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Roseville, Calif. – Consistently lower gas prices are impacting car sales this year. Americans have historically loved big vehicles and with the price at the pumps holding relatively steady, 2016 has seen a shift back to large sport utility vehicles and trucks.

Trucks and SUVs stand tall and the seating is higher, which makes for nice sight lines while driving. The large vehicles are also roomier, typically have four doors, and are people haulers with great storage capacity.

The 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe certainly meets the criteria for car shoppers with that “bigger is better” mentality. The Tahoe is 17 feet long, 6.7 feet wide, weighs 5,700 pounds, and can accommodate nine passengers. The 8,600-pound towing capacity is another major plus.

So what if the Tahoe is a bit of a gas hog. It meets the transportation criteria for certain people in so many other areas that filling up the tank regularly has become less of annoyance since gas prices leveled out this year. Actually, the Tahoe is much less of a gas guzzler than ever before. Thanks to Chevy’s relatively new direct injection, the Tahoe has increased power and torque while also increasing gas mileage.

The Tahoe’s powerful 5.3-liter, V8 generates 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, has been clocked going 0-60 in 7.3 seconds, and gets approximately 16-23 mpg. On a recent trip to South Lake Tahoe, gas mileage was at the lower end of the estimated mileage.

2016 Chevrolet Tahoe

  • Performance: 5.3-liter, V8, 355 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 16-23 mpg
  • Price estimate: $47,000 to $64,740
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 6 years/100,000

Chevy redesigned both the Tahoe and the larger – that’s right, an even larger SUV – Suburban in 2015. In previous experiences with the Tahoe, the handling was always a bit clumsy and lacking in overall feel, but that’s not the case any longer.

The Tahoe rides quietly on most road surfaces. The one driving caution: this is a very heavy vehicle, so leave extra car lengths between other vehicles because stopping abruptly is not one of the Tahoe’s strengths.

Overall, the Tahoe has a smart interior design with more quality material throughout, resulting in a more upscale appearance. Controls and gauges are large, easy to read, and intuitive. The Tahoe has an 8-inch display screen and for 2016 added the Apple CarPlay smartphone integration system.

Driver and front seat passenger will reside in comfort with considerable head and leg room. The second row is either a bench or captain’s chairs. A downside is second row seating doesn’t move forward or back. The third row is a tight squeeze for teens and adults. It does fold flat to the floor and the seats no longer have to be physically taken out of the vehicle, a previously annoying facet.

Cargo space is limited behind the third seat at 15.3 cubic-feet. Fold the third row down and the space becomes 51.6 cubic-feet and 94.7 when the second row is also down. The Tahoe has a large storage bin under the front center armrest that can occupy a laptop computer.

There’s more reason than ever for making the Chevy Tahoe your vehicle of choice. Performance has been upgraded, while the gas mileage has also increased. The Tahoe can haul nine people and also has good towing capacity. It’s a big SUV with lots of upside.

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