By on September 21, 2020

2021 Chevrolet Silverado. Image: Chevrolet

Chevrolet teased it last week, and now it’s here: The Multi-Flex tailgate that will be available on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado.

In other news, towing capacity is upgraded.

No word on a new interior, though.

The Multi-Flex can be operated via the key fob or two buttons on the tailgate itself, and it offers six configurations/functions. It can hold up to 375 pounds. The six functions are: standard tailgate, load stop (both for the main gate and an inner load stop), bed step, fold-down for longer reach, and work surface. Multi-Flex will be available across the lineup.

Image: Chevrolet

Meanwhile, towing capacity for the 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is increased to a max of 9,300 lbs with two-wheel drive and the crew-cab short box, which is a 2,500-lb jump. Regular cab long-box 2WD models increase to 9,600 lbs, with the maximum payload going to 2,280 lbs.

The 3.0-liter turbodiesel adds 1,900 lbs of towing capacity across most configurations, with a max of 9,500 lbs for two-wheel drive models. The price for this engine drops by $1,500.

Image: Chevrolet

New tech that helps with trailering include a trailer-length indicator that helps the driver determine if other cars are present, a jack-knife alert that is meant to warn drivers before they jack-knife their trailer, a camera that zooms on the cargo bed, a system that helps guide a hitch into place, camera guidelines to help when backing up to a trailer, and a split view of the sides of the trailer while reversing.

Image: Chevrolet

Other changes include new standard features (varying by trim) and new options packages, as well as three new exterior colors.

Production begins this month and the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado goes on sale this fall.

[Images: Chevrolet]

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43 Comments on “Chevrolet Silverado Multi-Flex Tailgate: Here It Is...”


  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Hmmm. Looks expensive to fix or replace when it gets whacked or stolen. For all the “ utility “ I still can’t understand why they don’t design in real usable features. Such as a method to lengthen the load floor to a semi usable length as pickups used to have. Or a method of making the loading, supporting and retaining lumber loads the way everyone it seems loads them. That is tailgate up and boards sticking six feet up and behind. These things look good in brochures but useful? Not so sure. Now if the damn things weren’t so high, maybe you wouldn’t need the steps etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Menar Fromarz: Your complaint isn’t new. This tailgate is only new for Chevys; it’s the exact same tailgate as the GMCs carry, with perhaps slightly different outer sheet metal.

      Honestly, I’d like to see this tailgate for my 2019 Colorado.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      The Silverado has a somewhat reasonable bed height and can still be loaded from the side by hand without a ladder. The multi-flex tailgate seems to be very useful and is a good compromise to having only bumper steps or a stepladder in the bed.

      I havent read of any tailgate thefts on the Sierra that is equipped with the Multi-Flex, but I have heard of damage when owners lower it onto a straight hitch ball.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @SSJeep: That may be true if you stand 6-foot-6 or taller but I’m only 5-foot-9 and I can’t even reach over the sides of my mid-sized truck and touch the floor more than a foot away from the bed side. That means I’m unlikely to reach the floor of a new Silverado of any kind if it’s not through the tailgate. And I certainly need at least the bumper steps to get into the bed without that tailgate step.

        And considering how high the bumper is on those trucks, why the HECK would you have a straight hitch ball on it? You need at least a 2″ drop if not more for almost any trailer or you’ll end up with your trailer’s load back by the ramp, which would make it extremely unstable at highway speeds.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @Vulpine, What happens if you get up on the bumper with the tailgate closed and kick a leg over the tailgate?

          That’s about a 2 ft rise over the bumper.

          I’m trying to gauge your level of disability. My mother is 74 years old, just 5’1″ and gets into the bed of her Tundra this way.

          Small kids can do it this way too.

          I’m sure she could grab the sides of the bed and pull herself up standing on a tire if she needed to, again kicking a leg over the side.

          How do you get in the bed of your Colorado now? It sounds like it’s a huge issue/battle for you.

          But if you’re doing it right, you never need to get in the bed.

          Also, do you have one of those bathtubs with a door?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DenverMike: As you already know, your argument is facetious and invalid. The discussion was about reaching in to grab something and pull it out. You simply can’t reach in over the sides of a modern truck and it’s bloomin’ dangerous to attempt to climb in, grab anything of size and or weight and climb back out the same way. Dropping the tailgate only gives you access to whatever is within arm’s reach of edge of that tailgate. The way the GM tailgate folds gives you a little more reach into the bed PLUS gives you the ability to have a proper, firm step up and/or down while carrying an item of reasonable bulk. Even your sainted mother would appreciate the step were it available on her Tundra.

            The point is not in how difficult it needs to be but rather how easy it CAN be with the right design. And even if you do it right, there are times you NEED to get into the bed, depending on the load. Either that, or get one of those big, heavy, sliding shelf-like platforms that brings your load out to you and now stretches five- to eight feet out behind the truck as you unload it. I’m sure you’ve heard about those roller decks, haven’t you? Problem is, if you back up into your driveway and there’s another vehicle between your truck and your garage… you may not be able to pull that shelf out all the way, yet again forcing you to climb into the bed to reach those last items that were right up against the back of the cab.

            Oh, that’s right… you’ve got a crew cab with a four-foot bed in it, don’t you?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You still have to be fairly agile to use the step without a rail or handle to grab (as The Man Step offers). My mother would tell you The Multi Flex is gimmicky at best, same with The Man Step.

            OK if they’re free, but totally unnecessary, if not silly.

            But why would you reach in from the edge of the lowered tailgate? Pressed against the tail light, you can reach about 4 ft in, almost as if the tailgate was removed. And you’ve got either a 5 or 6 ft long bed Colorado.

            Mine is 6.5 ft and again, stepping on a wheel spoke, belly on the rail, I can reach the centerline of the bed, front to back. And I’m 5’9″.

            You’ve got a centerline that’s 3″ closer to the edge (than mine).

            When stepping on the top of the (33″) tires, I’ll kick my leg over the side and I’m up and in the bed. Factory tires were 31″ and yours are about 29″.

            But usually I’ll grab the back corner of the bed rail and pull myself up, stepping on the bumper corner, unless the tailgate is up and then it’s too easy, like I said, just stand on the bumper and kick a leg over.

            Carrying heavy, bulking items down those steps sounds risky, even to me!! And it’s totally unnecessary. I’ll pick them up and set/stage them on the tailgate.

            Yikes. It’s not Rocket Science, but I’m here to help!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: Yup. You’re here to help me make a fool out of you. Though really I don’t need your help for that, I’ve been doing a pretty good job without your help.

            You’ve been nothing but wrong for going on ten years in your arguments and if anything, you’re getting sillier.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The thanks I get… Just look at it. It drops to about 15″ off the ground and 15″ step up. If it was a staircase, it would be illegal.

            A freestanding stepper does it way better.

            And definitely safer, the ones that fold with 2 steps and a handle. The handle is fairly important here, but you already use one or similar to wash the truck.

            Plus you can position it close enough to grab the corner of the bed
            rail to help you up.

            You should be holding on to something, or it’s a balancing act, even before you try to navigate it down with a heavy, bulky item.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: Keep the comedy coming, my friend. You’ve got me rolling on the floor, I’m laughing so hard.

            You try so diligently to be serious but I simply can’t help laughing.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The multi-pro does have a railing bar, it just isn’t deployed in that picture.

            Having used the Multi-pro, I like it a lot and I think it is worth the money and worth any future repair/theft risk. I also prefer its functionally to the various methods you’ve cited to Vulpine.

            For people that don’t like the Multi-Pro or the Ford “man step” they certainly don’t have to buy that option. I don’t believe it is a required feature on any truck.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine, I’m here all week, tip the veal, try the waitress.

            But seriously, they’re not methods or tips that are obvious or come naturally. The frustrated occasional or new user can benefit from seasoned pickup owners.

            This isn’t just about YOU.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Dude, I’m hardly an “occasional or new user”, I’ve been using pickup trucks for almost 50 years. In that time, trucks have changed… a lot! And yes, they have gotten much bigger and more difficult to access. That’s why I always liked the much smaller compacts that became popular in the ’70s; highly accessible as well as fun to drive. They’ve met my needs without being status symbols or intimidating to others.

            I certainly don’t need four full-time doors on a truck; I almost never carry more than one passenger and that’s my wife. I also don’t need something wherein I need a step just to climb into it; much more comfortable if the seat is at a proper chair height; not too high, not too low. What I carry in the bed never stays in there long enough to worry about pilferage by passers-by and is usually trash, recyclables or DIY materials that are simply not appealing to the casual thief–they want something they can sell easily and things like wood, landscaping materials, or bins of recyclables are not easy-sell items. Honestly, big trucks are effectively useless for anyone who isn’t a professional contractor of one sort or another.

            My favorite truck of all time is the 1959 Chevrolet El Camino. It’s only issue is the simple fact that there’s no inside storage for cargo management tools like divider bars, nets, line or canvas. I like what I like and what you have to say is completely irrelevant, because everybody has their own likes; you don’t speak for everyone or even for the majority; you speak for you and nobody else.

            Keep that in mind.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @ajla, The handle is a fairly important part to not show.

            The Man Step is also gimmicky. Friends with them used them once or twice and never again.

            Again, even for frequent users, if you’re doing it right, you rarely have to haul yourself onto the bed.

            The open bed is one of the greatest things about pickups, vs camper shells or vans.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine, You said the tailgate fold gives you a little extra reach into the bed.

            For the hard to reach, why would you reach over the (dropped) tailgate? Your deepest reach is from the tail lights, not the edge of the tailgate.

            That’s more than a 2 ft difference!

            Just because you’ve been doing something for 50 years, doesn’t mean you’re doing it right.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: Looks to me like you need to study your trigonometry again. Move two feet to the side and two feet forward and guess what… you’ve just reached the exact same point as if you’d reached in from the center of the tailgate.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Maybe you’re using The New Math. But you’re wrong. Go try it. I just did and I can reach a good foot further.

            Think about it. Your body is 2 ft advanced towards the cab. The limiting factor on mine is the drop cables, or it would be a 2 ft advantage. Except most trucks are internally dampened.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: I suggest you actually measure the distances rather than making assumptions. You gave me 2′ by 2′ and trig says that your reach to the center-point of the bed would be exactly equal. So that tells me your numbers are off, not mine.

            Oh, and it’s the rare tailgate that is 24″ deep. You might want to measure that, too. I believe mine is approximately 18″ but I will admit I haven’t measured it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Just go outside and try it. The real outside. Yes away from the magic keyboard.

            I never said the center-point of the bed. Early I mentioned the centerline if standing on a wheel spoke. Although I said said your bed’s centerline was 3″ closer to the sides than mine, it’s actually 6″ closer the bed rails than mine, with lower rails. 18″ vs mine that’s 24″ high, if your tailgate is actually 18″.

            Although you forgot to add for the hinge separation area, if you want to get technical.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: You’re not helping yourself, dude.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s not a Trig equation. It’s a shut up and go outside and try it one.

            But you’re the one not helping yourself. Don’t blame anyone but yourself when you eat it coming down a sketchy tailgate flight of stairs hugging a 120 lbs anvil.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: There you go again. Even when you try to be serious, you come off with pure comedy.

            Really dude, Get A Life!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s not exactly a serious topic. But it’s your seriousness that’s comedy. And your refusal to admit you’re wrong and can learn something.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Second picture: Where do I purchase a laptop that I can read in direct sunlight?

    [It is always interesting to see the pictures that result when marketing types attempt to show ‘typical use cases’ for work trucks.]

  • avatar

    Wait, so the 3.0 Diesel is only rated to tow 300 more lbs than the 4 cylinder? How does that make any sense. I really want to see a test with the 4 cylinder trying to tow almost 5 tons. I can’t imagine how miserable an experience that would be.

    • 0 avatar

      It does have more torque then a lot of v8’s from the early 2000’s but even still seems like reliability or something must suffer making that happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @mopar4we: Personally I agree that’s risking the engine, one way or another, but with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the gearing can be a lot lower to help move that load along while still offering decent highway speed when unladen.

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      That’s because towing is about wheelbase, curb weight, suspension, brakes and transmission. The engine is literally the least important part of the equation.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I don’t know if I’d agree with “least” but people do tend to overestimate it compared to other factors.
        That said, I don’t think I’d be comfortable towing 9000+lbs of full-frame trailer with any half-ton regardless of the engine/transmission. YMMV.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Trying to get excited about tailgates…
    Still failing miserably.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      Imagefont-
      I have to lift a 50 pound “e-bike” chest high to strap it down in to the bed of my (2018-stock height) Silverado.

      So yea-when you haul stuff-even a 50 pound bike – if a multi-step tailgate could avoid this situation-then I’m more excited than you are.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Isn’t this the same thing GMC trucks have?

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    The thing is like the Transformers my kids played with 35 years ago or so. A bit silly if you ask me – the functions may be used by 10 or 20 of the people who buy it desiring this gate and maybe for show-and-tell amusement by 1 or 2 of the folks who get this gate as one of those unneeded options stuffed into the truck they purchased off the lot for other reasons. I’m willing to bet it’s damned heavy if need be removed for some reason. Full disclosure: My ’19 F350 has the gate with the access ladder/handle, something I didn’t really want but is fairly useful as the truck has the camper package/snowplow package and sits crazy high off the ground (still quite a step up to the ladder rung!) and it’s pretty heavy.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The contractors and tradies will laugh at this. And everyone knows blueprints are spread out over the hood only and invoices filled out on the center armrest.

      It’s aluminum and probably with up/down assist.

      Yeah it’s for Show AND Tell. And a few geezers with extra cash to blow. As long as I have 5 or 6-spoke wheels I can stick a boot in, then I can reach to the centerline of the bed, front to back (except 8ft beds). Or up and over the rail.

      You stay out of the bed as much as possible. It’s one of the main advantages of pickups over vans, which you constantly have to go inside.

      If I’m working out of my pickup (bed) constantly for a week solid, hitting The Home Depot multiple times a day, 9-10 hours days. I may be up in the bed twice maybe. None of I’m doing it right.

      Or running boards the go from wheel arch to wheel arch if it means that much to me.

      Oversize wood sticks, pipes/posts, plywood/drywall etc travel best with the tailgate up (steep slant), up to 5 ft past the tailgate, no need to tie them down or flag.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The tailgate is the headline but a 4-banger that can tow 9,600 pounds isn’t the, “oh ya, and by the way…”

    Like others asking, how in the Hell can the 4-banger basically tow as much as the diesel?

  • avatar

    GM used to produce quality products now they are interested in gimmicks like this.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    That’s really clever!

    But how ’bout you just go back to two body heights — normal height for normal people, and jacked-up height for the 4×4 poser edition — instead of the “everyone gets poser height” approach? Then maybe we could get into the bed without steps.

    I kinda like the European pickup approach: trucks with low load height, a flatbed, and dropsides all the way around. A flip-down ramp you could dolly the ol’ washing machine or whatever down would be even cooler, like the old Corvair Rampside.

    If utility were the issue, we’d all be driving decommisioned U-Haul box vans though.

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