Ram just announced its Multifunction Tailgate — a descriptive if not very creative name. It’s an asymmetrical barn-door arrangement, which can both fold down like a conventional tailgate or swing open like a gate. There’s a new bed step, but unlike Ford or GM, the step isn’t part of the tailgate itself. Rather, it kicks out from under the bumper (as opposed to out from under the driver’s side of the rear bumper in its previous incarnation). So let’s just focus on the tailgate functionality. A video of the Ram Multifunction Tailgate in action is above.
Its closest analogue is the Honda Ridgeline, which works basically the same way, but on that truck the tailgate swings as one piece. And the Honda’s load rating isn’t as hefty as the Ram’s tailgate: 300 pounds. As Honda says, that’s sufficient to hold the weight of the part of an ATV hanging out of the bed, or something similar, but it’s a lighter-duty unit (and a lighter-duty truck) than the Ram’s overall.
Taking a step back, the horsepower war, in heavy-duty trucks in particular, is nearing a point of diminishing returns. Adding a multi-function tailgate is a relatively responsible new front to open in the battle to win over truck buyers. For one, all of these trucks offer the consumer some value. In particular, all help with the issue of high bed floors.
Furthermore, this is a nice profit area for manufacturers. Baking in more convenience features inevitably improves the bottom line and drives transaction prices up. We are also glad to see that some of these are options in the full-size trucks, so you’re not forced to buy them. However, the Honda’s tailgate is standard (and arguably a major part of the whole Swiss Army knife appeal of the truck), and the GMC unit is standard only on some trims (SLT, AT4, and Denali) and unavailable on others.
We’re particularly in favor of the simpler, swing-and-drop tailgate style, adding some real utility without unnecessary complexity. We can’t wait to try out the Ram’s unit in action, and have already put our long-term Ridgeline’s to the test.