Pickup Truck Tailgate War: Which Automaker Offers The Best Tailgate? - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Pickup Truck Tailgate War: Which Automaker Offers The Best Tailgate?

While Ram and GM offer tailgates that can do all sorts of tricks, Ford is still stuck with a conventional tailgate, but with job-site functionality

Trucks are the best-selling products for most automakers who have pickups in their arsenal. The competition between the three American truckmakers – Ford, GM (Chevy and GMC), and Ram – is cutthroat and they are constantly finding ways to innovate. A few years back, they decided to do something about the tailgate and make them more functional and versatile. And, the result of this was more than just a piece of metal that opens and closes and safeguards the cargo kept in the bed.

The creative folks at Ram came up with the Multifunction Tailgate and the brains at GM came up with a MultiPro tailgate. Ford, despite being the best-selling truck brand for decades, is yet to catch up on this trend. But, it has made some tweaks and additions to its power tailgate. So, which one is the best?

Ram Multifunction Tailgate

The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC's Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful
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Ram introduced the Multifunction tailgate on the 1500 in 2019. The tailgate lives up to its name and can be used in a variety of ways. It comes with dual side hinges and opens like a barn door in a 60:40 ratio. You can either open only the left swing door, or just the right swing door, or both together. Each door swings open 88 degrees.

To make it more accessible and easy-to-use, you can access the bed even more comfortably by using the retractable center-mounted step option. If you think this is too much for your needs, you can always flop it down in a conventional manner, just like it has been since the dawn of pickup trucks. The tailgate is also fully dampened and feature remote-release options.

The tailgate can even be used in all these ways without removing the trailer or the hitch Despite the swing door functionality, it can bear loads of up to 2,000 pounds.

Since we’re on the subject, the Ram 1500 can also be had with a storage solution in the side of the truck bed called the RamBox cargo management system. The RamBox system includes versatile, weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and drainable storage bins built into the bed rails. The bins even feature a 115-volt, 400-watt outlet. Furthermore, you can have it with a bed divider or two-foot bed extender and cargo rail system with four sliding, adjustable cleats.

GMC MultiPro Tailgate

Pickup Truck Tailgate War: Which Automaker Offers The Best Tailgate?
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GMC MultiPro Tailgate
It comes with an inner tailgate and can be operated in six different ways, including as a step to climb into the bed

GMC also came up with a multi-element tailgate in 2019 called MultiPro on the Sierra 1500. While Ram’s would word four ways, this one can be used in six different configurations. It doesn’t have swing doors, but comes with another small tailgate with the main tailgate that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Apart from being used as a conventional tailgate that flips down and can be operated from rather inside the truck or from the key fob. When the gate is flipped open at a 90-degree angle, you can open the inner tailgate load stop and it prevents items from sliding out. The inner tailgate can be opened at this angle, allowing it to flip down vertically to the ground. This allows easier access to the bed since you can walk a step in.

Open up the inner tailgate stopper here and it acts as a step to climb into the bed with utmost ease, thus eliminating the need for a retractable step. This step holds up to 375 pounds of weight. In case you just want to grab something from the bed that doesn’t require opening the whole thing, you can flip down only the inner tailgate to access it. In this position, it also acts as a work surface and can be used for second-tier loading.

There are two buttons on the tailgate. The lower one opens the primary tailgate whereas the top button opens just the inner tailgate.

Ford Power Tailgate

Pickup Truck Tailgate War: Which Automaker Offers The Best Tailgate?
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Simple tailgate for jobsites
It comes with a Work Surface, which includes pencil holders, a ruler, phone and tablet holder, and a cup holder

Ford introduced a tailgate on the 2021 F-150 keeping job site functionality in mind. It doesn’t feature a split setup or even flip sideways. But, it comes with nifty features that could be useful on job sites. The company is offering something known as Work Surface, which includes stuff like pencil holders, a ruler, phone and tablet holder, and a cup holder. It also comes with cleats mounted to the side of the tailgate to safely fasten the items, and clamp pockets on either side of the tailgate.

Chevrolet Multi-Flex Tailgate

Chevrolet Details The 2021 Multi-Flex Tailgate
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Chevy joined the party with Ford in 2020 and announced the Multi-Flex for the 2021 Silverado 1500. It is exactly the same as the GMC MultiPro tailgate, be it the design, the functionality, the operation, or the usage pattern. Just the name is different. You can make it even better here by combining it with the Durabed that features better cargo space, LED lighting, a 120-volt outlet, and 12 fixed tie-downs.

What About Tailgates From Other Truck-makers?

Your Pickup Truck Is Secretly Begging for the Elongator Tailgate
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Well, Toyota and Nissan offer simple power tailgates. Nothing to write home about. The Honda Ridgeline’s tailgate can be flipped sideways along with the conventional way. But, the wide gate opening fully sideways means the area behind the truck needs to be fairly empty. If you have that luxury, then loading heavy stuff in here can be done easily.

There’s one truck sold in China called Wuling Zhengtu which comes with side-opening cargo beds along with the conventional tailgate. With the safety and other aspects aside, this seems like a pretty convenient feature if you have to roll something really long in.


Pickup Truck Tailgate War: Which Automaker Offers The Best Tailgate?
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Ram Multifunction Tailgate
It comes with barn doors that swing sideways

With so many different tailgates on offer, which one do you think is the best? Also, does the design and functionality of a tailgate act as a deal-breaker or deal-maker in your buying process? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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