Time to one-up GM and Ram.
When the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 debuted earlier this summer, we noticed something was missing: an innovative tailgate similar to GMC's MultiPro and Ram's multifunction units. Yes, the new F-150's tailgate is impressive with its optional work surface and side-mounted cleats but it only has a single opening maneuver. Both the MultiPro and Multifunction tailgates offer several different ways for the unit to open, such as a 60/40 barn-door style split on the Ram 1500. And perhaps not so unexpectedly, Ford is busy working on its own innovative tailgate design.
Ford Authority claims it has learned from identified sources familiar with the project that Ford has benchmarked both of its rivals' tailgate designs and is developing several prototypes with unique innovations of their own.
One of those unique design proposals involves a barn-door layout featuring three vertical sections capable of opening individually in thirds, specifically left to right or right to left. All three sections could be dropped down together as a single unit, just like a traditional tailgate.
This tailgate project is being fast-tracked to production because engineers are using rapid prototyping methods such as packing foam and plywood to help increase testing times. Once a final design is chosen, the new multifunction tailgate (which will likely receive a name) will first debut as an option on the new F-150 and then make its way to the rest of the F-Series lineup. Unfortunately, the sources could not provide a precise timeline as to when Ford will formally reveal its new tailgate, but given the urgency of the matter, it's likely to happen sometime next year.
Whether it'll make its way to the 2021 models also remains unclear, but it shouldn't be an issue for the 2022 F-150 and F-Series. Another unanswered question is how much will it cost. There are two ways Ford could approach this.
The first is a standalone option, which is what Ram has opted for, asking just $995 more on any trim level. The second option would mirror GMC's approach by making it available on higher trim levels, specifically the Sierra 1500 SLT, AT4, and Denali. Our preferred choice is the former because it'd make the new tailgate accessible to those on tighter budgets and allow it to be paired to lower trims more commonly found on construction sites and the like. Expect to hear more about Ford's new tailgate in the near future.