Ram Cargo Van

The first Ram Cargo Van rolled out of Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario plant in 1971. Since then, there have been two more generations. The first generation ran from 1971 to 1978, the second generation from 1979 to 1993, and third generation from 1994 to 2003. DaimlerChrysler picked up control of the van in 1998. DaimlerChrysler decided to discontinue this workhorse of a van in 2003, replacing it with the Dodge Sprinter.

More on the Ram Cargo Van
Ram Cargo Van Origins

The Ram Cargo Van (also known as the Ram Van and the Dodge B-Series) keeps work in mind. It has always come in a wide range of variations, making it suitable for just about any task. Whether a professional electrician needs a good-sized van to haul tools from site to site or a band needed a reliable vehicle big enough to store its equipment, the Ram Cargo Van remains the vehicle of choice.

During its 30 years of production, the Ram Cargo Van underwent numerous changes. The last generation, however, remains fairly static for its nine years of production. In fact, each generation has a lot in common. The biggest differences between a first generation and third generation Ram Cargo Van are the updated safety and power features.

About the Ram Cargo Van

The Ram Cargo Van is a vehicle of choice for contractors. They’re often seen on the road, usually with a logo or company name printed on the side. They also see some popularity as a full-size passenger van that can hold up to 15 passengers comfortably. This makes Ram Cargo Vans useful for small sports teams, school groups, and church groups that want to make frequent road trips without feeling cramped.

Those who have owned the vehicle also praise it for its versatility. Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler certainly know how to meet the storage needs of the average contractor. The van comes in a variety of configurations, making it suitable for numerous endeavors.

Ram Cargo Van Features

The 2003 Ram Cargo Van comes in four trim levels: Base, 1500 Maxi, 2500 Maxi, and 3500 Maxi. The numbers designate load ranges. The van also comes in three lengths: 192.6 inches, 208.5 inches, and 234.5 inches.

The 1500 and 2500 come standard with a 3.9-liter V-6 that offers 175 hp. For many drivers, though, that simply isn't enough power, especially when hauling heavy tools in the cargo area. A 5.2-liter V-8 and a 5.9-liter V-8 provide more power. The 5.2-liter offers 235 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque—plenty of power for most jobs. The 5.9-liter offers even more impressive performance with 245 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. This can haul a 6600-pound trailer.

Unfortunately, the V-8s use a lot of gas. The designs include large gas tanks that hold either 32 or 35 gallons, depending on the trim level. That helps make the Ram Cargo Van more convenient, reducing the need to stop frequently during the work day. However, poor fuel efficiency means that drivers have to pour more money into their tanks. This somewhat balances out with the van's good price. The initial investment keeps things cheap, but the van won't get much applause from eco-conscious drivers.

Door variety remains one of the best things about the 2003 Ram Cargo Van (as well as its previous incarnations). Whether you need sliding side doors, swinging back doors, or swinging side doors, the manufacturer makes a design for you. It also offers numerous window configurations. A variety of work packages provide additional features, such as an exterior ladder, rubber flooring, and interior shelves.

Overall, this remains one of the best cargo vans for the money. It remained virtually unchanged for three decades because Chrysler designed it right the first time, to meet the needs of real people who need cargo vans for work and play.

Ram Cargo Van Evolution

The Ram Cargo Van did not change much during its 30-plus years of production. Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler did, however, update some features and systems throughout the van's life to compete with similar vehicles and keep up with evolving standards. Changes to the Ram Cargo Van are usually significant.

In 1998, for instance, the van got next-generation front airbags and anti-lock brakes for improved safety. A four-wheel ABS also comes as an option. The 1998 vehicle receives an improved suspension that offers a smoother drive, something that certainly comes in handy for workers who don’t want their tools bouncing all over the van.

Overall, though, the Ram Cargo Van has always been a dependable vehicle that has not needed many changes throughout its long life. The biggest point to consider when buying one is age, not features.

Select a Ram Cargo Van Year

2015 Ram Cargo Van


2014 Ram Cargo Van


2013 Ram Cargo Van


The 2013 Ram Cargo Van is made to get the job done, and get it done in a timely and safe manner.

2012 Ram Cargo Van