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I Love the Split Rear Tailgate

It has recently come to my attention that some people are unaware of the split tailgate, what it does, and why it’s brilliant. I’ve decided to set the record straight on this topic so that you can go forth in your life, from here on out, understanding how automotive tailgates should be manufactured (split) and why it’s brilliant.

So here goes. What exactly is the split tailgate? That would be a tailgate that’s split into two parts, like the one you see above. The top part lifts up and the bottom part lifts down, sort of like a clamshell. This part is simple.

So now you’re thinking: OK, so you have a split tailgate. What difference does it make? I’ll tell you what difference it makes: The split tailgate allows you to sit on the back of your tailgate and have a picnic. Or sit on the back of your tailgate and watch a drive-in movie. Or watch your child’s soccer game. Or gaze at the stars. Or whatever you might want to do out the back of your car. The possibilities are endless. And the split tailgate allows this because any decent split tailgate — every split tailgate I’ve ever seen — can take the entire body weight of at least a couple of eager picnickers having a nice meal on the beach.

And the split tailgate has other benefits, too. When the tailgate is split, it’s not as difficult or as cumbersome to open as a one-piece unit. And the split tailgate also serves as a sort of table, letting you arrange or adjust items like a workbench, which you can’t do as easily if you’re ducking under a lift gate and trying to avoid a bumper.

And so I must say: All vehicles should have this. If you’re making an SUV or a truck, you should produce a split tailgate. It’s incredibly useful, it adds versatility, and it’s one of those features you don’t know you need until you have it, at which point you will never want it any other way.

Unfortunately, very few vehicles have a split tailgate — but the Range Rover always has; a few other split-tailgaters include some versions of the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Pontiac Aztek and also the original BMW X5. Some cars also have variations on the split tailgate; the Bentley Bentayga has a normal rear lift gate, but it has an "event seat" in back that can slide out and support weight for picnics. Pickup trucks also generally have tailgate seating, which contributes to their ease of use at football tailgating events.

I have nothing more to say about the split tailgate except that I love it, I wish all SUVs had it, and it’s a brilliant feature. Below, you can tell me why you agree with me. Find an SUV for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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38 COMMENTS

  1. I certainly agree with all the above positive comments about the benefits of a split tailgate on SUV’s.
    I recently decided to transition from a Tacoma Pick-up to an SUV. The only issue, at least in Massachusetts, was finding a new one with a split tailgate. I needed the pick-up to transport signs with seven (7) foot posts which extended beyond the tailgate, while resting on it. This would not work well with a one piece tailgate. Thank you all, including Doug DeMuro, for the explanation and for steering me in the right direction.

  2. Not to mention that if you’re using the tailgate as a table or food prep area for your picnic, a pop-up rainstorm is no issue. The lift gate provides an umbrella against getting things wet. 

  3. I had a split tailgate on my ’92 Ford XLT and have one on my current SUV which is a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer. This feature was in my top three “must haves” when I purchased the SUV. Why? The dog can’t jump out. My stuff does not fall out into the mud or snow. People cannot see what I have in my car while I’m putting my groceries or such in/out. I can open the glass and leave it open while we dart back and forth getting tools or setting up camp.  Having the glass open is a quick way to let very hot air out in the summer before driving. I use it everyday. I think all small and mid-size SUV’s should have this feature! 

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