Arguably the biggest feature that distinguishes the 2019 GMC Sierra from the Chevrolet Silverado other than the styling is the fancy “MultiPro” tailgate, which I had a chance to spend an entire day with last week. My conclusion: Even if it’s more of a novelty feature than it is an essential bit of tech, the MultiPro tailgate is still plenty of fun.
(Full Disclosure: GMC flew me to Newfoundland, fed me seafood, and put me up in a hotel—all so I could drive the new Sierra.)
Though I’ve played with the 2019 GMC Sierra’s MultiPro tailgate before, I recently had a chance to spend hours with one and actually use it for a bit of work, and I came away a fan. Mostly because it’s just downright weird.
It’s literally a tailgate within a tailgate within a tailgate—here’s a look at this tailgate-ception in action:
I’ll begin by saying that I’m into the general concept, mostly because I’m the kind of person who spends money on fancy pocket knives, ridiculously ornate anodized aluminum flashlights and other crap. So this kind of mechanical nerdiness is right up my alley.
The first of the GMC Sierra’s MultiPro tailgate’s six positions (which I enumerate in my MultiPro tailgate explainer) that I had a chance to put to use was the work surface created by clicking the top button on the tailgate and folding only the inner section. Someone apparently took a photo of me, so here I am doodling pictures of Jeeps—I mean writing notes—as GMC execs talked about their new truck:
The surface is exactly at the right level for someone of my height (I’m 5'8"), and though it’s ribbed and coated with a textured bedliner, using my notebook’s cardboard backbone made this a supremely comfortable place to scratch down some ideas for my postal Jeep project—I mean a few words about the Sierra’s “bold” design.
I will say that folding the tailgate down would have done the job, too. Sure, it would have been a bit lower and not quite as comfortable, and I’d likely have sat on it and written off to the side, but for temporary use like reading maps and quickly writing a few notes, a standard tailgate suffices.
So I’d say the work surface is helpful, but maybe not entirely necessary unless for some reason you need to stand and write notes or type on your truck for multiple hours.
Next, I dropped the main tailgate, and tried out the “easy access” position, which dropped the center section of the gate out of the way to let me push a few items farther into the bed, and to more easily snag stuff from the front of the bed. It seemed fairly straightforward, and helped get my reach about a foot farther in.
I will say that, as I noticed during the initial reveal, trying to find the button that drops the center section of the tailgate when the main gate is in the down position takes a bit of getting used to, as there’s no visual indicator of where that switch is.
With the inner tailgate down, folding the step simply requires pressing the button at the center of the tailgate, pointed out above. I found that that button, especially when pressed to deploy a load stop—also took a bit of getting used to, as it had to be pushed in rather far, and could only be pressed by my fingers.
I’ll also say that the step isn’t particularly low, requiring me to bend my knee over 90 degrees. The cut-outs in the corners of the rear bumper appeared to be only maybe an inch or so higher, and I found that using it while grabbing onto the bedside wasn’t much more difficult than using the fancy tailgate step.
I’ll admit, though, that when coming down off the bed, especially while carrying a heavy load, the tailgate step is much friendlier than trying to use those steps in the bumper.
This is probably a good place to mention the MultiPro side steps, which aren’t new to the 2019 GMC Sierra, but are still incredibly useful. Just kick a button on the back side of the side steps, and they come out, and rearward. Especially because they’re lower than the tailgate step, they make getting things from the front of the bed a breeze. I found myself using this feature more frequently than the tailgate for throwing things into the bed, and snagging them back out.
Deploying the handle for the rear tailgate step is fairly easy; it just has to be pulled from its plastic retainer and into the “up” position, where it locks in place. Grabbing it to help assist me up the step definitely required a bit of a stretch of my left arm, but once I got a hold of it, I found it strong and firm enough to let me pull myself onto the bed without issue.
Folding the handle down requires pulling the trigger pointed out in the picture above. This trigger would only work, I found, if I pulled the handle up a bit first. This, I’d guess, is to prevent accidentally folding the handle while it’s being used to support a load.
After stepping out of the bed, on multiple occasions, I found myself accidentally leaving that handle up and shutting the tailgate (closing both the inner and outer tailgate at the same time is a bit weird, and the whole thing is quite a bit heavier than other tailgates on the market, though still manageable with one hand). So I went around to the rear of the truck to fold the handle down, only to realize that it banged right into the tailgate. Folding just the inner tailgate didn’t doesn’t solve the issue, either:
Of course, leaving the handle up, or just opening the main tailgate a few degrees to allow the handle to drop into its holder isn’t the end of the world, but it’s just a minor annoyance.
As for the built in load stop: Journalists used it while carrying some logs and a crab net in the bed of the Sierra, and it seemed to work well. I do wonder about the gap between the load stop and the back of the bed (pointed out above)—will things roll out of that opening when there isn’t something loaded all the way on the outboard side of the loadstop? I haven’t spent enough time using the feature to know, and really, I can’t really assess how helpful this feature as a whole will be, since I don’t often put long loads into my pickup’s bed.
But then again, I wonder how useful GMC Sierra buyers will find any of these features, seeing as the MultiPro tailgate comes standard only in SLT, AT4 and Denali trims, which start at $44,300, $50,800 and $54,700, respectively (plus $1,495 destination charge).
The tailgate’s benefits—better bed egress, better bed reach, and load retention—seem like they’d really make the most sense for work trucks, which is why it’s probably safe to say the MultiPro tailgate will be a novelty, whiz-bang feature to most of the people who one.
Especially if they fit it with GMC’s optional bluetooth speakers, which somehow take the whiz-bang-iness of this whole MultiPro tailgate within a tailgate within a tailgage to an entirely different level.