Many people use trucks to do “work” things, like transporting lumber and dirt, but I like to think that the truck was made specifically for the tailgate. Charge the bed with a cooler, a grill and chairs, and you have a party base camp. Add a tarp and a lot of water, and it’s a pool. The point is that the truck bed is not just for transporting things, it is for socializing. Since I was from a small town in the south, I spent many of my growing up years drinking beer in the back of a truck in a field outside Old Man Wilson’s farm. Tailgate on a real tailgate is sublime.
What is strange is that the very tailgate of a truck has not developed much in the last five or six decades. Thankfully, 2019 has brought us an arms race with the tailgate, with several truck manufacturers trying to make each other better with new and improved designs. Ford kick-started the competition with its F150 tailgate, which has a built-in step that slides out of the gate, and Dodge and Honda introduced versions with access in the barn door style. But GMC’s new MultiPro tailgate ($ 66,445 for full truck construction, as tested) is cool on the next level, with a transformer-like design that shines brightest where it matters: in the King’s Gate as a tailgate.
MultiPro falls flat, like a regular tailgate, but it also has a smaller inner gate with its own hinge, so you can raise and lower the two tailgate panels in different combinations depending on the situation. Lower the main gate and then lower the inner gate to create a step for easy access to the bed; keep the tailgate raised, but pull down the inner gate to create a workstation that resembles a standing desk; knock down the main door, but open the inner gate halfway to extend the truck bed by two feet. MultiPro comes as standard on all models of the GMC Sierra, which is a beefy, light truck that is comparable to the new Ford F150 and Dodge Ram. Although the gate was designed to improve the Sierra’s ability to work, I spent a week driving the Sierra 1500 AT4 to see how MultiPro affected the important things – to pull outdoor equipment and drink beer.
First, you should know that the Sierra 1500 is a beast. It has a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a ten-speed automatic transmission that holds 420 horsepower, 460 pounds of torque and up to 12,000 pounds of traction. AT4 is a four-wheel drive package that transforms this work truck into a fully capable off-road machine. But do not let the legs of the work car fool you: this is a luxury vehicle loaded with amenities, such as air-conditioned seats that vibrate when you swing out of your lane. It is an incredibly comfortable and spacious vehicle that is fun in the dirt and plush on the highway. The bed itself is wide (just over 50 inches) but relatively short at 69.9 inches. GMC compensates for that with MultiPro; the possibility of extending the bed by two feet is perfect for carrying wood.
While MultiPro offers a plethora of customizations, there are not many features that affect how you wear equipment. I loaded a couple of 10-foot paddleboards into the truck for several days and had the tailgate up in a conventional position to hold the boards in. I also hung mountain bikes over the tailgate just like I would do in any other truck. Several attachment points in each corner of the bed made it easy to lock bicycles and fasten awkward objects, but the MultiPro port did not come into play when you carried that equipment. However, it was a rock star when it was time to camp and tailgate.
GMC sells a camping package that includes a mattress and Napier Sportz Truck Tent that fits over the bed. I love the concept, as it allows you to drop the tailgate to add extra legroom, meaning anyone over six feet tall can spend the night in this five-foot-eight-inch truck bed without feeling cramped. I was not however, in love with the tent itself. The connection points between the tent and the truck are smaller than bombs and the walls of polyester taffeta feel thin. I spent one night in it, and although it is very spacious and perfectly suited if you are only camping occasionally, I would look at a more rugged option if truck camping or landing is your thing. The tent does not hold up well in strong winds, and I think the material would start to wear after several uses. If you’re comfortable spending $ 60,000 on a truck, I’d spend a little more money on a better tent.
But the tailgate itself is a beauty. Like I said, it’s apparently designed to improve the load capacity and accessibility of the bed for people who “work”. And that it does; Converting the gate into a step makes it easy to charge a cooler full of beer. But even better, by lowering the tailgate to one step, it also turns into a comfortable bench, complete with practical side tables with cup holders – a feature that proved to be the key during beer sessions after driving. You can even take it a step further and get the Denali version of the truck and tailgate, which have built-in speakers and ports for your phone.
Or you can keep the main tailgate closed and just release the inner gate to create a workstation that acts as a standing desk. And by workstation I really mean bare. I used it several times to serve cocktails and snacks when I camped. And that’s what MultiPro excels at: creating a space where you want to socialize. I found myself looking for reasons to spend time in the back of the truck. Have just ridden ready? Stay tuned and let’s talk about our Strava segments. Are you waiting to pick up your children from school? You can just as easily relax on the back of the truck. Have you knocked out some epic grocery shopping? You should have a beer in the parking lot. Lower the tailgate to the bench position, slide the radiator to the edge of the bed, have a beer and start cutting up the cheese tray. GMC’s Sierra plays in a crowded field full of popular trucks, but its new MultiPro tailgate breaks the after-scene like no other.