What Is a Midgate on a Pickup Truck, and How Does It Improve Cargo Bed Room?

If you’re shopping for a new pickup, prepare to be inundated with available features and options. Today’s trucks are customizable at almost every level. From short and long beds, four and rear-wheel drive, and a slew of engine sizes, you’ll have plenty of decisions to make. However, there’s one pickup truck feature that often goes overlooked, and it really shouldn’t, given its exceptionally functional benefits.

The midgate, also known as a pass-through cabin, is an underrated truck feature designed to improve cargo bed space. It’s been available on a few truck models over the years but doesn’t usually get much press. So, what is a midgate anyway, and how does it work? Let’s shed light on this not-so-advertised feature, including what new and old models have it.

What is a midgate, anyway?

Remember the Chevy Avalanche? This uniquely designed vehicle was one-part SUV and one-part pickup. Produced from 2001 to 2013, the Avalanche brought revolutionary design and new functionality to the market, as GM Authority shares. While it may have been discontinued, its signature feature may be making a comeback.

The Chevy Avalanche offered the midgate, a barrier that separates the truck bed from the interior cabin. That barrier could fold down, complementing the fold-down seats in the second row, opening up the space between these two cargo areas. Avalanche owners would enjoy a significantly expanded cargo capacity, which is especially helpful when hauling longer items into a traditionally short truck bed, like a canoe, a ladder, or lumber. 

How the midgate works

2024 Chevy Silverado EV WT (work truck) truck bed with a midgate
2024 Chevy Silverado EV WT truck bed | Chevrolet

The OG midgate, introduced by the Chevrolet Avalanche, was a game-changer, revolutionizing truck functionality. It was made possible by the tonneau cover over the bed and the midgate barrier behind the second-row seats. The midgate could fold down, along with the collapsible second row, providing an expanded cargo area measuring from the backs of the front row to the tailgate. Chevy marketed this midgate feature as the mechanism that changes an SUV to a super SUV, according to GM Authority.

Which vehicles, past and coming up, have a midgate?

You might miss the Chevy Avalanche, but today’s truck buyers can get excited about the midgate’s return. If you’re buying a used model, you can likely find a Chevy Avalanche or Cadillac Escalade EXT with the midgate feature. However, there is talk of plenty of new model trucks and SUVs bringing back the cargo-expanding midgate option.

Car and Driver shares that the most exciting new model to include the midgate may be the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV. Along with a host of innovative tech and electrification, this new Silverado will also have a midgate feature. However, this midgate allows the second row to remain upright, providing up to 9 feet of available storage between the tailgate and the cabin.

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The midgate isn’t new, and past concept vehicles have graced various Auto Shows with similar designs in years past. Concept vehicles like the Nissan SUT and the Ford Equator Concept featured midgates. You might also remember the Subaru Baja, with its SUV-ish truck style. GM included the midgate with the Hummer H2 SUT, as well. Elsewhere, Volkswagen shared its Tarok Concept in 2019, Toyota showed off its A-BAT Concept, and Dodge even brought its Rampage Concept to the 2006 New York Auto Show. Lastly, Tesla also has the pass-through or midgate design for its Cybertruck.

As you browse the marketplace to find a new or new-to-you pickup truck, be mindful of the handy midgate feature. Additionally, if you want a brand-new model truck, stay tuned for the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV and its upscale counterpart, the GMC Sierra Denali EV.