Given that pickup trucks are among the most profitable vehicles automakers produce, it only makes sense they would try to outdo each other when it comes to trick new features.
There’s little differentiation to be found under the hood — at least until battery-electric models hit the showrooms around the country — and styling affectations are too personal to really “outdo” another maker so the companies moved into the cab.
After all of the vibrating seats, head-up displays, stellar sound systems and most recently, massive iPad-sized touchscreens have now been exhausted all attempts at outdoing each other in the cab, their attention now turns to the bed, specifically the tailgate. Automakers are introducing slick new trick tailgates at rapid pace.
So it’s time to have a tailgate party, one that features some innovative new features.
Chevrolet Silverado: Multi-Flex and a power tailgate
By now, you know about Chevrolet’s power tailgate, which is standard on High Country trim, and available on the LTZ. The tailgate lowers and raises using the button on the key fob, the tailgate or remotely on the cab’s dashboard. The bigger news is Multi-Flex, Chevrolet’s version of GMC’s once-exclusive MultiPro tailgate. Like the MultiPro, the Multi-Flex’s center section opens to serve as a standing desk, a bed extender, a bed step (with 375-pound capacity), work bench and more. In all, there are six configurations. And the tailgate is dampened to assist in opening and closing. Also, the bed can be tricked out with an audio system, USB port and auxiliary input.
Ford F-150: Power tailgate with work surface
Ford has offered an integrated pull-out step that deploys from the top of the tailgate since 2008 for an extra $375. Now, all F-150s come with a tailgate that doubles as a work surface with a tablet holder, pencil trays, integrated imperial/metric measurements, side cleats, and tiedown points that double as bottle openers. Zone lighting allows you to turn on the lights on one side only, or all four, while a new built-in generator and power points allows you to host the ultimate tailgate party.
GMC Sierra: MultiPro tailgate
Standard on the Sierra SLT, AT4, and Denali, the MultiPro Tailgate is made of aluminum, and features a center section that opens up to serve as a standing desk, a bed extender, a bed step (with 375-pound capacity), work bench and more. In all, there are six configurations, and the tailgate is dampened, to assist in opening and closing. And it can be tricked out with an integrated audio system, USB port and auxiliary input.
Honda Ridgeline: Dual-action tailgate
Blame Honda for tailgate envy. When the Ridgeline was introduced in 2017, it copped an idea from old Ford station wagons: the dual-action tailgate. It could swing open like a car door or drop down like a tailgate. The 2017 Ridgeline also offered a 7.3 cubic-foot in-bed trunk, along with outdoor audio speakers in a concession to tailgaters. And the gate locks too.
Hummer EV Pickup: MultiPro tailgate
Like the Sierra, the forthcoming 2024 Hummer EV Pickup comes with GM’s slick new MultiPro Tailgate, with six different functional positions that can serve as a standing desk, a bed extender, a bed step, and more. In all, there are six configurations, and the tailgate is dampened, to assist in opening and closing.
Hyundai Santa Cruz: 45-degree tailgate
Hyundai’s all-new compact 2022 Santa Cruz pickup sports a bed that’s 4 feet wide, and about as long. But it’s more useful than it appears, for the tailgate stays open at 45 degrees, allowing owners to haul a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of plywood, albeit at a 45-degree angle. Like the Ridgeline, there’s a locking storage bin under
the cargo floor that’s waterproof and features a drain plug for use as a cooler. And what pickup would be complete without a 110-volt outlet and two additional integrated storage nooks? And wait till you see the retractable, locking tonneau cover.
Ram 1500: Multifunction tailgate
Ram’s $995 Multifunction Tailgate is split 60/40, with each side swinging open individually like a barn door, up to 88 degrees. The tailgate also drops down like a traditional single tailgate, but not below the level of the bed. The tailgate’s load capacity is 2,000 pounds, and it is dampened when you open it conventionally. In addition, buyers can order a $295 retractable center step. The Mutlifunction tailgate and retractable center step are optional on all models, and adds about 75 pounds of weight.