Ford Authority

Will The 2021 Ford F-150 Get This Improved, Pivotable Tailgate?

We know that an all-new Ford F-150 is on the way. In fact, the vehicle was originally set to be shown to the press at the end of April, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to those plans. And though we already know quite a bit about the upcoming all-new 2021 Ford F-150, several key details have yet to be revealed. To that end, something that recently caught our attention was a Ford patent for an improved tailgate design.

Initially filed in 2018 and assigned US Patent number 10,081,303 B1, Ford’s filing is entitled “Full Size Tailgate Step.” It mentions a latch mechanism with “rails to allow the tailgate to pivot,” and that the user would “selectively pivot the tailgate between a closed position, a tailgate deployed position, and a step position.”

Other than this patent filing, things have been very quiet about any potential upgrade, improvements or innovations to 2021 Ford F-150 tailgate. Meanwhile, during the past two years, the F-150’s primary rivals – GMC and Ram – have both introduced notable improvements to their tailgates.

GM, for instance, offers a MultiPro tailgate on the new Sierra pickup that has six positions, such as a step, a load stop, or even a work surface.

2019-2020 GMC Sierra 1500 with MultiPro Tailgate

Meanwhile, the Ram Pickup is offered with an optional Multifunction Tailgate that adds a first-of-its-kind 60-40 split, swing-away functionality, while retaining the capabilities of a fully dampened, drop-down tailgate with remote release options.

2020 Ram 1500 Pickup with Multifunction tailgate

Both tailgate improvements from GMC and Ram have been well-received by the buying public. As it sits, the current F-150’s only unique feature in the tailgate department is the “tailgate step,” which deploys from within the top of the tailgate to enable easier ingress to and egress from the bed. While the feature is nice and – at time of its launch – was the first tailgate access-related innovation to arrive from the Big Three in decades, it’s not as simple as the CornerStep feature offered by GM trucks.

Given the importance of the F-Series to Ford sales volume, profitability, and business performance, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect improvements from the 2021 Ford F-150 in this department. As of this writing, we haven’t seen F-150 prototypes testing with any tailgate improvements, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

2021 Ford F-150 spy shot

Tailgate-related items aside, we do know that the 2021 Ford F-150 will offer a big touchscreen as well as a stow-away shift lever, along with a digital gauge cluster. Our intel says that Ford still plans on launching the all-new, 14th-generation F-150 later this year as planned, though COVID-19 will likely push the timetable back some. It’s also worth noting that we do not expect the all-new F-150 Raptor to be a part of that launch. Instead, the off-road-focused range topper will likely end up arriving a year or two later.

Are you expecting any tailgate improvements from the 2021 Ford F-150? Talk to us in the comments section below, and be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Frankie's first favorite car was a 1968 Ford Mustang, and he's had a strong appreciation for the nameplate ever since. Later in his youth he became infatuated with Eleanor, thanks to Nicholas Cage's stellar performance. Frank's a real jokester, too.

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  1. trailhiker

    That would work with the side exhaust.
    Only issue I see is that a ball hitch would have to be removed first.

    1. Alex Luft

      Right, both configurations offered by GMC or Ram would work with the side exhaust. That’s a good point. Ford should do something different in this space to be part of the “new age tailgate” conversation, though judging by the latest sales figures, it doesn’t necessarily need it – the current truck is selling just fine and the next-gen should do even better with all the improvements.

  2. Chip

    Amazing the engineering fallout from the continued trend of making trucks taller and taller.

    I so miss the 8′ bed on my ’88 F-150. I could step directly into the bed. A cart full of plywood would roll up over the tailgate and one person could easily load the truck.

    Seriously, make a truck with a practical bed hight!

  3. Michel Roy

    Hope that Ford will do what it has to do to keep the lead in the segment. And mostly have a full choice of options on the xlt trims. Les light, 8 in screen, push start button, remote damped tailgate. Hooe that they will downsize the price of the 5.0l. Here in Canada the five-o is expensive as the 3.5 tt.

  4. John Begin

    Ford has to do something with the tailgate. I would definitely like a tailgate where I can get closer to the truck and the step they have could use improvement. Have a 2017 Lariat and I like my dash with analog gauges. Hope you don’t have to take the digital dash on higher end trucks. Hurry up with the truck.

    1. Tramaine LeDay

      Two things! 1st, when will Ford and GM get rid of that stupid antenna pole? For heaven sake if they are gonna play follow what i do, follow Ram with that! 2nd, is it my eyes, but is Ford offering LED lighting on a XLT now like Ram with (Bighorn) and GMC with (SLE)?

  5. John Begin

    I don’t know if you can get LED lights on an XLT. I know even on my Lariat I had to buy an extra package to get puddle lights and I think LED as well. As you know they have a bunch of extras just to bring up the price.

  6. Robert Brock

    The Honda Ridgeline indestructible bed,dual action tailgate and huge trunk with spare tire are very functional and handy. Hidden antenna also since 2006! Ford is brutally resistant to change that means retooling. Love their engines!

  7. Mark

    I would love to see fully-dampened, multi-functional tailgates on Ford trucks across the board, from the Ranger to the biggest F-series. The dual-action on the Ridgeline or the triple-action on the Ram (down, across, or 60/40) are great offerings that make trucks more enjoyable and accessible for everyone.


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