Football season is here; bring out the tailgate-mobile
It happens every year about this time in South Carolina: heavyweights block, cruisers weave in and out, backs spring loose – and that’s just along the interstate.
Football season is starting up, meaning that fans of Tigers and Cocks, Bulldogs and Bucs, to name a few, will be eager to tailgate before gridiron clashes.
That begs the question: what are the top types of tailgating vehicles?
According to local dealers, there’s no single all-purpose car or truck to motor to games. But they note that crossovers are popular choices, because they are roomy and reasonably full-efficient.
These days, families may drive a compact or two to save on fuel. But they are holding on to the ol’ sport utility in the garage, and for good reason.
The SUV’s crucial assignment is to lug grownups, kids, coolers, chairs, tables, stereos, chips and dip, fried chicken, face paint and Frisbees from the Lowcountry to Columbia, Clemson, Orangeburg and dozens of other cities and towns in the Southeast and beyond.
“I think the new (Chevrolet) Tahoe would be it, because you can carry all your stuff and it’s got a power outlet to watch the pre-game show,” said Rob Marchant, general manager of Marchant Chevrolet in Ravenel.
The hybrid model also benefits from attaining 21 miles per gallon in city driving. “If you are in the parking jam, getting in and out of place, you don’t use up gas,” he said.
Marchant also would recommend the Chevy Traverse crossover, which seats eight and has a lot of cargo room. The four-wheel-drive vehicle also lists its highway fuel mileage in the upper 20 mpg range. The Traverse has the advantage of a moderate wheelbase so that driving in traffic to a game in a city won’t be too taxing. The new Silverado crew cab pickup truck is “pretty cool,” and has space for a TV in the tailgate. “And of course, there’s the Suburban,” Marchant said.
Football family favorites
Crossovers are also the tailgate favorite at West Ashley Toyota.
“I think the newest and greatest for the football family is the Venza,” said Bob Benson, general sales manager. The vehicle, which carries cargo like a sport utility but with car-like ride, has a power lift gate in the back. “You can impress all your friends,” he said. It has plenty of space and versatility, Benson said, and gets 26 mpg on the highway.
Other options include the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma trucks, and “the Sienna van for Mom and Dad,” he said.
Football pre-season isn’t exactly a big selling period for car dealers. But fans are definitely thinking about their road trip plans, which is why they’re keeping an SUV in the fleet, Marchant said.
“I think this is a consideration for a family. They want to have a vehicle so they can go to college football games,” he said.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com