Two truck innovations square off to decide which one has the better overall offering

It’s the dawn of a new age for pickup trucks these days as the RAM 1500 and the GMC Sierra square of in a battle of wits involving their respective…tailgates. Unlike in the past where pickups are usually compared by the amount of power they produce or the amount of weight they can carry or tow, we’re entering a new frontier where the term “trick tailgate” is about to become one of the most important elements of a pickup, if it isn’t there already. GMC was the first to showcase its six-function MultiPro tailgate in 2018 on the Sierra truck. It took some time, but RAM has responded with its own trick tailgate, known as the MultiFunction tailgate, at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. So, now that we’ve seen both tailgates and tinkered with them on separate occasions, which of these two is better? For that, we look at the Tale of the Trick Tailgates.

The Trick Tailgate Revolution Has Arrived

The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC's Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful
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For the record, there are no real losers in this comparison test. Both GMC’s MultiPro tailgate and RAM’s Multifunction tailgate represent the future of tailgates. I know it sounds corny if you think of it in those words, but in a segment where horsepower has become, in some ways, less important than all-around functionality, a trick tailgate could spell the difference between a pickup that’s selling like hot pancakes and one that’s baking under the sun in some far-flung dealership.

GMC and RAM take center stage in this test, but they’re also not the only truck makers that have found new and inventive ways in advancing the functions of these tailgates.

Ford, for example, has had the Tailgate Step option for several years now. Basically, the Tailgate Step is a single step that can be deployed when you pull out the top edge of the tailgate when the tailgate is lowered. It’s currently available as a standalone option for Ford pickups at a price of $375. For its part, Honda actually beat RAM to the punch when it comes to the door-like swinging tailgate. The only difference is that in the Honda Ridgeline, the entire tailgate swings open as opposed to the RAM 1500’s tailgate, which can open traditionally, or swing open in two sections.

2019 GMC Sierra MultiPro Tailgate V.S. 2019 Ram Multifunction Tailgate
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The growing popularity of trick tailgates is real, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the next big thing in the pickup world. For now, though, we’ll turn our attention towards the two tailgates that are getting the most headlines these days: RAM’s four-function MultiFunction tailgate and GMC’s six-function MultiPro tailgate.

Better Functionality

The winner of this category is easy to spot. Just look at the “official” names of the two trick tailgates, and you’ll see that one has six functions while the other has four. That said, if only it were that simple, right?

RAM’s Multifunction tailgate features an asymmetrical 60:40 split-type, barn-door gate that can fold down traditionally or swing open like an actual door.

You’ll notice that the two “gates” aren’t identical in length. RAM doesn’t explicitly explain the reason for it, but it’s split like this because it gives both sides preferential advantages depending on the kind of items you’re putting in the bed of the truck. Unlike Ford and GMC, RAM’s new tailgate also doesn’t have a deployable stepper. Instead, the stepper kicks out from under the bumper. It’s a different configuration from the previous version of the 1500, which kicks out from under the driver’s side of the rear bumper. The other notable element of RAM’s tailgate is the toolbox on the side of the bed. It’s a nifty feature, especially if you’re the type who prefers to bring tools wherever you go.

RAM’s Multifunction tailgate checks off a lot of things you want to see in a tailgate. It has fresh applications that can be used in different ways.

Unfortunately for RAM, GMC’s MultiPro tailgate just has more functions. It’s really as simple as that.

The tailgate opens traditionally, but it’s not really in the way it opens that makes it stand out. See, that tailgate is like the Swiss Army Knife of tailgates. It’s basically a tailgate within a tailgate, with a fold-out stopper that can be deployed from the inner tailgate. Speaking of which, that inner tailgate deploys from the outer — and bigger — tailgate at a push of a button or key fob. If the outer tailgate is upright and the inner tailgate is down, there’s a usable work surface that you can use in many ways. If you’re transporting items that could don’t fit in the cab, you can deploy the outer tailgate to generate more space for your items and use the aforementioned fold-out stopper to keep those items from slipping out of the bed. Looking for a stepper? Yes, the tailgate has one of its own, too, which folds down at the push of another button.

There are a lot more usable configurations to GMC’s MultiPro tailgate compared to that of RAM’s MultiFunction tailgate. Because of that, the GMC’s MultiPro tailgate takes this category.

Winner: GMC MultiPro tailgate

Ease of use

As impressive as it is for a tailgate to have so many functions, the curse of one is that it can be a little difficult to use, especially for new owners of the GMC Sierra. It doesn’t help that the MultiPro tailgate has functions within functions and features within features. There’s going to be a steep learning curve when you buy the GMC Sierra. It shouldn’t be a problem if you’re the patient type who doesn’t mind studying and learning about all the functions. But if you’re the type who flies by the seat of his pants, learning about all the MultiPro tailgate’s functions could be cause for headaches.

This is where RAM’s MultiFunction tailgate gets back in the race. Using it is pretty straightforward.

You can lower the entire tailgate or swing the doors depending on which suits your convenience.

As for the toolbox on the side of the truck? You can close and open it at the push of a button. You’re not going to waste any brain cells figuring out how the RAM 1500’s tailgate works because it really is just a traditional tailgate that can swing open, too.

Winner: RAM MultiFunction tailgate

Load capacity

2019 GMC Sierra MultiPro Tailgate V.S. 2019 Ram Multifunction Tailgate
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The GMC MultiPro tailgate has a maximum load capacity of 375 pounds. That’s a decent number, but it’s nothing compared to RAM’s claims. According to the automaker, the MultiFunction tailgate has a maximum load capacity of 2,000 pounds when the tailgate is folded down traditionally. Welp. There’s not much to discuss here, is there?

Winner: RAM MultiFunction tailgate

Value and availability

2019 GMC Sierra MultiPro Tailgate V.S. 2019 Ram Multifunction Tailgate
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For now, RAM’s MultiFunction tailgate is only available in the light-duty 1500.

The good news is that it will eventually be available on all grades of the RAM 1500, either as standard equipment or as a $995 option.

GMC’s MultiPro tailgate, on the other hand, is not available on the base Sierra, as well as the SLE and Elevation trims of the truck. It does come standard in the SLT, AT4 and Denali trims of the Sierra, but you’re going to have to pay at least $44,300, $50,800, and $54,700, respectively for those models.

Winner: RAM 1500 MultiFunction tailgate

And the winner is...

The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC's Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful
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Sometimes, novelty is good. It’s even better if you can tie that up with functionality. That’s what GMC created with its MultiPro tailgate. There’s an element of fun and excitement to it, especially if you see it for the first time. You’re gonna play with it to see what all the fuss is about. Soon enough, you either master all of its functions or you become frustrated by it. That’s the tricky thing with the MultiPro tailgate. It’s functional, sure, but it’s also complicated. Truck buyers aren’t the type who enjoy complications in life, least of all in a tailgate.

RAM's MultiFunction tailgate, on the other hand, is really as simple to operate as it looks. But even its simplicity doesn't overstep on its functionality.

You can still do a lot of the things with it that you can go with the MultiPro tailgate — except the stop-gap barrier and the workspace — without having to worry about where the pesky buttons are. Plus, the MultiFunction tailgate is expected to become available across the entire range of RAM 1500 models. That’s a wider reach than GMC’s MultiPro tailgate. We also know how much the MultiFunction tailgate costs as an option. These details, together with its all-around usefulness, gives the MultiFunction tailgate the nod over its MultiPro counterpart.

Winner: RAM MultiFunction tailgate

Further Reading

All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.

2019 GMC Sierra Exterior
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It looks bigger and bolder

Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Sierra.

The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC's Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful
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The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC’s Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful

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