By NITISH S. RELE, nitishrele@gmail.com

It’s a fact. Even if gas prices reached $4 a gallon and beyond, there would still be a demand for full-sized SUVs such as the truck-based 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe. After all, few rides on the road can tow up to 8,400 pounds, carry up to nine passengers comfortably and boast cargo space of 94.7 cubic feet.

Chevy’s large SUV is equipped with a sole 5.3-liter V-8 engine generating 355 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and 383 pounds-feet of torque @ 4100 rpm. Mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed auto gearbox, the fully boxed frame Tahoe is offered in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive versions. An accurate and well-weighted power-assist rack-and-pinion steering works incredibly well to guide the large SUV into a tight parking spot.

Magnetic Ride Control, which adjusts the four-wheel independent suspension as per road conditions, brings toughness and rock-solid stability to the ride. GM’s Active Fuel Management system deactivates half of its eight cylinders to conserve gas while cruising or at slower speeds. EPA estimates 15 city/21 or 23 highway mpg depending on trim.

The Tahoe makes its presence known wherever you go, thanks to the familiar but massive centered gold bowtie on a twin-port horizontal grille, HID headlights and 20-inch aluminum wheels. The power-assist steps lead you into a sizable and attractive cabin with standard tri-zone auto climate control, 12-way power heated/cooled comfy and supportive front seats, touch-screen navigation, power-remote lift gate, power foldable second-row and removable third-row seats.

Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction controls, front parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, vibrating safety-alert seat, rearview camera, keyless start, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.

Starting at $48,410 for the base LS, the power plant delivers a calm and compliant ride, responsive braking and remarkably good body control despite its bulkiness. No wonder, this full-sized SUV is a functional miracle that has served its buyers well for more than two decades.

Test drive the Chevy Tahoe at Ferman Chevrolet, 9751 Adamo Drive, Tampa or call 623-2411.