By on February 11, 2020

Wandering the 2020 Chicago Auto Show floor on the second media day, I entertained myself by playing with trucks.

More specifically, I tinkered with the trick tailgates found on GMC and Ram models, plus the in-bed cooler offered by Honda’s Ridgeline. Also springing to mind is the available roll-up tonneau cover offered by Jeep’s Gladiator, as well as that old stalwart, the RamBox.

I found myself wondering – if size, price, and all other considerations didn’t matter, and the only thing that did matter in a truck-purchasing decision was the coolest tailgate or bed hardware, which truck would I pick?

It’s obviously an exercise in irrationality, as other factors matter a great deal more. If you need a big truck, the smaller Ridgeline and Gladiator will be left on the lot, cooler and tonneau or not.

After some deliberation, I decided the MultiPro unit offered by GMC was the best of the bunch, thanks in part to the audio system. It also works easily and provides a nice step up.

Honda’s in-bed cooler is awesome, and I get the use case for the swing-out gate offered by Ram. The RamBox remains one of the best ideas in truckin’, and while I didn’t mess with one on the show floor, I’ve tested the Gladiator before, and the tonneau cover is easy to work with. Even with a broken finger.

What say you, B & B?

[Image: General Motors]

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82 Comments on “QOTD: Which Tailgate Is the Best Tailgate?...”


  • avatar
    Jon

    The one that opens and closes with a handle. No more. No less.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    The Ram can lock the tailgate. Tailgate theft is a thing around here.

  • avatar
    Big Ed

    The Ram’s split tailgate. With bed sides so high, getting the tailgate out of the way (without having to take it off) to reach further into the bed is a plus. The Rambox is a great feature too…though not a tailgate.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryannosaurus

      This. I have a new F-150 with shell over the bed and find my self frequently having to crawl onto the tailgate to reach items. The Ram’s swing out split tailgate would solve this problem. A much cleaner design and execution than GM’s multi-pro which still leaves the tailgate in-between you and what you want, just folded. If I was buying in 2020, the Ram with the split function tailgate would probably be my choice.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ” I have a new F-150 with shell over the bed”

        When I had my F150 I bought a Lear fiberglass camper shell that did away with the tailgate altogether, replacing it with a full-size hatch that had a glass door in it.

        The kid I sold my F150 to had no need for the Lear camper shell, so I took it off and ended up selling it for more that I paid for to an illegal alien passing through the state where I lived at that time.

        I always considered that Lear camper shell hatch the Best Tailgate, for me.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Just curious how you knew the camper shell buyer was an illegal alien? Did you confront the Canadian? Or did he just mention his/her immigration status?

          You love illegal aliens when it benefits you, selling a truck, building a house/rental, etc.

          I guess those are “the good” Canadians here illegally, no? Not the rapist, meth addict, beggar, thieves, homeless, etc, confusing sidewalks for toilets?

          I found reaching/stretching from the side of the tailgate, against the tail light, has almost the same effect as no tailgate. Of course there’s reach-tools and those hand-trigger grabbers.

          It helps to be creative as we get older.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Just curious how you knew the camper shell buyer was an illegal alien? ”

            He told me. And I knew him. He had worked for me.

            This was when I lived in NM, The Land of Enchantment, a Sanctuary State where illegal aliens have more rights, privileges, protections and FREE HEALTHCARE than American citizens do. Es La Ley!

            “You love illegal aliens when it benefits you, selling a truck, building a house/rental, etc.”

            Sure, it’s a huge labor pool in sanctuary states like CA, NM, NY, etc. where they do the work Americans refuse to do. BIG BUSINESS!

            Every morning the illegals stand on a street corner waiting to be picked up for day wages work. I see it now where I live in El Paso, TX.

            Some guestimate that illegals make up more than 25% of the underground economy workforce: 99% of MY employees were illegals because no American would do the work I did repairing, refurbing, remodeling rental properties. It was tough work.

            And many of the people I sold vehicles to also worked for me, or my American-born foreman Federico, over the years, and they weren’t shy to remind me of that fact knowing I would cut them slack, if they had been keepers.

            I lost count of how many illegals I, and many like me, have helped on their way to the Blue States where they were absorbed into their population.

            Since you mentioned “the good” Canadians here illegally, my brother-in-law from Vancouver is in the States illegally but he’s got cover: came to visit me in NM and while here got a NM drivers license which he took back to WA and exchanged for a WA drivers license, all while keeping his own Canadian license.

            For all intents and purposes he’s an American citizen and no one is the wiser. I hope he doesn’t vote in WA…..

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            There’s no legit contractors in NM? Or they just won’t work for what you pay?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Yeah so capitalism is a 2 way street. Products are worth what people are willing to pay…supply and demand and all that. But ones labor is also a product and subverting that side of the equation by having a pool, which is basically slave labor since they aren’t entitled to the upward mobility, rights and worker protections that legal workers or citizens are makes you part of the problem.

            Yes, DM hit the nail on the head…it isn’t that American’s won’t do the work…they won’t do it for the wages you want to pay. Yes, those higher wages will make stuff more expensive. So what…stuff should cost what it costs. What you are doing is having taxpayers subsidize your business. They call that Socialism in some parts of the world. And is it really worth having a group of people function as virtual slave labor so you can buy a .49 cent head of lettuce or renovate a rental property that you probably turn around and rent to one of them? It’s wrong. I bet in 1861 people like you were saying the same crap. “You know, I don’t like slavery but by golly who is going to pick the cotton…Citizens won’t do it and who wants to pay double the current price for a Tee shirt”. If American’s won’t do the work, fine…bring them in legally. We have programs for that already. But then it will cost you more…much cheaper to have everyone else subsidize your business model.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Yes, DM hit the nail on the head…it isn’t that American’s won’t do the work…they won’t do it for the wages you want to pay.”

            ‘Minimum wage’ means ‘I would pay you less if it was legal.

            – Chris Rock.

            “Yes, those higher wages will make stuff more expensive. So what…stuff should cost what it costs. What you are doing is having taxpayers subsidize your business. They call that Socialism in some parts of the world. ”

            Remember-

            It’s OK When A Republican Does It.

            nevermind the utter cluelessness of complaining about “illegals” in the same breath as admitting to employing them.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            How true, JimZ, how true.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            All valid comments but things are what they are because of America’s immigration policy.

            People in NM and other states with few jobs help move illegals along to other states where those taxpayers can foot the bill for them. CA and NY are great destinations where the illegals are welcomed with open arms.

            For many, they just need a day job to save up some money to go and most Americans will not do day jobs, no matter how much you pay them.
            Hence the hordes of illegals standing on street corners waiting to be scooped up for a day job in border states.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “All valid comments but things are what they are because of America’s immigration policy.”

            Ah, now we get to the “it’s not my fault!” cop out the Boomers are so good at. You could have found Americans to work for you, you just didn’t want to pay what they’d expect. At least own it instead of trying to be a hypocritical weasel and blaming everyone other than yourself.

            amazing how many people insist everything should be made here by Americans when they’d be the first to scream bloody murder when they saw how much more stuff would cost.

            Can’t have your cake and eat it too, regardless of what that guy in DC is trying to tell you.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            JimZ, I am forever grateful to all the illegals who helped elevate MY standard of living because of their toils.

            I tried hiring US citizens but most of them didn’t even last a day, except for Federico who helped his father built our house in the desert during the eighties, and Nguyen whose wife works at a real estate office that needed a repairman/builder for their business.

            Both of these guys are still in the business and doing quite well hiring illegals to do the labor.

            Another huge source of labor are the thousands of Mexicans that cross the Zaragoza bridge every day and look for a day labor job in El Paso, TX.

            I don’t know where you live but things may be different in the Great American Southwest where illegals make up a huge portion of the population.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            HDC, this is just wrong. So what happens when one of your workers has a brick bang them on the head or something and now requires lifelong care. The American worker costs more because there are protections in place for that individual. Your workers have no such protection and should that happen their care becomes our burden.

            And again, legal workers will do that work. Thing is, we are at near full employment so their labor is worth more. You have to pay that. That is how Capitalism works. I want a La Ferrari. I can’t afford one. I don’t get to have the Chinese build me an exact copy for a fraction of the price…I have to pay what Ferrari is asking or buy something else.

            That is an oversimplified example for sure, but here in the US we have collectively decided that a certain standard of living is the norm and that workers are entitled to certain protections, rights, and access to a so called American Dream that allows them upward mobility.

            You do not get to subvert all of that because you don’t want to pay the actual value for something…in this case someone’s labor. It is wrong. I am in fact a Republican, generally speaking but this is something that really sticks in my craw about my own party. Let them in with legal status or keep them out, but don’t keep them hanging around in some sort of BS status that allows them to be exploited so you can get cheap stuff (labor). I don’t care what your Political stripes are…wrong is wrong and frankly it makes it hypocritical when you scream that someone like a Bernie Sanders wants to steal the fruits of your labor and redistribute it…This is the same thing.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Art Vandelay, what you and others think is just plain wrong is widely accepted practice in much of America, especially the Blue States (and Border States) where illegal aliens make up more than 25% of the underground workforce (by some guestimates).

            And…….this has been in practice since 1942 when the first Brazeros came to America to replace the Americans who left for WWII. People who came to America legally with work permits refusing to leave when their permits expired or were not renewed. Much like the many H1B and H2B aliens in America today are refusing to leave.

            The solution which has eluded America since the Brazeros days ended in 1946 is to rewrite America’s immigration policy.

            President Trump has tried to do that, to no avail like many US Presidents before him, but at least he is building the Wall.

            My son, the Supervisory Border Patrol Agent, tells me that where the Wall has gone up the inflow of illegals, drugs and criminal aliens has been drastically reduced.

            Meanwhile, back at the ranch or the restaurant or the hotel or the car dealership, illegals will continue to work in jobs that Americans refuse to do.

            You may remember my comment re automation and McD’s installing Kiosks to replace Cashiers, Order Takers and other staff. Not everything can be replaced by automation, and illegals fill that crucial need for entry-level job labor like dishwasher, busboys, carwashers, etc, especially in the Blue States and Border States where such employment is encouraged.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            So H1B, in theory is an example of how it is supposed to work. Here are some jobs where the amount of people with the skills to do these jobs is smaller than the amount of people needed, so let’s vet some people and bring them in until such a time that our education system adjusts to demand and we can fill the positions internally.

            Now I am in tech so I know there are abuses there too but that is more big tech doing the math and seeing that it is cheaper to buy off politicians than pay the labor that is organic to the US. Not in all cases for sure, but it happens.

            But again, the jobs you are talking about don’t require skills that Americans don’t have. They are seen as difficult so people for a variety of reasons don’t see what you are paying as worth the work. Ergo you either a: have to pay them more and provide all the stuff we as a society have decided workers as a whole should have or b: subvert the system by exploiting a pool of workers that are basically powerless to stop the exploitation.

            We are having a housing boom in Huntsville, AL. This coincides with huge growth in Nashville, Atlanta, and other areas in the Southeast. As a result homes are going up in price and even with the illegals that are here there isn’t enough.

            As a result the local trades are setting up training programs and paying for people to attend, funding community colleges and actively recruiting high school students. Alabama as you have noticed is fairly red so while I don’t see mass raids or anything, it isn’t likely this is the best place for an illegal to try to live. As such, the trades have to have something to offer to compete with tech in this area. That is how it is supposed to work. Company needs a service. Not as many people are around to provide it so they have to compete for the labor. That drives wage growth and empowers workers.

            You are subverting that. You can make all the excuses you want but at the end of the day the system would iron this out either by legally importing labor or the wages for that labor going up and enticing more people to do it. Socialism by our own party is still socialism and should be called out as such or again, don’t call it out when Bernie proposes it.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Art Vandelay, what you wrote is all true and yet there still exists a problem of H1B and H2B people overstaying their welcome in America by not leaving when they are supposed to leave. This in addition to all the illegals waltzing across the border with Mexico.

            That makes them all illegal aliens.

            Not all illegals come from Mexico, Central and South America. A ton of them come from Cuba, China, South Asia, the Middle East and wherever, and many come here under legit circumstances.

            Others seem to favor coming across America’s Southern border. OTM nationals are apprehended daily at America’s Southern border. (OTM=Other Than Mexican)

            All illegals like to disperse throughout America at the earliest opportunity so they can blend into communities that welcome illegals because there are more jobs in the sanctuary cities than in the sparsely populated desert.

            At least now America is deporting the undesirables instead feeding and housing them.

            I remember reading about an ICE raid on a meat processing plant somewhere in America and they had to close the place down since the majority of workers were illegals with forged papers and stolen social security numbers. Once arrested, there weren’t enough workers to keep the plant running.

            A lot of great immigration changes have been implemented by the Trump administration. President Trump’s second term will be spectacular with enforcing existing immigration on the books. Even better than now.

            But all those great accomplishments will only last until the next ‘crat gets into the White House.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @hdc: “… what you and others think is just plain wrong is widely accepted practice in much of America,…”

            Just because it is “widely accepted practice” does not make it right. Slavery, at one time, was a widely accepted practice, too, and what you do by hiring illegals for day jobs is only marginally short of slavery, since you’ve made it pretty clear you don’t care much if a worker gets hurt on the job.

            Similar to Art Vandelay, I am a lifelong Republican and I am of the belief that it is people like you who make the problem worse, not better. Even you have admitted in writing that by giving them the jobs, you make it easier for them to move deeper into the country. I will note that one of the highest concentrations of Latino immigrants (legal or not is unknown) is in Pennsylvania and other northern states where, like you, they get hired more for their willingness to “take jobs Americans don’t want” at lower wages than Americans are willing to accept.

            And despite what you say about the Wall, it is essentially useless. The catch-and-hold policy has done more to stop illegal immigration than the wall itself has done. The wall itself has only shifted the immigration railroad to areas where there are fewer eyes to see them crossing. And we’ve already seen where the drugs tend to come through areas where walls have been established for decades, both through the official border crossings and through tunnels up to 1000 feet long or longer underneath those walls. For every one we find, dozens more are started and some few are always successful.

            So you are as much the cause of the problem as the illegals themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, there are a lot of things wrong with America these days but nevertheless it is what it is. Unless America’s immigration policy is fixed there will be inequities, human trafficking and illegal aliens in America.

            I’ll be out of town for a few days.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    The GMC design does seem very handy … as long as you don’t frequently have a hitch ball installed. Dropping that center portion at the wrong time could get ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah that still makes me laugh. Lots of guys around here with their locking hitch pins and hitch balls permanently installed.

      Although here in the Southwest you don’t really have to worry about your hitch ball or components rusting too badly.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Maybe it would teach them to remove the balls when not in use. It’s also technically illegal in most places, but never enforced.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I think the GMC tailgate is ridiculous, but I must be in the minority, as I see lots of GMCs with those. I can’t imagine what a pain it would be if one were stolen (it must be heavy) or damaged, and getting all the parts together to build one.

    I think I’ve seen one Ram 1500 with the split tailgate. A friend owns a previous-gen Ram with Ram Boxes, and they’re pretty handy. The downside is that it narrows the space inside the bed, making it kinda like a stepside.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The Ford aluminum tailgate. Surprisingly light, which is nice when trying to close it one handed while carrying something you just took out of the bed.

    Note that the above is null and void if the man step is ordered, as that makes the tailgate super heavy again.

  • avatar
    redapple

    If PIG UP trucks werent 5/4 too big. Sanity would return.
    Box side low enough to reach in.
    Tailgates accordingly lower.
    Suddenly, many problems are solved.
    Oh yeah and 3-5 more MPG.
    But, massive PIG UP trucks are needed because I am macho man and you re going to learn it, beech!

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      If PIG UP trucks werent 5/4 too big for me. Sanity would return.

      Fixed it for ya.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Pickup makers are listening and pickups are getting notably lower, especially 1/2 tons. No longer are they higher in the back (like they’re supposed to be). And adding 4wd doesn’t raise them one bit.

      Chicks are becoming the biggest buyers of 1/2 ton pickups, and or heavily involved.

      HD pickups have to ride high due to solid front axles, or in the case of GM, their low hanging DEF tanks.

      Superduty bedsides are undercut from previous generations and look real awkward.

      Although you shouldn’t have to reach in for small items. It’s the stuff you adapt to, like carrying a couple milk crates for small things. like bungees/straps. If you can’t reach a milk crate, you’re shorter than average. You can stand on milk crates too and or carry a 3-prong rake to reach things also.

      If you can’t figure these things out, you’re not serious about owning a fullsize pickup. But then you’ll struggle with midsizers too, or more so.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “If you can’t figure these things out, you’re not serious about owning a fullsize pick up.”

        Facepalm. That’s putting the cart before the horse, because your wording assumes that a full-sized truck is something someone would aspire to.

        If a full sized truck isn’t the right tool for what you’re doing, you shouldn’t own one.

        I’ve been shopping for trucks, and full-sized trucks aren’t a good fit for what I’m planning to do with the truck. They’re big enough that maneuvering them requires extra work, it can be hard to access the cargo, and some of them are very thirsty.

        I have a requirement to tow 5k-7k lbs occasionally, and to tow a wide variety of 1k loads every weekend. I also need to transport building materials and oddly shaped objects. I could get by with a Honda Ridgleine, but a GMC Canyon has more headroom as far as the specs go and gets slightly better MPG’s, too.

        Anything bigger than the Canyon is all downside for me. But it isn’t for everyone. Every vehicle has to be evaluated against its mission, and the Canyon is just the right amount of overkill.

        I’m clearly not “serious” about owning a full-sized truck.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          They’re the ones complaining on the comment section of a fullsizer article. But any pickup, really.

          The Colorado/Canyon isn’t much of an improvement, bed height-wise, vs a 1/2 ton, or in over all size, especially for someone way below average men’s height. Workarounds would still be necessary for some midsize/fullsize users, women especially.

          If that’s the only thing keeping a person away, it’s a very weak excuse.

          But obviously some users just like to struggle, complain, and make themselves as miserable as possible, instead of shutting up and finding solutions.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Workarounds are just like any other tools. They’re designed or supposed to make our lives better, increase productivity, etc.

            Take a fishing pole/line/hook/lure. It sure beats the heck out of diving in and chasing. I’m sure they made fun of the inventor at the time though.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Modern trucks are not your dad’s C10. Beds are elevated to accommodate tires with higher payload ratings.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Yes, men can be frightening.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “If PIG UP trucks werent 5/4 too big. Sanity would return.
      Box side low enough to reach in.”

      I’ve been shopping for trucks lately, since I’m likely to need one this summer.

      I’ve found the GMC Canyon / Chevy Colorado is a full sized truck, as far as I’m concerned. The GMC Canyon has everything I expect from a full-sized luxury truck, including the towing capacity.

      I had custody of a 2004 F-150 FX4 at one point, and I could barely see over the bed rails — and the load floor was within 1″ of my sternum. That’s well past the point where truck-machismo is interference with truck-utility. The Canyon is low enough that I can reach over the bed and load things in to it.

      So, yeah, the Canyon/Colorado/Taco/Ridgldine are full-sized trucks, and the F-150/Silverado/RAM at oversized trucks. That’s life with model creep.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @Tim Healey: I’d have to do what you did in order to offer an objective opinion. I will note that since I drive a supposed mid-sized truck, I do believe these options should be available for the ‘smaller’ trucks as well as full-sized ones. Even the RamBox idea would be helpful, considering how large the so-called ‘mid-sized’ trucks really are.

    That said, both the GM tailgate and the Ram split tailgate would be viable options and ones I would be willing to pay extra for as a replacement for my conventional drop-down model. Why? Because with the tailgate down, climbing up into the bed and back down can be complicated when all you have is a tiny pocket in the corner of the bumper you have to feel for to access with little to no secure hand hold to stabilize yourself when stepping down. (I’m not as young as I used to be and tailgates seem so much higher now than in the 80s and 90s.)

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      In the case of midsizers, makers went with a highboy stance for both RWD and 4WD, vs having two separate suspensions (rolling chassis), which would mean added expense, since 4wd midsize (BOF) pickups need a lift to stuff more parts in the compact front area.

      But do you want to hear a simple solution, or prefer to complain?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Aren’t they really complaining they’re short, fat, have a detached vertebrae, and or too old, etc? I’m not acrobatic but I’ll simply grab the sides, step on the tire or wheel slot.. up and over.

        Not exactly the end of The World.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @DM: Actually, truck makers cheaped out by mounting the cab on top of the frame rails in order to to reduce costs of creating a transmission hump and driveshaft tunnel. The bed sides got raised because of the changes to the rear suspension, which lifted the whole back end up notably higher (a good 12″ higher than an “equivalent” 1990 version.) The combined lift raised the whole truck up to ridiculous proportions which inspired the “man step” from Ford and the bumper step pockets from GM. For simplicity and cost savings, they did the same to their mid-sized trucks as well, which made them 15% larger in overall dimensions from their predecessors.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      I have no issues with climbing in my truck bed. At 6’6” a Drop tailgate, foot in number cubby, grab onto the bed, step into the bed. It’s really not that difficult. Bitchin is for little people.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “I have no issues with climbing in my truck bed. At 6’6” ”

        You’re quite tall then. Average NBA height is 6’7″, average male height in the US is about 5’10”, average female height is 5’4″.

        You must be able to imagine that someone 10 inches shorter than you could have an issue climbing in and out of a MY2020 truck bed.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I’m 5’4″.

          Tall trucks fit me about as badly as pants with a 38″ inseam, and I’m not buying a tool that’s going to trip me up.

          You have to pay me to put up with the wrong tool — but, last I checked, I’m the one who pays for the vehicles I buy.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          I’m 5′ 10″ and don’t find it difficult to climb into a modern Super Duty bed without the man step.

          People who say modern trucks are much bigger than past trucks are just plain wrong. In almost all dimensions, comparing the same cab sizes, they are close in length, width, and height. Manufacturers have done a great job fooling you because the trucks look much larger for marketing purposes, but a look at the specs will prove the truth.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Where did you find specs on bed or tailgate height? Especially for older trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            1996 F150 – (truck was the same back to 1980): 33.4″ to bed floor on 4×4

            https://www.thecarconnection.com/specifications/ford_f-150_1996

            2020 F150 – 35.9″ to bed floor on 4×4

            https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/models/f150-xl/

            2.5″ isn’t nothing, but it isn’t 12″ as some would have you believe, and the majority is almost certainly in the larger tires on the ’20.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “2.5″ isn’t nothing, but it isn’t 12″ as some would have you believe”

            I think the popularity of 4WD these days has a lot to do with the feeling as well. From your links you could get an old F-150 as low as 30.2 inches while a very popular MY2020 4WD SCrew is about 36. So that 6 inch difference is likely visually noticeable.

            And FWIW, it looks like 2WD Fords are up about 4 inches. That’s also not the apocalypse or anything but it is an increase.

        • 0 avatar
          Drew8MR

          It’s not so much climbing in and out as it is loading and unloading stuff like rock,concrete, etc. Can I lift it a foot higher? Yes. Does it still suck? Yes. Even 5 gallon buckets of adhesive and stuff get old.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            It’s not a foot higher though, more like a couple inches over the last few decades.

            Again, assuming a fair comparison and not a 2wd Tacoma to a 4wd F350 or something.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            @ajla,

            The 30.2″ height was for a 2wd OBS. Every configuration of a 4wd was at least 33″. Not really fair to compare to a new 4wd.

            Maybe 4wd is popular in Florida for looks, but up here we unfortunately need its functionality quite often (another 4-8″ of snow predicted for tomorrow night :/ )

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I’m 6’1″ tall and I don’t fit well in an ND Miata. There is no reason whatsoever for the interior of that car to have so little room. Mazda should redesign the car so I fit.

  • avatar
    JMII

    If you need a ladder or step to reach into the bed the truck is too high off the ground.

    The RAM box is the best bed related idea I’ve seen.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I think a “magic doorgate” solution stolen from the 1960s would work well too.

      https://tinyurl.com/sl8xb46

      But then I think that is what Honda does with the Ridgeline.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      They’re built as low as possible. But if you know better, I’m sure their engineers would love to hear it.

      So why not just carry a ladder or other aid? My mom simply wired a plastic bread-tray at the back end of bed. She just drops the tailgate and her stuff is right there where she left it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @DenverMike : You just openly stated that the truck makers have designed their trucks poorly when a user has to rig some sort of device on their own to do what the truck makers should have done in the first place.

        Interestingly enough, the Ridgeline already has a convenient truck box. And the Saturn Vue had a fold down version built into the floor by the tailgate that was extremely convenient.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I personally think it is crazy to have to carry around a ladder and milk crates and a “reaching rake” just to use the full bed capacity. But apparently that’s a compromise today’s FS truck buyer is fine making.

    I still think there is a market for a light duty “truck” (probably on a CUV platform) with dimensions somewhere between a Fiat Strada and 1999 Ford Ranger. I’m not sure the Santa Cruz will really be it, but I’ve read that Ford is working on such a vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You don’t “have to do” anything. But as long as you’re doing it, whatever you’re doing, why not make it a better experience, get the most out of it.

      Most things I buy aren’t custom tailored for me exactly, but I don’t snivel or spend any time complaining, I just fix it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Evidence suggests that a lot of truck buyers really don’t care about bed access.

    Not only are bed sides super-high from the factory today, but the first thing many (most?) owners do is lift the truck and put on wide tires that will get mud all over you if you touch them while trying to get to the bed from the side.

    But none of this is a surprise. HD owners are mostly pulling trailers, rather than loading heavy cargo in the truck, and half-ton owners are putting their groceries in the back of the cab, with the bed reserved for their empty beer cans.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      what evidence?

      “many (most)” Citation?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Look around you. If you exclude fleet trucks, I think I see more lifted trucks than factory ones.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Clearly you have a vision problem, but lifted/bro trucks attract enough attention for 15 pickup.

          Mine would fade into the background ground, except it’s bright red.

          I had to drive a r/c 8′ bed for month last summer and didn’t love it at first and I’m sure I was fairly invisible. But now that’s the next truck I’m ordering. It does feel “just right”.

          My dogs especially didn’t love it, three 100+ lbs Labs and a Chiweenie. It was over 100F degrees, no AC and they grumbled but each found their “spot” in the cab.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          We must live in different places. If you claim lifted trucks are more common in your part of town, i cant contest your observation (although i might suspect you live in a REALLY redneck place).

          I reside in a small jurisdiction called Desert Hills AZ. Its a suburb of Phoenix. It and its surrounding communities are some of the lesser policed and regulated parts of AZ. ALOT of the folks here are beer drinkin, freedom lovin, truck drivin, yet respectful rednecks. If I am supposed to go from observation alone, I would estimate that 20% of the privately owned trucks here are lifted (some so high, you cant see the beer cans in the bed). Grade school arithmetic taught me that 20% is less than most (50%). Therefore lifted trucks are far less common than non-lifted trucks… where i live.

          I don’t dispute that some pickup truck drivers drive like jerks. But from your established method for evidence collection, observations, I don’t find their numbers are higher than those who drive their cars/CUVs like jerks. Furthermore, posting some outlandish diatribe about Prius/CRV/Rav4’s (did i miss any?) who drive too slow or occupy the passing lane when the cruising lane is wide open or take five minutes to park at Fry’s or (insert annoying behavior here) seems counterproductive to solving the problem of bad drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I don’t get where DAL is coming up with the thought that so many pickups are lifted. He lives in Seattle, while I live in the area and work in Seattle. Yes many have custom wheels and slightly larger than stock size tires. I’d say the average 1/2 ton, crew cab, 4×4 consumer owned truck is stone stock. That is easily the most common configuration seen on the streets around here. Now when you are talking non fleet 3/4 and 1 ton trucks a lot of those trucks are lifted in our area.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’m just reporting on what I see. I suppose it’s possible that people who are committed enough to own trucks in the city despite the parking hassle are hardcore truck people who modify their trucks more. But it seems to me like barely any truck leaves the lot without at least a small lift, aggressive-looking aftermarket wheels, and larger tires.

            For what it’s worth, I have exactly the same impression when I visit my relatives in small-town Texas. My BIL’s late-model Chevy is on the stock wheels but has a 2″ suspension lift and “mud tars.”

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            dal,

            “people who are committed enough to own trucks in the city despite the parking hassle are hardcore truck people who modify their trucks more”

            You are not wrong. They are easier to modify than cars/SUV’s and serve an additional purpose when modified, a purpose that many commuter cars cannot serve. Its the same purpose that sports car owners and performance car owners put an exhaust or tune on their cars… fun. And us car people try to put at least one vehicle in our stable that has some fun in it.

            The parking hassle here is only a problem for trucks in a few isolated sections of the valley. Simply put, we don’t have the parking problems associated with large cities. So when a lifted truck decides to park on or over the white line and really close to my car, i place a few ounces (4+) of wheel weights on the inside of its front wheel. Just a friendly reminder that cutting corners for his convenience can turn into a big inconvenience later (taking his truck to the shop to diagnose a suspension vibration).

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I won’t pretend to have statistics, but considering how few trucks are sold (or even available) with a real 8 foot bed anymore, I’d say there is a lot of truth to this.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        In the trades, the 8-ft bed is still very common, even with four full-size doors. But those trucks are usually 3/4 ton or higher.

        My son has an F350 with four full-size doors and an 8-ft bed and DRW (Dual Rear Wheels).

        My former employee Nguyen recently traded his F150 V6T 4-dr for a new 3500 Silverado 1-ton Duallie with 4-drs 8-ft bed and 4wd.

        But these are trucks used for the daily grind, not just the occasional tow and haul, and often haul 5 workmen, a work-trailer and a bed full of support gear like a generator, air compressor, cooler, construction tools, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The wide tires are there to stand on probably. Although they do make “running boards” that go from wheel arch to wheel arch.

      But I’m sure those intending to haul nothing but air found out they can actually be (themselves) “useful” to themselves and to friends, family and purdy much the world around them. Their church for example.

      Most thinking you do outside the home, hobbies and whatnot (including the home itself) can be done better in a pickup.

      Yeah maybe it’s strictly an American thing and it’s like waving an American Flag, even if China was heavily involved.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I have an F-150 that I got because I needed to tow 5-9k lbs, and the larger SUVs are quite a bit more expensive than the trucks out the door. And, yes, I know there are smaller vehicles that are rated to tow that much, but my experience is that things get a little squirrelly when you get right up against the ratings. The bed needs steps and extenders and dividers to be useful for much of anything. The RamBox and split tailgate are definitely making me consider that for my next truck, though I probably actually would prefer a SWB Tahoe/Expedition if the money comes out the same.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Vulpine – When did I say they’re “designed poorly”?

    Except they’re designing current 1/2 tons too low, caving to whiners.

    Yeah fullsize beds aren’t the most user-friendly compared to vintage pickups, old 2wds especially. and it’s not in error. But I’d rather not go back in time. Nor would most buyers.

    I much prefer the high sides, and tall (factory) stance. My power equipment, generator, tools, supplies aren’t visible when I park and walk away.

    I’ll park away from the cluster of cars, or across the street, and it looks like any empty pickup.

    Except I can’t comprehend why snivelers have a particular problem with simple, common sense, workarounds.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Put me in the bed heights are silly camp. Yeah it’s just a couple of inches over the generations but that couple of inches, and the couple of inches more on the taller walls, is the difference between comfortable reach and awkward stretch. I’m 6’3 and my F-150 was right on the cusp. I took out the rear blocks and that prima facie trivial 1.25″ got it back to comfortable for me. Looks better too.

    As far as tailgates, 9/10 of the headache is reaching over the bed sides so this really doesn’t matter much. My F-150 has the man step, which I used exactly once. Dumb gimmick, and makes the tailgate about twice as heavy to close too.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m surprised that, with the recent emphasis on tailgates, no manufacturer has (yet) tried to introduce (re-introduce?) the two-way tailgate (hinged either on the bottom or the sides) that was so popular on 1970s and 1980s station wagons.

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