Earlier this year, Ram Trucks introduced the all-new Ram Multifunction Tailgate at the Chicago Auto Show. We were on hand, but only got a few brief moments with the new tailgate design with loads of press hovering around it. So too much of our surprise, when Ram Trucks invited us out this past week to be among the first outside the company to drive their new lineup of 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickups, that most of them featured the optional Multifunction Tailgate. This gave us time to actually use the tailgate in the real world and to see just what makes this design so much different than the rest that is out there.
First off, the tailgate features a 60/40 split design that has been very controversial due to the fact there is a line in through the tailgate allowing it to open. While it did personal bother me at first, after being around it all day, I didn’t even think about it. For those worried that the line in the tailgate is still noticeable, on darker colors it is much hard to notice until you are up close to the back of the vehicle.
When it comes to functionality, the Ram Multifunction Tailgate is a welcome design. The ability to open the tailgate like barn doors and walk up to the box, makes everything easier to reach, instead of having to climb up and over the traditional tailgate. When the tailgate is opened in its barn door style, it also allows you to use the Ram 1500’s unique rear bumper to step up in the back of the truck. No folding, no worrying about weight limits for bigger people to climb up onto something, the bumper allows enough room to walk right up into the back of the box. For those who are a little unsteady on their feet, the tailgate in its open position can act like a railing allowing up to push off on it to make sure you have good balance.
The Multifunction Tailgate can open in its barn door configuration simply by pressing a button located in the tailgate handle housing. The button then pops the driver side (longest) section of the tailgate open first, and on the passenger (shorter) side has a handle located inside where the two meet to open the other section. This allows a person to access the box with the Multifunction Tailgate even when a trailer is attached.
While we were at the Chicago Auto Show, we had a chance to see then Head of the Ram Truck brand (now Head of Jeep® brand), Jim Morrison to use the optional Mopar center step that is located next to the hitch for an even easier time to step up into the box. After using it throughout the day, we feel like the center step isn’t even necessary unless you are a person with bad knees who has a hard time going up steps in general. The Mopar step makes the initial step to the bumper a little shorter but isn’t necessary especially at an additional cost of $295 USD.
One of the biggest questions we were asked about the Multifunction Tailgate is can 2019 Ram 1500 owners add it on their truck. Now, why you might think it would be as simple as putting on another tailgate, it’s not the case. Ram Truck engineers originally told us at Chicago that it’s because of an electrical system specific to the Multifunction Tailgate, but that wasn’t the case at the launch event of the EcoDiesel. Technically, a 2019 Ram 1500 owner who doesn’t have the tailgate could put it on their truck, however its is because of the additional structural supports for the Multifunction Tailgate to work, the customer would have to completely tear the box apart to add the supports or replace the box entirely. In other words, it’s going to take a lot to alter your 2019 Ram 1500 to fit the Multifunction Tailgate.
For those who are wondering why the Rebel models get the black Ram’s head logo on the tailgate, over the standard Rebel-specific black R-A-M text, it is simple… the “M” in the text goes right where the split in the tailgate goes to open it up.
The Ram Multifunction Tailgate is available across every trim-level in both the United States and Canada. The Multifunction Tailgate has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $995 USD.
Do we recommend it? If you are a person who actually uses your truck box on a regular basis, absolutely. You will grow to appreciate its convenience as we did after only using it for a day. Keep in mind, we did use it on several trim-levels of trucks (Rebel, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited). If you don’t use your box for more than the occasional stop to Home Depot, then we would say keep your money for something else like a nice tonneau cover. Nevertheless, the Multifunction Tailgate is a simple, yet great design to allow even more functionality to the Ram 1500.