Let the tailgate wars escalate, says Ram. Today, the Ram 1500 responds to GMC's Multi-Pro tailgate with its own fancy way to get stuff in and out of the bed. Named the "Multifunction Tailgate," (very creative, we know) Ram decided to give the tailgate a 60/40 split. Before we get into functionality, just take a peek at how it looks closed. On the red Ram Rebel chosen to show it off, you're greeted with a sizable black line running down the entire height of the tailgate in an odd spot. The off-center nature of the split makes for a strange look no matter the angle. We have a feeling that a black truck would solve any kind of visual weirdness going on here.
On to the important part: How does it work? For starters, you can use it just like a normal truck tailgate. Drop it down with a release button on the handle, or use the remote release. Ram says it doesn't give up anything in capability or toughness in this down position — it has a 2,000-pound load rating. What makes this tailgate unique is its swinging functionality, though. The tailgate is capable of swinging both sides open like doors. Think Honda Ridgeline, but there are two elements to swing out instead of just one. This allows for closer access to the truck bed. The benefits are obvious: easier loading and unloading, easier washout, and you can even use a forklift to load it up now, too. Both of the barn doors swing out to 88 degrees. It's possible to have just the right or just the left door open, or both at once.
Ram is also introducing a bed-step function separate from the tailgate. This step solution is implemented differently than both Ford's and GM's steps. Instead of being part of the tailgate, the step hides under the rear bumper until you "kick" it out. It isn't exactly showcased in photos like the new tailgate is, so we'll have to try it out before judging its usefulness.
Ford started this tailgate war with its now simple-looking bed step, but now it finds itself the most back-to-basics offering in the group. GMC officially has the most complicated piece of tech with the various foldouts and all-out size, but Ram is somewhere in the middle with this one. We were fans of the swing-out tailgate on our long-term Honda Ridgeline, so let's hope this one proves just as useful.
Ram will be at the Chicago Auto Show with this tailgate, so we'll be sure to give it a thorough shakedown on the show floor. Any 2019 Ram 1500 can be equipped with the tailgate as an option for $995. The center step can be tacked on separately for $295. We're told to expect Rams equipped thusly to roll into dealerships during the second quarter of 2019.