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GMC vs RAM Tailgate Wars Endgame

Chris Kaiser

Last year GMC debuted their 6-way “Multipro” tailgate on the Sierra, instantly raising the questions, what’s a “Multipro”? and If I buy the new Sierra will I be one (a pro) or merely one of many (pros)? In addition, it left me wondering how long it would take to see other manufacturers fire a return shot in the ongoing tailgate wars.  

This February RAM unveiled their answer to the “Multipro” in the form of their new Multifunction tailgate, which, if nothing else, cannot be found guilty of assaulting the English language. Like the Sierra’s “Multipro,” the new RAM tailgates offer surprisingly practical solutions to common tailgate shortcomings but takes a rather novel twist, a dual-hinge 60/40 barndoor split. So why would we possibly need these Swiss Army knife-like features on what is commonly a complete afterthought? A) Because, like the iPad, you didn’t know you needed it until you saw how cool it was. And B) manufacturers where running out of bellswhistles, do-dads, and gimcracks to pack in to these already tricked out trucksBut all kidding aside, these new tweaks do genuinely solve some of the glaring engineering fails of the traditional tailgate. So, let’s dive in and see who wins this round of the tailgate wars 

GMC Sierra 6-way “Multipro” Tailgate 

GMC Tailgate

The Multipro” has 6 different positions, all of which can be activated by a push button rather than with a traditional handle.  

Traditional Tailgate

Folds down by tailgate button or key fob, dampened release. 

Down with Load Stop

Put the tail gate down and fold up the load stop to elongate the bed’s load capacity.  

Work Surface

With the tailgate up you can fold down the inner gate to either provide a work surface or to allow for easier stowage of long cargo. 

2nd tier Load Stop

With the inner gate down you can fold up an additional load stop panel (the bed comes with notching in the walls for wood planks to allow for 2 tier loading). 

Double Down

Folding down both the tailgate and the inner gate allows for easier access to the bed for loading items. 

Step Up

With the tailgate and inner gate down you can deploy the step (the 2nd tier load stop), to step up into the bed. 

Fold-out Handle

Phew! That’s a lot of …wait! I almost forgot the foldout handle that deploys from the rear driver’s side of the bed to provide a hand-hold on your way up.  

After all that flipping and folding, what conclusions did I come to on the “Multipro”? Here are some takeaways. 

GMC-Tailgate

Raves  Thumbs-Up

Load stopping and fold down features 

Both of these make loading and hauling oddly shaped or otherwise difficult to manage loads a little less awkward.  

Fold down easy access

As often as you might be hauling logs or copper piping, sometimes just hefting a bag of groceries upacross the tailgate, and into the truck bed can put you at risk for a back injury. This feature makes this more routine task much easier. 

Speakers

Yep, an additional addon offers you a set of Bluetooth enabled speakers, along with USB access built into the inner gate. 

Cup indents

This is a tailgate after all. Molded into the main tailgate are four indents to prevent you from tipping over your favorite beverage.  

Standard on 3 models

Available as a standard feature on the SLT, AT4, and Denali models. 

Rants  Thumns-Down

  • Only available on the higher end (and higher cost) SLT, AT4, and Denali models. 
  • 2nd Load stop/Step doesn’t have a locking mechanism, meaning you’ll need whatever you’re loading to rest against the 2nd load stop or risk having it fall back down whenever your hit the brakes. 
  • While its nice to have a step up into the bed, this step is also not much lower than the bumper’s footholds. With that said, the step is nice and wide (unlike the RAM’s step). And deployable running boards also allow you to get up into the bed from the side with relative ease. 
  • Make sure not to lower the inner gate if you have a ball hitch attached. That is unless you’re looking for an excuse for some extra bodywork on your new truck. 
  • Remember to put down the fold-out handle bar before closing the tailgate. That is unless you needed a makeshift flagpole for some reason.  

The Upshot  

GMC has gone a long way toward solving for some of the traditional shortcomings of the standard tailgate, and in that effort, they’ve provided a little bit for everyone, from owners using their Sierra as a work truck (with improvements in loading) to owners using theirs as a daily driver (where improved bed access is a welcomed enhancement). However, this also means you may only end up using one or two of the 6-ways on a regular basis. Which, frankly, was perfectly fine with.  

RAM 1500 Multifunction Tailgate 

RAM-Multifunction-Tailgate

The RAM’s new tailgate features a rather novel 60/40 barndoor split opening a full 88°.

Traditional Tailgate

Opens as a regular tailgate, dampened release, and rated up to 2000 pounds. 

60/40 Split

Also opens in a 60/40 barndoor split.  

Easy Access

Like the Sierra’s inner gate, the RAM’s barndoor tailgate allows for even better bed access. RAM notes that this includes loading the bed with a forklift, so no need to shimmyrock, or otherwise get creative in order to get the load over a dropdown tailgate.  

Handhold

The 60/40 panels mean you can use either of the doors as a handhold to get up into the bed.  

Bed Step

A kick out bed step can be deployed from under the bed. Notably at a medium height between the ground and the bumper so it takes less heft to get up into the bed than the Silverado. 

Raves  Thumbs-Up

Available on All Models

The new Multifunction tailgate will be available on all new RAM models instead of limited to higher end models. 

Barndoor Access

As advertised, the swing out barndoors do make accessing the bed easier. And, unlike the Sierra, this can be accomplished with just one hand. Which is nice when your other arm is full of groceries or a bag of cement mix 

Easy to Wash

The barndoor opening makes washing out the RAM’s bed considerably easier as there’s nowhere for mud and debris to get stuck in between the bed and the tailgate.  

Using Hitch

The 60/40 split also means your ball hitch won’t be posing any danger to your tailgate. As well as allowing, albeit somewhat limited, access to the bed while hitched to a trailer (depending on what you’re hauling). 

Door Molding

A little item was the nice bit of molding on the smaller of the two doors which sticks out to the side to prevent you from closing the smaller door on the larger one. A nice attention to detail from the RAM engineers. 

RAM-Multifunction-Tailgate

Rants  Thumns-Down

  • While available on all new RAM’s, the Multifunction tailgate will cost you an additional $995, plus another $295 for the kick out step.  
  • The off-center line running down the not-quite middle of the tailgate was an aesthetical fail by my count. But for those who prize function over form this may prove a non-issue.  
  • This has been done before. Honda’s Ridgeline has offered a single-hinge, dual function tailgate starting way back in 2006 
  • Step up, while large enough for its purpose, is located on the driver’s side. Meaning its much smaller than the Sierra’s super wide step.  

The Upshot 

There’s a lot to like in the RAM Multifunction tailgate. The 60/40 barndoor split offered innovative solutions to your typical tailgate woes. I especially liked the intuitiveness of the design. Unlike the more complicated and sometimes awkward button action on the Silverado’s “MultiPro,” the RAM Multifunction has a two-handle configuration, bottom for standard, top for barndoor (with another handle on the “40” door to open it). The kick out step can also be deployed handsfree (or hands full in this case). It ended up being these smaller yet significant improvements over the traditional tailgate that makes the RAM Multifunction tailgate more than a novelty feature.  

Takeaways 

So, do the RAM 1500 Multifunction and GMC Sierra “MultiPro” tailgates pass the iPad test of solving problems we never knew we had? They do indeed, and in fact they solve a few problems we knew about too. The improved accessibility of both is nice. And while I liked the plethora of configuration options on GMC’s “MultiPro,” on balance, I felt myself leaning toward the RAM’s Multifunction tailgate as the winner in this round of the tailgate wars. The 60/40 split added a lot of practical functionality: easy cleaning, better access, and less danger of accidentally damaging your vehicle while in hauling mode all stacked up in favor of the RAM. 

Though you might not visit a dealership with the tailgate looming large as a deciding factor in your truck purchase, after seeing what all that these new tailgates are capable of you just might be looking at the backend of these pickups a little more closely next time 

You’re up Ford F-150. The gauntlet has been thrown.  

A fan of tailgates? Or tailgating? Tell us who you think won in the comments. 

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Geremy Clinton July 10, 2019

    My goodness! I may need to start looking at new trucks. They sure have come a long way with the tailgate designs.

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team July 10, 2019

      Absolutely! Which one do you find to be more practical?

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