A dual-function split tailgate option may be coming to the 2019 Ram 1500.
The pickup truck, set to debut at the Detroit auto show in January, was spotted testing the new design near Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. The tailgate is attached to an early prototype, indicating the feature has undergone extensive testing ahead of its reveal.
The 2019 Ram 1500 would be the first pickup truck to offer a split tailgate. It allows the gate of the truck to be opened in multiple ways.
The gate will lift up and down like any conventional pickup, but it will also swing out in a 60/40 split. Owners can then walk right up the end of the bed for easier access, loading and unloading. They can also climb inside without first stepping onto the folded gate.
It is unclear how the tailgate will operate. Spy photographs of the truck’s interior have shown a complicated key fob that could control the split tailgate function.
The split tailgate will likely be offered as an optional feature on the 2019 Ram.
FCA also has tested an up-level trim of the 2019 Ram 1500 with a different front fascia design. This model boasts headlights that are surrounded by design accents and more integrated into the front grille. The grille itself is made of longer, uninterrupted horizontal slats. There are also integrated tow hooks.
The grille on the new design appears to cut into a section of the headlights that housed LED accents in previous spy shots. It may indicate these models use different lights.
The new look could belong to the Ram 1500 Limited or Laramie, two upscale model trims that are indicative of the demand for high-priced pickup trucks. The average transaction price of a full-size pickup rose more than 20 percent from 2012 to 2016, according to market research firm J.D. Power. In September, Ford Motor Co. unveiled a new Super Duty Limited trim that can approach prices of $100,000.
The new Ram is expected to feature numerous updates compared with its current model. In addition to the split tailgate and modern interior, the truck will take a new shape with chiseled styling. It has also abandoned the signature crosshair grille. New badging and eye-catching taillights bring a high-tech look to the truck.
Ram has also experimented with interesting combinations of parts for a future 1500 Rebel off-road truck.