Modern Tailgate Innovations: Hot or Not?

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Ford pioneered tailgate upgrades with the first-generation of the tailgate step. But are these modern features something you value?

Tailgates. They’re what we use to keep the stuff in our bed from falling out as we drive down the road. But have you given more thought to them? Automakers certainly have, and the number of features built into a tailgate these days is staggering.

What am I talking about? Let’s look at Ford’s integrated tailgate step. It’s now in its second-generation design, and an innovative way to make it easier to get into the bed of the truck.

But there’s more! Tailgates are now dampened so that they don’t fall abruptly when you let go of them. The tailgate on the F-150 and Super Duty can be deployed from a button on the key fob. Ford sells ramps that easily connect to the tailgate.

Taking these concepts even further, GMC just announced its 2019 Sierra and Sierra Denali half-ton trucks, and there is an all-new tailgate. Standard on SLT and Denali trims, the tailgate has six unique functions and folds all sorts of different ways. This video describes it in detail.

I was at the reveal and got to play around with the tailgate, and I thought of a lot of great uses for it. Combined with the improvements in the bed, it’s a versatile package.

 

It seems like there’s a lot of room to innovate in tailgates. I wouldn’t be surprised that if, during the next refresh of the F-150, we see some new functionality in the tailgate.

 

But with increased complexity comes an increased risk of failure. While I was reassured that this was the most tested tailgate in the company’s history, until it’s out in the real world used by real truck people, it’s hard to say for certain what’ll happen.

Also, it’s likely an expensive piece which does open it up to theft — though there are anti-theft measures in place.

Ford

It seems like there’s a lot of room to innovate in tailgates. I wouldn’t be surprised that if, during the next refresh of the F-150, we see some new functionality in the tailgate. What would that be? I don’t know, but I can’t see Ford letting General Motors make all the news on that particular part of the truck.

But here’s what I want to know from you folks: Do you want it? Companies like Ford have engineers constantly working on ways to make you more productive and safer at the job site. Reducing injuries is part of why Ford’s tailgate step exists to begin with.

Are these features you find useful, or would you just rather have a plain old tailgate on your truck? Are you someone who replaces the tailgate on their truck? How do you use the tailgate in your life and what improvements would you like seen made to it?

Join the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forums now!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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