By on February 6, 2019

Ram 1500 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.

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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.”

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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.

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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.

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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.

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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.

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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52 Comments on “Split Ends: Ram Introduces ‘MultiFunction’ Tailgate...”


  • avatar
    whynot

    It will wreck havoc with the RAM logoed trims…so with this tailgate they all get the ram head logo. Note that the vehicle in the pictures is a Rebel trim (the trim that usually has RAM across the tailgate).

  • avatar
    jatz

    Meh… More parts to squeak, rattle and rust.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    The lead photo illustrates the biggest problem with current pickups. The man’s shoulders are at the same height as the top of the box. I’m pretty sure this is a bit of an optical illusion (or perhaps an issue with central casting), but truck bed walls have grown taller and with 4WD and off-road-capable suspensions reaching for the sky, it has become challenging to load or unload cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Yep. The box on the 2019 is an inch and a half deeper, the Rebel trim package is lifted an inch, the 33″ tires are worth another half inch, they didn’t cast linebackers to stand next to it, and the end result is absurd. Middle schoolers unloading dad’s truck.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      My Silverado has modest ground clearance and tiny-looking 17″ winter rims, and yet it still takes a 5-foot snow broom to clear the tonneau cover.

      Can’t imagine the gymnastics required with some of these goliath Rams and F150s one sees perched on 22″ rubber.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Correct! Even my modest 2 wheel drive mid-size Dakota is too high which makes loading/unload the bed a challenge and I’m 6 foot even. When your typical full-size truck requires a step ladder plus hand rail to get into the bed you know something is wrong. Instead of fixing the tailgate how about lowering the ride height to reasonable levels?

  • avatar
    arach

    I don’t really get what EITHER of these accomplish.

    The GMC one almost makes the tailgate more useless.

    The ram one allows you to bypass the tailgate for heavy loads- I kind of like that, but it seems awkward and not the ideal design. It still has a significant reach and will likely be an issue when trailering.

    I think Ford still has the best design, with the stop that comes out from the back of it, not hindering tailgate performance or reducing access space.

    I’ll wait to pass huge judgement until I try it though.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The photos above do show a trailer attached in two images and the split side opening seems to clear the trailer’s tongue jack well enough. Not sure how well it would do with a travel trailer, but it’s at least worth looking at.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Game changer.

    Once again Ram is showing the rest how it’s done.

    This is a far better execution than the tailgate that’s only available on the Denali and, like usual we have nothing from Ford.

    This is also better than the Ridgeline tailgate as the split allows for easier use in tight spaces.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Chrysler hasn’t gotten around to putting the SRT motor in their most important vehicle for 15 years and counting. But the race for the most metrosexual tailgate is important enough to get a product response in a single year and you’re patting them on the back for it?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      It’s never too early to get your Ford bashing in, is it? Meanwhile, in the sales race, RAM and Chevy/GMC are still chasing Ford, like they’ve been for the last 42 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Yeah but the Ridgeline has this “revolutionary” concept since 2006. It looks like the Ram’s is slightly more practical but probably more prone to squeaks and rattles since it is a two part. May be the Ridgeline has a patent on their system?

      • 0 avatar
        NECarGuy

        The Ridgeline’s “revolutionary” concept was on my mom’s 1984 Mercury Colony Park Station Wagon…..

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Neither one is “revolutionary”, though EVOlutionary might be allowable. The drop/swing tailgate is decades old, having been used on full-sized station wagons back in the 70s and 80s. As for the split tailgate, the Chevy Astro “minivan” had something similar with a one-piece glass upper and split lower doors. The only real difference here is that they’re on a truck, not a car and even that’s not new as the Fiat Toro in Brazil had them about four years ago (maybe three.) If they included one other little gimmick from the Toro, it’s also a way to extend the bed to carry something like an ATV or bike.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      “Game changers” in the full-size truck business are like “new eras” in the stock market: Correctly predicted 19 out of every 3 times.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    In the spring of 2013, a few months after buying my Tacoma, I got invited to one of those focus group things (on a Sunday afternoon), in a large warehouse space that had a front office area.

    After answering tons of written survey questions, we were sent out into the warehouse with another stack of forms. There were different pickups arranged to show off concept ideas on everything from different tailgate designs to see-through consoles to different bed materials. We were asked to look everything over, asked to rate all these things, and whether we would buy trucks with the various features. We were paid $100 for two hours’ time, which wasn’t a bad deal. One of the concepts was a tailgate similar to the MultiPro, but not quite as complex.

  • avatar
    wooootles

    That off-center parting line is triggering me.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    I’ve always been a fan of the barn door split liftgates in things like Astro vans and Excursions, so seeing barn door flip down tailgates show up in trucks is a positive in my book.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So does this require the RamBox bed? That’s already an expensive option. I like the idea of the RamBoxes (a friend has them on his previous-gen RAM), but they narrow the bed so much, it’s almost like a Stepside bed, as capacity goes.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    So… a rehash of the station wagon tailgate wars of the late 60s and early 70s? Next from GM, a tailgate the slides under the bed, a la ’73 Caprice wagon clamshell.

  • avatar
    boho

    “the Multifunction ‘gate has four configurations: open flat, open left door only, open right door only, and open both doors”

    They forgot to mention the “closed” configuration :-)

  • avatar
    ByTheLake

    It’s interesting, but for $1000? I’d probably pass. While it adds convenience, I doubt it would add $1000 of convenience for me.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    “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.”

    Um, no. I can guarantee that the long side will hit the top of the tongue jack on all three of my trailers. I can’t open the tailgate on my F-150 without it hitting. The power jack on my travel trailer is especially tall.

  • avatar
    deanst

    While I’m sure it will be great for some customers, you have to laugh at the marketing spin around creating a tailgate in 2 sections. Didn’t station wagons from 50 years ago open 3 ways, including dropping under the cargo floor? That was more impressive!

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    Hey, dutch doors just like my GMC Safari van.

  • avatar
    0Gravity

    Nifty. But suburban bros in overpriced man-sedans still aren’t going to use their truck beds for anything more than a Christmas tree once a year

  • avatar
    ajla

    I like the GMC tailgate because it turns into stairs, and that’s basically what I require to get into modern full-size pickup beds.

    I also felt (when brand new anyway) that it was sturdier feeling than the Ford ManStep or the kickdown steps offered by Ram/Nissan.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    This reminds me of the Magic Doorgate on Ford Country Squire (and later GM)station wagons.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    That is a handsome truck especially in red. Too bad you can’t find one at a dealer.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    I suppose this could have some valid use cases and like that the manufacturers are willing to experiment. If a bulky item needed a lift truck to put it in the bed the side-opening door would let it get closer to better position the load. But removing the tailgate on my F-150 takes about 20 seconds to gain the same advantage, so at a k-buck I’d pass. Others will likely find some utility with enough appeal to compel them to select it, albeit in small numbers I’d guess.

    It would be interesting to see a weight comparison between this setup and a conventional tailgate.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      Perfect example for me is when I put an engine into the box with an engine crane. I can roll the crane close to the bumper and set the engine down without having to remove the tailgate.

      For longer engines like an I6 with the tailgate down I can’t get close enough to get all the engine in the box.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    So long, Ridgeline. Your decisive advantage is not so decisive anymore.

  • avatar
    DRdR

    FCA have been using this kind of gate in the Renegade-based Fiat Toro pickup in South America for two years now.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Toro wasn’t Renegade-based; it was a partnership with Mitsubishi, though I forget the model name of the Mitsubishi version.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        Probably the L200 diesel pick-up. Very popular with farmers that have money in Central America. In North America the small Mitsu diesel engines are preferred over the Caterpillars for industrial use like engine-drive welders, generators and air compressors. For vehicles we don’t get their good stuff in the U.S.

        https://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/en/showroom/l200/

      • 0 avatar
        DRdR

        Nope, Toro is Renegade based. You are referring to the Fiat Fullback, basically a rebadged Mitsu L200.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Hey, a post about trucks!

    And yes, the usual blabber in some comments about how most trucks aren’t used for work, etc., and now even the post writer gets in on that action.

    The virtue signaling is off the charts these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Matthew Guy, the post writer, owns a truck and tows with it.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      I use my truck for towing, hauling hay bales and loads that require forks on the front-end loader. But more than 50% of the time I’m hauling just my a$$ and what I bought at Costco. The modern pick-up might be the most wide-band vehicle available today. I have no issues with Matthew’s review.

  • avatar
    IBx1

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

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    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.

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