2019 Ram ProMaster Cargo Van vs. 2019 GMC Savana Cargo

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the ProMaster Cargo Van uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Savana Cargo uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the ProMaster Cargo Van and the Savana Cargo have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Savana Cargo’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 38 percent more Ram dealers than there are GMC dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the ProMaster Cargo Van’s warranty.

Reliability

The camshafts in the ProMaster Cargo Van’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The .’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Savana Cargo’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the ProMaster Cargo Van has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Savana Cargo.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the ProMaster Cargo Van has larger alternators than the Savana Cargo:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

Standard Alternator

180 amps

105 amps

Optional Alternator

220 amps

150 amps

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the ProMaster Cargo Van has a 800-amp battery. The Savana Cargo only offers a standard 600-amp battery.

The battery on the ProMaster Cargo Van is under the floor, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the ProMaster Cargo Van’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Savana Cargo’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ram vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ram 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

Engine

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (280 vs. 276) than the Savana Cargo’s standard 4.3 V6.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The ProMaster Cargo Van has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Suspension and Handling

For much better steering response and tighter handling the ProMaster Cargo Van has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Savana Cargo.

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ProMaster Cargo Van’s wheelbase is longer than on the Savana Cargo:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

SWB Van

118 inches

n/a

LWB Van

136 inches

135 inches

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the ProMaster Cargo Van is 3.2 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Savana Cargo.

For better maneuverability, the ProMaster Cargo Van’s turning circle is tighter than the Savana Cargo’s:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

LWB Van

40.7 feet

49.2 feet

Extended Van

46.8 feet

54.5 feet

Chassis

The Ram ProMaster Cargo Van may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 950 pounds less than the GMC Savana Cargo.

The ProMaster Cargo Van is shorter than the Savana Cargo, making the ProMaster Cargo Van easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

SWB Van

195.4 inches

n/a

LWB Van

213.2 inches

224.1 inches

Extended Van

236.2 inches

244.1 inches

Unibody construction makes the ProMaster Cargo Van’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The Savana Cargo doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Cargo Capacity

The ProMaster Cargo Van 1500 MWB has a much larger cargo volume than the Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB (304 vs. 239.7 cubic feet).

The ProMaster Cargo Van 2500 LWB has a much larger cargo volume than the Savana Cargo 2500 155” WB (420 vs. 284.4 cubic feet).

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s cargo area is larger than the Savana Cargo’s in almost every dimension:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

1500 SWB

ProMaster Cargo Van 3500 Ext. LWB

Savana Cargo

2500 135” WB

Savana Cargo

2500 155” WB

Length

105”

160”

124.6”

146.2”

Max Width

82.7”

82.7”

61.5”

61.5”

Min Width

56”

56”

52.7”

52.7”

An optional locking glovebox and standard locking center console (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the ProMaster Cargo Van. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Payload

The ProMaster Cargo Van has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Savana Cargo:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

1500 Van

4000 lbs.

n/a

2500 Van

4010 lbs.

3353 lbs.

3500 Van

4680 lbs.

4096 lbs.

The ProMaster Cargo Van has much higher optional payload capacities than the Savana Cargo:

 

ProMaster Cargo Van

Savana Cargo

2500 Van

4260 lbs.

3353 lbs.

3500 Van

4680 lbs.

4311 lbs.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the ProMaster Cargo Van has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Savana Cargo’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

The ProMaster Cargo Van’s available sliding doors can be opened with less than three inches side clearance. The Savana Cargo’s standard rear double doors are clumsy and make loading in tight spots difficult.

In addition to the standard right side sliding door, the Ram ProMaster Cargo Van offers an optional driver’s side rear sliding door. This door simplifies loading and unloading passengers and it allows parents to easily secure two children into child seats. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer a driver’s side rear door.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the ProMaster Cargo Van offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The ProMaster Cargo Van offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Savana Cargo.

Recommendations

The Ram ProMaster outsold the GMC Savana by over two to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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