Pickup truck tailgates have gotten pretty cool. Ram has a barn door option now, and the 2019 GMC Sierra has a six-way MultiPro folding tailgate, which folds down into an easy step to get into the bed. Just make sure you don’t slam it into your trailer hitch.
In Kamil’s photo, you can clearly see the top portion of the six-way tailgate slightly blocks the tow hitch mount. Using our incredible intuitive brain powers of observation and prediction, it’s not difficult to imagine the tailgate coming in contact with a mounted hitch attachment.
Since we’re also at the New York Auto Show, my coworker Kristen Lee ran down to the exact same GMC Sierra to recreate the issue herself, so it is an issue.
The six-way folding tailgate has multiple uses, one of which is acting as a sort of staircase to make it easier to climb into the bed of the truck. It even comes with a pop up hand rail. The problem is you can’t use it for that if you have any sort of tow hitch mounted on the truck.
But GMC is aware of this issue, and they were kind enough to walk us through how the tailgate works (again).
There are two buttons that control the functions of the tailgate. The top button only opens the upper section of the tailgate, which is convenient to use as a little table to draw up some plans, take notes, or enjoy a snack. The bottom button opens the big gate.
If you already have the top gate open, you can’t open the full gate and have it swing down. Instead, you have to close it back up to open the full tailgate.
To open everything to get the tailgate in the step formation, you hit both buttons in quick succession. The main part of the tailgate swings down as the other part also opens up simultaneously. Like this:
You could see how this could be a problem.
GMC is aware of this, which is why they’ve included a handy graphic in the bed of the truck to show you how to operate the fancy tailgate in a manner that won’t put a dent in your beautiful truck.
Even if the tailgate did come in contact with a hitch attachment, it looks like it would actually be the hard plastic area and not the metal bodywork, so it would likely mitigate or avoid any serious damage as long as you’re not slamming things around or putting any weight on it.
But this all comes down to the user’s understanding of the tailgate’s functionality. Owners will have to be mindful trusting friends, coworkers, or kids to open the tailgate, and be careful not to forget themselves.
I only bring all of this up because some trucks on the dealer lots may not have trailer hitches already attached, and it may not be something you’re thinking about in the moment, or later, after you’ve attached a hitch and go to swing down your fancy tailgate.
Don’t get me wrong, the functionality and engineering that went in to making this complicated tailgate work in a manner that’s usable with just two buttons is incredible. It just feels like version 2.0 should find a way to completely idiot-proof the hitch issue.
You have been warned.