Split Ends: Ram Introduces 'MultiFunction' Tailgate
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 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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