Truck manufacturers have spent the last few years reimagining the humble tailgate. First, there was the “Man Step” in the last-generation Ford F-150, which integrated a retractable foot step and collapsable grab pole into its design. This was followed by the T1 GMC Sierra with the MultiPro Tailgate – a six-function tailgate with primary and secondary gates, a built-in load stop, load step, and work surface. This feature eventually trickled to the Chevrolet Silverado, as well as GM’s HD trucks. Then came the Ram 1500’s Multifunction Tailgate, with its simpler 60/40 split design that can open barn-door style, and traditionally drop down as well. Now, it’s Ford’s turn once again.
Ford F-150 Multifunction Tailgate Design: The First Details
Website CarBuzz has uncovered patent drawings filed in the US which depict a multifunction tailgate akin to the one on the Ram. There is one key difference though; this tailgate features a triple-split design, rather than a double split. The long middle section of the tailgate is hinged to the section furthest on the passengers side. The patent drawings show it swinging open independently of either side section.
If you don’t need to get quite so close to the bed, the new Ford F-150 tailgate design can also be dropped open like a traditional gate. And as for the “man step” integrated into the current Ford F-150 tailgate, that’s still in place, but there’s now a second step that deploys from the load sill behind the gate.
Ford Motor Company was first spotted prototyping different multifunction tailgate designs that were made of wood back in 2020.
A Bit Late To The Party?
The Ford F-150 is absolutely dominant in the light-duty pickup truck segment. In fact, the F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the US for four decades. But holding onto that title has required constant segment-leading advances in features and technology, and Ford is admittedly a tad later than the GMC Sierra or Ram 1500 with its own multifunction tailgate design.
That tardiness for the Ford F-150 multifunction tailgate does have an advantage, though; by waiting to pen its own multifunction tailgate, Ford has afforded itself the opportunity to study and benchmark the other options on the market, and make improvements over existing designs.
Just when the Ford F-150’s nifty multifunction tailgate might launch is still unknown, but we suspect the answer is sooner rather than later, such as the 2023 model year.