If it can withstand a backseat of screaming 9-year-olds in soccer cleats, Dodge’s rebranded minivan can surely hold up under the stresses of service in the field. The U.S. automaker’s foray into the commercial van market goes by the rugged-sounding moniker of “Ram cargo van” but most will recognize it as the beloved Grand Caravan that wooed soccer moms across the nation in the ’80s and ’90s.

With more than 25 years of minivan engineering under its belt, Dodge is diving into the commercial van market and promises the same characteristics that made its minivan so appealing to moms will meet the needs for small and large businesses. The new Ram gets 25 highway miles per gallon, offers a 1,800-pound cargo payload and can tow up to 3,600 pounds.

“The 2012 Ram Cargo Van may be based on the more pedestrian Dodge Grand Caravan, but make no mistake, this van is ready to work,” writes Steven Ewing on AutoBlog.

The van comes in four businesslike colors and goes on sale this fall starting at $22,635, according to CNET. The van’s back seats have been removed, providing 144 cubic feet of cargo space. It faces Nissan’s new, full-size NV and more familiar competitors, such as Ford’s E series, and the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express.

Mothers of the baby boomer generation made up the original target market and swapped out their old fashioned station wagons for Dodge’s new model by the thousands when the minivan his the scene in 1984. Whether Dodge’s rebranding campaign will be a success or not with the service sect remains to be seen, but it’s undeniable that America’s favorite mom-mobile has come a long way.

Now that it’s proven itself as kidproof, we’ll see how well it holds up in the field.

More about commercial vans on The SmartVan.

More about ServiceMax.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.