10 Pickups with Lockable Tailgates Now on Sale

Charles Krome
by Charles Krome
December 7, 2015
6 min. Reading Time
2016-Chevrolet-Colorado-Duramax-TurboDiesel-red-front-34 ・  Photo by Chevrolet Media

2016-Chevrolet-Colorado-Duramax-TurboDiesel-red-front-34 ・ Photo by Chevrolet Media

The simple story here: pickups with lockable tailgates have become the norm for the U.S. marketplace, and each of the current light-duty entries will offer one for the 2016 selling season, providing some extra protection against theft and vandalism. Because each truck also provides so many other distinctive characteristics as well, though, let’s run down the list once again, this time with a special focus on tailgate features.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado is surprisingly well-equipped even in its work-truck configuration, which stands out among pickups with lockable tailgates since it offers that safety and security feature as standard equipment. But that’s just a starting point, and Chevy engineers have baked in quite a few bed benefits for the Colorado, including GM’s CornerStep bumper, two-tier loading, 13 standard tie-down locations, and standard bed-rail and tailgate protectors. Meanwhile, available upgrades range from the GearOn cargo-management system to a spray-in bedliner to the EZ Lift-and Lower mechanism that allows controlled, damped tailgate opening and one-handed closing. Chevy then tops off those true truck capabilities with a bevy of Bowtie technologies, like an enhanced Chevy MyLink system that adds Apple CarPlay smartphone integration to its previously available 4G LTE and mobile wi-fi services. Remember, too, that a high-efficiency, high-torque diesel engine also is set to debut for the Colorado for the 2016 model year.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado

The full-size 2016 Chevrolet Silverado offers a bit more in all dimensions than its Colorado sibling, and that includes a handy advance on typical pickups with lockable tailgates: The Silverado provides an available remote-locking tailgate for added convenience. The 2016 selling season also sees a significant refreshing of the entire Silverado lineup, highlighted by a bolder front-end appearance and specific grille treatments for different models. Further, there’s plenty of newly available content up and down the lineup, like LED headlamps, power-articulating assist steps, wireless phone charging and yet another updating of Chevy’s MyLink technology. This time, there’s a new 7-inch touchscreen, performance improvements for the 8-inch system, and the launch of smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and, later in the model year, Android Auto. Finally, the Silverado does its part to boost occupant protection with automatic high beams and lane-keeping assistance (both of which are added to a comprehensive Driver Alert Package).


2016 Ford F-150

Blue Oval engineers certainly weren’t sleeping on the job when it came time to design the bed of the 2016 Ford F-150. As a result, it’s backed by a number of cargo-friendly features that aren’t found on any other pickups with locking tailgates. Now, the F-150 does offer one of those, and its tailgate does have a remote-unlock system and dampers like some rivals, but only the F-150 showcases a remote-release system, so that owners can open the tailgate simply by using a button on the key fob. And only the F-150 serves up an assist step built right into that tailgate, complementing the deployable access steps available at the side of the truck’s cargo box. It’s also worth noting that the F-150’s tailgate was engineered so that the truck’s available and stowable loading ramps could be spaced at different widths for different vehicles.


2016 GMC Sierra

For a more sophisticated approach to full-size pickups with lockable tailgates, there’s the 2016 GMC Sierra. The Sierra offers all the bells and whistles—and technologies—as the Chevy Silverado, but it also distinguishes itself on the premium end of the spectrum with the Denali model and, as a new entry, the Elevation Edition. Developed to provide enhanced content for the standard double-cab Sierra, this package does indeed furnish a standard locking tailgate, with remote functionality no less, along with an automatic locking differential, LED foglamps, and cargo-box lighting. Also included are heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors with body-color caps, 20-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, and GMC’s updated IntelliLink system—complete with a 7-inch display screen, 4G LTE connectivity, and a mobile wi-fi hotspot. Owners who opt for the 8-inch IntelliLink setup also will welcome Apple CarPlay for smartphone integration, followed by the expected debut of Android Auto for the Sierra in March of 2016.

 Photo by Benjamin Hunting

Photo by Benjamin Hunting

2016 Toyota Tacoma

GM isn’t the only automaker looking to satisfy the demand for next-gen midsize pickups. Also looking to get in on the action is the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma that now provides modern-day conveniences like wireless phone charging, LED daytime running lights, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, push-button start and Entune multimedia technology for navigation and access to select mobile apps. The Tacoma also joins the ranks of pickups with lockable tailgates, while additionally featuring an integrated tailgate spoiler and an easy-lowering mechanism. As an extra bonus, the 2016 Tacoma is the first edition to supply an available factory-installed hard tonneau cover, boasting a versatile tri-fold design, for the cargo bed. Moving to the other end of the truck, a new V-6 moves into the engine bay, where it raises output to 278 horsepower and increases the Tacoma’s towing limit to 6,700 lbs.—reflecting increases of 42 horsepower and 300 lbs.


2016 Nissan Frontier

The 2016 Nissan Frontier is a bit of a throwback, without some of the next-gen gewgaws of the latest midsize pickups, but with an MSRP of $17,990. At that point, pickups with locking tailgates don’t get any less expensive. In fact, the Frontier is thousands of dollars less than the next cheapest choice, although such items as air conditioning and an audio unit are optional on its entry-level truck. Which also relies on a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. 

That said, Nissan can deliver a fair number of available goodies, including NissanConnect technology with navigation, mobile apps and voice recognition, and the PRO-4X remains a popular pick for people who like to go off-road. With aggressive style cues inside and out, the PRO-4X 4X4 is provisioned for adventure with Bilstein high-pressure shocks, underbody skid plates, a two-speed transfer case and an electronic locking rear differential.


2016 GMC Canyon

The 2016 GMC Canyon is the corporate cousin to the Chevy Colorado, but the Professional Grade brand likes to call its iteration “the segment’s only premium vehicle.” That’s no idle claim, either, as proven by the Canyon’s inclusion among the “10 Best Interiors of 2015” in this year’s judging by WardsAuto. Well, the same detailed cabin is back for 2016, complete with standard features like front bucket seats, a rear-vision camera, a six-speaker display audio system and a climate system with air conditioning. What’s different, though, is that the Canyon’s available IntelliLink infotainment system has been adapted to run Apple CarPlay, providing advanced iPhone integration; GMC plans to launch Android Auto smartphone integration “later in the 2016 model year.” Of course, the Canyon also qualifies for our current honor roll, and like other pickups with locking tailgates, the GMC’s has a damper and internal torsion bar for easier opening and closing.

 Photo by Benjamin Hunting

Photo by Benjamin Hunting

2016 Nissan Titan

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD has leapt into the full-size pickup fray by winning four awards at its first Texas Truck Rodeo, including the trophy for overall Truck of Texas and the Best Powertrain honor for its 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel engine. That diesel powerplant is a big-time differentiator from other pickups with locking tailgates, since the Titan XD aims to provide more capability than the rest of the light-duty lineup, but without forcing owners to move all the way up to a much more expensive heavy-duty truck. On the other hand, there’s more to the story than just what’s written on the powertrain pages, and the Titan proved that in Texas by earning kudos for best off-road pickup with its PRO-4X edition. It also captured the crown as best luxury pickup, thanks to the range-topping Platinum Reserve model. (Note: Nissan will have gas engines for the 2016 Titan, too.)


2016 Toyota Tundra

The all-V8 powertrain portfolio for the 2016 Toyota Tundra signals its serious approach to the marketplace, as do work-friendly features like a standard, lockable tailgate that’s designed to be easy to lower and lift. Plus, Toyota’s pickup currently packs the largest fuel tank in the full-size pickup segment, and engineers have added a standard trailer-brake control for all 2016 Tundras toting the 5.7-liter engine. That’s obviously a key complement for a powerplant that can produce 381 horses, 401 lb.-ft. of torque and a max tow rating of 10,500 lbs. Also upgraded for 2016 is the Tundra’s multimedia technology. New dual-core processors boost operating speed by up to 85 percent, Entune audio becomes standard throughout the roster, and premium JBL audio with navigation and mobile-apps access are standard in the up-level Platinum and “1794” Editions—the latter recognizing the birth date of the Texas ranch on which the Tundra plant is located.


2016 Ram 1500

The 2016 Ram1500 checks off all the boxes for big pickups, including the one for a locking tailgate for its cargo box. However, unlike some trucks with lockable tailgates, the one for the Ram can be managed remotely, from the key fob; the fancy fob can even remotely lock and unlock the RamBox storage bins that are integrated into the bedsides of some models. 

With the Ram roster, there’s a particularly robust range of models on the menu, including two Laramie lux trucks—the Western-themed Laramie Longhorn and the “black tie” Laramie Limited—as well as the rugged Rebel off-road entry, the work-friendly Tradesman, the HEMI-powered Ram Sport and the high-efficiency Ram EcoDiesel. As a reminder, that diesel engine not only serves up EPA grades of up to 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined, it also has enough torque—420 lb.-ft.—to tow 9,200 lbs.


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