Step in easier, secure longer items, or use it as a standing desk — the next generation of tailgates has arrived.
GMC caused quite a stir at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with its new MultiPro Tailgate. Available on the redesigned 2019 Sierra 1500 light-duty pickup truck, the MultiPro Tailgate promised better ergonomics, easier access, and a wider range of functionality beyond the standard tried-and-true tailgate of yore.
After taking the truck into the mountains of Colorado for a long-weekend family trip, we’re pretty stoked about it. We initially previewed the MultiPro Tailgate here.
With a healthy snowfall this year in Colorado, our trip from Boulder included a stop in Breckenridge to ski for the afternoon before heading to a ranch in the Arkansas Valley to spend the rest of the weekend. Here are my initial impressions.
GMC MultiPro Review: What You Get
The MultiPro Tailgate touts six different configurations of use. On this trip, we made extensive use of two of those configurations and little use of a few others. If you haven’t read the announcement story linked above, the MultiPro Tailgate consists of three parts: a primary tailgate, an integrated smaller secondary tailgate built into the primary, and a load stop/step fold out. We’ll walk through the various configurations and will include our first-hand use and review of those features.
The Primary Tailgate
We’re all familiar with the opening of a standard tailgate. However, instead of a typical latch handle, the MultiPro’s latch is a weatherproof rubber-coated button. You can also open the primary tailgate remotely with a key fob. The primary tailgate is available in two sizes: 70 or 80 inches.
The Load Stop
Once the primary tailgate is down, an integrated load stop panel can flip up. This keeps items that extend beyond the normal confines of the bed from falling behind your truck. The load stop is rated to 375 pounds.
Our only beef with the load stop is that it does not lock in the up position. While it would take a big slam on the brakes to get the load stop to fold down, it’s easy to knock it down with a simple bump while walking by if there isn’t something pressing against it.
Built into half of the primary tailgate is a smaller tailgate that opens and folds away from the truck bed in the same direction as the primary. The secondary tailgate either opens when the primary tailgate is up, or it drops away when the primary tailgate is unfolded.
When opened on its own, the load stop panel can function with the secondary tailgate. The obvious difference is if something extends beyond the bed, it’s constrained by the size of the secondary tailgate. Compared to the primary tailgate, the secondary tailgate is 49.5 inches wide, as opposed to the primary’s 59 inches. The secondary tailgate extends the second-tier load platform by 17.75 inches (15 inches when the load stop is up).
Work Test: GMC MultiPro Secondary Tailgate
The other use of the secondary tailgate is as a standing work platform. All three of the AT4 trim options on the Sierra 1500 include off-road suspension and a 2-inch lift, which puts the primary tailgate height at 38.5 inches. At 5’11” myself, the secondary tailgate is at my sternum, and the primary tailgate comes to my hip. I found this a bit high for extensive typing on a laptop (which is how I’m writing this now), but it works well for signing contracts, measuring wood, or tuning a pair of skis.
With the primary tailgate down, the smaller tailgate drops away when released. The button to release the secondary tailgate was difficult to find when the primary tailgate was down. Even with bare hands, it was hard to feel. With gloves on, I just had to guess and press in the area a number of times. The button layout is a good start, but it just needs a more distinct tactile feel to make it easier to find.
Nevertheless, the prominent advantage of this feature is that it provides about a 10-inch inset to reach that much further into the bed of the truck for loading stuff in or trying to grab items to pull out. That may save some wear-and-tear on your knees, as you won’t have to crawl up onto the bed to reach something as much as you normally would have to.
With both the primary and secondary tailgates open, the feature we used the most on our trip was to flip the load stop down into a step. That step sits at a very convenient height of 23 inches above the ground, which is just above my knee. We used the step all weekend long.
I could step right into the bed of the truck with my hands full of luggage to be deliberately placed (instead of just chucking it all in). My 2- and 5-year-old kids were very entertained with being able to climb in and out of the bed on their own — which is huge for parents of kids those ages — and could even help with loading or unloading their own small bags (a great reinforcement of teaching them independence).
When we arrived at Breckenridge to ski, the step was the perfect place to put on ski boots. It also provided a nice footrest for anyone sitting with their legs hanging over the edge of the tailgate. The MultiPro Tailgate also comes with a grab handle that swings into place, when needed, to provide extra support or leverage when using the step to get up into the bed.
Cost: GMC MultiPro Tailgate
For the 2019 model year, the MultiPro Tailgate is available on the AT4, SLT, and Denali trims. The exact cost of the MultiPro Tailgate is hard to determine since any trim it’s on is bundled with a handful of other features (like a bigger engine, the Prograde Trailering System, etc.), which bumps the cost up by about $4,000.