      2,342
      43%
        ProMaster City
      925
      1,156
      -20%
      925
      1,156
      -20%
        RAM BRAND
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
        Giulia
      70
      0
      New
      70
      0
      New
        Alfa 4C 
      38
      68
      -44%
      38
      68
      -44%
        ALFA BRAND
      108
      68
      59%
      108
      68
      59%
        500
      1,218
      981
      24%
      1,218
      981
      24%
        500L
      106
      357
      -70%
      106
      357
      -70%
        500X
      600
      1,041
      -42%
      600
      1,041
      -42%
        Spider
      240
      0
      New
      240
      0
      New
        FIAT BRAND
      2,164
      2,379
      -9%
      2,164
      2,379
      -9%
        TOTAL FCA US LLC
      152,218
      171,352
      -11%
      152,218
      171,352
      -11%
            Total Car & MPV
      37,815
      53,893
      -30%
      37,815
      53,893
      -30%
            Total UV's
      76,358
      81,395
      -6%
      76,358
      81,395
      -6%
            Total Truck & LCV
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
      38,045
      36,064
      5%
                        MASERATI BRAND
      889
      525
      69%
      889
      525
      69%
                      [1] The Maserati Brand is distributed in the United States by Maserati North America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. All other brands listed in this release are distributed by FCA US LLC.
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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