A new war has begun in the highly competitive pickup truck market: the Tailgate War. For a long time, power and luxury were seemingly the biggest focus in this segment, but now truck companies are trying to figure out how to cram as much utility into their beds as possible. In particular, the tailgate has been getting a lot of attention — and the new Multifunction Tailgate from Ram is currently the king of practicality.
If you haven’t seen it, the new Ram tailgate is a $995 option that adds far more utility than a traditional tailgate. It folds down just like a regular tailgate, while retaining the ability to support up to 2,000 pounds — but it can also open to each side with a 60-40 split. This functionality is incredibly useful, and you don’t have to have a ton of experience with trucks to immediately understand why.
Imagine, for a second that you’ve found a beautiful and old, but heavy, dresser at an antique store. In a typical pickup, you would have to lift it from the ground to the tailgate, and then either climb up into the bed to awkwardly move it again in a confined space — or slide it haphazardly into the bed with a bunch of grinding and scraping noises as it overcomes friction and gets caught on the tailgate’s hinge.
With the new Ram tailgate, all you have to do is lift it into the bed and close the doors. No sliding or extra lifting required.
This isn’t a trivial thing. I’ve worked construction jobs before, and when you’re loading a deck’s worth of posts, studs and concrete into the bed of a truck, the tailgate may as well be a mile long. Getting past the tailgate requires you to add an extra step into the process, meaning that heavy object needs to be picked up twice.
That’s not the only readily apparent advantage. Side-hinged doors make loading things like a mower or an ATV with a ramp much easier, and it makes loading with a forklift possible, as well. If you have a load of something like topsoil or mulch, the side hinged gates allow you empty the bed easier without getting material into the tailgate hinge. Even climbing into the bed will be easier with this feature.
All in all, I really like the Multifunction Tailgate because it’s apparent that its designers thought it through. They found a way to mitigate everything annoying that comes with a tailgate in a slick package that seems very intuitive. This is the sort of thing that would absolutely win me over If I was in the market for a pickup — not leather seats or a premium sound system. I’m glad to see the manufacturers in a “functionality” war, because that will only make pickups better over time.