Even as a country divided on nearly every issue, can we all agree that pickup trucks are having a moment? The segment is booming with midsize truck sales climbing by an eyebrow-raising 19% from 2017 to 2018. We can't say it's a complete surprise considering gas prices are staying low while trucks are becoming more car-like and comfortable thanks to better handling and luxury interiors. As a result, automakers are feverishly working to stand apart from the pack by pouring resources into the segment. Truck bed and tailgate innovation is a top priority for manufacturers like GMC, Honda, and Ram who are attempting to woo buyers by putting their unique twists on the “old school” tailgate design. 

GMC Sierra MultiPro Tailgate

GMC MultiPro
 GMC's 6-way MultiPro tailgate is the most advanced design on the market. (image: GM)

You may have already gotten a glimpse of GMC’s MultiPro tailgate in their new commercial where rival truck owners march from far and wide holding their tailgates as "Na Na Hey Hey, Goodbye" plays. Will GMC's six-way tailgate actually make Ford or Ram truck owners toss their tailgates? Not likely. Is it pretty nifty, regardless? We think so.

The transformer-like design is geared towards pickup owners who need their trucks to work hard for them. Useful features include everything from a full-width step to an inner gate which creates a desk. We envision this tailgate being the ideal "office" for contractors who need easy access to cargo and a mobile work station.

The new tailgate on the GMC Sierra is different from any other truck on the market because of the numerous configurations that make loading and unloading items of any shape and size easier. Available on the 2019 GMS Sierra Denali, Sierra AT4 and the Sierra SLT models, the six configurations of the Multipro tailgate include:

1) Primary Gate: Opens with a key fob or manually. 

2) Primary Gate Load Stop: Keep long items like wood planks from sliding.

3) Easy Access: Fold down the inner gate to easily reach into the box.

4) Full-Width Step: Fold the inner gate to form a sturdy step to help you reach in and load.

5) Inner Gate Load Stop: Stop items from sliding when using the second-tier bed storage.

6) Inner Gate With Work Surface: Allows second-tier loading for long items or a handy workspace.

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Honda Ridgeline Dual-Action Tailgate

Honda Ridgeline Tailgate
Honda's tailgate takes a work hard, play hard approach. (image: Honda)

Honda revolutionized the traditional midsize pickup truck with the unibody, 5-seater Ridgeline. The Ridgeline is not as rugged as some of its competitors like the Nissan Frontier, but it makes up for it with the clever bed and tailgate features for work or play. The Dual-Action tailgate opens the traditional way by folding down or it can swing out sideways with the pull of a handle. Under the bed floor, there is a hidden trunk to stash anything that you don't want stolen or damaged by rain.

When it's time to celebrate a job well done, the Ridgeline is tough to beat for tailgate parties. You'll find there are speakers built right into the bed which can be controlled via the infotainment system. The trunk under the bed conveniently converts to a drink cooler which can be drained once the last touchdown is scored, the drinks consumed and the ice melted. GO [Insert preferred NFL team]!

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Ram 1500 Multifunction Tailgate

Ram Multipro tailgate
Just when we thought the Ram 1500 can't get any better, it gets this tailgate. (image: FCA)

The latest tailgate revolution comes from Ram with the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500. Ram has gotten a lot of buzz for the capable 1500 this past year, winning multiple awards including the Web2Carz truck of the year. The recently unveiled Multifunction tailgate is just the icing on this half-ton cake. In addition to keeping the open-flat functionality, the 60-40 split swing-away tailgate adds three configurations, including opening just the left door, the right door, or both together. Each door opens individually to 88 degrees even while hooked up to a trailer. 

The benefits of the Multifunction tailgate include improved cargo management, easier access to step up to load heavy or bulky items and simpler unloading and washout. The new configurations also allow for forklift loading. The Multifunction tailgate will be available across all 2019 Ram 1500 models in the second quarter of 2019.

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