Split Ends: Ram Introduces 'MultiFunction' Tailgate

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

When our grandchildren ask about the Great Pickup Wars of 2019, we will have no shortage of stories with which to regale them. OEMs are assaulting each other on all fronts, from half-ton opulence to heavy-duty torque ratings.

Battle is now being waged at the business end of pickups, as well. After watching GMC introduce a MultiPro tailgate that flips and folds like so much origami, Ram is jumping into the fray with its own variation of the same theme.

Ages ago (November 2017), keen-eyed spy photogs snapped images of a development mule puttering around southern Michigan with a tailgate featuring a suspicious vertical crease that appeared to cleave the thing in half, barn door-style. The new 2019 Ram 1500’s introduction, however, came and went with nary a hint of such a feature. That ends today.

Behold the new MultiFunction tailgate. Unlike GMC’s take, Ram’s effort splits the tailgate 60/40 style, turning it into a dual side-hinged affair that offers swing-away functionality in addition to normal drop-down operation.

“The Ram Multifunction Tailgate is intuitive to operate, and owners will find it immediately useful,” said Ram head Reid Bigland, before wrestling a bear and eating a bowlful of breakfast nails. “Combined with Ram’s class-exclusive RamBox feature and new tailgate step, we’re taking Ram’s cargo management and storage to the next level.”

Fully damped traditional downward operation of the tailgate will reportedly remain unaffected and still be able to support a couple of thousand pounds, so go ahead and wheel that Harley Fat Boy up and into the bed. Packaged with a spray-in bedliner, the Multifunction ‘gate has four configurations: open flat, open left door only, open right door only, and open both doors. Each door swings open 88 degrees, and access can be further enhanced via a retractable center-mounted step option that seems to be of the kick-down variety.

As an unapologetic truck fan who actually uses his pickup for, y’know, actual work, your author can see several advantages to this feature. Swinging out the barn doors allows unfettered access to the bed, permitting an easier reach to those last couple hunks of wood that rolled to the front of the cargo area. It won’t do much for access in tight-quarters parking lots while reaching in to get a hockey bag, but neither does a traditional drop-down ‘gate.

Release handles and a seemingly robust latching system are visible when the 60/40 doors are shown in an open position. Lights seem baked into the leading edges as well for obvious reasons. One assumes this option will play havoc with the R A M billboard currently polluting many variants of the Ram line. The machine shown in these press photos carries the simple Ram’s head logo.

Taking a swipe at GMC, whose MultiPro ‘gate allegedly dings itself on tall towing hitches under certain circumstances, the company’s official release states, “Unlike other multi-element tailgates, the Ram Multifunction Tailgate is trailer-friendly and does not require that the trailer and hitch be removed before opening.”

BURN. This follows a bout of Twitter sniping between the two companies last week and an odd YouTube video from The General:

Ram’s marketing totally dropped the ball in one area, though. They could’ve stuck with convention and called it the RamGate, or went full aggro-mode and dubbed it the PowerPortal or something. MultiFunction sounds like a tool in Microsoft Excel.

But that matters not. What is important is that pickup truck manufacturers are currently locked in a war of one-upmanship, steadily introducing more powerful and innovative products – in short, it’s a great time to be a truck fan.

Just be sure to tell your grandchildren.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • IBx1 IBx1 on Feb 06, 2019

    Oh right, I forgot they leaked patent drawings of this before.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Feb 06, 2019

    Speaking of pickup truck innovations. I wouldn't mind a new version of the bed side locker box that was offered on the early-mid 70's Ford F-100 pickup.

  • Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
  • FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.