Tailgate Tech: Finding the Right Mix

IMG_3918[1] copy

Predicting trends is a mix of science and magic. As practical and no-nonsense as most pickup truck buyers are, sometimes the newest must-have feature can surprise even the most experienced owner.

Related: Tailgate Like a Pro in 2018 GMC Sierra 1500: Video

Clearly, the pickup truck bed is an important component of the vehicle. But tailgate technology has remained mostly unchanged since the first closed pickup truck bed debuted almost 100 years ago — until recently that is. Lately we've seen a boom in solutions for making bed access easier, with Ram firing the latest salvo during the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Here's how current tailgate tech shakes out.

Ford

IMG_4048 copy II

Ford was the first to strike 10 years ago with a factory-produced integrated bed step for the tailgate of the F-150. The step can be hidden when not needed and pulls out with the tailgate down, complete with a grab handle arm and single, pullout step. Until this point, pickup owners looked to aftermarket companies for attachable bed steps that looked more like small ladders. The "man step" is an option on both light-duty and heavy-duty models.

GMC

Ccl_7050jpg_40995669332_o

The newest — and most complicated solution to bed access — debuted with the introduction of the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500. Called the MultiPro Tailgate, it offers six separate positions to solve a number of truck-related problems, including easier access into the bed. Think of the MultiPro as a tailgate within a tailgate: A smaller tailgate drops separately inside the full-size tailgate. The inner tailgate is activated by its own button and can fold down 90 degrees to serve as a small, chest-high platform or drop down with the tailgate to provide a long footstep to get into the bed. The new system includes an extendable grab handle in the nearest corner of the bed. The MultiPro Tailgate is available on both the half-ton and HD models. One caveat: Make sure you don't drop the MultiPro Tailgate if you have any kind of hitch on your truck — damage may ensue, unless you have a trailer plug attached (where an internal sensor will prevent the latch button from activating).

Ram 1500

IMG_4077 copy II

Ram recently revealed its new Multifunction Tailgate on the 2019 Ram 1500 at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, but we've been hearing about this 60/40-split barn-door-style tailgate for almost 10 years. We checked it out at the auto show and it looks pretty good. We put our full weight on the doors (just like we used to do on barn doors, riding them all the way to fully open) to see how sturdy they were. We can attest the extra framing seems well done. The design required additional bed and tailgate reinforcements, adding 75 pounds to the Ram 1500's weight, which is not insignificant. A hidden cantilevered step sits under the bumper and allows access to the bed.

Honda

2019_Honda_Ridgeline___014 copy II

It seems so long ago that the Honda Ridgeline entered the mid-size truck market with one of the most creative pickup beds in the industry. Not only did it have a hidden storage bin under the bed floor (complete with a spare tire), but it also had the first dual-swing tailgate we'd seen. The tailgate, with two separately activated grab handles, could drop down like a conventional tailgate or swing out (hinged on the street side) like the rear door of a crossover or SUV. The dual-action feature was great for those who wanted to access the bed or storage bin without having to reach over tailgate. The Ridgeline does not have a bed step.

We expect tailgate technology to continue to ramp up as manufacturers look for ways to separate themselves from the competition. As to the future, we're guessing Ford is due for a tailgate update and Chevrolet needs to do something interesting to be more competitive. For now, GMC's clever tailgate is getting the lion's share of the attention. Check it out in the video below.

More From PickupTrucks.com

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

 

 

Comments

Fords looks like a big mouse trap

GM's and Ram's solutions are too complex and costly [like government-regulated work].

Ford's idea is time-tested, simple and less expensive to produce and replace.

Ford still wins with a 'simple but productive' solution for a step. 10 years in use, and the others are still trying to best it. Ram's new gate is interesting and does give the best solution for leaning into the bed for access. GM's solution is way to complex and expensive. They seem to be reverting back to the Aztek designs.

The Ford one is gimmiky. You can only use it with the gate open and no trailer attached. I think the least complex as far as steps go is the standard corner steps that GM uses, nothing to pull out and down, its just their. The Ram and GMC offer something besides just a step so you really can't compare to the Ford which is just a step. The Ram you can open the doors and load pallets or have easy access to the bed but it does not offer a step but you can use the bumper without the gate being in the way, you can also use it with a trailer. The GMC seems to offer some nice solutions for hauling longer loads but you can't use the step feature with a trailer or even a trailer hitch ball installed.

@simple

How much does the 'expensive' GMC multi-pro tailgate cost? The pricing for the Ram tailgate has been released, it is $995. I find each of these solutions interesting, as I have always disliked having to climb into the back of my pickup. Personally, I would probably just stick with the GM bumper steps, I have used those and they work well, they are standard and there is nothing to deploy. I cant stand the look of the Ram split tailgate, but it certainly would be functional. The Ford solution works, and it is standard. I have seen the Honda version tailgate and it works well without the ugly looks of the Ram tailgate, and I would LOVE to have that lockable trunk!

They can keep all the tailgate nonsense. The GM corner step is simple and most practical solution and they have done a good job of integration.

The Chevy corner step doesn't solve the problem because it is too high up and not straight on for loading.

I'm just waiting to see which manufacture will be first to have a power loading and docking tailgate like those found on delivery box trucks. Currently with all pickups, no matter how neat and cool the tailgate is, you still have to lift that load up into the bed. I recently bought a large tool box and it weight 300lbs and it was impossible for me to load and unload this by myself with other aide.

I remember when tailgate tech involved welding a piece of angle iron across the top go keep the gate from bending. Also finding a piece of garden hose to go over the chains to keep them from rattling. Things have changed a bit in 50 years.

It used to be trucks were for the farm and construction site, now a day's it's not uncommon to see them pulling into 5 star restaurants in the big cities.

The Chevy corner step doesn't solve the problem because it is too high up and not straight on for loading.

Posted by: Gregory Stevens

I don't think folks are using any of the steps for loading anything but themselves.

Yes Don E things have changed, I learned to drive in a 1949 F-1 with starter on the floor, who needed a key...

I think the F-150 step is the simplist and possibly the best. (I do not own a Ford,) My brother has one and when I loaded up my buck in the back, it was so easy to just take a step up while holding the antlers, another step and I and it was in the bed, sort of. Bumper step on GM's are okay, but takes a hand and a foot to pull your self up and in.

My ZR2 has nothing......I step on the tire to get in

I would love to know how much it would cost to replace the entire
GMC tailgate assembly in a NY auto body shop, complete with a
new paint job to match the vehicle. My guess? thousands...as in
more the one. Is it available in 2500/3500 trucks? If not, that
should tell you a lot. Rattle City.

The Ram gate is being limited to 1/2 tons only ( as far as I know )
Vertical alignment issues aside, heavy duty it isn't. No thanks.
Again, rattle city. And with Rams' world class quality control
issues all too well known, I'll pass on this as well.

The GM bumper is still too high up to make a good step.

The comments about GM's corner steps are coming from people who don't drive a truck. Anyone with a truck knows you can use the lowered center step on all bumpers, when the tailgate is closed. Ford has the best, lowest cost, option to use when the tailgate is open. Can you imagine how many GM owners will watch in horror when the wrong button is pushed and the open step and tailgate slowly drops on top of the ball in the hitch? It's obviously not made for real work trucks, but will be impressive at soccer mom lunches at the club.

Anyone who owns a truck usually enters the bed with the tailgate down rendering the center lower bumper useless

I like Honda's approach best but it does not translate well to a typical half ton BOF truck. The Ford step looks flimsy; the GMC approach doesn't play well with trailer hook ups and the RAM would probably make removing the tailgate more complicated (just from looking at it--I could be wrong). I like a traditional approach because I can remove the tailgate on my pickup with 2 hands and less than 30 seconds.

When I open my Ridgeline's tailgate to the side.
I have a step in the bumper recess where the license
plate is. And the tail gate becomes a lean on handle of sort.

The comments about just using the lowered center step on all bumpers is coming from someone who apparently doesn't use a truck bed. When I remove or load something in the bed the tailgate will be down. The center of the bumper cannot be used.

I'd like to see a disabled veteran with or your average seasaoned citizen navigate that GM corner bumper and that thing they call a grab handle which is really a stake pocket.

Save your knees and go with the Ford step or even the GM multi step. Chevy guys are screwed due to GMC always having to have one over on us per usual.

Ford and its little B****H step has nothing on GM or Ram! Ford left in the dust once again! LMBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ford was the first to strike 10 years ago with a factory-produced integrated bed step for the tailgate of the F-150. Ford figured this was more important than having a good transmission. Although pickups with 6-speed automatic transmission experienced a sudden and unintended downshift into first gear that could kill the driver and everyone in the vehicle, Ford had an integrated bed step!

Way to go Ford!

Ford and their 10 year old flimsy little manstep can eat my shorts. GM multi pro step is where it's at!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LMBO!

GMS can I eat you shorts? I'm kind of into that ;)

If you can't reach the corner step on GM bumper, you are too heavy too use the ford step, and probly can't flop back into the Ram with the tailgate doors open

Wow, men arguing over ways to step up into the bed. I though only women with dresses worry about lifting their legs. I guess I was wrong. This is how lazy we have become. And you wonder why this generation feels so self entitled.

@water--Skinny people can have bad backs and knees. I'm glad I didn't buy a full-size truck.

The GM bumper is still too high up to make a good step.


Posted by: Alex | Feb 18, 2019 9:46:54 AM

Using two empty 1/2 tons parked on level ground, measure the GM bumper step height and Ford's tailgate step height. You will discover the Ford step is actually higher from the ground.

False. Corner step us in the bumper. The Ford step extends below the bumper and has a real handle.

If you have arthritis and can't get into your Silverado truck bed, get a 2wd and a cargo trailer with ramp doors. Problem solved. Glad I could help you guys.

Looking forward to the pros and cons of Fiats split gate.

The GMC is just ludicrous in its level of silly features, complication and cost.

Ive always been a big fan of the PIONEERING Ford manstep and in its 2nd revision is an excellent balance of cost, simplicity, and effectiveness. Don't forget class it took a DECADE for GMC and Fiat to answer at all.

The ridgeline trunk with drainage is a nice feature but once the bed is loaded getting to it is out and forget about your spare.

Guess Chevy is sticking with holes in the bumpers. Not that those are bad... but for what trucks cost and where expectations are now they might as well be back in 1979.

I agree with Papajim. Beds are not necessary. Use landscaping trailers for easier access.

I agree with Papajim. Beds are not necessary. Use landscaping trailers for easier access.

Using two empty 1/2 tons parked on level ground, measure the GM bumper step height and Ford's tailgate step height. You will discover the Ford step is actually higher from the ground.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Feb 18, 2019 11:18:41 AM

This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LMBO!!!!!

Ford and its little B****H step has nothing on GM or Ram! Ford left in the dust once again! LMBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: johnny doe | Feb 18, 2019 10:27:30 AM

Hahaha!

Ford and its little B****H step has nothing on GM or Ram! Ford left in the dust once again! LMBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: johnny doe | Feb 18, 2019 10:27:30 AM

Where is Silverado and it’s version of tailgate tech?

Oh that’s rights. That truck is left in the dust you stupid fuq with its 100% conventional tailgate.

You really make every Chevy fan look ridiculous

WHO FALLOWED WHO HERE? FORD HAD THE AWSOME MAN STEP WAY BEFORE CHEBBIE HAD THE BUMPER STEPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AT FORD QUALITEE IS JOB ONE!!!!!!!! AT GOVERMENT MOTERS, QUALITEE IS NOT EVEN A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had the tailgate step on my last 3 Fords and it's a feature I've come to really appreciate,

Beds are not necessary? That is the hole point of a pickup truck is the bed. They make SUV's if you don't need the bed or even sedans if you only tow a little utility trailer. I hear a lot of complaining from buyers of high end pickup's that the bed leaks even with a tonneau cover. LOL if you want perfectly water tight storage why did you buy a pickup truck in the first place? Pickup truck beds are not meant to be water tight.

Uh, the Chevy bumper steps first appeared on the 1st gen Avalanche back in '02. Way before this tailgate crap started.

Posted by: Center
Did u not read the article...the sensor will not let the tailgate drop if it detects a trailer or ball hitch. U can still use the tailgate just not let it lower part drop. Go down to a dealer and see it work with or without a ball in the receiver.

False. Corner step us in the bumper. The Ford step extends below the bumper and has a real handle.


Posted by: Big. Al. From. FL. | Feb 18, 2019 11:25:17 AM

Get the measuring tape out and get ready for a meal of crow.

Posted by: budsy47
Reading is not your strong point is it budsy47? Read the article again, this time read it slower and without moving your lips.
" One caveat: Make sure you don't drop the MultiPro Tailgate if you have any kind of hitch on your truck — damage may ensue, unless you have a trailer plug attached (where an internal sensor will prevent the latch button from activating)."
If you don't have a trailer plug connected to a trailer, such as a simple hitch and ball like most of us have on our trucks all the time, you WILL DAMAGE THE TAILGATE.
Still don't believe me, maybe YOU should be going to a dealer to see for yourself like I already did.

Excerpt from review of 2014 Silverado

Quote:
"But I find Chevy's version easy-to-use with a perfect step-up height and a natural handhold integrated into the top of the bed. Even with the tailgate up this setup still makes it simple to hop up into the bed."
Unquote:


Notice the use of the word "perfect" when describing the bumper step height.

Uh, the Chevy bumper steps first appeared on the 1st gen Avalanche back in '02. Way before this tailgate crap started.


Posted by: Old GM Guy | Feb 18, 2019 1:08:02 PM

Bumper step. NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TAILGATE

Oh and where is that Avalanche now? That’s right, it failed in the market place.

Here's a GM forum discussing the Multipro. https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/210194-the-biggest-multipro-tailgate-questions-answered/

Oh and where is that Avalanche now? That’s right, it failed in the market place.


Posted by: papajim | Feb 18, 2019 1:41:38 PM

The Avalanche was far more successful than the Lincoln pick-up. Another failed Ford truck.

When the GM corner step first came out I kind of laughed. After owning one it’s by far the most reliable and hassle free way to access the bed period. No moving parts, no assembly required! Will the new side access step be as useful as the corner step? Time will tell.

papajim | Feb 18, 2019 10:16:50 AM---this is the timestamp for the last post I made to this article today, till now.

The JTT, Yardsale, Frank multi-personality fool posted the others. He was probably defiling himself while he did. A lot.

While that paints a revolting and depressing picture, at least there is some satisfaction in the knowledge that his spent 'reproductive' tissues will never result in another wasted human life.

@PapaJoke

Thank goodness you can’t reproduce. This planet has enough stupid people on it already.

Go pray at your hate spewing islamic hellhole mosque you P.O.S.

I knew I'd left someone off the list. The biggest whacker in the whole group---the fake tntgmc



The comments to this entry are closed.

Home | Buy a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2017 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us