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Step Inside The Latest And Most Heated Battle In Pickup Trucks

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Truck makers are deeply entrenched in a step-battle the likes of which you haven’t seen since Stomp The Yard. (Yes, I am extremely proud of that one, thanks for asking.) Here’s a look at General Motors’ latest patent for a deployable tailgate-integrated step. Prepare your mind for some super advanced Formula One-style stuff, on your truck.

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For the longest time, truck manufacturers have all competed to get “best in class” in front of some sort of performance metric: acceleration, towing, payload, or whatever. And that hasn’t changed.

But you know what else hasn’t changed? The weight of a bag of mulch, which is pretty much the heaviest thing most quarter-ton truck owners ever throw into their beds. That, or some couches from a friend who needs some help moving.

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So, since most people don’t actually need one one-thousandth of these trucks’ capabilities, plenty owners probably don’t care if the Ford can tow 13.575 more pounds than the Chevy or accelerate 0.25 seconds faster to 60 than the Dodge. What do they really care about? Apparently it’s bed steps.

I mean, just look at some of the more recent offerings from these manufacturers. You’ve got the Tailgate Step with Tailgate Assist (also called the “Manstep”) from Ford:

Photo: Mike Roselli
Photo: Mike Roselli

Then you’ve got the CornerSteps on the Chevy Silvardo:

Photo: Chevy
Photo: Chevy
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And you’ve got the available BedStep from Toyota:

Photo: Toyota
Photo: Toyota
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The step-battle isn’t just happening at the rear of the bed, either. You’ve got various versions of box-steps, too. Ford’s is even deployable:

Photo: Ford
Photo: Ford
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Clearly, this battle is getting heated, and Chevy isn’t about to be outdone, so it’s filed a patent for its own deployable tailgate-integrated step, similar to Ford’s. Here’s a look:

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Part of the top of the tailgate flips downward, and a hinged step then flips out towards the rear of the vehicle. There’s also a handle that’s stored inside the tailgate housing, and is hidden by the step when it isn’t deployed.

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Just look at that handle assembly; truck-buyers are foaming at the mouth for this brilliant, sophisticated bit of advanced engineering. Steps and handles—we are truly in a golden age of truckdom.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

goat7
son of a motherless goat (PSA: wash your hooves)

Yo dawg we heard you like tailgates...