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These Nifty Passthrough Truck Bed Boxes Were Around Way Before Rivian Made Them Cool

More modern trucks should get factory or aftermarket passthrough boxes.
Rick's. YouTube

When the Rivian R1T was first revealed, one of its most exciting features was its Gear Tunnel, a long and practical passthrough compartment in between the cab and bed. It’s a genuinely great idea that makes use of the R1T’s electric vehicle packaging. However, while Rivian was the first manufacturer to offer such a passthrough from the factory, it wasn’t the only company to offer one. Aftermarket companies designed passthrough compartments for the first-gen Chevy Colorado in the early 2000s that effectively did the same thing as Rivian’s Gear Tunnel, albeit not as gracefully.

It was commonly called a “mid box” and it was exactly as it sounds—a box in the middle of the bed and the cab. It’s unclear exactly how these mid-box trucks were designed since the bed looks unchanged. However, it seems as though they’d stretch the wheelbase out and move the bed back, drop a shorter bed, or maybe even swap a regular cab onto a crew cab frame and fit the mid box in the extra space.

Rick’s. YouTube

With the mid box installed, the Colorado had a Rivian-like passthrough space that could be used for a variety of things. Long items like shovels or skis could be stored in there, or anything you’d want to keep out of the elements. Some owners even had multi-drawer toolboxes fitted, which would be hugely helpful for tradespeople. Regardless of what customers put in there, the mid box freed up tons of bed space and kept its contents dry.

However, it certainly looked odd. With the mid box in place, the Colorado looks oddly long, even if it isn’t much longer, if longer at all, than a Colorado crew cab. But what visually throws it off most is its normal-looking door. On the Rivian R1T, the Gear Tunnel is cleverly hidden, so you can barely tell it’s there when the door is closed. On the modified Colorado, though, the mid box doors sport the same handles as the the truck’s main doors.

It’s a wonder why there aren’t more companies making aftermarket mid boxes anymore. The Colorado wasn’t the only one, as another company made mid boxes for the 11th-generation Ford F-150. Rivian proved there’s still a market for mid box storage and it would be interesting to see more modern pickups, especially work trucks.

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