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2021 F-150 Tailgate: Why All-New Truck Does Not Have Barn-Style Doors

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The 2021 Ford F-150 is very much an all-new design, and it’s packed with new and innovative features. That includes a newly designed tailgate, which is much more functional than ever before. But what the 2021 F-150 tailgate does not have are barn-style doors, multiple configurations, or any of the other features present in some of the newer competition’s tailgates.

The 2021 F-150 tailgate does comes standard with new cleats mounted to the sides of the tailgate to act as tie-down locations for extra-long items in the bed. New clamp pockets are built in as well, so customers can hold materials down for precision work. An available flat Tailgate Work Surface also includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cup holder, and pencil holder.

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While it’s certainly more useful than the outgoing, 13th generation F-150 tailgate, it’s still quite surprising that the new truck doesn’t off a more radical tailgate with barn-style doors or multifunction capability like its competitors do.

The latest Ram, for example, comes with a Multifunction tailgate with 60/40 split swing-away doors that can open 88 degrees or swing down like a traditional tailgate. GMC offers its MultiPro tailgate capable of folding into six different configurations, in addition to operating like a traditional tailgate.

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We were curious to hear the reasoning behind Ford’s decision to not create a radically different 2021 F-150 tailgate, so we reached out to F-150 engineering manager Dawn Piechocki. And as it turns out, like most of the ideas baked into the all-new pickup, it all boils down to customer feedback.

In an interview with Ford Authority executive editor, Alex Luft, Piechocki says that tailgate innovation is “a hot area.” “What we saw from our customers is that there is a lot of usage on and around the tailgate. In the feedback we received, usability was a key element, and we wanted to help enable pain points and what [customers] were using tailgates for. Many customers used tailgate for projects, whether it construction or DIY, working, helping with community. These improvements made sense compared to a different or more radical tailgate.”

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Ultimately, it seems like F-150 customers simply didn’t see the need for a multifunction-type tailgate, and would prefer a simpler, more traditional unit. Regardless, we can’t help but wonder if the 2021 F-150 could benefit from a multifunction approach, offering multiple ways to open and/or use it, or from a simple set of barn-style doors. Let us know what you think in the poll below!

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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14 Comments

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  1. The Lincoln Blackwood was the 1st to use a “Barn Door” tailgate, now Dodge and GM is using it but FORD don’t. Which gives Lincoln room to upgrade their line up with a new Blackwood with the Navigator front end and use this option. Add Blackwood wood floors instead of carpet.The problem with the 1st model it came in 1 color and bed cover was not removable, which should have been power retractable from the key fob. If the right people was over Lincoln you would see it grow into its own with very Luxurious vehicles

  2. The funny thing about the GMC tailgate is the fact it isn’t available on the trucks that get used as an actual work vehicle from day one and not available on a Chevy at all. The Ford Tailgate step can be the only option on a stripped down no other optioned XL.
    The Lincoln Blackwood would probably do better now than it did in 2002 with the 157″ wheelbase on the F150 since the time when it was created the 5.5′ box was a SuperCrew only bed and not the normal size on all the major players in the truck market.
    I do not believe you are going to see Lincoln delve back into the truck market again in the near future but I myself did like the Blackwood but will continue to cruise around in my 12th gen F150 with the Raptor 6.2 in it

    • If Lincoln is smart Blackwood will return done right it hit can be a successful truck I never understand why it didn’t get the 5.4SC like the F150 Harley Davison did. Am like you tooling around in my 04 F150 Lightning still, A Raptor might be my last

  3. Ford started the multifunctional tailgate years ago. Why are we acting like it’s new because GM and Ram were late to the party?

  4. I can’t imagine those barn door tailgate holding up on construction trucks from what I’ve seen seen in my 45 years of construction. I’ve had two Fords with the tailgate step with the handle and at 63 old I don’t want a truck with out one. I haven’t used the GM tailgate but from what I’ve seen on tv it looks like BS. No handle when stepping down is dangerous as you get older.

  5. The functionality of the tailgate on the 2021 F150 provides the owner with the ability to work on the tailgate using tie downs, cup and cell phone holder and even a built in tape measure. I think these functions work better than having barn door opening tailgate. An example would be the need to cut trim or studs. Instead the need for pulling out a work table or saw horses for these jobs. Take it to the tailgate, and make your cuts. It becomes the smart, timesaver tailgate. I believe the new F-150 has a generator option making it even easier to use your power tools. It’s smart that Ford listen to their customers and gave them what they wanted.

  6. As I look at it tailgates that are barn doors aren’t tailgates, the GM multi function gates are going to be very expensive to replace if need be. I also agree with R. Park on the old man assist grab handle and step it great for us older folks so who don’t want to jump down.

  7. Ram barn doors no reaching over tailgate to retrieve heavy items easy to reach into the bed too ! Can open when pulling a trailer best thing ever!

  8. Man with all those other manufactures offering fancy tailgates, I bet their sales are through the roof firmly planting Ford into 3rd place in sales numbers.

    Oh wait….

  9. I’m on my 3rd F150.
    And this is my last. Ford new 10 speed has turned me off on Ford pickups.
    Ford needs to go back to the better 6 speed. And not worry about a tailgate.

  10. You know who needs multifunctional tailgates the most? People who NEED trucks because they want them. If you need a truck, you know how useful that bed is, just like that tailgate….it becomes your workbench. The ford drop step thing is the most need I have for multifunction tailgate.

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