http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/jedlicka.aspx?year=2007&make=Chevrolet&model=Tahoe 2007 Chevy Tahoe Bottom Line: Redesigned full-size Chevy SUV is a big improvement over its predecessor. Pros: Roomy Powerful Comfortable Cons: High step-in Scant cargo room with available third seat in place Only a 4-speed automatic transmission Expert Review General Motors redesigned its new Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle several years ago, when fuel prices were lower and sales of large SUVs were booming. So don't blame the Tahoe, or any of the revamped large GM sport utes, for seeming a bit out of place with today's higher fuel prices and the move to smaller, more economical SUVs and car-based crossover vehicles. On the other hand, the early 2007 Tahoe is a big improvement over its predecessor, which was the top-selling full-size SUV in 2005. And the market for large, comfortable SUVs is hardly going away, considering the need by many folks for such vehicles, with their roomy interiors and impressive people/cargo hauling and towing abilities. GM is hoping its new Tahoe and other redesigned large SUVs, which arrive later in 2006, will sell well; they're profitable and troubled GM needs all the financial help it can get. Initial consumer reaction to the Tahoe, at least, has been good. Solidly Built The new Tahoe looks better than its predecessor, inside and out. My test 2007 Tahoe seemed as if it's built byÃ¢â‚¬â€dare we say?Ã¢â‚¬â€Toyota, with tight body fits and such. A stiffer structure made it feel more solid. And rough roads elicited no squeaks or rattles. The Tahoe comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, with the high-volume LT offered with LT-1, LT-2 and LT-3 equipment. Rear- or 4-wheel drive are available. Tahoes are pretty well-equipped. List prices range from $33,115 to $37,665, although options can cause prices to quickly escalate. New and revised features include an optional power fold-and-tumble second-row seat, rear seat entertainment system, XM satellite radio, ultrasonic rear parking assist and a remote starting system to warm up the Tahoe interior before winter driving. Safety items include optional side-curtain airbags with rollover protection. More Precise Feel Nobody expects a full-size SUV to drive like a sports sedan, but the new Tahoe's driving feel is far more precise. The old sloppy steering is gone, although the new rack-and-pinion steering has a bit of an on-center soft spot. Handling and maneuverability are good, and redesigned anti-lock brakes and anti-skid/traction control are standard. The ride is smooth, and GM's Autoride suspension, which automatically adjusts firmness based on road and driving conditions, is standard for the LTZ, but not for other Tahoes. Wheel sizes range from 17 to 20 inches. Home Run Interior Chevy hit a grand slam with the interior. The old Tahoe's haphazard placement of marginal knobs and switches has given way to a dashboard with nicely placed controls, although some sound system controls are too small. The new Tahoe has a more chiseled, aggressive appearance. Its body sits on a stiffer new frame and chassis. It's about 5 inches longer and nearly one-half inch higher, with wider tracks for a lower center of gravity and a more hunkered-down look A third-row seat is standard in the LTZ, optional for the LS and LT. That seat allows enough head and leg room for two 6-footers, but it has flat cushions and thus is nowhere near as comfortable as the nice first-and second-row seats. Above-average agility is needed to reach the third seat, although you can get second-row seats that power fold to provide easier access to the third seat. Total seating capacity is nine, but five or six is a more realistic and far more comfortable limit. Standing Tall The Tahoe stands tall, so extra effort is needed to get in or out, and my test Tahoe's running boards were too narrow to provide much entry/exit assistance. (Power running boards will be offered later in the model year, and let's hope they're a bit wider.) The view is commanding from inside, and a lower dashboard makes front-seat occupants feel as if they're sitting higher than they actually are. There's little cargo space behind the third-row seat in its upright postion. That seat folds forward to allow more cargo room, and also is removable. However, yanking it out calls for extra muscle because it's quite heavy. The rear hatch has separate-opening glass and is wide, but the cargo floor is rather high. Strong Acceleration The 5.3-liter V8 provides 320 horsepower and lots of torque for strong acceleration. (A lower-priced Tahoe with a 4.8-liter V8 will be offered later with only rear-wheel drive.) The 5.3 V8 works with a responsive 4-speed automatic transmission, but the Tahoe lacks the more modern 6-speed unit promised for the 2007 Cadillac Escalade SUV. Higher Fuel Economy Chevy says estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg in the city and 22 on highways with rear-wheel drive and 15 and 21 with 4-wheel drive. But those optimistic EPA numbers should be taken with a grain of saltÃ¢â‚¬â€my test Tahoe only got 13-14 mpg in town. However, the EPA numbers aren't bad for a big, powerful SUV that weighs about 5,500 pounds. Fuel economy is slightly better than that delivered by the 2006 Tahoe, thanks partly to a more aerodynamic body and a gas-saving 4-cylinder cutoff feature when cruising. In any case, nobody who buys a powerful full-size SUV expects more than mediocre fuel economy. As for the Tahoe, it provides lots of compensating benefits.