All photos: Ram
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Ram just announced a new “multifunction tailgate” for its 2019 Ram 1500, and it is thoroughly odd. Not only does the tailgate fold down like normal, but it also splits into two unequally-sized pieces, which can each swing out. Here’s a closer look.

In the heavy-duty truck world, the torque wars are in full-swing, but in the half-ton truck world, the main battleground is arguably less in the engine bay and more in the rear—namely, at the tailgate. We’ve seen all sorts of odd stuff, like the 2019 GMC Sierra’s “MultiPro” six-way Tailgate Within a Tailgate Within a Tailgate and Ford’s integrated tailgate step and handle, but Ram has stayed largely silent. Until now.

To be fair, it’s not like the Ram’s tailgate was the same as what you might find in an old truck from last millennium—after all, its aluminum, damped, and can be opened remotely . But the new multifunction tailgate, it’s safe to say, represents a different level of gadgetry.

It keeps the damping and the remote release capability , but adds a 60-40 split, meaning 60 percent of the tailgate can swing about a hinge on the driver’s side, and 40 percent of the tailgate can swing about a hinge on the passenger’s side.

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Each tailgate piece can be opened independently, and swings 88 degrees, yielding four positions: both parts folded down, left piece swung open, right piece swung open, or both pieces swung open. It doesn’t appear that dropping one piece by itself is an option, likely because there’d be no support on one side.

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Ram describes the benefits of the new multifunction tailgate, writing in its release:

Independent opening features make curbside loading easier. Being able to access the bed closer to the bumper makes stepping up easier; makes loading bulky items easier; makes unloading and washout easier and allows forklift loading.

Ram appears to throws some shade at GMC’s MultiPro tailgate, whose inner section drops down from the open main tailgate to allow better access to the bed and to provide a step—a setup that some have criticized, since the inner tailgate could come into contact with a hitch. Ram writes:

Unlike other multi-element tailgates, the Ram multifunction tailgate is trailer-friendly and does not require that the trailer and hitch be removed before opening.

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The new gate, which Ram says will have a 2,000 pound load rating, will be available on all 2019 Ram 1500 models, and is scheduled to make it to dealers by the second quarter of this year, costing $995. Ram also mentions a retractable center-mounted step option, shown above, which will cost $295.