Starting with the 2014 model year Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, General Motors introduced a brand-new convenience feature aimed at easing ingress into the bed of the truck: the GM CornerStep Bumper. Today, it seems like a perfectly obvious, no-brainer sort of a feature; pickup truck load floors are usually pretty high off the ground, and folks who use their trucks as – well, trucks – quite often have to climb up to load or unload. Years ago, the feature was utterly unknown to most car buyers not just within the GM truck family, but industry-wide.
GM first launched the CornerStep Bumper on the first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche that launched for the 2001 model year. Then, a few years later, Nissan added a very similar feature to its second-generation of its Xterra SUV, which launched in 2005.
Coincidentally, the second-generation Chevy Avalanche came out in 2007, discontinuing the Corner Step feature in favor of a sleeker, body-color lower bumper configuration. Nissan discontinued the Xterra after the 2015 model year as a result of poor fuel economy, declining sales, and necessary upgrades to the vehicle’s safety and emissions.
The next time GM used the CornerStep bumpers was on the 2014 Silverado and Sierra.
The GM CornerStep Bumper consists of two parts: a notch with a non-slip textured pad on either side of the rear bumper, where the user inserts his or her foot, and an ergonomically-shaped handhold located in each box rail protector. After debuting on GM’s light-duty trucks, it made its way to the heavy-duty Chevrolet/GMC models for the following model year.
GM’s all-new, 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 have brought with them an updated version of the system – one with a deeper bumper cutout capable of accommodating larger footwear, such as steel-toe boots.
Meanwhile, Nissan appears to have taken a different tack in recent years, offering a Rear Bumper Step-up Assist for models like the Nissan Titan pickup truck as a separate, genuine Nissan accessory. The step folds up and out-of-sight when not needed.